Sunday: Bernal Author Kelsey Crowe Reads at Heartfelt &

This Sunday, May 28 at 5 pm, Miss Darcy Lee from the fabulous Heartfelt & store on Cortland (at Bennington) will host Bernal neighbor and author Kelsey Crowe for a literary event.

Neighbor Darcy says:

Bernal author Kelsey Crowe will be reading excerpts from her book “There Is No Good Card For This: What To Say and Do When Life Is Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love.”

I will host a question and answer session.

This event will be held on Sunday May 28th, 5:00 pm at Heartfelt &, 409 Cortland Avenue.

Please come early, as space is limited.

PHOTO: Top, Bernal neighbor Kelsey Crowe with her new book

Body of Fatally Stabbed Man Found on Bernal Hill

Bernal Hill is closed this morning as the SFPD investigates an apparent homicide.

According to media reports from ABC7,  The Examiner, and SFGate, the body of a man who had been fatally stabbed was found on  Bernal Hill at about 5:30 this morning. The body was discovered on the south side of Bernal Hill, just inside the Anderson Street gate.

SFGate reports:

A person taking a stroll in the park discovered the body and called police about 5:30 a.m., said Sgt. Michael Andraychak of the San Francisco Police Department.

“Officers responded and found a male victim. He was suffering from apparent stab wounds,” Andraychak said.

Paramedics went to the scene and declared the victim dead.

Bernalwood has been in contact with the neighbor who first discovered the body. He says:

The body was found at around 5:15am this morning at Bernal Park, on Bernal Hts Blvd where the path to Bocana starts. Grossly mutilated body with stab wounds. It was gruesome. No witnesses.

There has been a lot of crime, often violent recently on Bernal Hill. It’s about time we disallow overnight parking from 2am to 6am between Anderson to Carver. Since the city has banned overnight parking in other parts of The City, much of it now comes to Bernal. People sleeping in cars, illegal dumping, prostitution. I’ve seen it all.

Video footage captured by NBC Bay Area appears to show a camouflaged knife sheath found on the scene:

The Examiner adds:

Anyone with information is asked to call the San Francisco Police Department Tip Line at (415) 575-4444 or Text a Tip to TIP411 and begin the message with SFPD. Tipsters may remain anonymous.

Bernalwood will update this story as additional details become available.

UPDATE, 10:30 am: D9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen will hold a community meeting on Wednesday, May 31 at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center at 6 pm to discuss this incident. Ronen says:

Early this morning a man who had been stabbed to death was found by a jogger in Bernal Heights Park. While little information is known at this time, the police do not believe the killing was random. Extra patrols will be in and around the park. Captain McFadden and I will be hosting a community meeting on Wednesday May 31st at 6:00 pm at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center on Cortland to discuss what is known about this tragic murder and public safety concerns in the community.

PHOTO: Top, The crime scene on Bernal Hill this morning. Photo via Amy Hollyfield of ABC7 News.

New Amos Goldbaum Mural Planned for Pinhole Coffee

Rendering of proposed Amos Goldbaum mural

Neighbor Amos Goldbaum is a Bernal Heights treasure. Born-and-raised here in the neighborhood, Neighbor Amos is an artist who creates intricate line-drawings of San Francisco streetscapes. His t-shirts and hoodies have become popular totems of low-key San Francisco cool, and more recently he’s also been doing large-scale murals, such as this one in Noe Valley and a very Bernalicious one inside Coffee Shop on Mission near Precita.

Now Neighbor Amos has joined forces with the fabulous Pinhole Coffee on Cortland to create a mural on Pinhole’s exterior wall, on the corner of Bonview. To help make it happen, they’ve also launched a crowdfunding effort that’s already 70% of the way to its $5000 goal.

Here’s a detail of what the mural will look like:

(That’s 231 Cortland, the current location of Pinhole Coffee, shown on the corner in the foreground, as it looked when the building was home to the Holly Park Meat Market the 1880s. Cuuute!)

Pinhole’s crowdfunding site says:

Pinhole Coffee landed in the “Neighborhood in the Sky” of Bernal Heights, San Francisco on September 12, 2014. Our space is housed at 231 Cortland Avenue, in Max Breithaupt’s former butcher shop/grocery store from the 1880’s.

We are raising money for a mural designed by SF artist Amos Goldbaum. The design is an ode to the original space juxtaposed with modern Bernal Heights. We look forward to working with Amos Goldbaum who was born, raised and currently resides in Bernal Heights.

Let’s do this thing.  You can participate in the crowdfunding effort right here.

IMAGES: Courtesy of Pinhole Coffee and Amos Goldbaum

Watch Sexy New LED Streetlights Appear On Mission

San Francisco is gradually replacing its old streetlights with new LED fixtures.  La Lengua rebel propagandist Burrito Justice documented the transition on of one fixture Mission just south of Precita this morning.

