View Full Version : Change in the air in birthplace of hippie movement

09-15-2009, 04:48 PM
SAN FRANCISCO First, came a moratorium on head shops. Then, neighbors turned out in force to support a new development that includes an upscale grocery store. And the local street fair banned open containers of alcohol.

There are signs of new times at the intersection of Haight and Ashbury streets, the neighborhood that was the epicenter of the hippie movement during the Summer of Love in 1967."It isn't drugs, sex and rock 'n' roll anymore," says longtime resident and neighborhood organizer Ted Loewenberg. "It's a different neighborhood."

Drugs and music have not disappeared entirely from the Haight, and judging by the baby strollers to be seen rolling along the sidewalks, sex has not gone out of style, either.

Still, you know this is not your father's Haight-Ashbury when one of the burning issues of the day involves whether a Whole Foods should move into the neighborhood."Haight-Ashbury is a wonderful, iconic place that wrestles with its past, present and future," says San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who lives in and represents the neighborhood.

A walk through the Haight illustrates his point.

Here are lovingly restored Victorian mansions, glorious with details accented with gold paint. Steps away is the slumbering form of a homeless man stretched out near the front steps of a public library. And, a "Tiny Tots" diaper-service van zipping up the street spells out the latest trend of the Haight families.

On the main thoroughfare of Haight Street, wisps of the past are brought to life in gusts of patchouli oil wafting out of vintage clothing stores and vibrantly detailed murals painted on storefronts.
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