Emily Marsh: San Francisco

Emily is a consultant for a infrastructure and land-use development firm called Circlepoint. Specifically, she works on the community outreach components of large infrastructure projects.

What’s your historical San Francisco and New York connection?
I’m originally from San Francisco, although I grew up in Chicago. In college I spent some time in NYC and loved its energy and how easy it was to get lost. Since then, I’ve moved back to San Francisco twice.

Describe your experience in SF.
I think San Francisco is an incredible, fascinating city. While it has its quirks, like every city, San Francisco has maintained its small city feel and historical roots amidst the tech boom. Walking from neighborhood to neighborhood, this city constantly amazes me with its magnificent views, its hidden nooks, and delicious foods. I read Rebecca Solnit’s book Infinite City when I first moved here and it continues to shape how I understand San Francisco – I would highly recommend it. I recently moved to Oakland, however, and it has quickly become my new obsession. What San Francisco lacks in cultural diversity, Oakland more than makes up for it. The city offers a European lifestyle in a lot of respects – it’s very walkable, community-oriented, casual, and surprisingly beautiful. It’s not uncommon to see people of all ages and all ethnicities out at the same bar/restaurant/club on any given night. For the line of work I’m in, Oakland is the place to be.

What was the biggest challenge of moving to SF?
Personally, I didn’t have any challenges moving to SF. For a minute after college I had the twenty-something calling to move to NYC but that quickly passed. I don’t think I have the cojones to hack it in NYC – at least not yet. Now that I’ve spent time in San Francisco, DC, London, and back to Oakland, I think I’ve identified that the Bay Area feels like home. It’s hard to want to be away for too long when the beach and the mountains are literally in your backyard. Although, sometimes I do wish that SF had more of the sex appeal as NYC. And that it were closer to Europe.

How can NYC and SF best engage with each other?
I think its important for NYC and SF to engage each other in a collaborative, supportive way. The cities are different and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Leveraging the strong connections between the two can lead to amazing partnerships. I think every New Yorker should spend some time in San Francisco, and vice versa. It’s important to appreciate the cities for what they are.

Favorite SF secret spot
I have too many favorite spots to do any of them justice here, but my favorite secret spot is Good Luck Dim Sum in the Outer Richmond. It has the best dim sum in the city and it’s always worth the bike ride, the wait in line, and the rude ladies behind the counter. For the perfect morning, I like to get my dim sum to go and take it out to Land’s End where there’s a trail along the coast that leads to unbeatable views of the Golden Gate. These days I spend most of my time in Oakland, however. There I would recommend the Lake Merritt Farmer’s market (it almost feels like Borough Market) on Saturdays and Ordinaire, a french wine shop opened by a Cal PhD student, on Grand Avenue.

Favorite NYC secret spot.
I don’t know NYC nearly as well as I know SF, but when I’m there my favorite place to be is in [2905 founder] Erica’s backyard in Williamsburg, especially because Blue Bottle is just around the corner. I also love the top floor of the Guggenheim – at the very top of the spiral.

If you were not at Circlepoint, what would you be doing?
There’s a million dollar question. I think I’ve played my cards right and have landed in just the right spot. If I weren’t here, however, I’d like to think I would be living in east London, just off Columbia Road, and still working at the Young Foundation. Hard to say, though.

Roadtrip Entertainment: tell us what song/album, TV show, podcast, or web videos you’ve been watching lately.
Currently listening to Haim and Lorde on repeat. For TV shows, it’s Homeland all the way.

From the 2905 Miles newsletter: connecting NEW YORK CITY + SAN FRANCISCO

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