The Town Square Lives
The year kicked off with proposed design concepts for a Town Square in the parking lot that is currently home to the Farmer's Market – and owned by the Noe Valley Ministry. The proposal is still alive but seems to have stalled until funding can be sorted out. Doesn't someone working at Twitter, Facebook or Zynga want a park with their name on it?
Parklets Are Here To Stay
While the town square is in limbo, parklets boomed in 2011. The one in front of Just for Fun was home to concerts, playdates and lots and lots of lights. It's been over a year since the parklets were installed and all signs point to them sticking around. 44 parklets are currently in the application process following the success of extant trials, and the City is moving ahead with other street greening projects such as the nearby Cesar Chavez project.
Noe Is A Foodie Haven
It was a banner year for Noe in food news. Our little hamlet is home to the best fried chicken, the best glazed donut, an amazing (and romantic) foodie bookstore and the best regional Italian food. We also had not one but two wine walks this year. There were a lot of restaurant changes afoot – Joe's is for sale, Fattoush was listed for sale (but the owner decided to stay), Amberjack Sushi turned into Kama Sushi, and the oldest sushi bar in San Francisco closed and is slated to open as Akai Saru soon. There's also a mystery restaurant for sale. For a brief moment this summer we even had an artisan beer mirage and a gluten-free bakery (oops!). Noe is desirable enough that a cookie truck is willing to battle for space in the Farmer's Market.
Fires Bring People Together
In September there was the devastating fire on 24th Street. Fortunately no one was hurt, but plenty of people were displaced and the community rallied to help. This touching and heartfelt letter from a survivor reminds us all how lucky we are to live here.
Crime Hits Noe Too
From plant thefts and curb painting scams, to the attempted carjacking, armed robberies, and horrifying rape – sadly we had them all. Keep your eyes open folks and watch out for your neighbors – we're all in this together.
Change Happens ...
There were plenty of retail changes all around Noe this year. Among the closures: Vivon, Joseph Andrade Floral, San Francisco Mystery Book Store, Cosmic Wizard, Cover to Cover, Bespoke (moved to Pac Heights) and Hot Headz. Openings included Two Birds, K9 Scrub Club, Cliché Noe, First American Title and Walkershaw among others. Coming soon in 2012 are Philz Coffee, Noe Valley Wine Merchants and a new sushi restaurant called Akai Saru. The Lux Condos on outer Church also came to life with the retail spots on the ground floor available soon. On balance it feels like as many places opened as closed in 2011.
... And So Do Lively Debates
The other things that got Noe talking in 2011 were the sidewalk parking crackdowns, the controversial (and not very attractive) AT&T UVerse boxes, shifting school lines, yummy mummies and the signs of the times.
Here's to a safe and prosperous 2012. Happy New Year, Noe Valley!