Blue Angels Soar Through Frisco Skies
The dogs howled, the pigeons flapped, the babies cried, and the tourists trained their cameras on the heavens as the Blue Angels paid another of their discreet social calls Thursday on San Francisco.
The noise was louder than the sound of fire engines, Jamba Juice blenders and even last weekend's bluegrass festival.
At Justin Herman Plaza, there were more than a few fingers stuck into more than a few ears during the jet planes' practice fly-overs, which seemed to last all day but in fact started around noon and ended around 4 p.m.
"They're the products of the devil,'' said street artist Ulysses Dickerson, who was trying to sell his $25 paintings of angels and nymphs. "They're overlords. They're invaders. But there's always something happening in San Francisco. One week it's anti-Bush rallies, the next week it's the military saying, 'Look what we can do.' "
The noontime crowd tried to be blase about the practice flights for the Blue Angels' Fleet Week shows, but they were hard to ignore.
"At first it seems kind of cool,'' said Christina Wolf, munching on a chicken salad. "But then it reminds you of what Iraqi citizens experience every day. But over there it's real. So I guess it's a mixed message.''
Necklace street vendor John Ndoloi said the planes were good for the necklace business.
"I like them,'' he said. "Street artists look forward to the airplanes all year.''
Graeme Langlands and Dan Osborne spent their lunch hour next to the Vaillancourt Fountain, sipping sodas and trying to have a conversation over the roar, with limited success.
"All day I've been telling people, 'Excuse me, what did you say?' '' said Osborne.
The Blue Angels are sympathetic to concerns about noise but said complaints were handled by Fleet Week officials, said Lt. Garrett Kasper, Blue Angels spokesman, as the team practiced over the waterfront.