Francisco Park remains a touchstone worth the hill climb — and has a welcomingly familiar feel to another San Francisco greenspace.
I’ve gone to one of San Francisco’s newest City parks — which is the largest of its kind to open in almost 40 years — dozens of times since it opened last year on April 27th.
I’ve seen the sunrise here in citrus Pantones; I’ve seen the afternoon blue sky wash over the horizon atop the park’s gorgeous staircases; I’ve witnessed our solar system’s nearest star dip below the Marin Headlands come sundown… while I was planking on a patch of open, green grass.
I’ve planted herbs in the community garden. I’ve done thirty-minute HIIT workouts on the park’s shouldering steps (that run from Francisco Street to Bay Street down below). I’ve snuggled more dogs than I can count.
I’ve seen young humans partake in the blissful merriment afforded by an accessible playground — and, albeit for a singular, feeling moment, contemplated the notion of welcoming a diminutive biped into my life. A handsome man sitting on a nearby bench, elicited me once to open both Scruff and Grindr to see if he was “on the grids.” (Spoiler alert: He wasn’t.)
Down the hill toward Bay Street, long branches from large cypress trees bestow shade to the designated dog park area, where any number, any kind of untethered canines can be observed surrendering to cases of “the zoomies.” Nearly a year later, it’s still in great shape and remains a popular place for quadrupeds… whenever it’s not raining
The smattering of freshly-planet drought-resistant plants sits in juxtaposition to the fact that just a quarter-mile down Russian Hill, an opportunity to dip your feet in the Pacific Ocean is available by the Aquatic Park Bleachers. The public bathrooms are industrial and clean, and leave users wondering why such City-developed relief stations aren’t more prominent across the seven-by-seven.
Fast forward to the current moment, and it’s unarguable that Francisco Park unequivocally still serves Mini Dolores Park Energy as throngs of people continue flooding the circular open space, laying down blankets and enjoying miscellaneous meats and cheeses and dried fruits.
Built onto the now-defunct Francisco Reservoir, which was constructed in 1860 to provide water to the northern part of the city’s population, Francisco Park’s name shares that of the city’s namesake, Saint Francis of Assisi. As SFGate pointed out, Francisco Park also pays homage to the saint’s dedication to preserving natural wonderment.
It’s a sentiment that’s incredibly congruent to the mission statement published by Francisco Park Conservancy, which is the nonprofit behind the 4.5-acre green space: We believe parkland is essential to the health of this city: its people, its plants, and its animals. We believe this new city park will become an oasis of natural beauty and stunning vistas, protected for generations.
Suffice it to say that yearning has come to fruition.
As my various types of planted cilantro continue to grow inside one of Francisco Park’s community garden boxes, I’ll make sure to continuously pause and find a pocket of time to practice some gratitude for this “oasis of natural beauty” that I can’t stop fawning over.
Feature image: Courtesy of author