The stars aligned with unseasonably balmy temperatures, Valentine's Day dates, and the Super Bowl bringing out throngs, while next weekend’s three-day holiday brings the Lunar New Year and the end of the indoor mask mandate.
It was a not a surprise that mobs of folks turned out near Precita Park Saturday morning for the Creme Brûlée Cart pancake party, which had been well publicized and gaining momentum. What was a surprise is that this large crowd phenomenon happened all over town, as KPIX reports that bars and restaurants had a fantastically busy weekend, thanks to a harmonic convergence of gorgeous weather, and the Super Bowl.
Had a guy come up to me towards the end of the pancake party and exclaim,— the creme brûlée cart (@cremebruleecart) February 12, 2022
“I just spent an hour talking to strangers in San Francisco. I haven’t done that in 2 years! Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
My heart is full. pic.twitter.com/w5efj0W4VG
“You never know, especially in the last two years, we never know how these things are going to go,” Flour + Water Co-chef and owner Thomas McNaughton told KPIX. “And to me it’s so great to see familiar faces, friends, family, people back in the dining room.”
Valencia slow street last night was great: restaurants full, families walking around, pick up soccer games.— EJ Lawless (🦥,🦥) (@elawless) February 13, 2022
Of course, Flour + Water just reopened after a four-month closure, so certainly pent-up demand was a factor there. But all of the Valencia Street corridor was booming on both Friday and Saturday nights, in large part thanks to their car-free weekends program that continues, and appears to be a very effective way of bringing foot traffic to the corridor.
You could say this was a freak occurrence because of the warm weather, but this coming weekend could well be poised for something similar. The weather forecast is projecting highs in the low 60s (though cooling off slightly as the weekend progresses), plus you have the Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, it’s a three-day weekend for anyone who gets President’s Day off, and Polyglamorous is celebrating its seventh anniversary at Public Works with Honey Soundsystem DJ Jason Kendig.
And for better or worse, the indoor mask mandate will be eliminated starting Wednesday, and crowd sizes will presumably increase.
There are two ways to look at the above chart — you could say that case counts are dropping precipitously! Or you could say that case counts are as bad as they’ve ever been at any point in the calendar year 2021, so what in the goddamn hell are we doing loosening restrictions? Either way, the masks are coming down and the crowds are coming out. We are either putting this thing behind us, or repeating the exact same mistakes that made our Hot Vaxx Summer a cold miscalculation.
Image: @cremebruleecart via Twitter