March 29, 2010

Noe Valley Pavement to Parks - Community Meeting April 8

For those interested in the ongoing parklet/plaza debate, here's your chance to ask questions and air concerns with the coordinators:
Dear Noe Valley Residents,

Attached, please find a formal invitation to a community meeting scheduled for Thursday, April 8 to discuss trial public space improvements at the intersection of 24th and Noe Streets in Noe Valley.

The meeting is scheduled for Thursday April 8, 6:30pm, at St. Philips (665 Elizabeth Street). Please feel free to distribute this email to any local groups or organizations you are part of. And, as always, please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.


Andres Power
Pavement to Parks Project Manager
Click the image for a bigger view of the flyer.

March 24, 2010

Plaza Vs. Parklet: Your Voice Has Been Heard

Dear Noe Valley Residents,

First of all, I would like to thank you all for the feedback we've received these past couple of weeks regarding the proposed Pavement to Parks project at Noe and 24th Streets. While we have not officially began our public outreach, I do appreciate those of you who have taken the time out of your day to send me initial comments and concerns.

The goal of Pavement to Parks is to identify places throughout the city that have a lot of people and a lot of activity on the streets but not necessarily the accommodations for those people to enjoy outdoor life. Improvements as part of the Pavement to Parks program are all trial (and fully reversible) and are intended to make the neighborhood more comfortable and enjoyable for residents and visitors alike. These improvements include new pedestrian spaces, landscaping, trees, seating, and other people-focussed enhancements.

While we have not began our official public process (scheduled to begin in a couple of weeks, email to follow soon), there has been quite a bit of discussion amongst the community both supportive of and opposed to a Pavement to Parks project at the Noe location. The concern we've heard thus far focusses primarily on impacts to traffic circulation.

As a result of this valued input, the Pavement to Parks program is advancing a second option for this location which leaves vehicular circulation along Noe Street unaffected. This option would involve a Parklet rather than a Plaza. While the Plaza option would necessitate closing roughly a third of a block of Noe Street at 24th Street to vehicles, a Parklet's footprint would remain entirely within the parking lane and would maintain all existing vehicular circulation. Our first
Parklet has been piloted on Divisadero Street and I encourage you to visit the Pavement to Parks website, listed below, for an idea of what a Parklet might look like.

When we begin our public outreach in a few weeks (email confirming date and time will come soon), we will discuss the pros and cons of both options to determine how best we should move forward as a community.

I thank all of you for your input thus far and encourage you to forward this email to others who might be interested. Also, please feel free to contact me directly with any additional questions or concerns.


Andres Power
Pavement to Parks Project Manager

March 22, 2010

Little Chihuahua To Take Over Bistro 24

Yet another great tip from a reader:
...Some people have overheard the owner of The Little Chihuahua saying that he plans on opening a 2nd restaurant near 24th & Castro. It sounds like it might be the Bistro 24 space. Build-out to be complete in late May or June. Little Chihuahua, if you've never been, makes a damn good burrito... rivaling Papalote IMHO.
We sent a note to owner Andrew Johnstone but haven't heard back yet. But check this out: Stefano Coppola has (finally?) sold his beer and wine license to Andrew Johnstone, who intends to open The Little Chihuahua at 4123 24th St. Status: pending.

What to Expect? From Little Chihuahua's website: "Our goal is to make delicious, healthy, Mexican-inspired food, while at the same time, make choices that help protect our Earth. The key to our concept is preparing food fresh and in-house, with a conscience." And don't forget the beer and wine.

Stay tuned.

Update: we heard from Andrew Johnstone:
Yes! The rumor is correct.

Hopefully we will be open in May after some interior updates to fit the concept. We will be operating with the same menu and format as our Divisadero restaurant, with both takeout and dine-in etc. We will expand into our brunch menu once we are up and running.

We are very happy to be coming to Noe Valley. The bigger space will be great and we are excited to share what we have to offer to the neighborhood.
[The Little Chihuahua]

March 21, 2010

Mi Lindo Yucatan to Become Patxi's Pizza

A sharp-eyed reader (thanks, Nick!) tipped us to a new license that has appeared in the former Mi Lindo Yucatan space:
Paxti's Chicago Pizza is on a beverage license at the old mi Lindo Yucatan space. They still have all the "RESTAURANT SPACE FOR RENT" signs up so perhaps their lease is contingent on those licenses going through.
A quick search of the ABC site confirms an application for a liquor license filed on March 17 (status: pending). The 2500 square foot space is still under heavy construction, but will certainly be big enough for the restaurant/pizzeria. Oh, and the restaurant name is pronounced "pah cheese," and it does not count as a new restaurant on 24th St since it replaces an existing one.

[New 2500 Sq. Foot Restaurant Destined for 24th Street?]

