Things You Will See if You Tour the Tenderloin (NSFW)

Yesterday the New York Times did a piece about the possibility of the Tenderloin being turned into a tourist attraction.  All I have to say is, it’s about time!  Jesus Christ, putting together a list of all the wondrous things tourists can see is a bit daunting, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try.  Here are just some of the marvels that you’ll witness in the tenderest part of our dear city:

Human Shit: You know that big pile of  feces you just stepped in?  Yeah, that shit ain’t from no shitzu.  I mean, look at the number of stray dogs running around the neighborhood compared to the number of stray people.  Don’t see too many stray dogs huh?  That guy you saw crouching in the alleyway wasn’t looking for something he dropped, he was leaving somebody a present.  The most fucked up thing is, the longer you live here, the easier you can smell the difference between human crap and dog do.

People Smoking Crack: The Tenderloin has more crack than the Liberty Bell.  I know you’ve seen people puffing the stuff on The Wire or maybe during some investigative reporting on 60 Minutes, but now is your chance to see it live and in person!  It’ll be like being in your favorite Dave Chappelle skit.

Junkies Nodding Off While Standing Up: The old nodding off while standing trick is one of the finest performances you can see in the TL.  The years of practice and skill it takes is immeasurable.  Watching someone slowly bend closer and closer to the ground just to pop up at the moment you think they’re gonna collapse is breathtaking.  It will keep you on the edge of your seat.

People You are Absolutely Terrified of: While wandering the Loin, you may come across a corners populated by groups of menacing looking people.  If you’re a reasonable person, your internal “oh shit I might get beaten/mugged/raped” meter should go off.  If this happens I advise you to cross the street to avoid having to pass through the throng.  Judging a book by its cover may not be PC, but getting your ass kicked and having your PC taken from you backpack sucks.  You shouldn’t have had it with you anyways.

People Selling Stolen Items on the Street: Ever wonder where peoples’ things go when they get stolen?  Many of them end up on the streets of the Tenderloin.  That $2000 Macbook you had pinched from your car is probably being sold at the corner of Jones and Ellis as we speak.  Luckily you can probably buy it back for $50 or bag of crack.

Prostitutes: Despite the unanticipated rise in catcalls voiced in your direction, you did not suddenly become more attractive.  No sir, those women are prostitutes.  You’re still fat and ugly, but you can fuck those girls if you’ve got some cash.

Tranny Prostitutes: Same as above but this time with more Adams Apple.

Drug Deals in Front of The Police Station: Really, this happens all the time.  Trying to stop drug deals in the TL is like putting your finger in the dyke.  And I don’t mean that in a sexy way.

People Passed out in Very Uncomfortable Positions: Sometimes strolling through the Tenderloin feels like you just walked into a giant game of freeze tag.  You wonder how on Earth people could possibly sleep on the hard cement in such an awkward position.  Did they just pass out wherever they were without any regard for comfort?  In my professional opinion, I’d say yes.

Awesome Vietnamese Food: Hey, the Tenderloin isn’t all fucking, sucking and getting high.  There’s great restaurants too!

There are so many other lovely attraction to see in the Tenderloin that the list could go on forever.  Maybe we will run a part two, maybe not.  But until then enjoy your self guided tour, and watch where you step.

Photos from Food on Drunk, Esquire, Venessa Nina, Daylife, Canada.com, RealFilf.

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About the author

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

I've been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle , "an SF cult hero": SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York, but to those familiar with my work, I'm just "that douchebag who writes books about cheap stuff and drinks a lot".
  • http://myspace.com/brandileigha Brandileigha

    Having lived in the TL, I can attest that this is all true. In the TL you can find crack heads, scary people, and human poop…and maybe my car. It was stolen in front of ST.Pauls on Golden Gate.

    Also watch out for an old one eyed man named Midnight! He stands outside the halfway house on Jones & Turk 9 hours a day yelling gibberish.

    My old housemate still lives there, someone pooped on her car last Friday.

    But hey!! The BEST Indian food you will ever have in your life is Pakwan Jones & O’farrell. Just ignore the cockroaches :)

  • http://thetunaslot.wordpress.com Rebecca Pederson – Cheap Date

    My roommate is working on the historic preservation project the NY Times covered! I’m really excited for when they start unveiling this stuff.