Watch:

Burrito Justice says that from start-to-finish, the process took about 10 minutes.

The San Francisco Water Power and Sewer website explains why the new LED streetlights are so sexy:

The City’s street lighting system is improving. Starting in 2017, we’ll begin replacing approximately 18,500 City-owned high-pressure sodium street light fixtures with money saving, ultra-efficient light emitting diode (LED) fixtures.

The new LEDs will improve lighting conditions throughout the City and will last about four times longer than existing lights while using half as much electricity.

Our new LEDs, with a color temperature of 3000 Kelvin, will emit warm, white light. Installation is quick and easy with little to no construction impacts on private property.

Perhaps best of all, our LEDs (like all existing City street lights) will be powered by our 100 percent greenhouse gas-free energy portfolio which includes Hetch Hetchy hydroelectric energy and solar energy.

PHOTO and GIF: Courtesy of Burrito Justice

Saturday: Remembering Bernal Neighbor Bill Guedet

Sadly, Bernal Neighbor Bill Guedet of Gates Street passed away recently. His friends and family wth host a memorial celebration of his life on Saturday, May 20 at Wild Side West from 3-5 pm.

Neighbor Toria tells us more about Neighbor Bill:

I wanted to share the sad news about the passing of a longtime Bernal/Gates Street resident and San Francisco original — Bill Guedet.

On behalf of his son Ruben and his partner Erica, I’m spreading the word about a toast/memorial/celebration to be held on May 20th at Wild Side West from 3-5pm. Ruben grew up on Gates Street, and is currently living in New York.

Bill moved to San Francisco in the 60s. He lived in the Haight, hanging out with Janis Joplin and others from the community there. He moved out in 1967 because he saw the change that was heading for that neighborhood. After a time in Potrero, he landed in Bernal in 1976. He was a cable car driver and an avid photographer.

Bill was a familiar sight on Cortland, and always good for a story about the past, or opinions about the present. It still hasn’t quite sunk in that he’s gone.

Bill son Ruben grew up on Gates Street, and he tells us more about his dad, and his life in Bernal Heights:

My father was born Oct 2nd, 1942 in Merced, California. He remembers growing up in the 40’s and 50’s, fondly recalling sharing Sunday lunch with his grandfather, a field hand who did not speak English, but taught him how to eat in the Italian way, and developed Bill’s palate for anti pasta, olive oil and vinegar. Bill was one of a handful of white teenagers to see Little Richard play in Merced, and he tried to get over the wire fence that separated him from the Latino and African American kids that were having a much better time.

As soon as he could, he left the valley for San Francisco and stayed with some gay classmates who escaped with him. He never saw any real reason not to be friends with them; indeed his family’s request to avoid them was even more reason to, and studied theater as SF State.

He would have told you that SF State was the real ground zero for the 60’s. It was wilder, much messier, far more fun than posturing UC Berkeley, and it spilled out into the Haight. In a strange coincidence, Bill’s great grandfather ran a pharmacy at Haight and Ashbury for a while with his three brothers from Italy. Bill would continue that fascination with the scene there, he famously (though not uniquely) danced with Janis Joplin. She called him “dude”, saw the Stones, poo poo’d the Dead, and lived many stories there, before he saw the good natured feelings turn away from the hope and transformation once promised.

It was in the Panhandle that he made the acquaintance that would lead him to my mother Holly (an early date being the fabled Beatles show at Candlestick). This began the great tragic romance of his life, and Bill eventually settled in Bernal Heights when I was 6 years old. Some of that time he worked as a photographer for the Chronicle, but ultimately found that less satisfying than just pursuing his own work.

In the early 70’s Bill had gotten a job working nights on the Cable Cars. This began a rollicking few years of fun and misbehavior while “the folks” (or tourists) never let on that they were the main attraction. In 1984 the cable cars were renovated, and a poorly designed switch at Powell and Market brought an end to Bill’s time with Muni. Severely injured, Bill sought training as an accountant and came to find work at the Vintage Court Hotel as a night auditor.

In the 1980s Bill began to really invest time in Bernal Heights; he was always known as the guy who cleaned the streets by picking up trash in the area (this was before recycling gave value to cans and bottles), and was instrumental in getting trash cans installed on Cortland street. Closer to home, he began the epic house renovation that continues to this day; transforming our home on Gates street from a flophouse into a family home.

It was this success that encouraged Bill to start a neighborhood tree planting program shortly thereafter. He was a leader in getting street trees planted in Bernal Heights, and was very proud the tree he had planted in front of our house. He continued his civic engagement by working against a city plan to implement street cleaning on Gates Street. BIll’s focus and drive allowed him to improve the area, and devotion to Bernal Heights is an important part what the neighborhood is today.

