Colorful Sunrise Bathes Bernal in Magical Light

From my home in the North Bernal lowlands, I noticed this morning that the sunrise was creating some fiery orange reflections on the glass of a few downtown high-rises.

It was a lovely scene, but from his vantage point in Noe Valley,  Bernalspotter Christopher Baker had an even more glamorous view of this morning’s colorful sunrise — because it highlighted us.

Welcome to the new week, Bernal Heights!

PHOTO: Courtesy of Christopher Baker

Bernal Physicist Raising Funds to Build Giant Fire-Breathing Mechanical Art

Neighbor Matthew is an Bernal Heights physicist and artist who’s building an ambitious, musical-kinetic fire art sculpture. The piece is called Torch Song, and it will be a 15-foot structure with nine flame-heads that can move independently.

To complete the project, Neighbor Matthew has organized a crowdfunding campaign. He tells Bernalwood:

Torch Song is a 15′ musical kinetic fire art sculpture. I’ve been working on it for about two years now. I pretty much started from scratch; I didn’t know anything about fire art, and knew only as much about metal machining as I learned doing a doctorate in physics.

Last year I formed an organization, Hydrocarbon Collective, and started ramping up to try to get it out to Burning Man. From there hopefully we’ll get to bring it out to other venues in the bay area. We now have a crew of five people (and several occasional volunteers) who work out of the Box Shop in Hunter’s Point on weekends and Wednesday nights. (Our team includes one of the instigators of the Cardboard Animal Parade.) We’re always looking for more help if people want to pitch in, especially if you’re an experienced welder, or want to work on electronics.

Torch Song is a 15′ diamond (a double tetrahedron, to be exact) which will have nine independently moving flame heads. We conceived of it without consideration for practicality, safety, or common sense, and we are dangerously close to making it a reality. And, in honor of the absurd times we live in, we will be donating 10% of our proceeds from this fundraiser to the ACLU.

You can learn more about the project and donate at Neighbor Matthew’s Hydrocarbon Collective crowdfunding page.

IMAGES: Top, TheHydrocarbon Collective team with a flame unit at the box shop. Below, rendering of the proposed Torch Song piece. Images courtesy of Neighbor Matthew

New Mosaic Completed at Esmeralda Slide Park

After the amazing re-renovation, and the successful community crowdfunding effort, Bernal Neighbor Joan “The Whirlwind” Carson says the new, geo-cool sidewalk mosaic atop the Esmeralda Slide Park is now complete.

Neighbor Joan tells Bernalwood:

With all the fanfare I can muster, I can proudly announce “The Locator” has been successfully installed in the Plaza at Esmeralda Slide Park. For those of you who don’t know what ” The Locator” is, be prepared to see a 9 foot diameter mosaic tile installation in the Plaza’s sidewalk.

Although the installation took but 5 days, March 8-12, it has been in the works since September 2015. I had it in my head that the Plaza would be a great place to have some kind of signage to help folks know where the Park is in relation to the surrounding area. I floated the idea by Nancy Windesheim, my organizing partner who happens to be a graphic artist extraordinaire. I came up with a concept drawing and Nancy translated it into a graphic image.

In January 2016, the initial design was embraced by the Department of Public Works as part of their continued effort in renovating Esmeralda Slide Park. I searched for local tile artists who could fabricate the design into a walkable surface and discovered Rachel Rodi, an accomplished tile artist whose background included other walkable surfaces in public settings.

Nancy and I raised the funds for Rachel’s fabrication through a GoFundMe in July-August 2016. So many of you gave…. 125 donors to be exact. Josh Arce brought in 2 big donors and helped get us fiscal sponsorship from the Laborers’ Community Service And Training Foundation.

Esmeralda mosaic fan club watching the installation

So here we are today with this beautiful piece of Public Art. For me, seeing it is a daily reminder of what “We” can collectively create when we bring together community, government, corporate and non-profit entities.

Special thanks to Neighbors Joan and Nancy, and everyone who worked or contributed to make the glorious and symbolically important Esmeralda Slide Park awesome again.

PHOTOS: Courtesy of Neighbor Joan

Motorcycle Rental Chain Store on Mission Will Require Formula Retail Exemption

The former O’Reilly Auto Parts store at 3146 Mission Street (@ Precita), which used to be a Kragen Auto Parts store, which was originally the home of the Mission Chevrolet car dealership, may soon be repurposed for another use: motorcycle rentals.

EagleRider, a worldwide chain of motorcycle rental outlets, has acquired the lease to the building, with an eye toward serving a customer base of European and American tourists. But first, EagleRider will require a Conditional Use Authorization, because as a chain store, it falls under San Francisco’s Formula Retail regulations. To help with that, EagleRider has hired former Supervisor Bevan Dufty to serve as their lobbyist and local envoy.

