Saturday: Let’s Celebrate the Restoration of Esmeralda Slide Park

The secret slides on Esmeralda have always been a symbol of community spirit and cooperation in Bernal Heights, and the recent re-restoration of the slides and the surrounding park was no exception.

Spearheaded by Neighbors Joan and Nancy with support from a diverse cast of Bernal neighbors and City officials, the Esmeralda Slide Park now looks better than ever, and the installation of “The Locator,” a gorgeous new mosaic funded by donations from our community, was the crowning detail.

So now it’s time to celebrate. Neighbor Joan shares this invitation to a celebration happening on Saturday morning, June 24:

“The Locator” mosaic wouldn’t have been created if it hadn’t been for your generous donations. So, once again, thank you.

Saturday, June 24, 2017
10:00 am to noon
Esmeralda Plaza (Esmeralda Stairs @ Winfield Street)

Come celebrate Our Collective Achievement!

Rachel Rodi (the tile artist) & her team, along with Nancy Windesheim & Joan Carson (the designers) will be on hand to answer any questions. We hope many of you can attend. Over 100 donors contributed to this project through GoFundMe.

Although the City did not fund the tile installation, Director Nuru graciously permitted it’s construction on public property. He and his key staff were very supportive of this project and will be present to share in it’s celebration.

Please RSVP to by June 22

City will provide refreshments based upon RSVP replies.

PHOTOS: Top, The Locator mosaic, installed at the Emeralda Slide Park. Photo via Neighbor Joan. Below, restored slides, via Google

Play Pac-Man In Your Favorite Bernal Heights Microhood


Today is April Fools Day, which means you should definitely be on guard for things that sound too good to be true. Yet one such too-good-thing that turns out to actually be quite true is the special treat your friends and neighbors from the Google Maps team created to celebrate the day: A special, playable PacMan layer for Google Maps that can be applied to areas with lots of criss-crossing roads. Areas, like, say, Bernal Heights.

Let’s let The Verge geeksplain:

Your neighborhood just got a lot more interesting. Google has released a new feature for Maps that lets you turn any location into a game of Pac-Man — all you have to do is click the new Pac-Man button that resides in the lower left corner of the screen. When you do, whatever section of the world you’re looking at will transform into the pixelated arcade classic, complete with four colorful ghosts and the iconic music. While developers have created similar hacks before, this version of Google Maps Pac-Mancomes directly from Google, and even supports mobile devices.

You can’t play all of Bernal Heights in one screen. But you can play one of our Bernal microhoods (including popular footpaths). Bernal Hill is shown up above. Here’s Holly Park:


This is central Cortlandia:


This is Precitaville and Precita Park:


And this is St. Mary’s Park:


Caution: You may find that there aren’t enough ghost-munching Power Pellets in some areas of Bernal Heights Pac-Man. This is completely unacceptable. We recommend filing lots and lots and lots of requests for additional Bernal Heights Pac-Man Power Pellets with and D9 Supervisor David Campos’s office. They’ll be totally glad to assist you.

… April Fools!

Animated GIF Shows Very Animated Nighttime View of New Bayfront Mural


Neighbor Joe Thomas  (Codename: Jobius) operates a Bernalwood Observation Post at an upper altitude on the east side of Bernal Heights. He also uses this location as an Animated GIF manufacturing facility.

All this means that Jobius now spends a lot of time looking at the new Bayview Rising mural, and he’s excited to see the mural’s ability to transform at night, once they turn the lights on. In fact, Jobius is so excited about this that he forged an Animated GIF of the mural’s three nighttime color modes to simulate his future views.

Behold, his Animated GIF of Our Future Skyline:


PHOTOS: Mural renderings via the Port of San Francisco.

Mysterious Bernal Hill Tree-Shrub Thing Now Protected by Powerful Force-Field


It’s a well-known fact that the big tree/shrub thingy atop Bernal Hill plays host to many dark mysteries. But now it seems that the distinctive plant has also acquired supernatural powers.

Over on the Instagram, photographer Nick Hatamiya channeled the wonderful “Kamehameha” Dragonball photo meme coming out of Japan to show Bernal’s tree-shrub thingy repelling an intrusive bystander with a powerful blast of invisible energy.

