May 30, 2012

Closing: Kohler-Jones (Bring Back Mikeytom!)

A reader alerts us to this change on outer Church Street:
I noticed this morning that the Kohler-Jones furniture and design store on Church at Day was empty and closed. Won't miss them, they had crappy furniture and crappy customer service! Bring back Mikey-Tom's!!!
Let's hope it's not another nail salon or real estate office.
It's not clear why Kohler-Jones pulled up stakes so quickly, but there's now a 'For Lease' sign in the window and the Kohler website and phone are still live as of this writing.

As for the "Mikey-Tom's" the reader refers to - that was Mikeytom Market, a local grocer and neighborhood market at 1747 Church owned by Mike Meischke and Tom Maravilla (the Mike and Tom in Mikeytom). It closed in May 2003 after the store was hit with a hefty rent hike.

We don't see Mikeytom returning anytime soon, but it's fun to wonder what might land there. A restaurant? A grocer? A wine shop? A cheese store? What do you want to see?

Update: $6800 for 2350 sq ft per Craigslist post:
Prime Restaurant/Retail space on Church & Day st. (1747 Church) in Noe Valley near 30th st. Ideal space for restaurant. Corner location across the street from Toast restaurant. Regent Thai, Eric's and Encanto [sic] restaurants are nearby. You must see to appreciate the potential for this location. The space is approximately 2,350 sq. ft. For contact: call Peter at 415-577-8898

[Photo: Yelp]
[NVV: Mikeytom's Struggle to Survive]

May 28, 2012

Noe Valley SummerFEST 2012

Hawaiian shave ice, Smitten ice cream tasting, a petting zoo, live music, honey bee demos, a magic show ... it can only mean one thing: SummerFEST on 24th Street.

On Saturday June 16 from 11-5 (the day before Father's Day), 24th Street merchants will be throwing a family event in downtown Noe Valley.

There's nothing posted about this year's festival on the NVMPA site yet except last year's poster, but if you've seen the SummerFEST banners high on poles on 24th Street and wondered what they say, click the image above to see a larger version with full details.

May 25, 2012

This Week In Noe Valley

News from, about and for Noe Valley from around the interwebs:

May 24, 2012

Google Buses Behaving Badly

Longtime readers of this blog know that Google (and other) corporate shuttles have been controversial in Noe Valley. Homeowners appreciate the value they add, users continuously remind us that they cut down on cars on the road (as if living where you work wouldn't), and people who don't work in Silicon Valley complain about their neighborhood becoming a bus depot. But for the first time, we have a complaint about the buses from a bus user...of another company:
Noe Valley Editors - I read your blog on Noe Valley and I wanted to write in about an issue I've been noticing in our neighborhood. We our own home at 22nd Street and Noe. We have lived in Noe for 8 years and just recently, I noticed Google switching its private commuter shuttle bus route from 24th street to go on local streets that were not intended to be used by such large buses...

This reminds me of the incident where Google was upsetting residents on Jersey Street years ago. As a fellow Silicon Valley employee, I can empathize with the desire to have commuter bus shuttle service to service the commute to/from the Peninsula. I have commuted in/out of the Peninsula my entire career here in the Bay Area for the past 13 years but my employee commuter shuttle runs up/down Guerrero Street and does not go down the local neighborhood streets.

I believe these are the Google buses that are at fault but these private commuter shuttles are running west on 24th Street, going right onto Noe, driving up the hill, and making a left on 22nd Street to cut over to Castro Street. I am pretty sure they are doing this to avoid the traffic of commuter shuttles and SF buses and the light at the corner of 24th and Castro. I am upset by this as my children play on 22nd Street, it's a small street towards the top of the hill and was never intended to be a street served by bus traffic. I am wondering what we can do to help rectify this issue as a community as the Jersey Street folks did years ago for their street.
Which brings up a question: Do the commuters who use these buses ever confront the drivers for using inappropriate streets, bus stops, etc? Or are they just along for the ride?

[NVSF: All posts on shuttle buses]
[NVSF: Shuttle Buses: Useful or Menace?]
[NVSF: Meeting: Upper Noe Neighbors]

Announced: Big Time Tot Rock

This is for those readers with young children (who haven't high-tailed it to suburban schools yet):
Hey there! It's Alison Faith Levy here. I was doing the super popular story and music time at Phoenix Books on Wednesday mornings, and I have now turned it into a wonderful music appreciation class for kids 3 and under called "Big Time Tot Rock." At the moment, I believe this is the only early childhood music class right now in Noe Valley, and it's lots of fun. I am offering the classes at Playhouse Noe Valley, which is just a couple of doors down from Phoenix, at 3961 24th Street. It would be great if you could help spread the word, the classes have been great fun and it's a perfect way for young children to express themselves and enjoy music in a comfortable environment.

Here's the info:

Alison Faith Levy's Big Time Tot Rock Music Classes
Two classes on Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
Ages: 0-3 yrs old
$25 drop-in, $100 for a 5-class pass (which can be used for other Playhouse classes as well, including dance and gymnastics)

First class is free - so come try it out with your little ones!
(415) 800-7735

May 21, 2012

The Mystery Of 1513 Church St

After Loft 1513 moved to 24th St, Vivid Floral Design leased the space and began to prepare it for opening. Then at the end of April they vacated and a For Lease sign reappeared. No more Vivid. For the last few weeks there's been activity (mostly IKEA furniture assembly) and the space looks ready for use again. But for what?

