After what seems like a small eternity waiting for SF's newest 14-acre-park to open inside the Presidio, Saturday morning saw throngs of eager park-goers sit atop the sloping wooden benches — which were made from fallen cypress trees — at Presidio Tunnel Tops, sponging views of the Golden Gate Bridge as Karl the Fog rolled into the SF Bay.
This may very well be the year of San Francisco Parks. Earlier this summer, denizens of the seven-by-seven were treated to Francisco Park's "mini-Dolo" aesthetic after it debuted to the public on April 27. The decades-in-the-making 4.5-acre greenspace offered new vantage points to look over the San Francisco Bay. And now, San Franciscans have yet another elevated greenspace to fawn over the city form; it's also about three times the size of the former park and adds yet another gorgeous addition to the city's collection of staircases.
This Sunday at Opening Day of #PresidioTunnelTops don't miss the unveiling of Ancestral Futurism: Looking Back to Repair the Future, a temporary mural created by artist @favianna. It's located outdoors near the Visitor Center & the Outpost play space. https://t.co/vv7riC4UyG pic.twitter.com/FWdGtSMtAC— Presidio of SF (@presidiosf) July 14, 2022
“Today is a day of joy and celebration for all San Franciscans, as our city prepares to open a majestic new public space,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said to the crowd in attendance for the parks' official ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday morning. “Those of us who worked for decades to transform the Presidio from Post to Park are thrilled with the Presidio Tunnel Tops, which will serve as a beautiful beacon of recreation, education, and community in our city."
CEO of the Presidio Trust Jean Fraser was also part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony, adding that the nonprofit he helms is "thrilled Presidio Tunnel Tops will offer even more green space for relaxation, for reflection, and especially for play."
Similarly, Chris Lehnertz, president and CEO of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy extended a special thanks to donors who supported the nation’s newest national park space, saying their support helped "transform concrete and Highway 101 into the nation’s newest park space.”
View from the new Presidio Tunnel Top Park, made even better with some love from @KarlTheFog 🌁👀♥️ @presidiosf @GGBridge @parks4all @onlyinsf @VisitCA pic.twitter.com/QD8jx5Ay8D— Maria Bruno (@mariabrunodesgn) July 17, 2022
That transformation, however, wasn't overnight. It's taken more than 20 years of planning, which included a slew of logistical and pandemic-spun delays, to finish. But if the wide-eyed looks and ear-to-ear smiles I observed visitors wear while exploring the 14-acre space — taking note of the campfire circle; lounging on blankets atop any one of the three spacious lawns; strolling on the handicap-accessible Bluff Trail, which creates a pathway connecting the Cliff Walk to the Outpost and Field Station; stand still at the edge of elevated sectors of the park in awe of this new view of the Golden Gate Bridge — it was a worthwhile wait.
I’m spending this glorious San Francisco weekend in our new Tunnel Tops Presidio Park—14 acres of paradise on the bay. Can’t wait for Sunday’s food trucks. I love “The Outpost” Childrens playground, & “Field Station.” Same designer as NYC High Line. Totally FREE & open to all. pic.twitter.com/TZvBhFUHaQ— Marc Benioff (@Benioff) July 17, 2022
You, reader, should absolutely check it out. Maybe at sunset, because there's something incredibly beguiling that I'm unable to articulate about watching our solar system's only star dip below the Golden Gate Bridge.
Until you can visit Presidio Tunnel Tops in real life, here are some pictures of the park taken during its first day open to the general public that'll help tide you over until then.
For more information on the Presidio Tunnel Tops Park, including access to an interactive map to help you explore the park from the comfort of your domicile, visit presidiotunneltops.gov.
Related: Presidio Tunnel Tops Park Opens to the Public This Weekend, At Long Last
Top Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy via Ryan White