Grudge City - Page 5

Northern versus Southern California—an age-old tug-of-war tradition that evokes the Hatfields and McCoys
Grudge City
The S.F.-L.A. baseball rivalry still adds fuel to the 'war': Giants Juan Marichal clubs Dodgers
Johnny Roseboro in 1965 (above - far left); Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda (1976-'96)
was a guy San Francisco loved to hate (above - right); only this 'fan' (above - center) is
wacky enough to appear in public donned in this sacrilegious mishmash of Giants-Dodgers gear.

 

Once the major city in the state—a metropolis when Los Angeles was a village, the West’s center for banking, theater, the arts, and more—San Francisco has watched as Los Angeles has overtaken it in population, industry, shipping, and, recently, cultural institutions.

To some observers, the fact that Angelenos rarely rag on San Francisco is evidence less of goodwill than disdain. To many people in the South, San Francisco isn’t a city, but a village, and a provincial one at that—cute and cozy while Los Angeles is world class and modern.

“Does Los Angeles fail to take San Francisco seriously,” Winokur asks, “dismiss it as a nice place to spend a weekend?”

Or, even worse, do Angelenos regard San Francisco as more an outpost of the East than as a true Western city?

“Small wonder Easterners feel comfortable there,” author John Gregory Dunne wrote. “They perceive an Atlantic clone. It does not threaten as does the space-age Fort Apache 500 miles to the south.”

San Franciscans, of course, argue back that they live in a real city, with charming, walkable neighborhoods, not the insane suburban sprawl that makes up much of L.A.

The idea that San Francisco is a cultural backwater seems self-evident, in Los Angeles at least, when talk turns to modern architecture. Los Angeles is chock-a-block with cutting-edge marvels, the argument goes, while the Bay Area has always preferred gingerbread Victorians.

Of course, anyone who has admired the mid-century modern houses in and around Twin Peaks, the Berkeley Hills, numerous Marin and Peninsula neighborhoods, or even Pacific Heights could dispute this.

In fact, many historians note, there are differences between mid-century architecture in Northern and Southern California.

Up North, the modern designers were all about rustic, woodsy, and warm, influenced as they were by barns, vernacular farmhouses, and the Arts & Crafts designs from the early 20th century by Bernard Maybeck and others in the ‘Bay Tradition’ of architecture.

Down South, influenced by pioneering European modernists like Rudolph Schindler and Richard Neutra, architecture was more forward thinking, its fans argue. It was international in flavor, less ‘regional,’ more machine-influenced, with steel being the iconic material, not wood as in Northern California.