I had to get into San Francisco on October 31 as it was the last day of a photography exhibit, “French Kiss” at Leica Gallery by photographer Peter Turnley. http://www.peterturnley.com/french-kiss-a-love-letter-to-paris.
I was aware that the Giants had won the world series and that the parade would be at noon on Market Street. I headed off to take BART from Rockridge station. Plenty of parking for the 10am time slot. Once on the platform there were crowds of people wearing Giants hats, T-shirts and bright orange. When the train arrived it was completely packed. I had to run up about three cars to just squeeze in the fully packed car. It was so crowded that there were seven or eight people deep in the space between the exit doors. I was not able to reach any hanging straps. Finally reached the bar to hold on. Quite a stretch for a five foot 3 inch person. The train stopped before getting to MacArthur BART station as there was police activity reported there. The crowd started singing loudly “My Girl” and other songs followed. It was an instant musical except there was no place to dance. I felt a bit out of place with my dripping umbrella and my green beret. I was surprised to see was a lot of school age children with their parents. I am sure that this great event would not only make their day but probably their year.
A few people squeezed out a Downtown Oakland BART. Taunts from the crowd, “Aren’t you going to the parade?”
I felt a twinge of fear. The train made several unscheduled stops between stations. I read that there were extra trains scheduled. It must have been the highest usage ever. The crowd consisted mostly of people in their twenties and thirties. Some of them were high on Giant fever.
As we got close to Embarcardero Station, I traded places with a woman who was getting out there. So I got a pole to hold on to that was not stretching my arm out of its socket.
A lot of people got out with yelled suggestions from the fans , “Get off at Powell.”
It was at that moment I decided to get off at Montgomery. I wasn’t alone getting off many of the Giants fans were also exiting. The BART station had plenty of police officers. Coming off the escalator, I was met with hundreds of people behind barricades. Lots of police presence on the surrounding streets. The streets crossing Market had been blocked off one or two blocks from the intersections. I was able to quickly scurry up Montgomery Street and left on Bush to get to the Leica Store and Gallery at Bush and Grant.
Turnley photos were exquisite. They brought many scenes of my days in Paris with kissing everywhere–on trains, restaurants, by the river. I remembered one of my own kiss on a cross Paris bus. But also I had been affected by the crowd of people in San Francisco that I had just seen. That in combination with the Paris Photographs released scenes of ” fête de la musique”. Lots of similarities — people crowded in metro stations as the various musical groups played. Music was as varied as the population–that is classical, contemporary, hip-hop, Caribbean, jazz. As the day grew later in Paris and the crowds increased, I saw people hanging out of balconies, on top of newspaper stalls and anywhere that provided a better view. Music was in the air. It wasn’t a song of music, it was an explosion of global consequence with vocals, instrumentals and dance music. (Fantastique!)
I had planned to return to Oakland before the parade started. As I got closer to the Montgomery BART station, it was 11:45am. I thought, maybe I would stay to watch a bit of the parade. As I looked both sides of Market Street, Paris scenes flashed as there were people standing on balconies at least 12 stories up, people sitting on top of newpaper stalls, on the top of transit enclosures and anywhere that afforded a better view. There were hundreds, maybe even thousands that I could see.
The fleeting thought of staying to see the parade vanished as quickly as it had bubbled up. I knew I had to get out of there. What a day. Congratulations Giants!
That night on TV I saw images of the crowds taken from helicopters. It was a super fine day for the city. Rain turned to the Reign of Giants parade.
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Sounds like an unexpected adventure! Glad that you made it safely to your destinations without getting crushed in the crowds!