September 29, 2011

Video: Demolition of 448 Diamond St

Tom sent us this time-lapse video of the demolition on 448 Diamond St:

Here's what it will look like when the new "family-sized 5 bedroom" [PDF] home just outside Noe Valley is completed:

SF Parent PAC Meeting

A brief note from the SF Parent Political Action Committee:
We want every candidate for mayor to hear our voices and understand what it will take to make SF the best place to raise kids and have families. We are hosting the first Mayoral Candidate Forum focused on our issues.

Please come to hear how each candidate understands your needs and his/her ideas regarding this City and family issues.
Tuesday October 11th from 6:30 to 8:30
2266 California Street
Refreshments, childcare, and interpretation services will be provided.
For more information contact:

September 25, 2011

Announced: Philz Coffee In Noe Valley

In case the photo isn't clear, this is the space recently vacated by The Animal Company at 4298 24th St and across from Noe Courts.

Halloween 2011: Help A New Mother Out

Emily asks:
I have what I hope is a question quick to answer: When are people trick-or-treating in Noe this year since Halloween falls on a Monday? Still Monday night I'm assuming? SF seems to take it's Halloween very seriously. This is my first Halloween as a mom so I'm not sure what local tradition is along these lines.

September 23, 2011

Noe Valley: Home Of Yummy Mummies

Harvest Festival 2010
A hat tip to SF Weekly for pointing us to the following assessment of Noe Valley by the BBC:
Noe Valley is one of the most desirable neighbourhoods in San Francisco right now. It is close by the Castro and the Mission, but it [is] filled with yummy mummies and the stroller set, sidewalk cafes and lovely old Victorians.
[BBC Travel: Living in: San Francisco]

Benefit: Pancake Breakfast At James Lick

September 22, 2011

Tidbits: 24th Street Updates

While we weren't watching Raquel Settles Metalsmith opened up at 4128 24th Street -- once destined to be Noe Soup and before that part of the BJ Droubi Empire. The tiny jewelry store carries one-of-a-kind handmade items (earrings/necklaces made from antique glass buttons from the UK, for instance) and also does repairs.

Raquel Settels Metalsmith
4128 24th St
(415) 821-9979

Other happenings on 24th Street over the last few weeks:
  • Two spaces are being painted (and no longer have For Rent signs): the old J+J Market and Bespoke. Workers on site were unable to provide any info.
  • The former Urban Cellars storefront is also showing signs of life as it edges closer to becoming Noe Valley Wine Merchants -- plasterers set up shop inside this week. License still pending, BTW.

Reader Letter: Hey Noe Valley Thief – Read This!

Fully recognizing that the thief likely won't see this, Charley pleads:
Yes you.
Look, it had cash in it and those visa gift cards that were supposed to go to my daughter’s teachers so you got some nice stuff out of it. It had a pen I liked, and who knows, maybe you even get to keep the stuff you charged on my Amex before I canceled it.
But you know what? That dumb handkerchief that I know you don’t care about, it was from my wedding, and that’s what I miss the most.
If you have any heart at all in you, can you please put the handkerchief in my mailbox at 61 Vicksburg (the house you took it from)? I don’t care about the rest of it, keep it, sell it, whatever. I just want the handkerchief back.

September 15, 2011

Announced: Cliché Noe

Looks like truth in advertising for the shop opening in the space last used by Mystery Books:
Located in the heart of San Francisco, Cliché Noe is a 'varietal' gift store. Filled with eclectic gifts specifically tailored to appeal to all ages, we want to welcome you to our neighborhood. Our soft opening date is set for November 25th, so look for updates!
Cliché Noe
4175 24th St
On FaceBook

Noe Valley Restaurant For Sale

But which location is it:
Fully equipped, established restaurant for sale in prime Noe Valley corner.
Motivated Seller! This is a turn-key profitable business with upside potential. Currently opened for dinner only. Type 41 Beer & Wine license and below market rent! Lease is negotiable.

More info provided to qualified buyers only. Serious inquiries only.
Emphasis ours.

September 14, 2011

Benefit for the Noe Valley 24th Street Fire Victims, Take 2

Noe Valley resident Catherine Bergstrom is organizing a benefit for the victims of last weekend's fire. Click the image to see the official flyer or the details are below:
Noe Valley Friends & Neighbors Helping Neighbors

A Benefit for the Victims of the Radio Shack Apartment Fire

Thursday, October 6, 2011 @ 6 – 9 pm
The Valley Tavern in Noe Valley

As you may know, there was a devastating fire on the 4000 Block of 24th Street on
Saturday, September 10, 2011. Seven residents who lived in the building have been displaced, most of them having lost everything that they own.

They have many needs and perhaps you can donate time, have an apartment to rent to them or can contribute a few household items that they could use.

Let’s rally together to help them regain their lives. Come meet more of your  neighbors.

Please show your care for your fellow Noe Valley and San Franciscan neighbors.

You can help by contributing to a special benefit account for the victims (Wells Fargo #3191560626); and/or by attending a benefit for these fire victims to be held on Thursday, October 6th (6-9pm) at The Valley Tavern (4054 24th Street).

