HANC at 45
Congratulations to the Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood Council on its 45th anniversary. (They couldn't wait for 50?) Their stylish anniversary handout asks the question, "45 Years of HANC: Is the Haight-Ashbury Any Different? You Decide." Yes, of course, the Haight is a much better place than it would be without HANC. The handout reminds us of the battles HANC has fought for the neighborhood: the anti-freeway battle, the struggle to rein in an imperial UC Med Center, the wonderful remodeling of Kezar Stadium (where, as a jogger, I now do my laps), the indispensable recycling center, keeping chain stores out of the Haight, etc.
Though not much given to nostalgia---the present is usually more interesting than the past---I enjoyed the old photos of the neighborhood in the handout. The 1957 picture of Kezar during a 49er game looks like the 1957 playoff game against the Detroit Lions. I was there that day as a 15-year-old. (Alas, the Niners collapsed in the second half and lost the game.) I was also in the Haight during the Summer of Love in 1967, living up on Frederick St. and working at a garment factory south of Market. "100,000 young people migrate to the Haight seeking peace, love, drugs, music, a new consciousness and new lifestyles," says the HANC handout. Yes, indeed. I didn't have much luck in the love department, but the music and the drugs were great. My political opponents might maintain that my consciousness remains unexpanded, psychedelics notwithstanding, and my "lifestyle"---hideous word!---is, as always, working class.