"The cable car is dead. Long live the cable car."

So says reporter Christopher Reynolds, who along with photographer Mark Boster composed an endearing love letter to San Francisco that begins with the cable cars, warts and all:

The oohing and ahhing over the world’s only remaining manually operated big-city cable car system will begin shortly. But first, let’s admit a few things:

That rats congregate near the cable car turntable by Ghirardelli Square. That panhandlers still plague the gritty turntable at Powell and Market streets. That $6 a ride would be one of the worst public transit bargains in the West, if these cars were really about public transit. That some conductors and gripmen are as rude as the hills are steep. That for prompt cross-town travel in daylight hours, the Powell Street lines are about as practical as a Ferris wheel. 

Yet as many a San Franciscan can tell you, the heart wants what the heart wants.

Read Reynolds’ full report in our latest Column One feature here, or take a look at Boster’s photos over at Framework.

Photos: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

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