There’s nothing like an old, weathered sign. The Admiral Hotel is located in a … let’s say “less desirable” part of San Francisco, one I walk through occasionally to get to a bookstore over on Van Ness Avenue. It’s kind of a shortcut from where I normally stay. I’m pretty sure that this sign could tell some amazing stories, but as it stands–minus the comparatively shiny and new Coca-Cola sign–it looks like a seamy hotel that Sam Spade might live in, like all those film and fictional private dicks do. San Francisco is such a noirish city, even more so than New York, I think. The fog, the hilly streets, the Bay, with “The Rock” sitting forlorn and menacing in its center, the blemished but unchanged signs, like this one, all contribute to an overall feeling of damp, lurking danger. That dame walking towards you might have a gat in her garter; that lug leaning on the bar front across the street looks like trouble. Be careful. It’s dark and dangerous in this neighborhood.
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