Just an update on my apartment hunting. I flew in on Wednesday and walked around the city most of Thursday. Since I was not familiar with the city, I noted a few observations:
*The Tenderloin area (specifically, a few blocks north of Hastings) is a terrible area, littered with the homeless. I had actually considered the area (for its proximity), but after visiting, that was a definite no-no.
*The Nob Hill area is nice and there is definitely available housing.
*The Alamo Square area is very nice and quasi-suburban area. Alamo Square is exactly one mile west of the corner of McAllister and Hyde. I have heard that the area is noted for its gay/lesbian population.
I've put in an application on a nice place in the Alamo Square area (Webster St.). There's a Safeway nearby and a little shopping center. I'm very happy about the size of my studio out in this area -- bigger than the studios in the Nob Hill area.
I also spoke with a lady in the Housing Office, and according to her, while there is a waiting list for The Tower, there has been a lot of movement off the waiting list and there is a fair chance of getting into the Tower if you apply for a studio. I saw a few units in the Tower. My thoughts on them were: the units were a decent size, but the kitchens were quite small. There was only a mini-fridge, with the mini-fridge-type freezer. There were two burners, small oven, no microwave. The rooms are carpeted. Depending on the floor, the view is very nice. The sky room is very nice. The gym is serviceable and has free weights and cardio machines. I considered seriously getting on the waiting list, but I am on a tight schedule and so I really needed to know definitely about my housing within a week.
My other observation: San Francisco -- really nice city overall.