The Sidwaaks of Sna Franc1sco [sic]

It all started back in 2001 when I graduated from college and moved to the Inner Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco. At nearly all intersections in San Francisco you will see the street names etched — sometimes not so carefully — into the concrete sidewalk. Every day I’d walk past the corner of 6th Ave and Judah St and smile when I saw JUDHA [sic] there in the sidewalk. If I was walking with a friend, I’d point it out with great amusement, at which point said friend would usually walk away while reconsidering our friendship.

Sadly, the sidewalks at that intersection were replaced (and the misspelling corrected) years ago, and I never took the time to take a photo before that happened. Fortunately, the city is full of similarly jumbled sidewalk etchings, and now many years later I find myself walking around with a camera-enabled phone in my pocket, so I finally started to document these misspellings. Herewith a small sampling of those that I’ve found thus far.


Sometimes two letters get swapped…

SHOTEWLL [sic]
18th St and Shotwell St

Sometimes the wrong letters get doubled…

CAAP ST [sic]
18th St and Capp St

Sometimes they use an upside-down M for a W…

WEBSTER [upside down M]
Post St and Webster St

Sometimes they use an upside-down W for an M…

MARIPOSA [upside down W]
Mariposa St and Harrison St

Sometimes a letter gets flipped the wrong way:

FLORIDA [backwards D]
18th St and Florida St

Sometimes they realize their mistake and try it both ways…

F0NSTON [upside down U on right side up U]
Funston Ave and Kirkham St

Sometimes they use a number as a substitute for a letter…

HARR1SON ST [sic]
17th St and Harrison St

Sometimes they get the abbreviation wrong…

19TH TS [sic]
19th St and South Van Ness Ave

Sometimes they forget a letter…

KIRKAM [sic]
28th Ave and Kirkham St

Sometimes they add one letter too many…

OFFARRELL [sic]
O’Farrell St and St Joseph’s Ave

Bonus! It’s not a street name, but this is my favorite sidewalk etching in San Francisco. Yes, it’s a bit crude, but I think it’s great that of all the things this person could immortalize in concrete, they chose this visual pun…

TWO MEN WALKING A BREAST
9th Ave and Irving St

My compulsion is unlikely to go away any time soon, so I’ll continue to keep this Flickr set updated as I find more. If you know of any particularly good ones, add a comment and I’ll go check it out.

1 Comment

  1. An interesting tradition of etching the street names into the concrete. That makes sense for a city that never sees snow in winter. :) Won’t work for St. Petersburg here in Russia, I guess.

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