John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.
Beware of the disenchanted neighbors.
So it makes sense that, ensconced in out-of-the-way vales, the city has a handful of playground slides popular with adults—stretching for considerable distances and steep enough to air-blast faces into fleshy prunes.
The most unusual ones are found at Seward Mini Park, a halcyon nook built in the 1970s after residents sat in protest against a developer’s bulldozers. The curvy, side-by-side butt-ramps were designed by a 14-year-old boy, according to city’s parks-and-rec department:
Two long, steep concrete slides are the main attraction at this hidden gem. They’re not for tiny tots, nor for the faint of heart! If you decide to slide, please remember that the park closes at sunset and adults must be accompanied by children. Bring a piece of cardboard and wear sturdy pants!
(The cardboard, for the uninitiated, hastens the downward descent and prevents clothing from tearing like wet napkins.)
People who have journeyed to the slides sound joyous, calling them “possibly the most fun single attraction in San Fran” and giving tips like finding cardboard in recycling bins and sprinkling sand on the concrete to go faster. However, the neighbors aren’t always receptive to rowdy, six-foot-tall thrill-seekers. Here’s one person’s harrowing experience in 2014:
The nearby residents are nasty as can be. We had slid down twice, yelping and giggling with glee when one of the women arrived and started screaming like a banshee at us. She told us it was meant for children only and NOT for adults and that we were being inconsiderate and horrible people for enjoying this public space. We apologized and promised to keep it down, but this wasn't enough for this woman, she continued like a nagging fishwife….
Anyway my advice is to either keep it down, or otherwise be prepared to be yelled at or get into a fight with the witches—take someone who is good at arguing!
The second pair of slides are located southeast in Bernal Heights, a neighborhood so ferociously hilly it’s raced by illegal soapbox-derby drivers. They’re made of metal and have a dip at the top for an extra speed boost.
One person recommends sitting on a burlap sack to get the wind whistling through your hair. And of course, always be on the look-out for slide-running dogs: