Federalist: About two years ago, I moved to San Francisco from Manhattan in order to pursue a position in economic research at the Hoover Institution. I had originally been working in finance, but welcomed with a special eagerness the opportunity to enter the realm of public policy.
My only interaction with California had been limited to a week in the Piedmont-area of Oakland, California during my junior year of college. Over the course of that first visit, I experienced the “quintessential” San Francisco that characterizes most people’s expectations of the city. I bought colorful groceries at a quaint farmer’s market. I ate an In-N-Out burger with the “special sauce” and donned the silly hat as I scarfed it down. I gawked at the sheer amount of tie-dye I witnessed in Haight-Ashbury. I even braved the earthquake simulation at the California Academy of the Sciences. In short, I developed a quick affection for the city that was only to be challenged severely upon my move.
Between receiving a job offer and my first day of work, I had precisely three weeks to relocate to the Bay Area. Despite my scant knowledge of the region beyond my short stint in Oakland, I managed to secure a decent apartment within my budget and within an hour or so of my work. From my estimations, the neighborhood seemed adequately safe, though perhaps slightly less cared for than my old neighborhood on the Upper East Side. Still, it was a home, and I was appreciative. The afterglow of my moving victory, however, was short-lived.
Within a few days of moving to San Francisco, I immediately noticed something I had not been accustomed to seeing in New York — a preponderance of glittering sidewalks. Every few blocks, it would not be uncommon to see shards of glass strewn across the pavement, and I quickly learned that my new city was notorious for car break-ins. One of the first pieces of advice I received from a friend upon moving to San Francisco was that I should empty my car each night and never leave anything in my vehicle—not even a tissue box. After staring incredulously at my friend for a moment, she quickly responded by explaining that theft from vehicles was a common occurrence in the city and that to leave items in my car was simply “asking for it.” MORE