We're dealing here with a myth.
This city is a point upon a map of fog;
Lemuria in a city unknown.
It doesn't quite exist."
–Ambrose Bierce, San Francisco journalist, poet, and novelist of the early 1900's
"The City that knows how."
–William Howard Taft
"San Francisco is a city where people are never more abroad than when they are at home"
"I've labored long and hard for bread,
For honor and for riches,
But on my corns too long you've tread,
You fair-haired sons of bitches."
–Black Bart, notorious San Francisco bandit of the 1870s, left this poem in a strongbox after he had robbed it.
"The San Francisco Stock Exchange was the place that continuously pumped up the savings of the lower classes into the pockets of the millionaires."
–Robert Louis Stevenson, author and early resident circa 1880
"Jack Kerouac opened a million coffee bars and sold a million Levis to both sexes."
"I never saw so many well-dressed, well-fed, business-looking Bohemians in my life."
–Oscar Wilde, in 1882, about the San Francisco Bohemian Club
"It's an odd thing, but anyone who disappears is said to be seen in San Francisco. It must be a delightful city and possess all the attractions of the next world"
"Leaving San Francisco is like saying goodbye to an old sweetheart. You want to linger as long as possible. "
"You look back and see how hard you worked and how poor you were, and how desperately anxious you were to succeed, and all you can remember is how happy you were."
–Jack London, novelist and native San Franciscan, recalling his youth.
"Once I knew the City very well, spent my attic days there, while others were being a lost generation in Paris, I fledged in San Francisco, climbed its hills. slept in its parks, worked on its docks, marched and shouted in its revolts... It had been to me in the days of my poverty and it did not resent my temporary solvency."
–John Steinbeck California born writer
"You know what it is? San Francisco is a golden handcuff with the key thrown away."
"The extreme geniality of San Francisco's economic, intellectual and political climate makes it the most varied and challenging city in the United States."
"The Bay Area is so beautiful, I hesitate to preach about heaven while I'm here. "
"One day if I do go to heaven...I'll look around and say, 'It ain't bad, but it ain't San Francisco. "
"I love this city. If I'm elected, I will move the White House to San Francisco. I went to Fisherman's Wharf and they even let me into Allioto`s. It may be Baghdad by the Bay to you, but to me it's Resurrection City"
"I have always been rather better treated in San Francisco than I actually deserved."
"Chicago is the great American city, New York is one of the capitals of the world,
and Los Angeles is a constellation of plastic; San Francisco is a lady..."
–Norman Mailer, author and frequent visitor
"San Francisco is 49 square miles surrounded by reality"
–Paul Kantner of the rock band Jefferson Airplane
"They were a wonderful set of burglars, the people who were running San Francisco when I first came to town in 1923, wonderful because, if they were stealing, they were doing it with class and style."
–Sally Stanford, San Francisco's most famous madam
"San Francisco has only one drawback.
Tis hard to leave"
"It's a mad city, inhabited by perfectly insane people whose women are of remarkable beauty"
"You are fortunate to live here. If I were your President, I would levy a tax on you for living in San Francisco!"
"San Francisco is one of the great cultural plateaus of the world... one of the really urbane communities in the United States... one of the truly cosmopolitan places and for many,many years, it always has had a warm welcome for human beings from all over the world"
–Edward Duke Ellington
"I'm proud to have been a Yankee. But I have found more happiness and contentment since I came back home to San Francisco than any man has a right to deserve. This is the friendliest city in the world."
–Joe DiMaggio, at his fiftieth birthday party.
"Your city is remarkable not only for its beauty. It is also, of all the cities in the United States, the one whose name, the world over, conjures up the most visions and more than any other, incites one to dream. "
"Truly it is only those who place all happiness in money who could submit, for the sake of gain, to live in such a place. "
"It is hardly fair to blame America for the state of San Francisco, for its population is cosmopolitan and its seaport attracts the floating vice of the Pacific; but be the cause what it may, there is much room for spiritual betterment."
–Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
"But oh, San Francisco! It is and has everything... you wouldn't think that such a place as San Francisco could exist. The lobsters, clams, crabs. Oh, Cat, what food for you. And all the people are open and friendly."
–Dylan Thomas , poet
"We're crazy about this city. First time we came here, we walked the streets all day, all over town and nobody hassled us. People smiled, friendly-like, and we knew we could live here. We'd like to keep our place in Greenwich Village and have an apartment here, God and the Immigration Service willing. Los Angeles? That's just a big parking lot where you buy a hamburger for the trip to San Francisco."
–John Lennon and Yoko Ono
"Somehow the great cities of America have taken their places in a mythology that shapes their destiny: Money lives in New York. Power sits in Washington. Freedom sips Cappuccino in a sidewalk cafe in San Francisco."