The Ferry Building in SF has become a place in the Bay Area where foodies gather… A far cry from the days when the Embarcadero Freeway ran in front of the Ferry Building. Back then, I worked in an office on the other side of this and remember this place as a desolate bay front building. It was a former transportation hub that had fallen into disrepair, and was obscured by a double layer freeway. Only the tower rose above the level of the freeway. The rest was darkened by the layers of cement blocking the light, and by exhaust layered onto the building.
It’s transformed now. While the archways used to be a haven for the homeless, it’s now unquestionably upscale. A place to sample food, drink tea and coffee, shop the farmer’s market, boutiques, food carts….and find little mosaic treats.
On the left in the above and below photo, and on each and every end of each archway, lives a little square mosaic done in a style that evokes ancient Roman mosaics. Each is different made of little bits of naturally colored stone and pebbles.
A number of them were blocked by vendors’ shelves, carts, and merchandise so I couldn’t see them all, but I photographed my favorites to share.
They’re beautifully done. We enjoyed them as much as the food, drink, and merchandise.
My grandfather worked for the DiGeorgio Fruit corporation which was a California based fruit/vegetables growing and distribution company. He was sort of a sales guy who always knew where there was some railroad car full of cherries that was sitting on some siding somewhere in the valley which could be gotten for cheap. It must have been about 1959 or 1960 when I remember at least once going into the Ferry Building with grandpa, and up to some other old guy’s office on the second floor, with a big oak door, and his name in gold lettering on the opaque glass. The way I described it sounds like it was very nice but it was really not exactly run down or nice, just used and normal. They both shook hands over the desk and I was (nicely) told to sit on one of the oak chairs against the wall and given a candy from a dish on his desk. He and my grandpa both wore hats in the building, but took off their coats as it was a warm day. I don’t know what they were talking about but there was a map of California on the wall and I stood up on the chair to look at it better. I kind of remember them having a drink together in the office, but maybe that was from a movie somewhere. I couldn’t have been more than 7 or 8 or so. When we left I remember seeing men down the street muscling huge bales of something off a ship on the pier next over. Then we walked down Market street to meet Grandma for lunch. That is my Ferry Building memory.
What an awesome memory. The whole description sounds like it could be in a movie scene!
Wonderful mosaics. It’s so nice to see old buildings revitalized rather than torn down.