Neighbor Chuck B. Goes on a Thoughtful Bernal Photowalk



Bernal neighbor Chuck B. is the keeper of the lovely My Back 40 (Feet) blog. He’s both a horticulturalist and a shutterbug, which is a winning combination. Recently, he went on one of his occasional photo-strolls through the neighborhood, starting on Bernal Heights Boulevard:

I love that we still have dirt roads around here. Alabama Dead End. It’s like a Lucinda Williams album cover.


He’s right! Your Bernalwood editor took some artistic liberties to complete the thought:

Later, Chuck B. discovered the mysterious wonderland that is Precitaville:

Precita Park. In all the years I have lived in San Francisco (on and off since 1989) and in Bernal Heights particularly (continuously since 2003), I have never been here before. But I drive by a few times a month. This is sooo north side. I am very south side. We can be friends, but we can’t be best friends.

Precita Park

Then he wandered west, fearlessly, into the wilds of the La Lengua Autonomous Zone.

I know hipsters were buying Dickies and trucker hats at Arik’s at least as far back as the 1980s. There was a different kind of hipster back then.

IMG_5864He paused to (wisely) appreciate the architecture of the 3300 Club building:

I love the building above it. San Francisco has a finite number of these beauties and everytime we lose one in a fire a little piece of my soul dies with it.


Then he discovered a superb street garden on Coleridge:

What an inspiration this is for making a big impact in a small space. I have a planter like this and went big with the spicebush (Calycanthus occidentalis) and a ground cover of redwood sorrel (Oxalis oregana). It’s nice, I like it, but this is fabulous. I had to back up to capture the whole thing for you.


All this is just a sliver of the wonderfulness spotted during Chuck B’s photo walk, so by all means go see the whole thing at My Back 40 (Feet).

PHOTOS: Chuck B./My Back 40 (Feet)

6 thoughts on “Neighbor Chuck B. Goes on a Thoughtful Bernal Photowalk

  1. Chuck B can do no wrong in my book! I used to buy Dickies at the Ben Davis store back in high school, when all the pants were baggy, even for girls!


  2. I appreciate his view of Bernal, as I appreciate everyone’s unique perspective of our cozy neighborhood. I’m a North Sloper sincne 2005. I lived on Nevada/Powhattan previously. Although being near the top of The Hill, and around the corner from Cortland is terrific, I love the community on our side. Charlie’s Cafe doubles as a neighborhood think tank, Precita Park is the mellowest and friendliest kid/dog/people park I know of, with a welcome level of warmth and politeness. I also love the close walk to 24th Street. Some of our streets are wide enough for two cars to squeeze by, our travel time to 101 is 1 minute, our view of downtown SF is sensational, and the only sounds we hear at night are the occasional ambulance from General. The people who knock on each other’s doors for milk and sugar, or a brew, beats anyone’s ratio. We share community garden plots, walk our dogs together, look in on each others cats, and send our teenagers over to babysit our toddlers. I can barely get my dog out to pee in the morning (often committing the bathrobe walk of shame) without running into a couple neighbors eager to wish me well on this day. Oh, and we’re home to the best small breed dog walker (shameless self promotion.) We want to be your friend, South-sider, truly we do. But we are content with an acquaintance since we have such a cool thing going over here. 🙂

  3. Sweet. I remember coming to that Arik in the 80s as well, to buy Dickies – all the way from my college flat in the Haight. We didn’t think of ourselves as hipsters, I recall… I’m always impressed at your endless energy – like that Lucinda Williams cover!

  4. Pingback: Neighbor Chuck Captures “Everyday Sights in Bernal Heights” | Bernalwood

  5. Pingback: Hidden Part of Bernal Heights Looks Oddly Like Rural France | Bernalwood

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