Pocket Park Protests: Don't Block Noe

Not everyone is happy about the new parklet/plaza proposed for Noe @ 24th. This anonymous note arrived in our email this week:
Currently, the planning commission is in the works to create a pocket park that would barricade Noe & 24th Street. All the residents of that block are staunchly against it, yet there is no voting. This is something that came through the Mayor's office. A barricade on the corner of 24th and Noe is something that would effect the whole retail area. It would cause a huge bottle neck at 24th & Sanchez and make traveling through the shopping district more of a nightmare than usual on weekends and mornings. The proposed budget is $50,000.00. Surely Bevan Dufty and the Mayor's office can do something more efficient with our tax dollars than build a pocket park, in a part of town that is already beautified with plenty of outdoor space. The park isn't even what the 24th and Noe residents are opposed to, it's the fact that Noe and 24th will become a dead-end street. It's the fact that a planner came to tell us all about the park. We all opposed unanimously, yet they still have plans to go ahead and continue the process of planning. This is sure to be a traffic nightmare for the neighborhood. Fine, give us a park, but why not do it at the old Rite Aid parking lot?
In case you're wondering about that last point, the parking lot between Le Zinc and Radio Shack is actually a gift from the late Harry Aleo, Noe Valley's most outspoken Republican. From the Noe Valley Voice obituary of Aleo:
One of Aleo's biggest contributions to the neighborhood was the municipal parking lot on 24th Street. When the old Alta Mira movie theater came up for sale in the early 1960s, Aleo encouraged the Merchants Association to buy the building and turn the property into a badly needed parking lot... The association did not have the money, so Aleo bought it with his own funds in the association's name. He then sold the property to the city under the condition that the city turn the land into a municipal lot.
Want more info? Send an email to The plan is to have a decision soon enough to open the space (or not) by June 21.

[NVSF: New Street-side Plaza for Noe]
[NVV: Neighborhood Won't Be the Same Without Harry Aleo]
NVSF: Community Meeting Minutes: Let the Free Market Work]
[Image: Castro @ Clipper]

March 20, 2010

Crime Beat Redux: Identity Scavengers

Our post on the Church Street Shenanigans elicited this anonymous email from a reader:
I want folks to be wary about papers they dispose of. Twice in the last month I have seen guys going through paper recycling, and not with an eye for beating Sunset Scavengers to the punch. They were clearly looking systematically through papers looking for valuable information, bank receipts, credit card info etc. The second time the guy was even wearing a spelunkers light on his head! The cops have been notified, but better to make sure there is nothing for them to find.
So recycling thieves cost taxpayers $469,000 a year, and they could cost you a lot more. Shred those receipts and credit card statements folks, before you recycle them.

[SFRecycling: Report Form]
[NVSF: Recycling Theft = $469,000]
[SFGate: Judge orders scavengers to stop raiding trash]

Tidbits: Changes on 24th Street

When Modern Was (Opened): A second location of the vintage and consignment store on Church Street is now open in the old Riki space. Same basic stuff as the Church store, better presentation. 4037 24th St. between Noe & Castro.

Cooks Boulevard (Closed):
The kitchen store is now officially closed; a For Lease sign is in the window.

Circle Bank (Under Construction):
The two spaces that held Aveda and Noe Valley Video are under construction and being combined to create Circle Bank (with an ATM spot taking up half of the storefront). A sign in the window says "Opening Spring 2010." The bank is also jumping right into the community as one of the main sponsors of the 3rd annual Easter Egg hunt at Douglass Playground (10AM to noon, Saturday April 3).

Crime Beat: Church Street Shenanigans

We got this note from a reader a few days ago:
I was walking down Church south of 26th today (beautiful sunny day) when a woman said something--I thought it might be my name but then she said "Italiana?" and I said no. I thought she was Italian, but then she switched to English and kept walking with me. Said she lived in the Mission and then started asking "friendly" questions--where was I from, did I have kids. I noticed a man with gray curly hair in a puffy zip up jacket who seemed to be listening and then walked ahead of us. Felt wrong, so I turned a corner. She was 5'4" with long brown/graying curly hair, with a cell phone around her neck. No idea what the story was, and don't want to know.
Paranoid? Maybe. Safe choice regardless. Then we got this note yesterday:
Just a quick PSA to your readers: I had my iPhone stolen out of my hands on the J Church during the middle of the day. I was coming from downtown, a young black guy grabbed my phone at 16th and Church just as the train pulled into the stop, jumped off and ran down 16th Street. I reported the theft to the police and the officer who took my report said there have many similar cases recently. Because I had the train number, stop and time of the crime, they were able to pull the video from the train. I had my head in my email, but the video shows the perp stalking me and eyeing my phone right up until he grabbed it and ran. When I went to the Apple store to replace my stolen 2-year old phone, the clerk said many customers in the last week were coming in to replace stolen iPhones. So to my fellow J Church and Muni riders out there, stay frosty, watch for people stalking you, and consider bringing a book instead of a phone to entertain you on the commute.
Two notes don't make a trend, but we did think these items were worth passing along.

