The Best of Both Worlds

I like living on a dead-end street. It reminds me of the cul-de-sac where I grew up in Midland, Texas.  It’s full of block parties, kids scootering in the road, and parents like me standing on the sidewalk and hollering down the street for my oldest to come in for dinner.

Oh yea. I live in San Francisco. Not exactly your stereotype city for cozy neighborhood street play. But our family has the luxury of living on a dead-end street in a quiet part of town, which means that we get the best of city and country life.

Living at the end of a street is not without its drawbacks. Like the dorks who drive in and can’t read the “Not a Through Street” sign and haul ass into the roadblock. Many a nap is interrupted by the screech of a geeked out Fast and Furious Honda slamming into reverse and doing the Tokyo Drift a few houses down. The giant city park at the end of our block is also a party haven where suburban-ish teens drink and get high. And it used to be a hub of the Asian gang scene.

But even with this ugly temptation, my little girls’ dad will someday be able to simply walk out the door and collar some thug who’s trying to slip a roofie to my kid at the end of the block. And our Irish ex-Marine neighbor has already shot his BB gun in the general direction of a few early perpetrators, getting in some practice for when his own toddler is of hooligan age.

We really live in the best of both worlds. In the suburbs inside the city.

Because here’s the good part. My kids play outside, biking in the street and running up and down the length of houses. Our house pushes right up to the sidewalk and all of us neighborhood moms hang out the kitchen windows and yell at each other. Dogs play fetch in the road.

We can walk to public transportation and restaurants. We can walk up a hill to the playground. We can walk to the beach. Our guests can always find parking because no one comes down to our dead end–except the above-mentioned teen partiers.

And did I mention that our living room window faces out into a 14-block urban nature oasis? Our back yard is a giant city park called Stern Grove, chock full of redwood and eucalyptus trees, duck ponds, berry picking, fort building, fairy houses, wild winged and furry creatures, and free summer concerts. I would have said that earlier, but I didn’t want to make you feel bad.

We feel lucky as heck. We get the best of both worlds.


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