It's Still Too Damn High

Still High Rent Begins Falling in the Mission

While it comes as no surprise that rents across San Francisco continued to increase this past September, the Mission and Bernal Heights were two notable exceptions to the trend.

Curbed reports:

The Mission, which seems to always feature in conversations about about gentrification and high rents, has since January actually seen its median one-bedroom rent fall by $300, to $2,500, which is lower even [than] its August 2013 rate of $2,725. This is one of the only neighborhoods that has seen a price drop, although nearby Bernal Heights has also lowered from $3,070 in January to $2,650, just above last year’s $2,525.

It is important to note that it’s unclear if this is an actual sustained downward trend or just a quick moment of relief. As Curbed and Zumper’s data points out, rents increased in the Mission at least through this past January before falling in recent months.


Culture Delivered

Dolores Park, Gannett Style

In their continuing effort to appeal to a demographic that by now should really know better, The Bold Italic, owned by the New York-based Gannett Media Corporation, has helpfully decided to publish “one easy menu” of “all the classic DP options.” “DP,” of course, being the slang term used by the in-the-know kids of San Francisco to refer to Dolores Park.

Presented in a style custom tailored for someone who spends his days disrupting established industries, but secretly considers himself an artist because he keeps an elaborately curated Pinterest board, the not-so-exhaustive list touches on some key points. To wit:

  • Cold Beer, Cold Water: A Dolores Park institution, James is mostly known for his sour demeanor and short temper. Less well known is the fact that he will wager a cold beer on a coin toss. Heads and that icy goodness is yours, free of charge. Tails, well, you know how it works. 
  • The Guy Slingin’ Costco Pizza: Not mentioning that the pizza is from Costco is forgivable, as is getting the price wrong (the going rate is $3.00 a slice), but omitting entirely the fact that this dude has a thriving business selling “water, ice cold beer” on the side overlooks an essential Dolores Park rivalry and speaks to a lack of journalistic due diligence.
  • “Magic” Cookies: Yes. There is weed food in the park, and some of it is sold by a dude dressed as a Ninja Turtle with a giant staff (PROTIP: don’t buy from that guy).
  • The Truffle Guy: While this version of The Truffle Guy is inexplicably presented as white, Trevor’s rad hat and fanny pack are faithfully included. And the fact that there is an entire separate category for generic weed food implies that the author has sampled Trevor’s goods, and finds them in a class of their own.

Some park gems that didn’t make The Bold Italic’s cut:

  • That dreadlocked, machete-wielding dude who serves coconuts overflowing with Sailor Jerry’s rum.
  • The sweetest person in the park, Hey, Cookie!
  • The numerous vendors selling iced treats out of push carts.

And while it is clear that this is just another puff piece from our friends working hard to “[inspire] people to think differently about San Francisco,” it is difficult not to see the graphic’s headline of “Presenting.. Dolores Park Delivered!” in a manner perhaps not entirely intended by the author. That is, this piece perfectly embodies what in many ways The Bold Italic has become: little slices of clickbait delivered to the desks of the aspirant hip taking a moment out of their busy schedules to festishize the bohemian park lifestyle.

Because here’s the thing— this “menu” is clearly not for actual park-goers. Rather, it exists as a little, easily digested bland bit of San Francisco culture, graciously made palatable by our friends at Gannett.

Bon appétit.

[The Bold Italic]

Messenger Bags

Mission Workshop Replaces Therapy Furniture

This past August we wrote about Therapy, the successful purveyor of expensive/hip furniture, being forced out of its Valencia Street location by a looming 84% rent increase. Following on the heels of other established businesses pressured to leave the 16th and Valencia area, Therapy’s dilemma seemed like only the latest example of an increasingly common trend. 

There was much speculation as to who the eventual new tenant would be, with some commenters suggesting that this was merely another step toward the inevitable mallification of Valencia Street. As such, it was with great interest that we read this post from Mr. Eric Sir:

Local backpack and messenger bag company Mission Workshop appears to be moving to the old Therapy Furniture spot on Valencia at 16th. But here’s the interesting thing: their old store on Rondel is right behind the Valencia location. […]

So the old and new locations share a common wall. If they wanted to — and I should stress that no building permits have been filed as of today — they could bust out some axes and make one huge store.

There is no word as to whether Mission Workshop is paying the $10,500 a month rent, as demanded by the location’s landlord in August. And while on the face of it this seems like a risky move for Mission Workshop, as their rent is no doubt skyrocketing, we can (and should) take solace in the fact that the location is staying local.

