Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

December 17, 2007

It's Crissmiss Time in The City

Standing in sharp contrast to the quaint New England holidays I enjoyed growing up, is the holiday season in San Francisco. I was extremely lucky to have found a fantastic job at a law firm in downtown SF, in the historic Monadnock Building at 685 Market Street. Next door was the Sheraton Palace Hotel, also rich in City history. I worked downtown from September, 1990 through February, 1996, when we relocated over to Berkeley.

I shot these pictures in December, 1991. This is the tree in the Palace Hotel. The Santa was peddaling but of course you can't tell that in a still photo. This is a small flower stand in Union Square.

Macy's Tree in Union Square.

This jaunty fellow was standing guard outside of FAO Schwarz toy store. I love the little teddy bear dressed up like his soldier buddy.

Chevron Plaza at 555 Market Street. This is the headquarters of Chevron Oil and their refinery is in Richmond, in the East Bay. The red trees are all made from poinsettia plants.

Chevron Plaza.

In December, 1996, I was now working in Berkeley. But one night, Brian and I decided to take a drive into The City and go to Skydeck at Embarcadero Center. I think it's on the 45th or 47th floor of Embarcadero 1. In the photo, you can see the smaller 2 & 3 buildings, then the taller one is Embarcadero 4. Below 4, is the Ferry Building and that's the Bay Bridge in the background. Ground level are Embarcadero and Justin Hermann Plazas.

This is my favourite building in the whole world, the TransAmerica Pyramid. The brightly lit major street diagonally on the right is Columbus Avenue, which runs from Fisherman's Wharf through North Beach (the Italian neighborhood) and ends at the Pyramid.

First Interstate Building. Note the tree-shaped lights in the center!


  1. wow! those are gorgeous! it's so cool to see how different places decorate so differently. very pretty, thanx for showing us:)

  2. Anonymous3:54 AM

    Beautiful photos! It's hard to compete with SFO!

  3. there IS something about the big cities and how they look decorated for christmas. i really miss nyc at's a fantasy land. but, it looks like sf is just as beautiful.
    thanx for the pix

  4. f.a.o. schwartz is log-gone now.
    i remember the uproar against the pyramid being built.(1971-72) many natives did not want it, and there were huge campaigns fighting it. naturally, progress marched-on. it marked the beginning of the end of the s.f. skyline as many knew it. my favorite is the ferry building, i think.

  5. As always, Jo, I love your photos! Wonderful!

  6. Annie - Schwartz left SF???? Wow. That shows you how long it's been since I was downtown! As much as the Pyramid changed the skyline, I truly love that building. It's so unique, just like SF.

  7. Lovely as usual. Kind of shows how we reached the level of carbon emissions we have!

    Favourite buildings. Mmm. In the US it has to be the Chrysler Building for me. In the UK, there are just so many, but I think salisbury Cathedral must be the top.

  8. Beautiful pictures Jojo :) When I lived in Colorado I loved going to Denver and seeing all the displays there. Susan is right, cities are wonderful at Christmas.

  9. Val - The Chrysler is my 2nd fave building. Then tied for 3rd are the Empress Hotel & Parliament in Victoria, BC.

  10. Anonymous2:56 PM

    I love your pictures, you're a very talented photographer - and have exquisite taste in men. Well, one man in particular ;0)

  11. When I first moved to Norcal in 1980, I loved going to San Francisco so much. It was so beautiful. Love your pics!

  12. Anonymous5:06 PM

    Just beautiful, Jojo. You should make a calendar or better yet a book of your beautiful photos.