In ‘The End of the Golden Gate,’ Writers Share Reflections on a San Francisco in Flux

Every city is special in some way to the people who call it home, but as author Gary Kamiya writes, San Francisco is a more potent touchstone than most thanks to the unique place it occupies in the American imagination. For a new anthology, Kamiya edited essays from writers considering the city at a time of dramatic change and when many have threatened to leave. 

“The End of the Golden Gate” includes writing from notable locals like W. Kamau Bell, Margaret Cho and Michelle Tea. Book launches will be hosted by Litquake on May 26 and the Commonwealth Club on May 27. Kamiya and writer and artist John Law joined “Civic” to talk about gentrification, rents and the message newcomers often hear — that San Francisco peaked just before their arrival.

“For some people, it is the end of the Golden Gate because they want to get the hell out, they feel betrayed, they feel bereft, they feel that the place that nurtured the renegades and bohemians and misfits, for some people, yeah, it is the end of the Golden Gate. And others, for John and I, we’re staying. And we defend it, to some degree, far more than a number of the writers in the book do.”

— Gary Kamiya

“It is absolutely the end of the Golden Gate. This is, in my 46 years here, I would have to say this is maybe the fourth or maybe the fifth end of the Golden Gate that I’ve personally experienced. So it happens pretty frequently. The first one is really hard. I mean, it just kicks you right in the stomach. And a lot of people don’t survive that.”

— John Law

A segment from our radio show and podcast, “Civic.” Listen daily at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on 102.5 FM in San Francisco, and subscribe on Apple, Google, Spotify or Stitcher