Captain’s View, Crime Beat

Captain’s View: Happy birthday, beautiful!

I am deviating from my usual crime information/prevention column this month to write about San Francisco’s most recognizable symbol, the Golden Gate Bridge. I am a fourth generation San Franciscan and am very proud of my city, and I never tire of the Golden Gate Bridge view. I just got back from Boston and I must say, they may have more history, but no symbol of their city is as beautiful as our bridge.

I am looking forward to all of the celebrations associated with the 75th anniversary of the bridge’s opening. My mother was there on May 27, 1937 for the Golden Gate Bridge Fiesta. She walked across the bridge with a group of friends and purchased a souvenir ticket to commemorate the “Official Pedestrian Day” for 25 cents. She recalled what a fun day it was as they listened to speeches and celebrated such a grand feat. She told me that one of the politicians said the bridge would be “free for all once it is paid for” — I guess we never paid for it.

On May 24, 1987, a group of college friends and I joined in the celebration of the 50th anniversary. We walked to the middle of the bridge where it was so crowded with pedestrians that we could not walk the rest of the way across; we were stuck midspan for a while. We didn’t mind, though, as we were having a fantastic time. It was only when we saw the front page of the Chronicle the next day that we realized we had actually helped flatten out the middle portion of the bridge, something that hadn’t happened before or since.

While up on the bridge I purchased a souvenir 50th anniversary pedestrian ticket. The price in 1987 was $5, quite a jump from my mom’s 25-cent ticket. I can’t wait to see how much the souvenir tickets cost this year!

I have both tickets framed, and they hang on my wall. I guess now I will have to redo the frame to accommodate a third souvenir ticket.

There are many celebrations planned to commemorate the Golden Gate Bridge’s 75th anniversary on May 27, 2012, but as a result of what happened at the 1987 celebration, vehicular traffic will continue to flow and pedestrians will not be allowed to walk the traffic lanes.

Enjoy the many other events associated with the anniversary, as once again a fun time should be had by all. But keep in mind my stand-by crime prevention tip: conceal your valuables and always be aware of your surroundings.

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