In the 1970s, the Safeway grocery store in San Francisco’s gleaming Marina neighborhood, known as the Social Safeway, was a cornerstone of the pre-Tinder dating scene. Armistead Maupin made it famous in his 1978 book, Tales of the City, calling it “the hottest spot in town” to meet people. For years afterward, locals called it the “Singles Safeway” or the “Dateway.”
Forty years later, German Tugas, a 42-year-old Uber driver, got to know it for another reason: Its parking lot was a safe spot to sleep in his car. Most weeknights, Tugas drives over 70 hours a week in San Francisco, where the work is steadier and fares are higher than in his hometown, Sacramento. So every Monday morning, Tugas leaves at 4 a.m., says goodbye to his wife and four daughters, drives 90 miles to the city, and lugs around passengers until he earns $300 or gets too tired to keep going. (Most days he nets $230 after expenses like gas.) Then, he and at least a half dozen other Uber drivers gathered in the Social Safeway parking lot to sleep in their cars before another long day of driving.
“That’s the sacrifice,” he said in May, smoking a cigarette beside his Toyota Prius parked at the Safeway at 1 a.m., the boats in the bay bobbing gently in the background. “My goal is to get a house somewhere closer, so that I don’t have to do this every day.”
The vast majority of Uber’s full-time drivers return home to their beds at the end of a day’s work. But all over the country, there are many who don’t. These drivers live near, but not in, expensive cities where they can tap higher fares, ferrying wealthier, white-collar workers to their jobs and out to dinner—but where they can’t make enough money to get by, even with longer hours. To maximize their time, drivers find supermarket parking lots, airports and hostels where they catch several hours of sleep after taking riders home from bars and before starting the morning commute.
This extraordinary silent footage housed at the Blackhawk Films Collection housed at the Academy Film Archive provides a look at the spectacular
1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. An almost year-long
celebration staged in San Francisco, California, the Expo celebrated the
completion of the decade-long construction of the Panama Canal.
The City by the Bay embraced the opportunity to rebuild its community
following a devastating and destructive earthquake that fell on its
citizens’ shoulders in 1906. The Expo took three years to construct and
opened to great fanfare on February 20, 1915. The fair housed many
international pavilions and stretched 635 acres on the north end of the
city between Van Ness and the Presidio. Of the dozens of structures that
were built for the fair, only the Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina
This highlight footage is a wonderful record of the exquisite
courtyards, towers and entertainment that a patron attending the fair
could experience. The worldwide attention that the fair received helped
to reinvigorate the morale, industry and commerce of the city of San
To view the complete film, totaling nearly sixteen minutes, click here.