Tonight! Raise a Glass for First Friday at Heartfelt &

darcystorm

Neighbor Darcy Lee, proprietor of the fabulous Heartfelt stores on Cortland, is the kind of person who knows how to turn even a rainy day into a cause for celebration. This evening, Friday, Oct. 6 beginning at 6 pm, Neighbor Darcy will hail the arrival of the first Friday of the month by pouring elixir and taking 10% off the price of all the merchandise at Heartfelt &, her clothing store at 409 Cortland. All are invited.

Neighbor Darcy tells Bernalwood:

This Friday I am sharing my current favorite bubbly with you at our wee storefront Heartfelt &.

We are doing it each first Friday of the month so get used to smiling and toasting with us all the while trying on clothes and listening to ooooos or nahs. This is going to be fun.

PHOTO: Darcy Lee during a rainstorm, 2015, by Telstar Logistics.

Eat! Drink! Celebrate! It’s Old Devil Moon’s First Anniversary

This week, the fabulous Old Devil Moon at 3472 Mission (near Cortland) will celebrate its first anniversary. Hooray!  Congrats!

The big first-anniversary bash happens this Saturday, Sept. 23, but Old Devil Moon has a series of events lined up for this week. Co-owner Chris Cohen wants to tell you all about them:

Old Devil Moon is one year-old, and we want to invite our Bernal neighbors  to join the celebration.  We couldn’t do what we do without your support.

We’re having a anniversary event on Saturday, Sept. 23 from noon to 2AM featuring an insane list of rare and special beer. We’re also releasing permanent updated food and cocktail menus to ring in year two.

ODM is rolling out an updated food menu. We’re retaining established hits such as the Fried Gulf Shrimp, Oyster Rockefeller, Fried Chicken, and Roast Beef Po Boys. New dishes include: Fried Pickle Spears made with Paulie’s Pickling ODM pickles; a Louisiana Hot Link Po Boy; a BBQ Beef Sando; a super juicy ODM Cheeseburger made with two ¼ lb patties; & Devil’s Pups, hush puppies topped with powdered sugar, Ghirardelli chocolate, & whipped cream.

We’re also rolling out an updated cocktail menu that keeps old favorites but adds lots of new options including: the Devil’s Daiquiri, a rhum agricole daiquiri with Averna; the Bitter Mai Tai, made with Campari and Jamaican rum; a classic Boulevardier on draft; the Spirit Raiser, our tequila-based take on a Corpse Reviver; The Moon Also Rises, our mezcal-based take on a The Sun Also Rises; plus a few others. Our cocktails will remain in the $8-11 range they’ve always been in.

At the anniversary party we’ll also be grilling 1/4 lb Coney Dogs on the back patio until 4PM (with our newly updated food menu going into effect from 6PM to midnight). Live music will be provided by local bluesman Derek Fairchild starting at 7PM. We’ll have new ODM tees available featuring a ouija board inspired design.

After all that, we’re also doing an Oktoberfest + Sloppy Seconds event from Thursday Sept. 28 through Saturday Sept. 30. The “Sloppy Seconds” refers to the fact that we’ll be tapping all the remaining kegs of awesome beer on tap from our 1 Year Anniversary event, so folks who missed that event will get a second shot at trying a bunch of them (with 20 special kegs on for the anniversary, undoubtedly most will be pouring a few days later). We’ll also be pouring a bunch of German lagers and doing special Bratwurst Po Boys.

PHOTO: Old Devil Moon, courtesy of Brett Walker

After 90 Years, Bank of America Will Close Cortland Branch

Cortland Avenue Bank of America, 1973. (Photo: San Francisco State University)

This story was written by Nathan Falstreau from Hoodline, in partnership with Bernalwood:

Customers of the Bank of America branch at 433 Cortland Ave. in Bernal Heights received a letter late last month stating that the branch will close in November. The notification comes a year and a half after the bank announced it would no longer staff human tellers.

The letter sent to Bank of America customers in Bernal Heights.

The closure is part of a recent trend as more customers look to their phones to do business—Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan moved to close many of its retail locations in an effort to lower costs by bringing more customers onto its online and mobile banking platforms.

The decision by the native San Francisco business—now based in Charlotte, NC—was the result of internal data indicating a shift in how customers interacted with their local branches.

Crowd outside the Bank of America on Cortland Avenue after a robbery in 1936. | Photo:: San Francisco Public Library)

Community banking is essential for small businesses, as well as for more marginalized members of the community like seniors or those whose primary spoken language isn’t English.

“This has a big impact on us as merchants, and that further extends to our customers that use the bank,” nearby Heartfelt owner (and Bernal neighbor) Darcy Lee told Bernalwood in 2015. “There are many senior citizens that use this as a resource in Bernal.”

While many consumers are content with mobile and online banking, it’s not so simple for shopkeepers. “All of us as merchants need money—actual coins and bills—sometimes multiple times in one day,” said Neighbor Darcy. “We also make large cash deposits.”

Bank of America at 433 Cortland Ave. as it looks today (Photo: Google)

Bank of America’s Cortland Avenue location opened in 1927 as the neighborhood was still rebuilding after the 1906 earthquake; the bank still owns the building.

The branch was also historically the only banking center on Cortland Avenue—even to this day—making the closure even more problematic for neighborhood residents. The nearest banking service is a Wells Fargo ATM at 601 Cortland Ave.

“I don’t usually get choked up about banks,” Neighbor Julie told Bernalwood. “But this one does feel like a piece of the neighborhood.”

The last day for banking at the Cortland Avenue branch is November 28th.

Rebel Cartographer Burrito Justice Analyzes New 29th Street Bike Share Station

New bike share station on 29th Street

When he’s not fomenting insurrection, agitating for territorial autonomy, or weaponizing Mexican food, Burrito Justice, the rebel Spokeblogger for the La Lenguan people of the Bernal flatlands, also likes to dabble in cartography and map-making.

Last week,Burrito Justice applied those skils to analyze the controversial new bike share station on 29th Street (which just happens to be around the corner from his secret command post). Today, by permission — and in the spirit of science —Bernalwood shares this communique from Burrito Justice:

Before I rode my bike to work, I used to think people who biked, even from La Lengua to Civic Center, were CRAZYTOWN. Now, well, I think they are less crazy. I can bike downtown faster than via transit, and often driving.
It’s pretty hard to get sense of how long it takes to ride places. How long does it take to bike a mile? Two miles? A half mile? I ride every day, and I still don’t have a great feel for distance. Anyway, there is one way to solve this: MAPS. (Shocking I know).

There are these cool things called isochrones, which show travel distances of equal time as lines (thank the ancient Greeks, iso = equal, chronos = time). I happen to work for a mapping company that has an isochrone service, and now I know how to make these things.

Here’s a map showing 5, 10, 15 and 20 minute bike isochrones from La Lengua:

5/10/15/20 minute biking distances from 29th Street in La Lengua

These isochrones take into account hills, prefer bike lanes, and use a relatively moderate biking speed. Actual travel times might be a little slower or faster for some folks, but this gives a pretty reasonable indication of how far you can get on a bike across town.

You can get surprisingly far in just 5 or 10 minutes (the two darkest blue rings).

Speaking of bike lanes, it’s always nice to see where it’s safe/less dangerous to bike. It just so happens I have the technology to put bike lanes into this map.

5/10/15/20 minute biking distances from 29th Street in La Lengua, with bike routes shown

Green indicates protected bike lanes, while orange are OK bike lanes based on a bunch of different parameters (bike infrastructure, road type, etc). Here’s the key:

mapzen_bike_legend

While I love to walk, it’s a haul. Here are 5/10/15/20 minute walking isochrones for La Lengua. (No wonder I never go to Noe Valley OMG SO FAR. And no wonder I rarely see the Valley People in La Lengua — you might as well need a visa.)

5/10/15/20 minute walking distances from 29th Street in La Lengua

OK this may shock you, but I made a GIF of walking vs biking isochrones (the same shades of blue indicate 5, 10, 15, 20 min travel time whether by bike or by foot):

bike_vs_walk

Walking vs. Biking: 5/10/15/20 minute travel distances from 29th Street in La Lengua

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you know that they’re expanding bike share stations throughout the Mission and La Lengua (sorry Bernal). While you think that this would be celebrated, there are… opinions. These involve parking spots (shocking) and gentrification (shocking). But just look at how many bikeshare stations (pink circles) you can get to in five or ten or 15 minutes!

la_lengua_bikeshare_5_10

Detail: 5/10/15 minute biking distances from 29th Street in La Lengua

And guess what — you can bike TO La Lengua! (Oh man, biking from 24th St. BART to the 29th St bikeshare station, that will be sweet.)

While it may take some effort to realize that biking is a possibility, don’t stress about the bikeshare stations! They let you get places fast, and they let people get HERE easily. Here’s a quick map of just some of the restaurants, bars and businesses that are within 200 yards from the bikeshare station on 29th and Tiffany:

la_lengua_businesses_no_labels

Restaurants, bars and businesses within 200 yards of 29th St. bike share station. The aqua-colored circles are business that have closed or gone — Cole Hardware, 3300, El Gran Taco Loco…

Wwe have a pretty sweet little commercial corridor along 29th and on Mission in La Lengua, and you can look at these isochrones the other way around — folks who might never walk over can bike here in 5 or 10 minutes and enjoy our superior food and drinking and shopping establishments such as Rock Bar, The Front Porch, Good Frickin Chicken, PizzaHacker, Fumi Curry, Ichi Sushi, Coco Ramen, Old Bus Tavern, Mitchell’s, Iron & Gold, Los Panchos, Royal Cuckoo, Secession, and many, many more. And won’t have to worry about parking.

You can drill into a dynamic slippy map here (work in progress!) Drop me a line if you want me to show you how to make isochrones from your neighborhood or business district.

Cyclists Boycott Businesses Seeking Removal of Bernal Bike-Share Station

The new bike share station on 29th Street (Photo: Telstar Logistics)

An effort by some merchants along Mission Street in Bernal Heights to seek the immediate removal of the new bike share station on 29th Street triggered a strong response from San Francisco bicyclists, with some cyclists saying they plan to avoid businesses that oppose the bike share program.

Last week, San Francisco Examiner reporter Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez broke the story that the MIssion-Bernal Merchants Association (MBMA) asked the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to immediately remove a new Ford Go-Bike bike share station installed in front of the UPS Store at 60 29th Street between Tiffany and Mission.

In addition, Bernalwood has confirmed MBMA also raised concerns about the new bike-share stations on Valencia at Cesar Chavez and in Precita Park, as all three stations fall within MBMA’s membership “blueprint area.”

MBMA says they weren’t properly notified about the installation of the new bike-share stations, with most merchants only learning about them when notices went up a few days before station installation began.

At least one other Bernal neighborhood organization echoes the complaint about notification. Despite appearing in Ford GoBike’s Outreach Report  as one of the program’s “Planning and Community Partners,” Demece Garepis of the Precita Valley Neighbors says her group had to reach out proactively last January to get information about the bike share program and discuss preferred station locations around Precita Park. After some brief exchanges with bike-share coordinators, Precita Valley Neighbors then heard nothing until July, when an email notification arrived the day before the new Precita Park bike share station was installed. “Above all the pros or cons and real concerns, a day in advance is not reasonable notification,” Garepis says.

Community notification requirements for the creation of bike share stations were established by SFMTA and codified in vendor Motivate/Ford GoBike’s contract with the City. In addition to soliciting public feedback online, during workshops, and in community meetings, each potential bike share station location is also subjected to a traffic engineering analysis to ensure it meets safety standards.

On 29th Street, MBMA says the new bike share station creates a safety hazard by compounding congestion problems along the busy 29th Street corridor, where the existing UPS store and adjacent STEMful learning center generate significant amounts of vehicular pick-up and drop-off activity.

Apart from the struggles caused by the 2016 Cole Hardware Fire, the arrival of the bike share stations has compounded Mission Street merchants’ frustrations with the establishment of an express “red carpet” lane for Muni buses and months of disruption caused by the streetscape construction along Valencia between Mission and Cesar Chavez

In a statement sent to Bernalwood, MBMA president Eden Stein and co-coordinator Ani Rivera said:

MBMA’s request to SFMTA is to immediately remove/suspend the Ford Bike Share Program on 29th Street and a comprehensive analysis (study and survey) to be conducted to determine if the program is suitable, desired and safe in any future identified locations.  In addition, we also request that SFMTA include in its outreach MBMA’s input when decisions and designs are being made that will affect any aspect of the MBMA corridor.

According to the Examiner, Kevin Cline, an MBMA member and owner of the Rock Bar and The Front Porch on 29th Street, also told SFMTA that the 29th Street bike share station should be removed immediately.

Cline tells Bernalwood the arrival of the bike share station had changed traffic patterns on the street. “I’m not a virulent anti-bike share person, but it would have been nice if they consulted the businesses that are right there,” he says.

Cline says there were curbside meters in front of the UPS Store before the bike share station was installed, including a 10 minute-only green meter zone, but parking turnover was frequent. Now, he says, UPS trucks and customers double-park because they can no longer park in front of the store legally.

“I would love [bike share vendor] Motivate to join us at a merchants meeting to discuss this,” says Cline, who has co-owned The Front Porch for 11 years and lives a few blocks east on 29th Street. “When I opened my business, I had to reach out to all my neighbors, and I had to change some things. That’s what being a good merchant is about.”

Reaction to MBMA’s efforts to remove the bike share stations has been intense, both on Bernalwood and elsewhere. In response to bike share opposition, some cyclists say they will likely avoid going to Rock Bar and The Front Porch, and any other merchants that seek to have bike share stations removed.

Cyclist Kevin Flaherty says he’s only rarely decided to boycott anything, but he’s considering it now. “I’m not promoting a backlash, but I’m not particularly fond of giving material support to a group that is against reducing parking and undermining a system I depend upon.” said Flaherty, 41, who grew up in the Sunset and now lives in the Mission. Flaherty adds he’d previously visited Rock Bar three or four times.

David Gouldin, a cyclist who lives near Dolores Park, points to SFMTA surveys that show merchants may over-estimate how many of their customers arrive by car, so they complain when parking spaces are converted to other uses. He adds that City officials and Motivate/Ford GoBike held many neighborhood workshops and information sessions about the bike share program, so “when a business like Rock Bar or Front Porch opposes bike share, after years of planning and public meetings, that’s ridiculous. I don’t want to give my money to a business like that. I hope other cyclists will consider doing the same.”

While stopping short of a boycott, cyclist Brian Coyne from The Mission says it’s a “jerk move” when businesses oppose bike share, and that such efforts influence perceptions of local merchants and neighborhood organizations. He says having to accept other people’s amenities in public space is just part of city life. “For example, I don’t own a car,”  he says, “but the streetspace directly in front of my house is public car parking.”

“As someone who loves the food at the Front Porch, I’m disappointed in the owners for taking this line,” Coyne says.

Kevin Cline from The Front Porch and Rock Bar says he has “real concerns” about the possibility of a boycott. “We’re only in business because we take care to listen to our customers,”  he says. “Obviously, I don’t want anyone to avoid my restaurant because I worry about their safety while crossing the street.”

Cline adds that while he thinks the 29th Street bike share station should be removed, he would accept another one nearby. “It’s not like I don’t want them in my back yard,” he says. “I wouldn’t mind if they were closer to my back yard! But I don’t think the current location is a good one.”

Cyclist Brian Coyne says he understands that the transition to alternative modes of transportation is awkward — though he expects that the initial friction will eventually fade. “Bike share isn’t for everyone,” he says,  “But it’s clearly the best transportation option for some people, and I think all of us, whether we own businesses or not, ought to accept that some public space will be used for it.”

Friday: Celebrate and Support Secession Art & Design’s 10th Anniversary

This Friday, August 4 from 6-9 pm, all Bernalese are invited to Neighbor Eden Stein’s fabulous Secession Art & Design store at 3235 Mission (near Valencia) to celebrate the store’s 10th anniversary party.

It’s a worthy cause for festivities, because in addition to operating her fabulous store, Neighbor Eden also leads the Mission-Bernal Merchants Association, which has played a very active role in helping our Mission Street corridor recover from the 2016 Cole Hardware Fire.

At the same time, Secession is also organizing a crowdfunding campaign. Neighbor Eden explains why:

In the time that I have owned my store I have been successful, been evicted and relocated two blocks from my original location, renovated a restaurant into a gallery, and worked almost every weekend. This past year the transit changes, the fire, politics, and changing retail behaviors have challenged whether or not I can continue to keep my doors open. Last week I had an attempted break-in, and another financial setback when they broke my glass door, which is not covered by insurance.

Neighbor Eden also shares this invitation to Friday’s 10th Anniversary Party:

You are personally invited to our 10th anniversary party on Friday night, 6-9pm.

Thank you to the lovely donors that have participated so far to our Gofundme campaign, and all the friends on Facebook who shared it. Your stories about why it is important to keep Secession Art & Design open in San Francisco moved my heart. Our goal is to raise 10k for our 10th Anniversary. The vision is to not only keep the doors open, but to grow. With additional capital, I will be able to hire one more person to the team, and create an event space in the back gallery with custom reclaimed wood benches, projector screen, and speakers.

I am always trying to be creative with how to use the gallery in new ways. The sky is the limit for what will happen in the next year. Most important is that I am able to hold onto this beautiful space. It is an epic journey every month to pay every bill. When you buy a painting, onesie, card, or gift certificate it means so much more. When you shop local, your money stays local. We are in this together.

You rock!
XO Eden

PHOTO: Courtesy of Secession Art & Design

Historical Reminder: The Lines at the Bernal Safeway Have Sucked for (at Least) 45 Years

Last night on the Twitters, @albuhhh asked:

This is a reasonable question. Have the lines at our Bernal Safeway always been so terrible? The short answer is: Yes, pretty much.

The Bernal Safeway was built in the early 1960s, but back in February 2015, Bernalwood uncovered an important historical document that revealed the endemic nature of the miserable lines at our local supermarket. Since the passage of time has done little to improve the situation, we’ll now reprise that 2015 post for the benefit of our newer neighbors, if only to remind them that complaining about our local Safeway is a hallowed Bernal Heights bonding ritual:

The Citizens of Bernalwood recently took up cyber-pitchforks and -torches to complain about the ridiculously long lines at the Bernal Heights Safeway on Mission Street at 29th?  Remember how we hoped — naively, perhaps — that perhaps maybe someone at Safeway corporate might hear our gnashing of teeth, and take pity upon our sad souls, and remedy the situation?

Well, don’t count on it.

Recently, while browsing through a back issue of the Bernal Journal from 1972, your Bernalwood editor was darkly entertained to find an impassioned article complaining about… the ridiculously long lines at the Bernal Heights Safeway!

I wish I was kidding about this, but I am not. Behold, a time capsule from [45] years ago, written by Bernal Journal reporter “Vera Disgruntla” (click to embiggen):

1972_Souvenier Edition

The similarities between this Bernal Journal article from 1972 and the comments section of Bernalwood’s post about the Bernal Safeway are comical in their utter sameness.  Here’s a depressing excerpt pulled from the 1972 article shown above:

One man has vowed never to shop there — he gets his meat at the Pioneer Market dry good at 30th and Mission Market, and fresh fruits and vegetables at the Farmers Market at the foot of Bernal Hill. Another man goes once a week to the Marina Safeway. A woman told me she and her husband always drive the five minutes further to get to the Diamond Heights Safeway, where, because they never have to wait to check out there, they actually save time! These may be the only real alternatives.

But I am still mad – for me, and everyone around here who continually has this frustrating time waste wait at our store. The faces in the lines seem to say, “it’s always been like this; we’ve ALWAYS had to wait.”

So there you have it. Long lines have been a fixture at our local Safeway since even before 1972, and after 40+ years, it would seem that Safeway management still does not give a flying Fig Newton about the problem. But hey, at least they’re consistent.

In light of these facts, Bernalwood would now like to officially propose the following:

1) Let’s bulldoze this Safeway, since it so obviously suffers from intergenerational corporate indifference.

2) Let’s save that cool Taoist Safeway mosaic, for posterity, or for use in a replacement structure (see below).

3) Let’s build a few hundred units of much-needed housing on this long-neglected site, with the new ground-floor space dedicated to a more modern supermarket (something kind of like that new mixed-use building that was recently erected on Ocean).

4) While we’re at it, let’s get serious about asking BART to build that 30th Street infill station they’re thinking about again. Hurry up, please.

… because really, after banging our Bernalese heads against the walls at this Safeway for five decades, it may just be time to give up and try something else.