In San Francisco, a Frat Invasion Transforms a National Park

In a city known for its Beat history and hippie culture, the evolution of Fort Mason - a 237-year-old military post turned national park - into a haven for frat guys and "Google Girls" is an anomaly worthy of anthropological study.
Josh Evnin / flickr

On a recent weekend afternoon, "[y]oung men in salmon-colored shorts lounged on a picnic blanket next to heavy red coolers" on the lawn of the Great Meadow in Fort Mason, observes Nellie Bowles. "A few strung hammocks between the lawn's palm trees. Others had set up corn-hole tables, horseshoe ranges, bocce ball and a volleyball court."

The scene is apparently so common in the military post turned national park that it's earned the area a new nickname: Frat Mason. " 'Cause it's like the fratty, preppy Dolores Park,' said 24-year-old Armando Anido Jr., an investment banker who dropped in from his South of Market pad. 'It's where you find the all the frat stars, especially on a Fraturday.' "

Though an official with the National Park Service may grumble about "trash mobs" and party hats being left on the statue of the park's founder, "[t]he new residents insist that partying is only a small part of what's going on at Fort Mason," notes Bowles. "They say that the neighborhood feels like family, where residents borrow sugar from each other and troubleshoot for their startups while, yes, sometimes having margaritas."

Full Story: New S.F. neighborhood like a campus fraternity row


Brand new! Urban Grid City Collection

Each city has its own unique story. Commemorate where you came from or where you want to go.
Grids and Guide Red book cover

Grids & Guides

A notebook for visual thinkers. Available in red and black.
Book cover of Unsprawl

Unsprawl: Remixing Spaces as Places

Explore visionary, controversial and ultimately successful strategies for building people-centered places.
Starting at $12.95
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

The Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs is the only comprehensive ranking and listing of graduate urban planning programs available.
Starting at $24.95