For many years the median of Civic Center Park, in front of City Hall was a shallow pool, and then a lawn.
During the summer of 2008 the City tore up the lawn to make Victory Garden, a vegetable garden that would also be the centerpiece for Slow Food Nation Festival.
Recently everything was flattened and the approx. 1/4 acre area converted into what may well be the largest public "boulodrome" in the nation. I doubt that was the City Fathers' intention but that doesn't matter...
Petanque "eagle" Ken of La Petanque Mariniere spotted it last week, alerted me, and went right away with a group of friends to play a couple of games.
At roughly 72 x 13 meter (236 x 43 ft) there is enough room for 18, and if you squeeze things a bit, 24 concurrent games. Over 100 players. A lot of shade in the bordering areas. All smack in the center of the city.
Let's hope this spot becomes a permanent addition to the growing list of prominent downtown petanque locations: Bryant Park (NY), Campus Martius (Detroit), Jamison Square (Portland), Buckingham Fountain (Chicago), Discovery Green (Houston).
With La Boule d'Or in Golden Gate Park, and this new site downtown, there's every reason to pick up your boules and get out in the open air in SF.