We plan on building a large replica of Herb Caen’s “Loyal Royal” typewriter that doubles as a small urban amphitheater. The “keys” will actually be seats that allow people to sit, relax and observe the city around them. The underside of these seats will be wired with a small motion sensor that activates a speaker that will recite a memorable Herb Caen quote when someone sits down.
Anyone willing to take a step back and observe the bustle of Market Street from our perch will be rewarded with phrases which, though familiar-sounding, may have been unfamiliar in origin until that moment. We plan to select Caen quotes that shine a light on Market Street and the neighborhoods that surround it. By presenting these quotes in a setting that makes it easy for pedestrians of all ages and backgrounds to relax, observe, and interact, we hope to create a shared experience that will give strangers an opportunity to engage with one another.
The original title of Herb Caen's column was "It's News to Me", and the narrative that Caen crafted with his column was instrumental in shaping how entire generations view the City, yet today it would be news to many of those on the street that Caen was responsible for so many of our City's loving descriptions. Caen described his column as “a continuous love letter to San Francisco”, and we hope that this project will inspire a new generation to fall in love with Caen and the City that he loved.