  • http://www.bluoz.com/blog/ Jeff Webb

    Hey Broke Ass, I think you did the best one so far, got it on my blog. You did the outside tour, I just posted the inside tour…also NSFW, but then, few things in the TL are

  • http://www.bluoz.com/blog/ Jeff Webb
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  • http://scratchybottom.blogspot.com Mayuko

    Finally some well deserved recognition for the neighborhood I have to work in every day. If you’re really lucky you can see the elusive street shitter in action making a real live deposit on Willow St like I did not too long ago. Also, not only can you see real crack being smoked but don’t forget you can witness crack’s more exotic cousin heroin being shot up too!

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  • http://www.therawness.com T. AKA Ricky Raw

    Small nitpick: The drug of choice on The Wire was heroin, not crack.

  • http://brokeassstuart.com Broke-Ass Stuart – Editor In Cheap

    I only saw the first two seasons (still need to see the rest) but I feel like I remember there being some crack as well. I could be wrong though.

  • ExxonDoesntPayTaxes

    Sad funny true. But to be fair, those pictures are not all from the TL. Everyone knows the only grass in the TL comes in small bags.

  • http://brokeassstuart.com Broke-Ass Stuart – Editor In Cheap

    yeah those pics are for sure not all from the TL. They are just ones that illustrated the point I was making :)

  • http://periqueblend.posterous.com/ Olu

    what kind of sheltered person needs to go to the TL to see/ or experience most of those things?

    Change that title to things you will see if you leave the suburbs and aren’t afraid of the poors

  • Anna

    Awesome – making fun of an impoverished community. Nice Work.

  • http://lastcallsf.com LastCallSF

    Dear Broke-Ass,

    We, the undersigned, kindly request that as long as continue to write articles that dehumanize the impoverished citizens of a neighborhood you clearly disdain, please do so under the more appropriate moniker “Bourgeois-Ass Stuart”.

    Thank you in advance for your compliance.

    Sincerely,
    Actual Broke-Ass People

  • http://brokeassstuart.com Broke-Ass Stuart – Editor In Cheap

    Olu, Anna, and Last Call SF –

    Are you fucking kidding me? Out of all the shit to get upset about, you’re getting your undies in a twist because I’m busting balls about the depraved things that happen? Have you BEEN to the Tenderloin? The things that I mentioned are happening there all the time. I mean like RIGHT NOW.

    The thing though is you’re completely missing the point. That shit I wrote up there was FUNNY. What do you want me to do? Write a sad story about seeing people OD? Nobody wants to read that. And if they do, that’s certainly not why they’re coming to my site. Taking the truth head on is ugly and often not something most people actually want. It’s far easier and more effective to illuminate some of the darker parts of life through humor than through trying to make people feel guilty about their comfortable lives.

    But here’s the thing: For all your outrage, have you even tried to do something positive in the Tenderloin or do you just stick up for “impoverished communities” on the internet? I mean, have you ever even volunteered at Glide or helped out at St. Anthony’s? I have. I volunteered in homeless shelters for nearly 10 years. And you know what? I saw some ugly things. Life’s not fair and fucked up shit happens to good people. But if you can’t laugh at the ridiculousness of it all your gonna drive yourself crazy.

    More importantly here’s the point I wanna make: Just because you don’t have a sense of humor doesn’t mean I shouldn’t. If you couldn’t tell the tone of the piece was completely sarcastic and MAKING FUN of the idea of a Tenderloin Tour, then you’re a moron. Seriously.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go to Jones and Ellis so I can score some crack and shit on the side walk.

  • e

    As a current resident of Lower Nob Hill (aka the Tendernob), I’d say that this is an incredibly reductive portrayal of the Tenderloin. It reads like someone who has spent more time googling the neighborhood than actually walking or exploring it. And, as for your defense: the “humor” of this piece (debatable) doesn’t justify its arrogance or pernicious inaccuracy.

  • http://lastcallsf.com LastCallSF

    Alright then, Small-Change-No-Cash-Broke-Ass Stuart,
    Perhaps some clarification on my end is necessary.

