“Bleak” Outer Sunset gets heaps of attention following NY Times photo essay
San Francisco’s outer Sunset District and the other neighborhoods near Ocean Beach have been getting more attention than usual of late, with a photo essay in the Sunday New York Times touching the nerves of some locals with its headline calling the area “bleak.”
The Times’ photo essay — also online as a slide show — features some newer businesses in the area, most of them boasting a similar driftwood motif, such as Outerlands and Trouble Coffee. The photos are the work of Outer Sunset resident Lianne Milton, whose Shutter to Think blog provides some additional shots that didn’t make it into the Times. “Unfortunately,” Milton wrote on the Ocean Beach Bulletin’s Facebook page, “it rained the day I shot the assignment. All friggin day.”
Maybe that rain had something to do with the headline the Times wrote — “In San Francisco, a bleak neighborhood is revived” — and writer Rachel Levin’s assessment of the Outer Sunset as “a once bleak neighborhood home to surfers and families looking for affordable housing.”
It’s evident from Milton’s blog, in any case, that she likes living in the area, as she writes that she and her boyfriend consider themselves “so fortunate to finally move back to the area and get to know our neighbors.”
Whatever the reason for the Times’ headline and Levin’s assessment, those five little letters describing the Outer Sunset have prompted a big reaction from people defending the neighborhood from the allegation that it’s “bleak.”
Local Twitter users posted reactions from the profane to the disappointed to the simply happy to see someone notice this part of San Francisco:
- @mifuller: Outer Sunset #sanfrancisco isn’t bleak!
- @njudah: “a bleak neighborhood” NY Times? Really? Plenty of NYC is far “bleaker” than the outer sunset.
- @sfgardengirl: Outer Sunset looks pretty sexy in the NYTimes little bit about the hood, glad it’s no longer bleak [sfgardengirl is one half of the duo behind Far Out Flora, a neighborhood blog and biweekly column in the Bulletin]
- @zippy_monster: What the [f—] @nytimes? The Outer Sunset is not, and was not bleak. >_<
- @SFCitizen: Harsh: The New York Times Calls the Outer Sunset “a Bleak Neighborhood” – But Photo Essay Proves the Outset “Revived”
- @onelouderash: The Times can kiss my [a–]. The Outer Sunset is not “bleak.” #sf #sunsetpride #gohomeyankeescum
In the Curbed SF blog, Outer Sunset resident Eve Batey, who is also the editor and publisher of the SF Appeal, confessed her love for the neighborhood in spite of some shortcomings of living on the city’s edge:
I love it out here, but we’re certainly not trying to recruit you. But if you joined us, the Outer Sunset would welcome you, regardless of who you are, with open arms. You cannot say that about every nabe in SF!
All of this comes just about a week after 7×7 magazine wrote about the Scuttlefish — an ocean-lover’s website helmed by Outer Sunset resident and Gizmodo editorial director Brian Lam, with regular contributions from Ocean Beach Bulletin Associate Editor Mark Lukach — and Scuttlefish’s San Francisco Ocean Guide.
And it was just more than a week ago that a massive influx of jellyfish on Ocean Beach drew worldwide attention to the beach and adjacent neighborhoods.
All of this might be more attention than people are accustomed to in the Ocean Beach area, but perhaps it’s merely a recent recognition by other people of the feeling residents have had all along: That this part of San Francisco is a great place to live.
What do you think? Is the Outer Sunset bleak or boss? Tell us in the comments or on our Facebook page.
Photo: Flickr user librarygroover.
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