Fog City Blues
Nob Hill is an affluent district, home to many of the city’s upper-class families as well as a large young urban professional population, and a growing Chinese immigrant population from Chinatown to the east. Sometimes it is sarcastically referred to as Snob Hill (in fact, “nob” is a slang term meaning “wealthy and distinguished person”, possibly influenced by the word “nabob”, and thus similar in meaning to “snob”).The intersection of California and Powell streets is the location of its four well-known and most expensive hotels: the Fairmont Hotel, the Mark Hopkins Hotel, the Stanford Court, and the Huntington Hotel. Interestingly, they represent also three names out of The Big Four (i.e. Stanford, Hopkins & Huntington). The Fairmont is also named for a San Francisco tycoon, James G. Fair.
Opposite the Fairmont Hotel and Pacific Union Club is Grace Cathedral, one of the city’s largest houses of worship. The state Masonic Temple is also located across from the church.
Nob Hill is everything that the Tenderloin isn’t; ritzy, rich and safe. At least that’s what it looks like to most people. The hill actually butts up against some of the poorer Chinese and Russian neighborhoods, so once you get past the opulent mansions and gated communities, things go downhill (ha!) pretty fast.
The Bing Kong Tong and the Russian Vory v Zakone regularly scrap over control of Lower Nob Hill, and it’s whispered that Natalia Borovsky’s been looking to make an example of some of the Tong bosses.