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Monday, March 10, 2008

BetterKnowanSFBlog: Gridskipper, Tonsil Hockey, and Gentrification

Posted By on Mon, Mar 10, 2008 at 12:10 PM

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Gridskipper's Dianne de Guzman engaging in some hard-nosed city journalism.

Every Tuesday morning, SF Weekly's news blog The Snitch profiles one of the Bay's many cool blogs in segment we call -- BetterKnowanSFBlog. This week, we talk to Dianne de Guzman from the blog Gridskipper, exploring the subtleties of making-out and gentrifying in San Francisco.

By Tyler Callister

One of my favorite posts by Gridskipper contributor Dianne de Guzman lists the "Best Make-Out Spots in San Francisco." The urban travel blog suggests Coit Tower, Twin Peaks, and several other places to play tonsil hockey. Sure, Gridskipper did do another post called the "Best Handjobs in San Francisco" which listed several of the top escort services, but why would I pay just to get to third base?

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Gridskipper serves as a kind of offbeat travel guide, useful to both visitors and locals, and representing not just SF, but many of the major cities around the world. They're known for their "best of" type lists, including "SF's Best Hipster Salons" and the best places to have an affair in Palo Alto.

Gridskipper is also part of Gawker Media -- home to locals like Gizmodo and Valleywag.

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But for all its hip and sexy culture, no one who's lived here for a long time is oblivious to San Francisco's uncomfortable changes. De Guzman, 25, spoke to me on the phone from her home in the Richmond District, and when she told me that she's lived in the Bay Area her whole life (starting in the East Bay), the first thing I asked her is how San Francisco has changed. "A lot of the different neighborhoods have cleaned up, and for better or worse, kind of yuppified," she said with a slight laugh.

Hmm, does she mean gentrification? "I'm a Filipino American, so I'm a little bit more sensitive to gentrification issues," she said. But she seems aware of the complexities of urban change, calling it a double-edged sword. "It's been a good thing in terms of making sure the city develops," she said. "I especially like the fact that we're turning into a 'green city'"

De Guzman points to the SoMa district as an example of new urban development, perhaps good in some ways, bad in others. "When I used to come out here... I don't even remember visiting that area," she said.

For more about places to make-out, check out Gridskipper's list.

For more about SF gentrification, check out our conversation with urban historian Joel Kotkin.

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Ty Callister

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