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The Death of San Francisco

There are no children here

San Francisco might be the most beautiful place in the world.

If you’ve ever been here, I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. The bay, surrounded by hills on all sides. The bridges and container ships and ferries and cable cars. The brightly painted townhouses and crazily curving streets. The people are pretty too, wind-kissed women striding the streets.

So why does the city feel like it’s dying?

I’m not even talking about the homeless crisis on the streets around the Civic Center and the Castro and the Mission District. I spent the day walking the city’s northeastern quadrant, neighborhoods that so far have resisted the tent encampments and open-air drug markets and sidewalks littered with needles and human feces to the south.

The day was bright and breezy, a perfect San Francisco spring afternoon.

And the streets were practically empty, aside from a few blocks in Chinatown, as lifeless as they were beautiful. The city felt like the backdrop for a dystopian sci-fi movie, with ads promoting brands that don’t seem to exist anywhere else and strangely outfitted self-driving cars popping up surprisingly often.

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