Bill’s energy turned inward when my Mom was diagnosed with cancer, a disease neither would ever recover from. After years of fighting with an implacable enemy, my mother succumbed and with her passing Bill would never have her far from his mind. For most of the last two decades this is the Bill that his Gates Street neighbors would come to know. Longtime residents might remember his messy attempt to redo the front of house (resulting in home made scaffolding up for years), or the eventual removal of the tree in front, but those who took the time to know Bill would understand that his passion for the area, and his love for San Francisco was never dimmed.

Bill passed on April 28th. Just as in life, he was supported by his neighbors on Gates Street in that time.

PHOTO: Bill Guedet, courtesy of his family

Rents in Bernal Heights Remain a Relative Bargain, But Only Relatively

It goes without saying that thanks to San Francisco’s ongoing housing shortage, the rents are too damn high. But according to a recent survey of median rents around San Francisco, rents in Bernal Heights are a relative bargain.

According to data compiled by Apartment List, an apartment rental listings service, the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Bernal Heights now hovers around $3800 — a nosebleed-inducing sum, but a good value compared to adjacent ‘hoods such The Mission ($4350), Potrero Hill ($4850), Noe Valley ($4390), and even Bayview(!!!), where 2BRs now go for $4160.

Citywide, Apartment List says rents in San Francisco are down 1.1% from a year ago, with the median rent for a 1BR hovering around $3400 and 2BRs renting for $4600.

To put all of this in (absurdist) perspective, consider some national comparisons: Apartment List data also shows that the median rent for 2BR units in New York City is now $4260.  In Seattle 2BRs rent for $2290, Washington DC is $3050,  Austin, TX is $1470, Denver, CO is $1840, and Chicago is $1580.

IMAGE: via Apartment List

Explore the Rolling Meadows of Southwest Bernal Heights in 1875

Neighbor Sandra recently shared this fantastic photo of Bernal Heights in 1875. It may have originally come from the fabulous SF Public Library Historical Photograph Collection.

There are so few landmarks in the photo that it was a little challenging at first to get oriented. But a few minutes of image-exploration confirmed that this is the view of southwest Bernal Heights, as seen roughly from the area where Silver and Congdon streets intersect in The Portola today.

The key detail that confirms the perspective is the College Hill Reservoir, built in 1870. It’s clearly visible on the west slope of Bernal Hill:

Notice that this was taken about 20 years before Holly Park was a proper park. The circular park we know and love today, was built in the 1890s.

Anyway, now that we’re properly situated, let’s look an annotated version of the 1875 image:

Lucky for us, Neighbor Sandra sent us a high-res image of the 1875 photo, so there’s a lot to zoom and enhance.

For example, here’s a tight crop of Bernal Hill, and the future Cortlandia. But in 1875, the west slope of Bernal Hill was home to just a few farm houses:

On the far left, there’s a dark line running north-south, just west of Mission Street. That’s the trench of the Bernal Cut,  which was excavated in the 1850s by the Southern Pacific for use as a raildroad right-of-way. Later, the cut was widened to become a stillborn freeway, and it’s now known as San Jose Boulevard:

In the foreground, we see the campus of St. Mary’s College, with two baseball diamonds on the south side:

Burrito Justice zoomed and enhanced even further, and noticed there’s a game underway on the diamond to the right. Looks like there may even be runners on first and second:

St. Mary’s College still exists, of course, but it’s in Moraga now.

The college’s website details its founding years in Bernal Heights, before moving east in the 1880s:

Archbishop Joseph Alemany had been dispatched to the West Coast in the mid-19th century by Pope Pius IX with the words: “You must go to California. Others go there to seek gold; you go there to carry the Cross.”

Alemany soon saw the need for education and religious instruction for the working class youth of a burgeoning San Francisco. Determined to open a school, he sent the intrepid Irish priest, Father James Croke, to seek donations from farmers, ranchers, merchants and the gold miners in the Sierra Nevada. He came back after two years with cash and gold dust to the tune of $37,166.50, a princely sum for the time.

Alemany threw open the doors of Saint Mary’s College in 1863. After five years of struggle, he made a difficult journey to Rome to ask for help from Christian Brothers, whose superior sent nine mostly Irish Brothers in 1868 to travel from New York by sea to San Francisco to manage the new school. Soon the Brothers were able to increase enrollment, stabilize the College’s finances and establish Saint Mary’s as the largest institute of higher education in California at the time. The first bachelor’s degrees were awarded in 1872. […]

The College moved from its cold, windswept campus in San Francisco to Oakland in 1889.

St. Mary’s College has been gone for 120 years, but the southwest corner of Bernal Heights is still called College Hill.