With thousands of units under development or already opening their doors along Market Street, and “the impossibly hip Hayes Valley, Mission, and Noe Valley encroaching on all sides,” a reader wonders if the identity of the Castro as the center of the Bay Area’s LGBTQ scene is “under threat.”
A reader eloquently responds:
Cities are living organisms and grow and change and morph. When I came to SF in 1977 the gay hood was Polk Street. This is where the majority of gay bars were, where Halloween took place, etc. And prior to the gay neighborhood being on Polk Street, it was on Broadway near Columbus (which at one time was the Latino immigrant neighborhood, as well as the Basque neighborhood).
Castro became the gay neighborhood when it was filled with cheap run down houses and the Irish homeowners were selling and moving to the burbs, and there was a large influx of gay men with enough money to buy, and a proclivity to improve property. With the advent of AIDs, a lot of vacancies opened up in the Castro, and straight families began moving in.
And yes, young people are settling in Oakland today because that is where the real estate opportunity is. If Oakland were a borough of SF like Brooklyn is a borough of NYC, no one would think anything of it. It is just a reflection of when SF stopped annexing that Oakland is a different city. I am not threatened at all.