Since the 1940s, it has been a San Francisco tradition on New Year’s Eve for office workers to hurl the pages of old calendars from windows in the Financial District. The artificial dusting blankets Market Street in a white drift a foot deep, bringing a Tahoe-like scene to the asphalt canyons. It remains a special treat for city kids who may never have played in the snow, or in autumn leaves for that matter.
Herb Caen once wrote that he would stroll downtown and witness “…a custom observed nowhere else.” Later he would add that throwing the entire calendar, as a whole, out the window would be “bad form” as someone might bring in the New Year with a bad migraine, or worse.
New Year’s Eve:
It was estimated that approximately thirty thousand pounds of paper were tossed out high-rises in the 1970s with a cleanup cost at around $6,000. New construction now seals the windows of tall buildings. But the revelry continues. The S.F. Department of Public Works in recent years has had to cart away as much as 30 tons of paper and garbage on January 2nd, the cost at a staggering $100,000. But what the hell, right? You only experience this day once a year, so go for it. Get down and messy. Have a Happy New Year and a prosperous 2019. Cheers!