How One San Francisco Street Survived the Pandemic

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California Today

Clement Street successful the Richmond District whitethorn beryllium a model into neighborhoods of the future.

Soumya Karlamangla

Oct. 11, 2021, 9:32 a.m. ET

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The Clement Street Farmers Market successful  San Francisco.
Credit...Clara Mokri for The New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO — In the abstraction of conscionable 3 blocks, hundreds of radical packed in.

They clutched jars of honey, cartons of caller peas and bouquets of flowers. Bags slung connected shoulders bulged with ripe peaches, eggplants and cherries.

Other than a fewer masked faces, the bustling Clement Street Farmers Market connected a caller Sunday felt similar a relic of prepandemic times.

The marketplace has tally without interruption done each surge of the coronavirus, and the restaurants and shops connected Clement Street, the main artery of the Richmond District successful the northwest country of San Francisco, person been spared the fiscal ruin seen crossed different large cities implicit the past 19 months.

Few, if any, businesses connected the thoroughfare person permanently closed, according to Morgan Mapes, the president of the Clement Street Merchants Association. Unlike downtown San Francisco, which is present mostly desolate, this commercialized portion ne'er relied connected concern from tourists oregon bureau workers.

“We’re successful a saccharine spot,” Mapes told me. “We cater to our neighbors and our residents.”

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Credit...Clara Mokri for The New York Times

The self-contained quality of Clement Street offers not lone an mentation for however it survived the pandemic, but besides a model into however cities whitethorn alteration successful the adjacent fewer years. The megacity wherever radical commute for hours to work, play and store whitethorn soon beryllium connected the wane.

Before I spell on, here’s immoderate inheritance connected Clement Street: It runs eastward for 2 and a fractional miles from the northwest country of the peninsula, and overmuch of its magnitude is lined with shops.

Clement Street is often thought of arsenic San Francisco’s 2nd Chinatown; possibly you’ve gone determination for dim sum oregon crockery dumplings. It is besides wherever you’ll find the beloved Green Apple Books, the ever-popular Burma Superstar restaurant, and Schubert’s Bakery, which is much than a period old.

Just earlier the pandemic, successful January 2020, I stayed connected Clement Street during a travel to San Francisco, due to the fact that lodgings are much affordable successful the quieter (and other foggy) portion of the city. I retrieve loving that I ne'er had to permission the thoroughfare to find food, spell to the movies oregon conscionable friends astatine a bar.

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Credit...Clara Mokri for The New York Times

I’ve precocious learned that there’s a sanction for this convenience: the 15-minute city. The concept, which the politician of Paris featured successful her 2020 re-election campaign, envisions neighborhoods arsenic implicit societal ecosystems, with offices, market stores, parks and doctors offices wrong a abbreviated locomotion oregon motorcycle thrust of each resident.

Mapes believes this operation was captious to Clement Street’s occurrence during the pandemic. Even during lockdowns, radical surviving successful the country continued to bargain groceries and different goods from adjacent shops.

“I don’t truly permission the vicinity for much,” said Mapes, who owns a vintage covering store connected Clement. “You person everything here.”

When I precocious returned to Clement Street, the country appeared mostly untouched by the pandemic.

There was much outdoor seating connected the sidewalks, but the restaurants were arsenic crowded arsenic ever. Customers filtered successful and retired of boutique shops. A vicinity cafe wherever I had noticed a radical of men playing cards successful the mornings inactive seemed to beryllium serving arsenic a municipality square.

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Credit...Clara Mokri for The New York Times

Though the “15-minute city” thought predates the coronavirus, it’s gained traction during the pandemic arsenic radical spent much clip successful their communities and came to dread resuming their erstwhile agelong commutes.

“The pandemic has caused america to deliberation astir however to determination differently, to devour differently, to unrecorded differently,” Carlos Moreno, a Sorbonne prof and driving unit down the idea, told the BBC. “We are discovering that by moving otherwise we person much spare time, to person much clip to beryllium with our families oregon friends. We are discovering and appreciating our neighborhoods overmuch more.”

Moreno believes that cities volition ne'er spell backmost to the mode they erstwhile were, and that that’s a bully thing. There volition beryllium much accent connected walking and biking, helium says, and much mixing of residential and commercialized spaces arsenic services determination person to wherever radical live.

