Some would disagree, but I keep noticing the little things that are starting to feel like they belong on the opposite coast.
New York City is a far more developed metropolis, with sky-high buildings and accessible, efficient transportation. While there are many other differences, there are also many similarities, as I feel some of San Francisco slip through my soft fingertips.
People here are starting to get tougher and more competitive. As the New York influence creeps up on our city, people start to change. The lack of communication and friendliness I have spoken about in past articles is precisely one of the big markers. People don’t talk to each other, look at each other or exchange any form of friendliness. New Yorkers are tough, and San Franciscans are becoming tougher.
The competition is real, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to compete. With the flood of people (including many New Yorkers) to the Bay Area, there are more people with fewer jobs for which to compete. The people who are willing to hustle the hardest and have the best backgrounds are the ones who usually win. Before the massive migration, our city was competitive, but hardly impossible to get a job. Talk to anyone looking for a job or unemployed right now, and they will tell you the market is incredibly cut-throat. I guess I never remembered it that way when I moved here about four years ago.
There has also been an influx of amazing restaurants and bars that are open later. The San Francisco work week is semi-pathetic, according to NYC standards. We go out for happy hour around 6 p.m. and are in bed by 10 p.m. Restaurants are now extending their hours for their kitchens to be open longer during the week. The influx of people has also caused the demand for more food, more drinks and more time to consume both of them. New Yorkers don’t have dinner until 9 p.m. on average and San Franciscans are starting to follow suit. There are even more clubs here than there have ever been before.
And the traffic. Dear Lord, has the traffic gotten worse in the past couple years. The freeway starts getting busy at 7 p.m. and doesn’t quit until 10 p.m. We were recently ranked the fourth with most traffic in the world, right behind NYC. How is this possible?! More people, more traffic, more problems. The areas around the freeways and the one-ways are by far the worst, whether the Octavia Boulevard exit or the Second Street entrance ramp. It seems that everyone is commuting to The City, increasing the amount of cars on the road.
Don’t even think about parking either. Like NYC, there is nowhere to stand still. Traffic is always moving, there are no parking spots to be had, and it could take 45 minutes of circling around to find a spot. Last week, it took so long for my friend to find a spot near my house (near the freeway), that she just gave up and drove back to the South Bay. Maybe people are resorting to garage parking, paying upwards of $20 for a just few hours.
Maybe it is just me, but the rise of the laundry services are indicative of the older buildings in San Francisco not being updated or equipped with washers and dryers. Every week, I drop off my laundry to a wash and fold, each time commenting how NYC it is. I literally don’t have the ability to do my own laundry unless I go to a laundromat or send it out. It is possible this problem has been around forever, but I keep seeing laundromats popping up everywhere. Either we share the same problem with NYC, or people are lazy or have no time.
People have started to care about fashion. For me, this is a sore spot about living here. I love fashion, and while many people here think it is frivolous, more NYC style boutiques are popping up here, like Opening Ceremony and others. People are obviously starting to care more, reflecting the various new options we have on and off Fillmore Street. When I go out, I see people actually trying. I see more heels, makeup and dresses than I have ever seen before. I am also friends with a ton of personal stylists who are currently doing complete overhauls of techies’ closets to give them a more fashionable, urban look.
Even though I have seen a lot of changing trends, there are some things that haven’t changed. We still don’t have public transportation. Technology runs our world. We have a way more flexible work schedule. We don’t ever have to wear a suit if we don’t want to. But as our city grows (with an influx of New Yorkers), it does become more likely we will start to be in a New York state of mind.
With a background in journalism, Melissa Eisenberg has been working in the tech industry for eight years, currently leading the SF FashTech community.