: views from the Hill

Monday, July 06, 2009

Fourth of July from the 52d Floor

We partied on the 52d floor of 555 California for the Fourth with maybe a hundred other people, from pre-toddlers to creaky oldsters. Pre-fireworks entertainment included watching everyone else, making faces at the adorable seven-month-old (maybe) girl at the next table, a buffet that included hotdogs and hamburgers, and a hosted bar.

The event opened at 7:30P so we were a bit perplexed when we walked in a few minutes later to see all the occupied tables and chairs. We found an empty table next to the windows facing Pier 39 so we could at least see the eastern portion of the dual-barge, synchronized show. As it got closer to showtime, people began genteely squabbling over whether tables could be "held" for expected guests.

I took pictures of the view as the sun faded and the colors greyed. We watched "our" barge being pushed up from the south and over to Pier 39. The hills behind Tiburon and further north looked like a Chinese watercolor as they faded, faded, faded in the distance. (I tried to capture that view. The photo also captures the reflections of the party in the window as the lights came on and the twilight darkened.)

Note the hunkering layer of clouds just waiting to drop down and obscure the evening's entertainment.

Reflections on the window overlaying the views led to talk of Plato's Cave. We watched the fog creep in, hoping it wouldn't get so low the fireworks would (again) be fogged out. Dinner ships and private boats maneuvered into place. The Coast Guard churned back and forth keeping people out of the critical area, and then Hooray! The fog held high and right on time (9:30P) the show began.

I was using my digital camera, holding it steady on the railing between us and the window, which would have worked if there hadn't been some young adults who kept moving under the railing to get close to the window to use their digital cameras AND BUMPING THE RAILING WHENEVER THEY DID!


So the pics here are of views of Telegraph Hill and the Bay/Alcatraz/Angel Island as the light fades and Coit's lights come on. Followed by some of the better fireworks shots. (But oh ... my, the City's civic 4th fireworks just don't compare to KFOG Kaboom!)

We stayed for a while after the civic fireworks were over, enjoying the amateur fireworks that were exploding to the west. I've included a couple shots off the west side of the building showing the Civic Center and downtown and the vista out to the ocean (Note how "straight" streets on a grid look all curvy as they go up and over hills...)

And then we wandered home and watched some fireworks that were still going off. We had a good time. (I enjoyed my first hot dog in MONTHS!)

All-in-all, I took over 170 photos, of which I've kept ninety-five. (That collection may still be weeded.) My bloggy photo gallery here contains only twenty-two.

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