Hunter's Point

A reader writes:

While I enjoyed Troy Paiva's wonderfully spooky and evocative photographs of the old Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard here in San Francisco, I must take exception to his description of the old base as "out of the public eye for decades… abandoned and forgotten."

It's true the base was decommissioned, with some facilities abandoned or locked down (for many reasons, including radioactive contamination in some buildings), and it's also true that the place is in transition, from the Navy to the city and now slowly on to the developers.

But for years the "abandoned" base has provided a low-cost home to hundreds of creative artists, non-profits and small businesses of all kinds.

And even though many of those businesses have had to close or relocate in the last couple of years as sections of the base are closed for remediation and redevelopment, Hunter's Point is still the largest art colony in the country.

I know, because I kept a studio out there myself until just a couple years ago - not in the colony itself, but down on the flats, in one of the gigantic old Navy warehouses.

Hunter's Point was - and is - a spooky place in many ways, but it was also the only low-cost art space left in this city of sky-high rents. We'll miss it when it's gone. But resistance is futile. Can you imagine what 500 bayfront acres in San Francisco is worth?

At least we'll have Troy's photos to remember.