A STORY OF 34 MILES photography and text by lucia amieva-wang

Travel from San Francisco's tie dye-soaked Haight District, to the pulsing heart of the 21st century, University Avenue in Palo Alto.

This is a tale of two cities.

The journey starts on the railroads of the Caltrain, where movement is constant, tracing a vertical line connecting the entire bay from San Jose to San Francisco.

A man, lost in thought, awaits the five minute warning arrival of the Northbound Caltrain from the Palo Alto Transit station.

San Francisco welcomes commuters with its predictable morning fog and overcast of bright clouds.

The transit keeps the rhythm of the city. As passengers pour out of the Caltrain, they are only momentarily on stable ground; at 4th & King Street, the Muni pulls up and they're off again. The movement is continuous.

The public bus system, known as the "Muni", is packed with people off to various corners of the City.


Between colorful murals, rows of vinyl ,and grungy second-hand stores, the Haight District of San Francisco repaints the hippie culture of the 60s.

The Haight is only one of the many streets of San Francisco representing the endless variety of culture and people that make up this "Golden City".

Work starts in the early morning despite the fog. A man carries wood pieces to and from the construction of one of the many Victorian style buildings lining the streets of San Francisco.
Cali, 23, an employee of a vintage T-shirt shop on Haight Street, awaits the beginning of their shift in the early morning. Cali, referred to as "they", follows their passion for music and art traveling around playing the Caribbean drums.

Andrew Allison, 23, of San Luis Obispo, Calif., sits outside a smoke shop in the Haight District in San Francisco on Wednesday, June 29th, 2016. Allison, and his group of two friends, are traveling at, “the speed of life”, making their way to their next destination, Oregon.

Cassi Stressman, Andrew Allison, and Daniel Pan Galer of San Luis Obispo, Calif., pose for a picture with their two dogs. The trio are making their way to Oregon, carrying all of their possessions, stopping wherever feels right.

"We are just going you know, however it feels." -Andrew Allison (23)
Allen Lewites, is an employee at the Amoeba Music Store, a warehouse containing aisles and aisles of sorted records on Haight Street. Lewites passionately explains the magic held within a record; the preservation of the "real sound". Lewites reveals that since he first heard the Beatle's at the age of ten, he had a gut feeling they were going to be great.


Innovation becomes reality as techies and hipsters put their brains together to create the latest technology and culture.

The heart of Palo Alto beats through its growing culture of connection. As technology is becoming a major part of most people's lives, the need to be connected is portrayed through the local businesses on one of Palo Alto's best known streets; University Avenue. Though technology seems to be taking over, the beauty of University is its connection of old and new through vintage bookstores and old-fashioned theaters.

Bell's Books, a family-owned bookstore on Emerson Street, sits just off of Palo Alto's famous University Avenue. They pride themselves in their unique variety of historical, art, food, used, and signed first-edition books. Books line every wall and every shelf, leaving almost no proof of the existence of the building's plaster walls.
Chris Storer (above) has lived in Palo Alto since 1980. Storer and his co-worker, Virginia Kean, employees at Bell's Books, have seen many neighboring businesses rise and fall over the years. This bookstore preserves the wonder and timelessness of paper books that have yet to be engulfed by Palo Alto's growing contemporary culture.

"People like to browse and find things they haven't thought of or dreamed of before". - Virginia Kean

Looking into the Palo Alto Creamery just off of Palo Alto's University Avenue. The creamery, designed to fit the vibe of an old-fashioned diner, offers the whole package: burger, fries, and shakes. Their motto: "Simple food, done well".
Jose Sandoval, 45, originally from El Salvador, proudly poses for a picture during his shift working as a waiter at the Palo Alto Creamery on Thursday, June 30th, 2016.

Palo Alto's infamous reputation for its growing contemporary culture can be seen everywhere, from the streets to new coming businesses of University Avenue.

B8ta, a brand new gadget store, draws many passerbys from University Avenue. Their gadgets seen all around Palo Alto are booming with success due to Silicon Valley's consistency of finding ways to always stay connected.

Twenty-three year old Zachary Estrada of Fremont, Calif., shows off his charismatic personality in front of the Walgreens of Palo Alto's University Avenue, in what he calls the "center of town". As people walk by, Estrada makes sure to greet everyone despite those who "just don't know how to respond to someone in my situation". At the end of the day, Estrada enjoys what he does, "If I didn't, I wouldn't be here".

Each street tells a mulitude of stories tied together by the culture of the pavement beneath them.

Thirty-four miles, connected by one vertical line, join common minds, stories, and people from two disparate cities.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.