Spots Unknown

The Nasty, Beautiful Edge of South Basin

The Edge of Bayview, South Basin, San Francisco

If the posted signs of environmental hazards are to be believed, it's advised that you don't visit the southeast industrial coast of San Francisco.

I was there as part of an ongoing video project, but despite the joys of discovering hulks of decaying artifacts and debris, the warnings about tainted shellfish (not to mention the international sign for "radiation") definitely made me think twice about having crawled through that hole in the fence.

The Edge of Bayview, South Basin, San Francisco

After a few hours in the hot sun I began to think I could taste the toxins in the back of my throat. But surely, the hazard was overblown. Just look at all the water fowl, feasting on organisms that have marinaded in the same stuff I'm stepping in. They seem fine, and I'm more robust than a sea gull, even at my age.

South Basin, Rebar & Posts, San Francisco

I reminded myself that I'd begun my own trip that day at Candlestick Point Recreation Area just to the south, which bears no such pollution signs, and come on: you gonna tell me the fishermen there weren't reeling in fish that had also swum through these tainted waters?

Still, I was glad when I reached (relatively) clean asphalt again.

Photos from the Spots Unknown Flickr pool.


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CNN Says San Francisco is Infested with Bedbugs

CNN Says San Francisco is Infested With Bedbugs

Without naming the actual hotel involved, CNN opens this article on urban pests with an anecdote about the creator of a website called BedbugRegistry.com getting bitten in San Francisco.

We're aware of at least one egregious bedbug mating/feeding zone here in the city, but is it fair to highlight SF in the lede that way? Maybe.

There are 497 San Francisco hotels listed on Yahoo Travel, and 64 in The Bedbug Registry's database. There are 85 New York hotels found in the registry, but that's out of 794 total on Yahoo Travel. That gives NYC an infestation rate of 10.7% and SF a rate of nearly 13%.

Now, I realize my method is less than totally scientific. There may be any number of reasons that cause more bug reports in one city than another, and it's impossible to know the accuracy rate of the reports that are made. For instance, here's an entry for the Hotel Verona in SF:

Friend seems to have a number of bedbug bites. Other hotel residents had reported them.

Such diagnoses are not exactly confidence-inspiring. Other considerations: There may be hotels in either city not listed on Yahoo Travel, though that effect probably cancels itself out. And, the math is cumulative, so it doesn't necessarily represent conditions at any given time.

In any case, WTF? The fact that approximately 13% of SF hotels have had bedbug reports is not good. And NYC shouldn't be bragging about their rate either.

Go ahead and rip apart my math/logic in the comments.

The Marina Shows It Cares About Haiti

Marina Shows It Cares About Haiti, photo by James Fallows

Way to sympathize, guys!

It is recommended that people donate money, not stuff. The above pic is perhaps the best possible demonstration of why.

Aside from all that, though: ew.

(Spotted @)

We’re #1! – Nastiest Hotel in the World

Nastiest Hotel in the World is in San Francisco?

We finally made it to the top of one of those year-end lists, y'all!

It's Trip Advisor's 2010 Dirtiest Hotels list, and our very own Heritage Marina kicked serious ass to get to #1. (I know it's a U.S. list, but everyone knows we're the only country that counts, so by the transitive property of, like, math, I'm declaring it the #1 spot on the planet.)

Images of filth and glory after the jump...

Filthiest Spot in San Francisco?

So thinks the photographer, Troy Holden.

From the Flickr set:

After years of deterioration and absence of modern operational systems, the [Fleishacker] pool did not meet health and safety standards and closed in 1971. Consideration was given to refurbishing and reopening the historic landmark, but usage studies showed low interest, and the high annual operating costs could not be offset with the expected revenue. In 1999, the San Francisco Zoological Society was granted ownership of the pool house, and it is not known what might become of it. The swimming pool itself was filled with rocks and gravel, with the space now serving as a parking lot for the zoo.