Proponents of the 15-minute metropolis deliberation it volition marque america happier, too, arsenic we get to cognize our neighbors alternatively of rushing from 1 happening to the next.

This consciousness of assemblage was already connected show connected Clement Street. After visiting the farmers’ marketplace connected that caller Sunday, I met Mapes astatine her store arsenic she closed up for the evening.

While we sat inside, a antheral parked his bicycle successful beforehand of the shop. He began dusting and washing the windows of the storefront, a work helium seemingly wanted to supply for free.

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Credit...Clara Mokri for The New York Times

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Credit...Allison Zaucha for The New York Times

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

  • Weather warning: Damaging winds could stroke down trees and powerfulness lines connected Monday successful mountainous regions of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Diego, San Bernardino and Imperial Counties.

  • Covid-19 vaccine resistance: The Los Angeles County sheriff says helium volition not compel his unit to beryllium inoculated against the coronavirus, successful defiance of the county’s bid that its employees amusement impervious of vaccination by Oct. 1.

    Los Angeles firefighters person filed a notice of intent to sue the metropolis implicit its vaccine mandate.

  • Varsity Blues: Two parents person been recovered blameworthy of participating successful a bribery strategy to person their children fraudulently admitted to U.S.C.

  • Lesbian outpouring break: The Dinah Shore Weekend, an yearly festival for queer women, returned to Palm Springs aft a two-year hiatus, this clip with adjacent more vigor than usual.

  • Day successful the studio: After stints with Kanye West and Donatella Versace, this Los Angeles footwear decorator is taking bets connected himself.

  • Trials of a “Real Housewife”: Erika Girardi is celebrated for her lavish lifestyle. Her husband’s instrumentality steadfast has been accused of misappropriating millions of dollars. It’s each unfolding connected TV.

CENTRAL CALIFORNIA

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

  • Weather warning: Dangerous occurrence conditions are expected done Tuesday evening successful ample parts of the Sacramento region, the East Bay, and Monterey, Mendocino and Lake Counties.

  • Power outages: Pacific Gas & Electric whitethorn unopen disconnected electrical work to astir 44,000 customers opening connected Monday because of accrued hazard of fires.

  • Sailing again: After 18 months, the Port of San Francisco is once again welcoming cruise ships.

  • Housing that says “you’re worthy”: Women who went to situation for sidesplitting their abusive partners are starting implicit astatine Home Free, an flat analyzable successful San Francisco.


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Credit...David Malosh for The New York Times

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Credit...Getty Images

Today’s question extremity comes from Elizabeth Watson-Semmons, a scholar who lives successful Menlo Park. Watson-Semmons recommends the municipality of San Juan Bautista successful San Benito County:

It’s midway betwixt San Francisco and Monterey and casual to miss, but worthy watching for the motion to crook disconnected Highway 101. My favorites are the San Juan Bakery, with breads and pastries from planetary recipes, and Jardine edifice — Mexican nutrient served connected a gorgeous ample patio. The mission is the oldest successful continuous usage of those established by Spanish priests. Its operation is the tract wherever Jimmy Stewart confronts his demons successful “Vertigo.” It is simply a beauteous visit, on with a circuit of the surviving past buildings that bring aboriginal California to life. The ngo cemetery looks implicit the San Andreas fault.

Tell america astir your favourite places to sojourn successful California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We’ll beryllium sharing much successful upcoming editions of the newsletter.


A representation inspired by the agleam colors of Los Angeles.


What are you favourite Dodgers vs. Giants memories? Share with america what the teams mean to you astatine CAtoday@nytimes.com.


Los Angeles’s favourite car-free event, CicLAvia, celebrated its 11th day connected Sunday.

Thousands of radical biked, walked and skated from downtown Los Angeles to MacArthur Park and past to Chinatown — the aforesaid way participants took during the precise archetypal CicLAvia connected Oct. 10, 2010.

The day is other peculiar due to the fact that it doubles arsenic a 10-year solemnisation arsenic well, since the lawsuit was canceled for overmuch of past twelvemonth due to the fact that of the pandemic.


Thanks for starting your week with me. I’ll beryllium backmost tomorrow. — Soumya

P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: In a way, informally (5 letters).

Briana Scalia and Mariel Wamsley contributed to California Today. You tin scope the squad astatine CAtoday@nytimes.com.

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