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To Save Dolores Park We Must Kill It
George McIntire | Photo: Reddit | July 22, 2013
It's the end of an era we all knew was too good to be true.
Dolores Park—the chillest place in San Francisco for funemployed twenty-somethings to forget about their nagging parents—has shown immense resilience in the face of several menacing threats. When the “Col’ water! Col’ beer!” guy was reduced to being the “Col’ water!” guy, the denizens of Dolores Park braved this travesty by buying 18-racks of PBRs and Tecates. After a playground was erected, attracting hordes of luxury strollers from Noe Valley, the resolve of the Dolores Park faithful remained intact. Even the attempt by the #YOLOres hashtag to suck the life force from Dolores was no match for the steadfast commitment of the Dolorians.
Unfortunately, the Disneyland of spliffs, bocce ball, and sun-soaked postgrad malaise is currently faced with a far more sinister threat to its existential being. You may have recently come across a Buzzfeed listicle entitled “18 Reasons To Love Dolores Park” (sponsored by Ben & Jerry's), which in a rather benign fashion lists why Dolores Park is just so damn swell. It describes the park as “hella chill” and as a place with "tons and tons and tons of bubbles.”
Make no mistake, this is a Trojan Horse from a malevolent corporation designed to sack the park's mojo, so it can be sanitized, repackaged, and resold for pageviews. The purpose of this Buzzfeed listicle is to capture the holy grail of marketing demos: “tattooed hipsters who have parody Twitter accounts and Tumblrs that capitalize on recent trends.” And to add insult to injury, a new app by the name of DOLO—a name more repugnant than a Dolores urinal on a warm Saturday—has been created to “disrupt” the Dolores social graph. Its raison d’etre is to show you where your friends are—just as long as you are all at Dolores. This technology is based on a grave misunderstanding. There would be no “Dolores” if you didn’t spend at least 30 minutes searching for your friends by the basketball court when in fact they were at gay beach the entire time. This ritual is the rite of passage for the true Dolorian more than shading yourself at the palm trees, haggling with the truffle guy, and littering your American Spirits butts. This app is the worst thing to happen to San Francisco since the BART unions went on strike just to oppress Sarah Lacy.
A proverb from an ancient civilization once said “You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become a villain.” Which is I propose that Dolores suffer the same fate as the Dolores Community Garden and get paved over by luxury condos. Dolores is at the precipice of becoming a “villain,” and has to be “Old Yellered," before the wicked brigade of Buzzfeed and #YOLOres succeed in turning Dolores into the upper Haight.
What's the solution? I'm glad you asked. In a city that takes its historical preservation way too seriously, why can't we make the NIMBY mentality work for us? Let's call in the Historical Preservation Commission to declare Dolores Park an untouchable landmark. Heck, if the Commission can vote to preserve that ugly old library in North Beach, certainly we can get some love for our patch of grass?
So this weekend, join me for one last epic game of Cards Against Humanity, as we toast our bottles of IPA to the sobering and bittersweet lesson that youth is as ephemeral as the pot smoke wafting through the park’s air. When you try to find me, don't use that awful app. Just look for the guy consumed with nihilistic-ennui in the tank-top with the fixie over by the tennis courts.