Scenes from the 2011 Elsie Street Block Party

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Elsie Street Block Party  008

A good time was had by all at the Elsie Block Party last Saturday. New Neighbor Adrian was on hand to take the fab photos shown here, while Neighbor Michael, who helped organize the festivities, reports:

The Fifth Annual Elsie Street Block Party (between Eugenia & Cortland) took place Saturday, Sept. 24 and featured a fierce bake-off competition (with ranked-choice voting by neighbors), Bhangra dance performance and class, bouncy house, a clown pinata, a balloon artist, pot-luck lunch and much friendly conversation and neighborly connection. There were also sculpturally engineered portals at both ends of the block.

Neighbor Jenee wrote in with results from the Bake-Off:

The competition was fierce as usual, but the following bake-masters elbowed out the others in the following fashion:

3rd Place – Liz Bachetti, for her incredible Lemon Tart with Raspberry Sauce
2nd Place – Heather Brame, Red Velvet Cheesecake (Heather is a regular winner on the local cheesecake competition circuit)
1st Place – Kurt Bollacker, for the astoundingly intense Blueberry Cream Cake, which also featured some sort of caramel sauce I believe.

Lastly, there’s just no way to top this neighborhood-family photo. Talk about Bernal Love…

Elsie Street Block Party  001

PHOTOS: Adrian Mendoza

Meet the World’s Best Neighbor, Next Door to 3407 Folsom

Last week’s post about that new, modern house at 3407 Folsom generated a lot of spicy commentary and armchair architectural criticism. Some folks love the design of the new house, and others just don’t really dig this whole “modernism” thing. Among the latter group, there was plenty of concern about the overall look of the neighborhood, while some expressed pity for the residents of 3401 Folsom — the traditional-style house that’s right next door.

Happily, however, the residents of 3401 don’t need any pity, because they’re quite pleased with the new house next door, and they’re looking forward to welcoming their new neighbors. We know this because Mark, who lives in 3401, added his voice to the comment thread, where he wrote:

We are the neighbors next door, and naturally have followed the discussions and on-again/off-again planning around this site for many years. Around four years ago the previous owners presented construction plans to the East Bernal Design Review Board, a voluntary neighborhood group that I was a member of at the time. This was for a two-unit building that neighbors found pretty objectionable. Planning stalled for awhile, and new plans for a single family home were presented at a public meeting of the Board some two years later. Feedback was provided and incorporated into the current design.

We and a number of others in the neighborhood would have loved for the site to be made part of Bernal Hill Park, and made initial headway with a non-profit interested in helping the Rec and Parks Dept acquire it. For complicated reasons having to do with the fact that the Dept of Public Works and not Rec and Parks owns the public land to the left of the sidewalk going up the hill, this was not to be. The site was sold to a small construction company who built the house and sold it to our new neighbors.

There are a few things worth mentioning about this whole process. The original owners and developers of the land went out of their way to take into account our perspectives and those of others in the neighborhood. Larry and the crew who bought the project from them and actually built the house over the last eight months worked hard to get the construction over with quickly and with minimal disruption. It’s never easy having a building like this go up over your back fence, but really, everything went much more smoothly than we could have expected, and Larry and his crew (who agreed to make use of our house’s water and electricity so a loud and obnoxious generator wouldn’t be needed) were accommodating and friendly thoughout.

As for our new neighbors Scott and his family? They want to be part of the chicken raising project we’ve had going for two years now with the other neighbors adjoining our properties. They want to do us all one better (and thrill our kids) with the idea of bringing goats into the mix. They have a young child who is age-perfect for my 14 year old daughter-with-baby-sitting-certificate to take care of while all readers of this excellent blog join them on their heli-deck for cocktails every Friday evening (I think that’s what Scott wrote). And we now have yet another enthusiastic Bernal family joining this great community of ours, in the best neighborhood in San Francisco

Welcome Scott!

I love that in so many ways, but not least because it is a pitch-perfect expression of neighborly warmth, patient adaptability, and YIMBY (Yes In My Back Yard) open-mindedness. Bravo to Mark for the sentiment, and thanks for weighing in.

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

How the Gatsbys of Noe Valley Look at Bernal Heights

Bernal HeightsDo you remember that opening scene in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, where Gatsby looks whistfully at the green light across the bay over in tony East Egg? And how he is drawn toward that light because it embodies all his far-distant ambitions and hopes for the future? Well, some folks in Noe Valley apparently experience the same thing when they look at the lights of Bernal Hill.

These are a few recent submissions to Bernalwood’s Flickr group, and as you can see, the photos are all the more poignant because they are so obviously tinged with envy and longing. Superphotog Bob Horowitz took the one at the top, and Toby Tuper took a few as well:

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Toby also took this next one, which is extremely revealing psychologically because he chose to photograph it in GatsbyVision:

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PHOTOS: Bob Horowitz and Toby Tuper

Off the Hill: Red Vic Theater May Close, MUNI Drivers Reject Contract, Yes We Have No More Grasshopper Tacos

Let’s review some of the other things happening in Our Faire City, shall we?

