The Magic City

from L.A. Free Press (UPS)


Fifth Estate # 36, August 15-31, 1967

“The words that describe what’s happening in the Haight this summer are ‘Free,’ ‘Now,’ and ‘Do It.'”

The most spectacular development of recent months is the acquisition of a 482-room hotel in the area south of Market Street by the San Francisco Diggers. The hotel, located at 256 Sixth Street, was condemned some time ago by the City.

The Diggers made a deal with the owners of the place: they take it free for two years in exchange for work designed to bring it up to Building Code standards. About 40 new residents are working full time on making themselves a home.

There are lots of other things you can get for free in the City. In the Haight itself more public crash-pads abound than ever—but their locations are now communicated only by word of mouth, since wide publication apparently was responsible for the police and landlord harassment and the frequent invasions of privacy experienced by Digger pads in the past.

What else is free?

The daily feeds in the Golden Gate Panhandle at 4 p.m. are providing meals like a Jewish mother. The average meal includes meat, potatoes, beans, fresh fruit and bread. Luxury foods have even appeared mysteriously on the menu—recently, for example, everyone in the line received a portion of octopus.

The Free Store at 901 Cole offers mostly clothing, but household items of every conceivable sort are available there. Ten days ago someone laid a shipment of computer parts on the Store—they were gone almost immediately.

A free bus runs from the Haight to Berkeley and back twice a day.

And free dope—pot, LSD, even a little STP.

Just give the rest away, or so one missionary from the Golden North relates.

Free dances and entertainment are also in abundance.

“In San Francisco you just don’t need money at all anymore,” the same cat told the Free Press. “All of what you need is yours as a matter of right.”

A free medical clinic is operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 560 Clayton, at the corner of Haight. Medical students and interns are on hand at all times, with perhaps a dozen doctors donating their time as needed. The Clinic includes a calm center for mile freakouts and has access to downers if necessary. If at all possible, the Clinic refrains from sending freak-outs to the hospital. People are not even required to give real names to insure safety from the cops…

A free bus, the Nova Express, is operated by the Berkeley Provos, making three free trips daily between Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley and the Panhandle Park in the Haight.