I had walked down 16th Street in San Francisco about 4 or 5 times by the time I saw it. It was a blue cast iron gate, flush with the buildings. If you were in a hurry or not paying any kind of attention, then you would just walk by it. And I did. Until the one time I didn’t.
I don’t know what made me turn around and look up the stairs, but once I did, it felt as if I had seen a glimpse of some magical place. Cleansed by days of walking and wandering, I looked through the bars and imagined all the sorts of wonderful things that were beyond that gate and behind those doors. And after a few moments. I walked away and this space had grown roots in my memory.