Alcatraz Island

I visited San Francisco a few months ago on vacation — I wrote about the experience previously here, but there are some things I purposely left out to give them more attention in a later post.  Well, after being distracted by other random things, I have finally looked through all of my pictures and picked out some of my favorites.

First of all, San Francisco fog is the REAL DEAL.  The first day we were there, the fog was bad, but it cleared off pretty quickly.  The second day, the fog was worse when we woke and got even more thick as the day went on (as you’ll see below, you could barely see five feet in front of you when you were out on the Bay).

This is Alcatraz from the pier on Day 1 (we wouldn't have been able to get this shot on Day 2).
This is Alcatraz from the pier on Day 1 (we wouldn’t have been able to get this shot on Day 2).

Alcatraz was a high-security prison for the worst of the worst criminals in America.  Al Capone was housed there, as well as James “Whitey” Bulger of The Departed fame (one of my favorites — more Leo love).  It was used as a federal prison from the 1930s to the 1960s.  The guards had a number of checks and balances on the system to keep control of the inmates, but they still had jailbreaks, with a few missing and presumed drowned in the choppy San Francisco Bay waters.

My husband on foggy Alcatraz
My husband on foggy Alcatraz
Lots of disrepair -- adds to character
Lots of disrepair — adds to character
The social hall, which was burned out during a Native American occupation protest after the prison closed
The social hall, which was burned out during a Native American occupation protest after the prison closed
And places where you think you can walk -- you can't always walk there -- sometimes the staircases go to nowhere
And places where you think you can walk — you can’t always walk there — sometimes the staircases go to nowhere
Seagulls are the only full-time inhabitants now
Seagulls are the only full-time inhabitants now
This place kind of gives me the willies
This place kind of gives me the willies

One of my favorite parts of the movie was visiting the gift shop and checking out all of the cheesy and/or frightening films made about Alcatraz, including The Rock (if you are Nicholas Cage fan — or a fan of watching Nicholas Cage overact).  The Rock is one of the nicknames for Alcatraz, so they didn’t just make it up for the movie to make a point about chemical warfare (or whatever that movie was about).  Suspiciously absent, though, was The Book of Eli (also terrible, in my opinion).

What do you think?  Would you want to visit Alcatraz or are the bad movies enough to keep you away?

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5 thoughts on “Alcatraz Island

  1. Even though I’ve now lived in New York City for almost 31 years, I was born and raised in San Francisco. This post COMPLETELY nails my old home town’s weather. I never had a good hair day until I moved East. As for Alcatraz, it always fascinated me, but I never toured it. I also remember when the Native Americans occupied it in 1969. That was a huge news story. When I was a kid, my favorite film about it starred Burt Lancaster. It was called “The Birdman of Alcatraz”. It’s easily been about 50 years since I last saw that film, so it’s not very fresh in my head anymore, the way my memory works, what I ate for dinner three hours aog is no longer fresh in my head, but I would love to see that film again. In the 70s there was one starring Clint Eastwood called “Escape from Alcatraz”. I saw it with my brother. It was eh.

    1. There were many ads for “The Birdman of Alcatraz” there as well. I heard some people comment he was even more sinister and feared than Capone. But yes, the weather there was not conducive to good hair days for me, either, so I completely understand. I think the Native American occupation may be the most interesting part of the entire experience.

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