I visited Russian Hill and Nob Hill several times but wasn’t very intrigued. My short visit to Russian/Nob Hill comprised mainly of going north on Polk from Broadway up to Lombard Street then down Hyde just before The Crookedest Street In The World landing back on Broadway. The area is known for its upper-middle class housing and posh robber baron history. For the most part the neighborhood seemed to be comprised of apartments with a few parks scattered around. I found Polk Street to be the most interesting as it had the most restaurants and bars as well as other eateries.
I spoke with Shannon Baushcka, a mother of two daughters and an 8-year resident of Russian Hill, as she was coming out of Helen Wills Park off Broadway and Larkin. As I attempted to empathize with her about the difficulties of getting her children into a private school, I hear the roar of a fire engine. I politely excuse myself from Mrs. Baushcka and head towards the blaring sirens. The firetrucks have trundled to a stop across the street from the Saint Brigid Parochial School on the corner of Pacific Heights and Van Ness in front of an apartment building.
A few firefighters go inside the building and slowly the fire ladder starts to rise up out of the back of the truck. A pair of firefighters from the second truck stroll towards the side of the building and set up a ladder to the second floor. Battalion Chief Ramona Williams, who was directing the firefighters on scene, explained the casual pace of their movements. It was a false alarm and the firefighters were just practicing their maneuvers. Forgetting my location, I asked eagerly if this kind of thing happens often in Russian Hill. She reminded me we were in Pac Heights.