Radios are blasting and the beers are out. No matter that it’s mid-week in January.
Like the norms of winter weather, the rules at Dolores Park have been put aside. And for many of the hundreds here on Wednesday, so have jobs, job-hunting and studying.
Instead, drinks flow, shirts are off and marijuana is being bought and sold out in the open. A woman buys a bag, walks back to her friends and starts to roll a joint.
Nearby is Vinny Deleon, who recently moved to San Francisco from Los Angeles. She is short, with half of her head shaved; she takes a puff of the joint and passes it on.
“I should be looking for a job, but these days don’t come often, so I take advantage,” says Deleon. She’s sitting in a group of some 20 friends. Conversations flow in three different languages. Some sport dreads; others straight-laced office attire. Many have met in the park.
“We have been coming here every day,” says Adi Cooper, who is unemployed and feels like he has created a new family of friends here at the park.
Cooper gets a ball and a game of soccer starts.
Two girls with hula-hoops join the group.
Deleon takes one and starts to hula-hoop with her friends. A small crowd forms to watch.
I love people-watching, says Jodie Chiang, who is at the park with her husband.
“Don’t tell anyone, but I am having a long lunch,” says Ben Chiang, who came all the way from the East Bay to enjoy the sun at the park.
Chiang wears a suit and has his tie flipped to the back to keep it clean when playing with the dogs.
“We are both big dog people and always come here with our dogs,” Jodie Chiang explains as they pet every dog that comes their way.
And there are lots of them — mutts, pit bulls, even a pink poodle named Kenneth.
“Kenny has a couple of buddies here,” says Lauren McLoughlin, the dog’s owner, who is at the park with her roommate Carlos Prado and their friend Adrian Ceafay.
Prado and Ceafay say they couldn’t skip work to come to the park, but McLoughlin has.
“I have done that before,” she says. “Skip school to come chill in Dolores Park. It’s relaxing and fun.”
Nearby, the courts are full of tennis players, drummers are banging away and Salvatore Di Stefano from Farino Pizzeria is practicing flipping dough. He twirls the pizza around with music blaring out of his headphones. He says he comes here every day to practice.
“Many people ask me if it is real pizza dough and are disappointed to see it’s just plastic that I’m practicing with.”
Across the street people line up at Bi-Rite Creamery, many to get their favorite salted caramel ice cream. The line is long, but Anne Walker, the owner, is prepared.
“We check the weather every day so that we can prep for this.”