Here’s the letter Eagle Rider is circulating among local merchants and community leaders:

EAGLERIDER Motorcycles
is looking forward to its new location at
3146 Mission Street
in the Mission/Bernal neighborhood!!

EAGLERIDER, founded in 1992, is a motorcycle rental, tours, sales, and service provider. We have been located for over ten years in SOMA and we are seeking to move to the former O’Reilly’s Auto Parts on Mission St. At our current location, EAGLERIDER receives over 10,000 customers per year for daily and weekly motorcycles rentals to enjoy the Bay Area, Northern California and the rest of country. 50% of our customers are foreign visitors, many of whom come to San Francisco specifically to go motorcycle touring.

We are excited about being part of this great neighborhood as we hope our customers will patronize the restaurants and businesses of the area before and after their motorcycle adventure. We want to work with Mission-Bernal Merchants Association to create a guide that helps our visitors know all the great destinations right here as well as on 24th Street and Cortland.

In order to open our store, we must receive Conditional Use approval by the City Planning Commission as a formula retail use.  In other words, since there are 100+ EAGLERIDER locations worldwide, we need to demonstrate that we will be an asset to the neighborhood.  Our goal will be to open in the next 3-5 months if we receive community support and Planning approval.

In addition to partnering with your businesses to create great experiences for our customers to shop and dine right here, we want to be an active business in the community.  We have met with John O’Connell High School to support their programs training students, we are exploring a mural using local artists and we already participated in the wreath making and delivery for the Mission Bernal Merchant Walk.

PHOTO: 3146 Mission in March, 2017, by Telstar Logistics

Warehouse Residents Ask Rent Board to Block Eviction

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The residents of an unpermitted warehouse on the 900 block of Peralta in the southeast corner of Bernal near the Alemany Farmer’s Market are taking their effort to avoid eviction to the San Francisco Rent Board.

As you may recall, the wake of the Oakland “Ghost Ship” fire, San Francisco has issued an abatement order for current tenants to vacate the property because it is not permitted for residential use. Meanwhile, the property owner seeks to build 49 new apartments on the site.

The San Francisco Examiner writes:

The artists were served with an eviction notice from the warehouse on Peralta Avenue after a fire killed three dozen people in December at an artist collective in Oakland called the Ghost Ship. They have since refused to leave their space and filed a petition with the Rent Board in January, asking for greater protections from eviction under the rent control ordinance of 1979.

The decision could bolster the tenants’ argument in San Francisco Superior Court, where they are fighting an unlawful detainer case for staying at the warehouse.

“San Francisco is an important city of culture,” said Nathan Cottam, a warehouse tenant. “The arts must be subsidized in some way or they will disappear. There are many different types of subsidies. This is just one of them.”

The Rent Board heard their argument for more than six hours Thursday, according to Executive Director Robert Miller. He said the board has to decide whether the landlord rented the space for commercial or residential use.

The Examiner adds that the Rent Board is expected to issue a decision on the matter within six to eight months.

Neighbor Eden from Secession Art & Design Celebrated at City Hall

Neighbor Eden Stein (right) wearing a stylish 94110 ensemble while receiving her commendation from D9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen.

Last week, Bernal Neighbor Eden Stein was recognized at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors as a “Trailblazing Woman in Business and Labor.” Woo-hoo!

As you probably know, Neighbor Eden is the energetic, entrepreneurial, and supremely elegant proprietor of the fabulous Secession Art & Design store at 3235 Mission, near Valencia. On the side, she’s also leads the Mission Bernal Merchants Association, which represents many of the restaurants, bars, and stores along Bernal/La Lengua’s delightfully underrated stretch of Mission Street, and in that capacity she helped organize a support network for the families and businesses displaced by the Cole Hardware Fire last year.

In a post on the Secession website, Neighbor Eden writes:

My strength comes from the women in my family. My grandmother owned a retail store in South Philadelphia for forty years. My mom has been a full time artist since the day I was born. I have always been an entrepreneur, working as a poet, activist, jewelry maker, early childhood teacher, and now a gallery owner.

I moved to San Francisco in my early twenties to a room on Mission Street with a view of El Rio and Roccapulco. For twenty years, Mission Street has always called me home. Secession opened in 2007 and is dedicated to our 60+ artists.

On Tuesday, I was honored to accept a Certificate of Honor from the Board of Supervisors for Women’s History Month, along with several other civic awards. District 9 Supervisor Hilary Ronen nominated me for being a community leader, for the work I passionately do in Mission Bernal. This was a moment I will never forget, and it will continue to be with me as I keep pushing to make our stretch of Mission vibrant, accessible, and thriving.

Here’s the commendation:

Hurrah! This recognition for all of Neighbor Eden’s hard work is so well-earned. Bernalwood sends our congratulations, along with thanks for everything Neighbor Eden does to make our stretch of Mission Street vastly more fabulous.