It seems that the mallifaction of Valencia Street may have taken a break, if only a brief one.

[Mr. Eric Sir]

Coding In The Sun

Free Wifi Comes To Some City Parks

The long talked about San Francisco free wifi program launches today, providing free wireless internet to parks across the city.

The Examiner reports:

San Francisco is officially rolling out free Wi-Fi service in 32 public parks and recreation centers today, in a step toward a larger vision of making Internet service for residents a right and not a luxury.

Funded through a $600,000 gift from Google to The City last year, the Department of Technology spent the past year installing and testing the networks that city officials say are ready for prime time.

While this is a great step toward making internet access universal, I can’t help but wonder if more people staring at their phones/computers is really what the parks of San Francisco need.

And for those of you less than thrilled at the prospect of hordes of Glass enthusiasts live streaming your every park bong rip, take heart: the Dolores Park wifi has yet to come online. As Curbed reports, “Boeddeker Park and Dolores Park won’t get their service up and running until their renovations are complete later this year and in early 2015, respectively.” 

Street Art

Rainbow Crosswalk Comes to the Castro

San Francisco has been planning to add rainbow crosswalks to the streets of the Castro since March. And as the above picture clearly demonstrates, that day has finally come.

The LA Times reported at the time of the plan’s announcement:

Multicolored crosswalks at the intersection of Castro and 18th streets will be added as part of a larger streetscape improvement project for the area, said Andrea Aiello, executive director of the Castro/Upper Market Community Benefits District.

The crosswalk design, Aiello said, “emanated from the community,” and “there’s a feeling it represents the LGBT community and the important role it has played in this neighborhood.” […]

The rainbow crosswalks in the Castro are being added as part of the larger Castro Streetscape project, a collaboration between city and private entities, said Rachel Gordon, spokeswoman for the San Francisco Department of Public Works.

While internet commentators have complained that this is a step toward turning the Castro into a “gay theme park,” we’re just going to go ahead and say that these look pretty cool.

[Photo: Scott Wiener]


Sunflower Has Closed, And Is Potentially Out of Business

Sunflower, the Vietnamese restaurant located on Valencia at 16th, has long been a go-to spot for affordable eats on what has become an otherwise expensive restaurant row. Now it looks like they’re in trouble.

SF Eater reports:

Sunflower is mysteriously shuttered, with only a sign on the door reading “We are closed until further notice. Sorry for the inconvenience.” A call placed to the restaurant was answered by a voicemail box with an identical message. A staffer at Sunflower’s sister location in Potrero Hill, which remains open, refused to comment on why the Mission location was closed, or when it might reopen.

The closure is even more curious when considering Sunflower is (was?) in the process of opening a vegetarian restaurant next door to their Valencia location. Eater speculates that escalate rents might be to blame, but there’s no way to know.

We can only hope that this is not just the latest example of affordable and well-loved spots being priced off of Valencia Street.

Update: It has been suggested that they have closed for renovations, specifically to make the restaurant ADA compliant. However, there are no building permits on file for any such construction—something that would be necessary for renovations to take place. There are also no active complaints on file for the restaurant. We’ll update as we learn more.

[SF Eater]

Diesel And Fries

Another Street Food Park Comes to the Mission

Confirming that we have yet to reach peak food truck, a new “food truck park” has opened up down the street from Zeitgeist on Duboce. The Duboce Truck Stop, which had their soft opening this past Monday, promises the following:

DTS will host up to 4 trucks daily for lunch M-F 10:30am to 3pm.  We will be open for dinners and weekends once we obtain our Beer/Wine permit to serve which we anticipate will be Mid October and will be hosting up to 10 of the city’s best food trucks.  So get ready for the City’s Newest Food Truck Park and Beer Garden.

The options are set to change daily, and you can check the schedule out online before walking over there only to be met with crushing disappointment at the lack of poutine.

It is worth mentioning that the latest parking lot to foray into the foodie game is not actually located in Duboce Triangle, as claimed by the DTS website, but rather in the scenic environs of the Central Freeway— an area better known for bicycle chop shops than culinary delights. But with new microhoods popping up almost daily, in no time at all I’m sure we’ll be talking about the new food truck park located in sunny “Duboce Flats.”

[Photo: Benedict Arnold’s]

Street Boozing

Monk's Kettle Unveils New Sidewalk Drinking Patio on 16th Street

After a brief closure, Monk’s Kettle on 16th Street has reopened their doors with more places to drink and more room to pee.

