Though the neighborhood can fascinate in a historic sense, sensory overload is a constant threat among the chain stores, tour buses, and souvenir sweatshirts of Fisherman's Wharf. One can always head to Richard Henry Dana Place for a brief respite, however. Incongruously tacked onto the waterfront edge of Leavenworth Street, the quiet dead end — placid in a sea of tourist turbulence — was renamed in 1988 as part of a City Lights Bookstore proposal to name a dozen streets after local artists and authors. Richard Henry Dana Jr.'s renowned contribution to our canon, Two Years Before the Mast, contains some of the first accurate descriptions of the West Coast from aboard a merchant vessel. (Melville famously wrote of it, "But if you want the best idea of Cape Horn, get my friend Dana's unmatchable Two Years Before the Mast. But you can read, and so you must have read it. His chapters describing Cape Horn must have been written with an icicle.") Dana's namesake street therefore manages to combine both literary and sea-faring history in one charmingly ramshackle locale.
Leavenworth and Jefferson, SF.
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