Since we saw mail on the doorstep addressed to Blue Realty Group we contacted CEO Joseph Blue. His response was unequivocal and offered no further information: "NO WE ARE NOT MOVING INTO NOE VALLEY THANK YOU." Nearby merchants who have spoken to workers state that the space will be a realty office. [Update 5/22: This morning there's a new sign in the window for Realty World - BLUE.]

As for Vivid... Don at Heliotrope says that Vivid was threatened by two steps at the entrance and an ADA lawsuit. We're still trying to reach the owner of Vivid to confirm, and will post updates as we get them.

Anyone else have info?

May 20, 2012

Photos: The 2012 Solar Eclipse From Noe Valley And Beyond

We asked for photos highlighting today's annular solar eclipse on Twitter and here's what we have so far (though not all are from Noe Valley). Got a great shot? Send it our way and we'll add it to the post.

Credit: @KennethLaslavic
Credit: NishaSF

Credit: trophygeek


Credit: Casto

[Top Photo: NVSF]

May 14, 2012

This Week (Not) At The Planning Commission

The public hearing about a potential First Republic Bank at 24th and Sanchez is being put off until (at least) June 14th, presumably because locals have chimed in:
May 17

3901 24TH STREET
- on the southwest corner of 24th and Sanchez streets, Lot 001 in Assessor’s Block 6508 - Request for Conditional Use Authorization, pursuant to Planning Code Sections 303 and 728.49, to convert a vacant ground floor commercial space into a financial service (d.b.a. First Republic Bank) within the 24th Street - Noe Valley Neighborhood Commercial District and a 40-X Height and Bulk District.

Preliminary Recommendation: Approval with Conditions

(Proposed for Continuance to June 14, 2012)
The detailed application is still unavailable online.

[NVSF: Announced: First Republic Bank]

May 9, 2012

Noe Valley Town Square Needs A Dede Wilsey

The Noe Valley Town Square was introduced as a concept in 2010 when Todd David and Christopher Keene stepped up to take charge of saving public space on 24th St. A design firm was contracted, ideas were explored. The neighborhood was largely for the concept. But who would pay for it? Unclear.

Skip ahead to a few weeks ago: The Noe Valley Voice announced that the parking lot that currently hosts the Noe Valley Farmers Market (and could some day be the Town Square) is almost out of time -- the NV Ministry is ready to sell to a developer.

Perhaps too late, this week the Residents for Noe Valley Town Square launched a campaign to raise the roughly $3,000,000 needed to secure matching City funds for a Town Square in Noe Valley. (You can vote on the campaign poster and even donate on

$3M? In Noe Valley? Many local houses sell for that. Plenty of NV residents could write that check today. That much money was easily raised for the over-the-top playground at Dolores Park. The point much do you want a Town Square on 24th St? Would you pony up a few dollars? Do you know someone who could? Do you know someone who could bring true fundraising to bear?

Contrast: The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake rendered the De Young Museum a disaster zone. The solution? Pacific Heights socialite Dede Wilsey spear-headed fundraising to rebuild. The SF Ballet needed money? Dede was there. Dede most recently helped to raise money for the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Mission Bay. All cost a lot of money.

Noe Valley needs a Dede Wilsey. Otherwise, the Farmers Market, Mona Caron's murals and all that unused parking will become condos.

[Noe Valley Town Square]
[NVSF: Town Square]

May 4, 2012

This Week In Noe Valley

News from, about and for Noe Valley from around the interwebs:
[Photo: F6x]

NVV May 2012: We Read It So You Don't Have To

The Noe Valley Voice is published ten times a year and has been a neighborhood fixture since 1977. Here are highlights from the latest issue. Links are to items we've covered here on NVSF or outside sources as the Voice doesn't post stories online until mid-month.

May 2012

Front Page: Residents on 25th St and Eureka are raising chickens in Noe; Bethany Church Project hopes for a June reopening; profile of 9-year-old Kif who sings his "breathy vibrato" at the Noe Farmer's Market; photo of beat cop Lorraine Lombardo with the NVV and 2 cobras in Marrakech.

Letters: A reader reminisces about the movie theaters on 24th St in the 40s; several calls for more stop signs on Church and 24th; a reminder that it's not just drivers who are clueless - oblivious cell-phone addled pedestrians are just as much to blame; a lament about the demise of Bell Market and the rise of Whole Foods from a former Noe resident (choice quote: "one thing I won't miss is the self-awarded, superior attitude of some Noe Valley residents"); a gripe about the litter caused by the Examiner (see this post to make it stop).

Short Takes: Noe Valley Garden Tour 2012 set for May 19; changes proposed along the Church corridor to speed Muni by 2014.

Cost of Living in Noe: Average sales price for a single-family home is $1.6 million.

Store Trek: The Playhouse at Noe Valley, Sean (men's clothing)

Rumors: The former Ladybug Ladybug spot (next to Martha's & Bros!) will soon be a tea shop called DAVIDsTEA; the former J&J space is turning into a hip women's clothing store called Mill; the old First National Nails and Tanning salon space on Vicksburg will soon be home to a purveyor of olive oil products called Olive This Olive That that will also sell pasta and vinegars; and First Republic Bank is taking over the old Tuttimelon spot. On the Town Square front, a developer has made an offer for the open lot - and the Noe Valley Ministry needs the money by this fall to pay for the planned church remodel; the Ministry has agreed to wait 5 months to see if the Town Square advocates can raise the funds in the meantime. There have been a rash of bike thefts in Noe - check out a video of a theft and more details here. Small businesses will be toasted on May 17 at the Noe Valley Wells Fargo; look for a Sidewalk Sale on 24th Street on May 19 to honor local small businesses as well.

[The Noe Valley Voice]