Expedition 28: Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island

March 13, 2024. I haven’t been over here in a while but I’ve seen the busy construction site from the Bay Bridge. It’s still in full swing, which means many roads are blocked off and others have no place to pull over even just for a quick photo. The building you can see from the bridge is the first of many going up on that road. At the end I found a landscaped future park area with a big sign saying “Yerba Buena.” 

Treasure Island was built in 1936 to host the Golden Gate International Exposition. The exposition celebrated our two new bridges, the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge. From WWII (when it held 1,000 German POWs!) until 1997, it was a Navy Base. 

In contrast, Yerba Buena is a natural island, which is quite obvious from this overhead photo; it also hosts a Coast Guard base. The ferry from San Francisco has been in service for two years now, but the surrounding park area is still fenced off. 

The Pacific Islander statues and the art moderne building they’re in front of were also building for the exposition. I read there are many more statues in storage that will be displayed as part of the island’s renovation. Last time I was inside the building, there was just a small museum. Now there is a bar and a restaurant, both stylishly fitting in with the building’s beautiful interior.

Along the Avenue of the Palms I visited two public artworks (by Sean Paul Lorentz and Tom Loughlin), both created from metal from the old Bay Bridge. The first one looks sort of like a dog with wings. The second one I would’ve liked to climb into but my knee isn’t ready yet. It makes a really cool hum! The artist says it “vibrates at 35 hertz, the frequency of a foghorn.” There was too much wind to get a good video. There are other artworks in the Bay Area and California made from old bridge steel; could be a future expedition to visit them!

On the way home, I made a detour to visit the Doggie Diner heads near the island fire station. Still looking colorful and spiffy! I will definitely visit here again once construction is complete and there is more access. I couldn’t get down to Clipper Cove because the parking lot was closed and it was too long for me to walk from the other lot. I couldn’t get close to the Hiroshi Sugimoto sculpture, which looks very cool. He’s one of my favorite photographers; didn’t realize he was a sculptor too! 

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