An Illustrated Guide to Proper MUNI Etiquette (The Bold Italic)

The Red Vic Theater May Close Forever in July (Cole Valley Alley)

Clueless, Calcified MUNI Drivers Reject Proposed Contract (SF Examiner)

Mark Bittman LOVES Mission Chinese Food (New York Times Magazine)

Treasure Island Development Plan Approved by Board of Supes (SF Gate)

City Health Department Bans La Oaxaqueña’s Grasshopper Tacos (MissionMission)

Hipsters and Old Drunks Intersect at Clooney’s on Valencia/25th (Uptown Almanac)

Cool Video of SF’s Former Pacific Stock Exchange Trading Floor (SFist)

View from the Space Station, or Somewhere in The Mission? (Burrito Justice)

IMAGE: MUNI Etiquette by Bold Italic

Off the Hill: Ten Great Restaurants, Mayor Ed on Wheels, Transbay NIMBYs, and Sea Lions in the Mission

Found on the 27: Jack Sparrow

Now that passport and visa restrictions have been waived for residents traveling beyond the confines of Bernalwood, there’s a whole City for us to explore! Here are some things that have been happening around town:

Ten Interesting Restaurants to Try ASAP (Tablehopper)

Transbay NIMBYs Oppose Treasure Island Development Plan (SF Examiner)

Sea Lion and Giant Rat Street Art in the Mission (MissionMission, Uptown Almanac)

Mayor Ed Lee Bikes to Work Wearing a Sporty Helmet (StreetsblogSF)

Tourists Go on “Human Safari” in the Tenderloin (The Tender)

PHOTO: Capt. Jack Sparrow Rides the 27 Bryant, by isaylike via SFist

Meet Burrito Justice: Citizen, Cartographer, Historian, and Rebel Propagandist, TONIGHT

Vicky from the ever-excellent Bernal History Project passed along an announcement about a presentation by our favorite local separatist, La Lengua’s own Burrito Justice (aka Johnny O). It’s no exaggeration to say Burrito Justice put La Lengua on the map — but the really sly bit is that he also created the very first map upon which La Lengua first appeared. (Shown above.)

The talk takes place TONIGHT at 7 pm the Bernal Heights library. Vicky says:

This month’s Bernal History Project meeting features a special guest. Burrito Justice, La Lengua’s resident citizen cartographer and historian, presents a slideshow and talk that will take us on a tour of Bernal and the Mission in the 1860s. There’ll be maps, photographs, and all sorts of computer whizzery.

Regular readers of Burrito Justice will have seen the recent debate over the Coca-Cola mural at Tompkins and Folsom streets, or the La Lengua and Bernalwood Co-Prosperity Treaty.

And if you don’t know where or what La Lengua is, come to the meeting and find out!

The presentation 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, the meeting is free and open to all.

Off the Hill: Progressives Get Punked, Sutro Tower Tattoos, More Parking Tickets, and 38 Great SF Restaurants

Elly's Sutro Tower ink

Did you know there’s a whole world of stuff that happens in the city beyond Bernal Heights? It’s true! Who knew? Here’s a roundup of recent news that may be of interest:

Progressive Supervisors Outsmarted, Outflanked in Temporary SF Mayor Appointment Process (New York Times)

A Poignant Video About the Transbay Terminal Demolition (via SFist)

Latest List of the 38 Essential San Francisco Restaurants (EaterSF)

People with Sutro Tower Tattoos (Uptown Almanac)

Cole Valley Alley Is a Nifty New Blog About (You Guessed It!) Cole Valley (Cole Valley Alley)

An Archeological Find in La Lengua Prompts a Lesson in SF Brewery History (Burrito Justice)

Potrero Hill Won the 2010 Curbed Cup (By Just One Vote!) (CurbedSF)

Get Ready for More Parking Tickets in 2011 (SFAppeal)

Not Waimea: These Are Big Waves at Ocean Beach (Norcalsurfphotos)

Photo: Eddie Codel

Go Team! Vote for Bernal Heights vs. The Lower Haight in the Curbed Cup Final Four

Bernalwood Cheerleaders

After two rounds of digital combat, Bernal Heights has made an impressively strong showing in the 2010 Curbed Cup, an online competition in which the CurbedSF blog pits neighborhoods against one another to claim bragging rights and possession of a pixel-based trophy. Now, wouldn’t this look lovely perched on our virtual bookshelf? (At least we won’t have to fight over who gets to keep it.)
To recap the competition thus far: Bernal Heights was initially ranked as the 11th seed in the Curbed Cup competition. Oh, how they underestimated us. To the great surprise of the pundits and wags, Bernal surged ahead to defeat the swanks of Nob Hill in the first elimination round. Then, in round two, we squeaked past the dotcommers of SoMa to eke out a narrow victory that catapulted Bernal into the Final Four.

Our next challenge will take place tomorrow — on Tuesday, December 27, 2010 — when Bernal will go head-to-head against The Lower Haight.

Obviously, any Bernal resident could go on and on about the aesthetic and moral reasons why we deserve to vanquish the Haight. But frankly, none of that matters. What matters is votes, and specifically, YOUR vote (and the votes of your loved ones, children, distant relatives, Facebook fwiendz, Twitter minions, work colleagues, pets, or anyone else with a unique IP address).  In other words, the Curbed Cup plays well to another of Bernal’s historic strengths: our indomitable spirit of can-do activism.

So you know what to do: Tomorrow, visit CurbedSF and place your vote for good ol’ Bernal Heights. Then tell lots of other people to do the same (and tell them to do the same). Let’s defeat those rascals from the Lower Haight to make it into the finals. Mark your calendars. Monitor your social-networking feeds. Vote early and vote often, and LET’S DO THIS THING. Onward!  To glory!