SF Eater reports:

Seating at The Monk’s Kettle has always been a tough ticket, but waits should hopefully ease up a bit now that their new patio has made its debut. With seating for 20 (and heat lamps for those chillier days), the sidewalk perch on 16th Street is going to become very sought-after for the remainder of Indian summer. […]

And gentlemen needing some release for all that beer will also be happy to learn that the men’s bathroom has been expanded, and can now accommodate two beer-loving bros at one time. The bar is now open once again, and hours are the same: 12 pm-2 am (with outdoor seats open until 10 pm).

The new seating area looks inviting, and will surely attract beer enthusiasts clamoring to sip craft brews under industrial strength heat lamps. If nothing else, it is an improvement on their previous patio.

And while in general I am a huge fan of any and all opportunities to get drunk outside, something seems odd about being able to order “a wheat-berry session saison dry-hopped with Sorachi Ace and Amarillo hops” on that particular stretch of 16th Street. Especially considering that I once saw a dude get his head smashed in with an aluminum baseball bat outside of Delirium right across the street.

[SF Eater]

Disrupting Community

Zuckerberg Is An Awful Neighbor, And He Hasn't Even Moved In Yet

When we first learned that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had purchased a home in the Mission District—and was attempting to rebrand himself as a “Mission Hipster”—we couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity of the situation. Dropping ten-plus million on a weekend home in a neighborhood many feel Zuckerberg is already helping to gentrify one shuttle bus at a time, only to spend his nights putting back drinks in local dives, seemed like adding insult to injury.

Like, can’t you at least leave us our dive bars? Do you have to ruin those too?

But that was just the drunken lament of the broke Mission dirt bag, quietly sipping a Cutty Bang and pondering his/her own irrelevance. Surely, the wealthy residents of the Mission would welcome this new neighbor with open, smart watch-adorned arms.

Well, it turns out, not so much. Apparently Zuckerberg’s 17 month (and counting) non-stop renovation of his Mission District home has irked some of the neighbors.

SF Gate reports:

Welcome to Fort Zuckerberg — the $10 million Dolores Heights “fixer-upper” that Mark Zuckerberg and his wife have turned into a massive construction encampment that has some neighbors feeling under siege by the Facebook founder.

Their problem goes beyond the rash of “no parking” signs on 21st Street near Dolores Street that have kept them from parking outside their own homes these past 17 months.

Dozens of construction workers, using backhoes and jackhammers, are busy installing everything from a new kitchen to bathrooms and decks — and tearing up the sidewalks for new fiber-optic cables that will connect to the home. […]

A man in a hardhat identifying himself as the prime contractor, but who wouldn’t give his name, acknowledged that there have been 40 to 50 workers on the job daily since work began in April 2013.

While living in the city naturally entails dealing with construction and its associated nuisances, we can’t help but feel a bit of sympathy for those forced to endure the increasingly absurd additions to this member of the tech elite’s pied-à-terre.

We get it Mark. You’re young, rich, and don’t give a fuck if the construction of your “basement garage, complete with a turntable pad” upsets your neighbors. But do you have to be such a dick about it?


Dolores Park Construction Delayed Four Months

In news that comes as a surprise to absolutely no one, it has been announced that the renovation of Dolores Park’s north side has been delayed by at least four months.

Dolores Park Works reports:

Completion of the North Side of the Dolores Park improvement project is now expected to be early 2015, a 4 month delay. Jake Gilchrist, manager for the project told us that unforeseen problems were discovered during excavation of the foundation for the new maintenance shed. Excessive ground water was uncovered and had to be extracted before the contractor could continue and the soil then had to be reinforced to stabilize the area. […]

The construction delay will cost an additional of $2.2 million for a total of $18.3 million budget.

The article goes on to say that “the entire Dolores Park improvement project is still on target for completion in late 2015,” which is either complete bullshit, or it means that for a period of time both the north and south sides of the park will be closed simultaneously.

It looks like your epic plans to recolonize tall-boy terrace will have to wait just a little bit longer.

Update: Jake Gilchrist confirms to Uptown Almanac in an email that the entire renovation project has been pushed back from it’s originally-scheduled completion in summer 2015. “[It’s] now on target for later in 2015. We are not planning to overlap the closures, though we are looking for any possible time savings with the contractor.”

[Dolores Park Works | Photo: torbakhopper]