The Embarcadero Plaza (formerly Justin Herman Plaza) is a plaza that lies in between the Ferry Building and the start of Market Street. It was built as part of the Embarcadero Center complex (all the buildings adjacent to it) in the 1970s.
M. Justin Herman (1909–1971) was the controversial head of San Francisco's Redevelopment Agency from 1959 until his death in 1971. He was known for redeveloping the Western Addition, and displacing the thriving African-American community that existed there, as well as modifying Japantown. The Embarcadero Center project overall was a redevelopment initiative.
In 2017, the plaza was renamed to the Embarcadero Plaza, due to the community's reception of M. Justin Herman's poor housing policies.
Some things in and around the plaza
- Occupy San Francisco set up camp at Justin Herman Plaza in October 2011 and suffered occasional SFPD raids until the camp was forceably dismantled in December 2011. Since then, the plaza has been a common site of protest for Occupy SF and other activist groups, who recently refer to it as Chelsea Manning Plaza.
- There is ice skating rink in the winter season.
- That hotel with the cool atrium.
- Critical Mass meets there monthly.
- The Valentine's Day Pillowfight takes place there annually.
- That cool blocky fountain.
- There's an arts and crafts market there a few times a week (maybe every day?)
- some dudes bustin' moves on their wheeled but human powered things, like skateboards or BMX bikes.
- There was a zip line on the plaza once or twice.