Memorial Day Weekend Highlights
By Robert Bernstein
Memorial Day weekend was a bit different than usual this year. But things were also opened up more than they had been in recent weeks. Notably, State Street was made car-free and restaurants were able to reopen to a limited extent.
Here are some of my photos and videos arranged in several galleries.
After decades of talk of making sections of downtown State Street car-free, it all happened quite rapidly in the past week. My concern was how bicyclists would be accommodated. Motor vehicles can easily move to adjacent streets. But there really are no nearby safe parallel streets for bicyclists.
So, we headed down to State Street on Saturday afternoon, after our visit to Knapp's Castle, to check it out. I was pleasantly surprised to see that, for the most part, people mixed quite well among a variety of modes: Walking, biking, skating, electric motorized devices and more.
In fact, it seemed that having State Street closed to motor vehicles brought out cyclists who were older and younger than usual. This very young cyclist was able to be king of the road:
Couples could ride side by side like this, even with an adult tricycle:
And, of course, there were plenty of pedestrians:
Opening up the street was also an invitation to quite a few musicians to perform. Here "Pug" was performing with a friend:
The I Madonnari Chalk Painting Festival could not happen this year at the Mission. So, it was scattered among many unannounced locations. One of them turned out to be in this section of State Street:
Here are the rest of my Saturday State Street Photos.
I was curious to return on Memorial Day to see how things would be. It was not clear if there would be any visible events for Memorial Day. There was a rumor of another flyover. By chance, I caught this flyover out at the Isla Vista bluffs at 12:20PM:
Things on State Street were pretty similar on Monday to how they were on Saturday. This family joined in the chalking fun on the street:
And this young man was one of several who were doing cool bicycle stunts:
We were a bit skeptical of how safe it would be to eat in a restaurant. We were surprised that some were even serving food inside; that seemed too risky to us. And being right on the street with crowds walking close by also seemed a bit risky. But we did opt for something in between: Eating on Pascucci's outdoor patio. Here was our view as owner Laura personally took care of customers:
Things were a bit slower than usual in terms of service, but the food was excellent and we were enjoying taking in the view.
We also stopped to listen to some more musicians and watched the crowd walk by:
Here are the rest of my Monday State Street Photos.
We then walked out to Stearn's Wharf which was quite busy. Plenty of people were enjoying the beach and the water, while mostly keeping good social distancing.
This fisherman had come down from Santa Maria with his family and he kept reeling in mackerels:
Talking to them was a chance for my wife to speak her native language.
We headed back down Stearn's Wharf to State Street as people kept streaming in.
We stopped at Andersen's Bakery so I could get a marzipan treat reminiscent of my youth in Copenhagen. It was their first time open for about two months.
Then, over to the Courthouse Sunken Gardens where some event was rumored to be happening. Not sure what it was, but it seemed to be both religious and with a conservative political message as well. We stayed for a bit to listen to some of them making music:
It is hard to know how things will be going forward. This opening up could start a second wave of spreading the virus. Or, it could be a tentative step toward more opening up. I think we will know more in the next week or two whether there is a rise of coronavirus cases or if social distancing, mask wearing and good hygiene will work for now.