Monday, March 07, 2016

YELP Lives In Old ATT Building And Other San Francisco Short Stories

View of San Francisco from the bus on a rainy morning.

The waterfall is in Yerba Buena Gardens, on the way to the children's museum.  Yerba Buena, it turns out, was the name of the Mexican town in Alta California where San Francisco sits now.

The building in the center, with the flag on top, is the old Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Building, and now houses YELP.

From Marketwatch:
Unlike the sanitized office parks that Silicon Valley is famous for, Yelp’s new offices are in one of San Francisco’s earliest skyscrapers, a relic of the building boom of the Roaring ’20s. The 26-story Art Deco building was once owned by Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Co., or PT&T, one of the Baby Bell subsidiaries of AT&T Inc. The building, now named for its address, 140 New Montgomery, was designed by the well-regarded local architect Timothy Pflueger. Like an early version of Google Inc.’s /quotes/zigman/59527964/composite GOOG -0.21% Googleplex, Pacific Telephone developed ways to keep its employees inside the building, with a cafeteria for employees — most of whom were women — and an auditorium for special events, lectures, parties, bridal showers and exercise classes.
The Bell system logo remains above the front entrance to 140 New Montgomery, a reminder that Yelp’s headquarters was once home to Pacific Telephone & Telegraph. “We are kind of the new Pac Bell or AT&T,” said John Lieu, director of real estate and facilities for Yelp.
Today, the business-review site, which has been growing steadily but losing money since it was founded in 2004, occupies nine floors in the recently reopened building. The high-rise had been unoccupied since AT&T /quotes/zigman/398198/composite T -0.16% , which ended up merging with SBC and the vestiges of Pacific Bell/Telesis), moved out in 2007. The current owners, developers Wilson Meany and Stockbridge Capital Partners, bought the iconic building in 2008 for $118 million, with that price including a nearby parking garage. Initially, the developers planned to convert the building to a residential condominium, but the recession and financial crisis put those plans on ice.

The contrast between the very wealthy and the very poor is particularly visible in San Francisco.  Right near high end stores, you see homeless folks.

And not far from this Prada window was this wedding dress window.

I ran into Brian when he was yelling into a doorway that he had a 2004 BA as we walked passed.  He saw me and explained something about a a college sweatshirt and a woman.  He offered me his pipe and posed for this picture.

The Women's Athletic Club:
Despite the overwhelming role of women in the organization of the club (only outside consultants, lawyers and its architects were men) the members were almost always referred to in the press and in other records by their husband's names, i.e., Elizabeth Pillsbury was Mrs. Horace D. Pillsbury. Mrs. Pillsbury became the first president of the Women's Athletic Club. The core of the membership of the club was expected to come from the Social Register, but efforts were made to reach artistically trained women and working-class women. The aim of the club, as stated in 1914 in a letter sent to prospective members, was "educational first and recreation and pleasure afterwards." Elizabeth Pillsbury reached out to working women and girls by creating another athletic club, the Recreation Club for Girls Who Work, located at 507 Harrison Street, which was located in the heart of the industrial section of the city.
The site also gives some history of women and athletics in the US.

"Socially, physical education for women in America began as early as the 1820s in girls' schools, but it wasn't until the mid-19th century that widespread concerns began that the health of American women was in decline, perhaps because of the effects of urbanization and industrialization. In the 1860s and 1870s, several women's colleges including Mills College in Oakland were established incorporating programs for physical training in their curriculums, including calisthenics, dancing and gymnastics. The first gymnasium for women outside of women's colleges was Miss Allen's Gymnasium for Ladies, established in Boston in 1879. In the 1890s, it became fashionable for wealthy women to engage in certain sports--golf, tennis, yachting and horseback riding. It was not until 1900 that public attitudes about athletics for women began to change, but there were still voices of opposition present. In 1905, The Women Citizen reported that former President Grover Cleveland "gravely pointed out the menace of the women's clubs" but by 1925, the social venue had changed and such statements by high politicians were rare or non-existent. While California women obtained the right to vote in 1911 in State elections, it wasn't until 1919 that women could vote in national elections."

Don't park under a mock orange tree when the flowers are about to drop off.  But the flowers smell so sweet.

It appears these steps aren't used often.

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