    I was born in San Francisco, at St. Luke’s Hospital. (you know, the one on ARMY St.?, and I’ve lived here my entire life. Not only have I been to the Tenderloin, but I’ve LIVED here for the past nine years, and I am more than well aware of whats going on “like RIGHT NOW!” (Which is NOTHING compared to what went on, like 15 years ago.)
    You know that big pile of feces you were talking about? I know the guy that TOOK that shit. And that guy on the corner selling a MacBook that someone carelessly left sitting out in their car? I’m one of his best customers. (I like to shop locally.) And those “People You are Absolutely Terrified of” hangin’ out on the corner? They’re my neighbors, and they look scary but they have had my back. Everybody keeps an eye out for each other round here. It might not look pretty but it’s more of a community than any other neighborhood I’ve lived.
    I commend you for your work at St. Antony’s and especially Glide memorial, to whom I am forever thankful for keeping me fed back when my life was bleak indeed. Having made it through being a homeless kid, a drug dealer, and perpetual fuck-up, I feel thankful to be in a position now where I can grab a few dozen hotdogs or whatever, pass em out on easter or x-mas, and repay the kindness to people in my hood.
    That being said, allow me to be perfectly clear about what bunches my undies. (Apart from your blatant arrogance, the disproportionate hostility of your overly defensive response, and your assumption that after wading through a minor ocean of that heavy-handed snark you call sarcasm, I had still somehow failed to get that your post was a(n obvious) joke.)
    I understood that you were being facetious, but from the readers perspective it was most certainly not at the expense of your alleged target. (other than a jab at their apparent lack of business sense.) Instead, it seemed the concept of TL Tourism, shameless schadenfreude that it is, served you well as a nice little framing device for a series of cheap shots at people you either fear or find distasteful to look at.
    Might not have been what you meant, but that’s how you came across.

  • Marlene

    You might look like less of a jerk if more of the pictures were actually taken in the TL. Those Hells Angels are in Germany for crissakes! That guy passed out in the street looks to be somewhere in western Europe and the jogger stretching (who you describe as nodding out standing up)looks to be in Manhattan.

    As if that wasn’t enough to clue me in to your ignorance, you had to parade your hateful bullshit with the ever-charming trans-woman-as-punchline motif. Yes. It’s true. The world is horrible and fucked up because people like me are allowed to exist and live somewhere besides Oprah’s couch. Wouldn’t the world be a more pleasant place for self-entitled jackasses like you if we all simply crawled back in to our holes.

    Fuck you!

  • http://esseppis.blogspot.com/ Amy @ Ess Eppis

    At least our Tranny Ho’s are a lot cuter than than yours :-P in the Philly Gayborhood.

    My fave or the TumbleWeaves… you know that natted up parts of the weaves that are left on the ground from last night’s tranny cat fight.

  • http://www.realfilf.com Realfilf

    Wow, some incendiary shit up in this piece. Thanks for mentioning my food blog, http://www.realfilf.com, nonetheless.

    The picture of Saigon Sandwiches was taken in the Tenderloin and I stepped over numerous people laying on the sidewalk and passed countless doorways that smelled of piss to get there.

    That is the “charm” of the Tenderloin and I happily do it all the time to seek out some of SF’s best eats.

    RF

  • I. Roam d’Tenderloin

    Do you ever see those gaggle of children roped together on a excurision through the loins of the lower nob? Yes, they are probably preK or maybe K but they’ve got the buddy system down (if not tethered) and there’s always the chaperones for street crossings and creating the buffer zone to the local denziens of the daylight while on their feild trip or day trip down the block to? (I’ve seen them in the vicinity of Levenworth/Jones & Turk/Golden Gate…) The meaning being -and I absofucking agree with you, the NYT is out of their collective mind- tourism in the Tenderloin is in. Think of it as gutterpunk fasion, while wrong and perhaps not for you- there it exists.

    The Tenderloin is not the Pantheon of Rome.  On a walking tour here you will likely encounter many a vestige of the drug shooters, street poopers, takeout garbage eating, crazy homeless cracked tweeked drunkards. Sidewalk sales of stolen goods are our Moroccan bazaar. It is SFs very own The Wine Country.

    Daylight is the key, and early to mid morning while most lay dormant or unconscious, yes- I’d be your personal guide. And while not a romantic date type event, you will be charmed by the addled and impressed by the infectious. Ok. Maybe not a selling point, huh?  (Sign this liability waiver right here.)

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  • http://slumberpartymovies.com/ Melinda

    You forgot “One-legged crack addict empties colostomy bag on your front steps” Or did that only happen to me? Also, would anyone like to tell me the politically correct way to discuss the fact that I once had to clean the impossibly copious contents of a colostomy bag off my front steps and wall? It would really help in random internet discussions.