Nicely done!

PHOTO: @nickhata

What Happened to the Old Cancilla’s Market Sign, and What You Could Do With It in Your Living Room

Once upon a time not really all that long ago, the Precita Park storefront on the corner of Folsom and Bessie that we now call Harvest Hills was a rather typical corner store known as Cancilla’s Market.

It was called Cancilla’s Market for several generations and many moons, until the space changed hands. Today’s Harvest Hills has a decidedly more gourmet flavor, and little now remains of the former Cancilla’s except the funky midcentury San Francisco wallpaper that still lines the walls. All the other bits and pieces of the old place have been scattered to the wind — including the big Cancilla’s Market sign that used to hang out front. Until now.

The former Cancilla’s Market sign has resurfaced in Sacramento, and Bernalwood has learned that it has been repurposed for use as a home media center.

Wait… what?

Artist Cody Lane contacted Bernalwood to explain:

I am an artist/builder of things in Sacramento CA. I purchased this sign some time ago at a used furniture store in Davis CA, and it transformed it into a media center or book shelf. The piece will accommodate a flat screen up to 50″ and components. The Cancillas sign was a lucky find and it’s a really interesting piece of functional found art. The sign is for sale, and I can deliver and install if needed.

Email Cody if you’d like to watch television inside a genuine slice of Bernal Heights history.

PHOTOS: via Cody Lane

Newfangled Gas Pump Converts Sunlight Into Text Messages

Just in time for tonight’s glamorous Summer Solstice Stroll, a clever new fixture has been installed in front of the exceedingly clever New Wheel Electric Bicycle Shop on Cortland.

As you no doubt recall, The New Wheel sells newfangled electric bicycles that make it easy to pedal up Bernal Hill without really breaking a sweat. The bikes run on batteries, and the batteries need recharging, and recharging requires electricity. So our newfangled bicycle shop has installed a newfangled solar-powered recharging station out front, to recharge bicycle batteries.

The solar pump will also be available for use by all the Citizens of Bernalwood as a refueling stop for our luxurious personal electronic devices.

The pump on Cortland was custom-built by Sol Design Lab, and it’s the same solar -powered recharging pump that was last seen hanging out inside the fence at Hayes Valley Farm:

The SolarPump Charging Station is a self-contained island of free solar power available for the public to charge any electronic device (electric bicycles to cellphones and laptops, etc.) using a standard 110v AC plug. The bus stop-sized station inspires conversation about energy consumption, solar power and growing adoption of electric mobility.

The SolarPump was originally envisioned to combine a repurposed American car culture symbol (a 1950s Citgo gas pump) with an interactive display harnessing solar energy to charge electric bikes and mobile electronics.

The station has standard 110v outlets, so anyone can walk up and charge a cell phone, laptop, electric bike or scooter. The power is collected by Sanyo Bifacial solar panels on the roof of the station.

Finally! No longer will you have to worry about running out of juice on Cortland as you send text messages while batch-processing photos to send by email as you upload your star-sighting videos to YouTube and geolocate all your friends within a 500′ radius! Right??? If all that gets to be just too much for your poor little battery, rest assured that you can now use the SolarPump to perk back up.

Just remember: It’s BYOC (Bring Your Own Cord).

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics

What Is Buried Under the Big Shrub/Tree Thing on Bernal Hill?

Bernal Hill

Bernal Hill

The big shrub/tree thingy on the eastern slope of Bernal Heights Park is one of the most impressive — if underrated —  features on the hill. The consensus among our local plantspotters is that it’s a California Buckeye (Aesculus californica).

The Buckeye cuts a dramatic profile from almost any angle, but if you look at it closely you might notice two small grave markers tucked away under the branches on the downtown-facing side. How creepy! How gothic!

So who’s buried under there? The answer becomes clear if you dare approach for a closer look: The grave markers belong to departed subcultural pets.

One of the tombstones remembers a punk rock rabbit named Vikktor who died earlier this year:

Buckeye Grave

The other is a snake named Spike that began its eternal rest in 2010:

Buckeye Grave

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics