Bache Street Residents Unsure How to Pronounce “Bache Street”

Bache Street is a residential lane nestled on the stylish south side of Bernal Heights, just off Crescent Avenue between Porter and Andover.

It’s a lovely place, but there’s a problem:  According to @RadioChert, not even people who live on Bache Street can agree on how to pronounce it. That’s why an ad hoc referendum is now underway to reach a consensus on the matter.

As of Wednesday morning, the pronunciation tally seems to be:

Bah-chee  – 2
Bay-shh – 1
Bach-ae – 0
Batch – 1
Bay-shee – 0
Bay-ch – 1
Bay-sh – 0

While the voting on Bache Street continues, historians and geo-genealogists are cordially invited to opine on this matter.

HAT-TIP AND PHOTO: Courtesy of @RadioChert

Wednesday: Learn The History of Earthquake Shacks in Bernal Heights

111 Years Ago Today: The 1906 earthquake, as seen from Bernal Hill in April 18, 1906. The St. Anthony’s Church steeple is visible in the foreground. (Image courtesy of the Bernal History Project)

This month’s Bernal History Project meeting is dedicated to the memory of the earthquake and fire on April 18, 1906. The meeting happens on  Wednesday, April 19, at 7 p.m. at the Bernal Heights Library (500 Cortland). All are invited.

Woody LaBounty and (former Bernal neighbor) David Gallagher, co-founders of the Western Neighborhoods Project, will present a slideshow featuring selected OpenSFHistory views of San Francisco’s recovery from the 1906 Earthquake and Fire. They’ll also tell the story of the Relief Cottage Plan that housed more than 16,000 refugees after the disaster.

These refugee cottages were popularly known as earthquake shacks. “Earthquake shacks are palpable reminders of the greatest disaster the city has experienced,” Woody says. “The surviving cottages are also, like the phoenix on the city’s seal, a symbol of San Francisco’s resilience.”

Camp 23, in Precita Park, had 250 refugee shacks, many of which still exist in Bernal Heights. (Courtesy SFPublic Library History Collection.)

Immediately after the 1906 earthquake and fire, tented camps for residents who’d lost their homes sprang up across the city in parks and other public spaces. In Bernal Heights, this included  a camp in Precita Park.

The shacks were very basic, one-roomed wooden structures without plumbing or heating, and they were intended to be temporary. Residents paid a minimal rent and had to obey military-style rules against peeking, drunkenness, and misbehavior in the camps.

After about a year, the camps began to close —  and some people took their shacks with them. More than 5,600 earthquake shacks, built in city parks as part of organized relief encampments, were moved out of refugee camps to be used as housing throughout the city, including Bernal Heights.

The Western Neighborhoods Project saved three of these cottages from demolition in the Sunset District in 2006, placing a restored one on Market Street for the centennial of the 1906 Earthquake and Fire.

Surviving refugee cottages in Bernal Heights, Santa Cruz, and elsewhere in San Francisco. (Courtesy the Bernal History Project)

Woody last talked to BHP about refugee cottages in 2004, when we knew of just a handful of surviving shacks in Bernal Heights. Since then, BHP has identified dozens more, and we’re discovering more all the time.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. sharp in the downstairs meeting room at the Bernal branch library (500 Cortland at Anderson); turn left at the bottom of the stairs. As always, it is free, kid-friendly, and open to all.

Crowdfunding for Esmeralda Slide Park Artwork Now Tantalizingly Close to Goal

Rendering of proposed mosaic

Rendering of proposed mosaic

As you may recall, there’s a crowdfunding effort now underway to raise $14,000 to install a very cool mosaic at the spiffy new Esmeralda Slide Park plaza. As we write this now, the effort has already raised $13,158, so if you haven’t contributed yet — or even if you have — now is the time to contribute.

Neighbor Nancy, one of the superstar volunteers who has been organizing the Esmeralda slides renovation project, writes:

We have less than $1,000 needed to reach our target.

[mosaic artist Rachel Rodi] came to Esmeralda last week for her first site visit to see where “The Locator” will be installed in the Plaza. She loved the surroundings, especially the pepper tree that lords over the Plaza. Between our concept design and the inspiration Rachel got from her visit, she’s eager to create a mosaic tile that will knock our socks off!

We’re giving Rachel her 50% deposit this week so she can order the tiles and put “The Locator” on her fall schedule.

If you haven’t yet donated, NOW is the time. We’d like to close the campaign down within the next couple of weeks knowing we have all the funds to pay Rachel.

To all of you who have donated…..THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

Let’s do this! Please contribute now, right here, to help make this mosaic come to life at the fabulous Esmeralda Slide Park.

PHOTO: via the GoFundMe page

Planning Commission Unanimously Approves Housing at Powhattan Triangle

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Last Thursday, July 21, the San Francisco Planning Commission unanimously approved a proposal by a Bernal-based developer to build four new homes on an undeveloped lot between Powhattan Ave. and Bernal Heights Blvd.  by rejecting a request for discretionary review filed by neighbors opposed the development.

965powaerial

The proposal calls for the construction of three new family-sized homes at 965, 985,  and 1025 Powhattan, and one new home behind them, at 40 Bernal Heights Boulevard. The project will also include a new public stairway that will follow the path of the undeveloped Carver Street, which runs just east of the site.

powhattansiteplan

The official summary of the project, and the request for discretionary review, was as follows:

40 BERNAL HEIGHTS BOULEVARD/965, 985, 1025 POWHATTAN AVENUE- the triangular-shaped project site is bounded to the south by Powhattan Avenue, to the north by Bernal Heights Boulevard, to the west by an undeveloped portion of Rosenkranz Street, and to the east by an undeveloped portion of Carver Street; Lot 010 in Assessor’s Block 5640 (District 11)- Request for Discretionary Review (DR) of building permit application Nos 2014.0521.6382; 2014.0521.6394-6396, proposing subdivision of Block 5640 Lot 010 to create four new separate lots and construction of one three-level single-family dwelling on each new lot within a RH-1 (Residential House, One-Family) Zoning District, Bernal Heights Special Use District and 40-X Height and Bulk District. This action constitutes the Approval Action for the project for the purposes of CEQA, pursuant to San Francisco Administrative Code Section 31.04(h).

The Bernal neighbors who opposed the new housing framed their concerns mostly in terms of preserving “neighborhood character”:

A group of more than 150 neighbors has filed for a Discretionary Review with the SF Planning Commission on the 4 large luxury homes to be developed along Bernal Heights Boulevard and Powhattan Avenue. The hearing before the SF Planning Commission on this development is scheduled for Thursday, July 21, 2016 at approximately 1 pm in Room 400 at City Hall. Join us at the hearing to let your voice be heard.

We are greatly concerned about this development in part because:

  • The proposed development, in its totality, is out of context and scale with the established character of the Bernal Heights Neighborhood and sets a precedent for denser development.
  • The proposed homes are not consistent with Planning Code, Residential Design Guidelines, Bernal Heights East Slope Building Guidelines, and General Plans (e.g. there are no Front Yard Setbacks).
  • Safety Issues: Because there are no front yard Setbacks, a driver pulling out will be unable to check for pedestrians and traffic before crossing the sidewalk and entering the street.

Prior to the meeting, an analysis by Planning Commision staff determined that the proposed housing “meets all aspects of the Planning Code,” and that it’s “consistent with the scale and character of the immediate neighborhood,” and that it “meets the [Bernal Heights East Slope Building Guidelines].”

After much discussion and debate, all six of the the Planning Commissioners agreed, and the request for discretionary review was denied. A few minor revisions to the project were requested. That means construction on four new homes in Bernal Heights may begin soon. But this is San Francisco, of course, so who really knows?

SITE PLANS: Planning Department analysis for 965 Powhattan

Chef Prem Tamang Relocating to Bernal’s “South Asian Restaurant Row”

cuisineofNepal

A few weeks ago, Bernalwood received an adorable email from Prem Tamang, the chef at the much-loved Little Nepal restaurant on Cortland:

I have been running Little Nepal restaurant since 2003. The time make me to move to mission and cortland 3486 B mission.

It will be Cuisine of Nepal. I can’t take name of little Nepal because I was leasing this business. When I moved to mission street with new name cuisine of Nepal I would love to put in Bernalwood post so that all bernal Nighbor will know that I moved.

Best regard, prem

“Of course!”we replied. So here’s the news: Chef Prem is relocating to Mission Street where he will operate under a new name as Cuisine of Nepal.

Last week we received more detail on the move. Cuisine of Nepal will open at 3486 Mission, right across from the intersection with Cortland. The soft opening may happen as soon this Saturday, April 30 (fingers crossed), with the proper grand re-opening festivities scheduled for Saturday, May 14.

Chef Prem’s press release says:

Owner/Chef Prem Tamang announces the Grand Opening of his new restaurant, Cuisine of Nepal, located in the heart of Bernal Heights’ South Asian Restaurant Row at 3486-B Mission Street at Cortland Ave. The 30-seat restaurant reflects Nepal’s warm hospitality, where the cozy setting and market-fresh fare are as welcoming as a traditional Nepali home.

Chef Prem Tamang leads the kitchen with a menu that features local seasonal ingredients including neighborhood favorites such as Kukhurako Ledo (Chicken Cashew Curry), Saag Tarkari (Mustard Leaf Curry), and Poleko Khasi (Sizzling Lamb), as well as new specialties specific to Tamang’s home village in Nepal.

Since 2003, Chef Tamang has honed his skills as owner/chef at Little Nepal restaurant, a Bernal Heights gem where the San Francisco Chronicle has urged diners to “discover intriguing twists and variations on traditional South Asian dishes.” Tamang’s warmhearted approach and love of preparing fresh meals can be traced back to his nascent work as a high altitude cooking expert on Himalayan treks in his native country, where he prepared delicious meals at 14,000 feet above sea level for hardy mountain-climbers from around the world. […]

Open six days a week (closed Mondays), Cuisine of Nepal is located in the heart of Bernal Heights’ South Asian Restaurant Row at 3486-B Mission Street (at Cortland), San Francisco, CA 94110. The restaurant is open for Lunch Tuesday through Sunday from 11:00 am to 2:30 pm, and for Dinner Tuesday through Sunday from 4:30 – 10:30 pm. Major credit cards are accepted. Catering, Takeout, and Free Delivery are also available.

***OPENING DAY PARTY: The public is invited to join Chef Tamang & staff on Saturday, May 14th, from Noon – 8 pm, as Cuisine of Nepal offers a one-time only $5 Sampling Menu, with a choice of tasting one Appetizer and two Entrees from the day’s special menu plus Rice, Naan,and Lal Mohan dessert. A $2 glass of Wine or Beer will also be available to those 21 and over.***

Did you catch that bit about the Bernal Heights “South Asian Restaurant Row”?

It’s true! The corner of Mission and Cortland will now be home to restaurants representing India (Zante’s and Spicy Bite), Cambodia (Ankor Borei), and Nepal (Cuisine of Nepal). This is great news, because, our South Asian Restaurant Row is a terrific compliment to our NanoTokyo District, clustered just up the street around Mission and 29th Street.

So let us now join together to say: YUM!

Best wishes with the move, Chef Prem, and so glad you’re still a part of our community.

PHOTO: Work-in-progress facade of Cuisine of Nepal, as seen on April 23, 2016. Photo by Telstar Logistics

Vote Now to Get a Community Kiosk in Precita Park

Neighbor Demece Garepis, the high priestess and Jedi grant-wrangler for the Precita Valley Neighbors, is asking Bernalese to stuff the ballot box vote online to help get a community information kiosk installed in Precita Park:

After our Precita Park Clean Up last month, we made a video showing our support for an information kiosk in Precita Park. Like the one on Bernal Hill, the kiosk is a community information board serving the needs of all neighbors – from preschool to meals on wheels. Now is our chance to vote for our Precita Valley Neighbors Community Kiosk! If we get enough votes, we can fund our kiosk through the San Francisco Parks Alliance Action Grants!

Click here then follow the links to VOTE FOR PRECITA VALLEY NEIGHBORS COMMUNITY KIOSK!!

PVNvote

Thanks!

Demece Garepis, contact
Precita Valley Neighbors

PVN even made a video to support the effort. Watch it now, before it takes home an Oscar in 2016:

PHOTO: Precita Park by Telstar Logistics

Saturday: Rock the Block at the Spectacular Elsie Street Block Party!!!

bhangramania

Elsie - Group picture

Elsie Bhangra Amy-Edward

Citizens of Bernalwood, you are invited to the most spectacular… the most glamtastic… the most charming block party in all of Bernal Heights (and perhaps the entire galaxy).

It’s happening on Elsie Street between Cortland and Eugenia tomorrow, Saturday, September 20 from noon until 3:30 pm.

It’s the ELSIE STREET BLOCK PARTY! And here are just a few of the fabulous highlights:

There will be a kickoff Parade for decorated bikes, wagons, and kazoos at noon!!

There will be an intensely competitive Bakeoff (with trophies)!!

There will be the inevitable Bouncy House!!

There will be Bhangra dancers!!

And BBQ!!

And a Puppeteer!!

And fantastic Bernalese brimming with Neighborly Cheer!!

Find out more on the Elsie Street Block Party page on the Facebook, but most of all just be there… Be There… BE THERE!