Things we've learned: Crime on Muni? Get the driver to call the police right then and there. If they won't call, get the train number and call yourself (borrow a phone if you have to). Suspicious activity on the street? Go with your gut and get to a secure place. And most of all, keep your valuables out of sight. Most of the violent crimes in Noe Valley are thugs looking for stuff to steal.

March 13, 2010

Food Bites: Special Dinners, Wine For A Cause, And A Breakfast Treat

La Ciccia's popular four-course dinner of whole-roasted suckling pig and other Sardinian style treats is on again March 29th at 7:00PM. $80/person including wine, excluding tax and gratuity. Reservations by phone only: (415)550-8114. 291 30th St.

Incanto's 7th Annual Head-To-Tail Dinner has two dates this year: Monday, March 22, and Wednesday, March 24. The menu includes venison, pork liver, oxtail and beef lips, tripe and tongue and (of course) mincemeat for desert. Five courses, $75/person excluding wine, tax and gratuity. Reservations online or by calling (415)641-4500. 1550 Church St.

Noe Valley Ministry is hosting Noe Valley Uncorked -- a fund-raiser highlighting wines from Argentina. If you're not familiar with wines from the 5th largest producer of wines in the world this is a great opportunity to learn about Malbec and even less familiar grapes. April 30, 6:00-9:00PM. $35/person at the door. Over 20 wines and snacks. All proceeds benefit Noe Valley Ministry. 1021 Sanchez St.

Looking for a cheaper treat? Twin Peaks Pizza is now serving a Brazilian breakfast treat called salgados. Savory, with meat and cheese the primary ingredients. Monday through Saturday, 8:00AM-3:00PM. Prices start at $1.70. 1681 Church St.

March 7, 2010

Closing: Cooks Boulevard

A reader tipped us to the sad news that after 5 years in Noe, Cooks Boulevard (1309 Castro @ 24th St) is closing. Owner Malcolm Haar says the two-level retail space is too big (and presumably expensive) and the "current situation is not sustainable." Depending on how quickly he can find someone to assume the lease, he may or may not reopen in another location.

A final close date has not been set, but the selection is already looking thin and everything in the store is 20-40% off. If you're planning to stop in, do it soon--and check the Cooks Boulevard blog for updates on a final closing date.

Unrelated (but unfortunate), the front window to the store is also broken.

[Cooks Boulevard: Time's Up: We're Closing]

March 5, 2010

Teardowns: Prices Dropping?

Check out 469 Valley St: $649k for a total teardown. The MLS describes it as a probate sale and "absolutely uninhabitable under current conditions." But even given the condition we'd expect a bit more, especially because of the potential for views.

Compare it to a few recent sales that were also torn down or majorly fixed:

1409 Sanchez sold in September 2008 for $875k. It returned to the market as an empty lot with approved plans for $1.25M. It didn't sell, and was eventually withdrawn from the MLS.

168 Clipper St sold in 2007 for $800k and is currently slated for demolition and working through the approval process for new construction.

4033 26th St sold in 2007, was raised 2 levels and is now offered as a $2.595M single family home.

Has the market changed that much? Or is the risk to developers just too high, and construction loans that hard to come by? Maybe it's just not Noe Valley enough?

NVV: 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 notable highlights from the latest issue. Links are to stories we've covered here on NVSF or outside sources as the Voice doesn't post stories until the middle of the month.

March 2010

Front Page: Local softball teams ready for spring season; murder writer Cara Black produces her 10th novel; Noe Valley Ministry is closing for a year in November; The history of Shufat Market; Muni wait times may get longer due to proposed service cuts and J-Church track repair.

Letters: A neighbor is disappointed to find Noe Valley wouldn’t support measures to find new income for Muni; a plea from neighbors to patronize 24th St. Cheese Co. which is feeling the Whole Foods pinch (despite long lines); Independent Nature on Church wants you to know it does not sell beekeeping supplies; another neighbor begs to differ on the fewer restaurants myth.

Cost of Living in Noe: It was a cold January - 6 homes sold. Meaning...not enough for good data.

Traveling Voice: Venice.

Store Trek: Cardio-Tone.

Rumors: NV community meeting at St. Philips (including details on the plaza set to open on Noe St - south side, closed to traffic); Geeks in Noe raised $12k for Alvarado School; Green Twig Hair Salon is moving into the long-vacant former travel agent space at 1515 Church and will sell Aveda products; Lynn Antiques at 1478 Church is closing this month (she’s moving back to Montana); Twin Peaks Pizza is offering house wines for $2.99 a bottle for eat-in dinners this month.

[The Noe Valley Voice]