San Francisco has awarded just about its highest civic honor to a beloved honorary son, the late Tony Bennett. As morning fog chilled the air on Valentine’s Day, Mayor London Breed was joined high on a hill – Nob Hill – by Bennett’s wife Susan Benedetto, SFMTA/Muni leaders and workers, VIPs, and friends of the cable cars – to dedicate California Street Cable Car 53 to the singer who drew untold millions of visitors to the City and its cable cars with his rendition of “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”.
As planned, the special six-month 150th anniversary fare on the California Street cable car line has expired, and the fare has gone back to $8 one-way, the same as the Powell Street cable cars.
They say you never forget your first. Absolutely true for the open-top streetcar from England that turned heads on Market Street 40 years ago during the first Historic Trolley Festival that paved the way for the permanent F-line. People took one look, then a double take, and noted the smiles of the riders. It was quickly dubbed the “Love Boat”.
From November 13-19, leaders of numerous nations will gather in San Francisco for the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference. These include many heads of state, including President Biden, China’s President Xi, and others. The US Secret Service is in charge of security, and they have demanded that a portion of Nob Hill around the Fairmont Hotel be sealed off tight as a drum, along with the area around Moscone Center.
Dianne Feinstein is rightly being remembered for an astonishing range and depth of accomplishment during her 90 years of life. Her memory is a blessing to all who knew her, especially the thousands of women she mentored as a breakthrough female political leader.
The family-friendly Muni Heritage Weekend lets you ride vintage streetcars and buses and special cable cars that rarely operate. The world’s oldest cable car (1883), one of the oldest electric streetcars (1896), the very first streetcar Muni owned (1912), and the wildly popular English open-top “Boat Tram” (1934) will all be carrying passengers between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, September 23-24.
The 1934 English “Boat Tram” is Muni’s most popular streetcar. But due to a variety of circumstances, including what Muni leader Julie Kirschbaum says is an ongoing shortage of trained operators, it didn’t carry any passengers this year until September 12-13 (Sunday-Monday). Instead, vintage Milan and Melbourne trams have been alternating on Sundays and Mondays carrying people along the northern Embarcadero between Pier 39 and the Ferry Building (with an additional stop at our San Francisco Railway Museum).
Cable cars celebrated their 150th birthday on August 2 with a lively celebration at Market and Powell Streets. The event commemorated inventor Andrew Hallidie’s first cable car trip, down Nob Hill on Clay Street, on August 2, 1873.
After a long illness, Tony Bennett has moved on to perform the Great American Songbook in the sky. It’s now time for San Francisco to immediately give him our highest honor: a cable car dedicated to him. Here’s why.
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