The raffle will be held during this fundraiser. Raffle Tickets will be sold at The Valley Tavern beginning Saturday, September 17th. There are some fantastic prizes!

Contact Catherine Bergstrom for more information on how to help.

An Open Letter To Noe Valley

Kitchen before the fire
An Expanded View of Home

In the last few days since the fire that destroyed our Noe Valley apartment, I've been thinking more than ever before about the concept of 'home'—and trying to extract any meaning from our temporary loss. We're lucky, though, and I know that: nobody was hurt in the fire, and we were able to salvage most of our belongings.

Our upstairs neighbors, though, were not as fortunate. They lost many of their personal items.

We'd just begun to settle into our place, when this fire hit.

While I had never initially made a target of living in Noe Valley (not fitting into the stereotypes since I am both childless and dogless), I couldn't help but fall in love with the apartment when I first saw it—the light, the large rooms, the hardwood floors, the huge closets. The apartment had just had a fresh makeover, after twenty years' occupation by the same tenant, and it was beautiful. Our landlord was amazingly kind and trusting; she let us come over a few weeks before the apartment was finished to repaint the rooms in the color of our choice, to paint cabinets and to make small modifications for our aesthetic pleasure.

Have fun playing house, she said to us.

Having a naturally nomadic spirit (in the last ten years, I had lived in North Carolina, Hanoi, Saigon, London, San Francisco, Hanoi, Geneva, Hanoi, and San Francisco)—I was more than ready to call this apartment my home. My housemates—one who'd just moved here from Boston—were equally ready to commit to the place. We befriended our upstairs neighbors and a week after we moved in, we'd already thrown our first full house party. A Halloween party, hosted by the two apartments, was already in the works.

I focused on perfecting the back rooms: the kitchen and the living room. I wanted it to be beautiful, I wanted it to be home. I found a customized reclaimed wood table for the kitchen, had shelves installed, painted tables and chairs bought from Craigslist, found vintage tins, ordered lamps from a vendor at the Alameda Flea Market, and displayed the items I'd brought from Vietnam. All of us worked to create an ambience that would reflect our three personalities: a space we could all call home. We wanted to put love into this house, to make it grow and flourish.

After about six weeks, we weren't quite finished. One of my housemates had arranged to have all his childhood belongings sent to the house. His boxes sat in the front room, waiting to be unpacked. Though it was still unfinished, the house had already started feeling like home to us. We held dinner parties, received friends visiting from other cities and countries. Always, I felt secretly delighted when friends would comment: how beautiful the house was; how warm it felt. Congratulations, one said.

For the first time in my life I relished the fact that I felt no desire to leave. I felt rooted and solid in this physical structure, certain that my San Francisco life was beginning—now that I finally had a real home. I relied on this structure to ground me in a place. I kept telling myself to consider the importance of 'home:' that for a person to really flourish, he/she needed to feel grounded in something.

We were at a barbecue on Saturday afternoon when we began receiving worried texts and calls from friends in the neighborhood . One text: I don't mean to alarm you, but I think your building is on fire. I didn't really believe that the fire was in our building. It wasn't possible. It couldn't be. In the taxi, my friend called Radio Shack, which is located on the first floor of our building: no one answered. He then called Valley Tavern, the bar across the street from our house, who confirmed that it was the Radio Shack building that had caught fire.

It didn't really hit me on Saturday night, even after I had seen for myself the damage inside our apartment. It didn't really hit me on Sunday or Monday. I was too busy thinking about what was next—where were we were going to live; trying to move what remained of our belongings out of the house. There was too much to do to really absorb the reality, let alone what it might in the long view.

Over the past few days, we've received an outpouring of support from neighbors and friends who've offered to help us in any way possible. The night of the fire Valley Tavern gave us free drinks, Patxi's brought pizzas to us, Bernie continues to offer me free coffee and kind words. One concerned neighbor left a note on the door, asking if she could host a fundraiser for us. Supervisor Wiener's office calls us almost daily (sometimes twice a day). We were amazed by the support.

Even though my housemates and I are temporarily staying in other neighborhoods, we still go back to Noe Valley to attend to business, trying to extract the rest of our belongings. The benches on 24th Street have become the new meeting place for the displaced tenants of 4051 and 4051A, as we put the pieces back together.

What I've come to realize, only a few days after the fire, is that one of the lessons that I've already gained from this ordeal is a broadened perspective of home.

Now, I see that home is not just about the physical structure, or the comfort, say, of my bedroom. A true home extends beyond the actual structure. Home to me now encompasses the upstairs neighbors, our friends in Noe Valley, and the beautiful city of San Francisco. It's so much more than I thought it was—so much bigger, so much stronger, so much more beautiful.

Thank you, Noe Valley.

Christina Vo
4051 24th Street

September 12, 2011

Benefit/Fundraiser for Noe Valley Fire Victims on 24th Street

Reader Aaron Bailey left a comment on the original post about the fire and wrote to tell us:
As you may have heard, the residence of 4051 24th Street experienced a devastating fire this past Saturday, September 10th. To help the displaced residents, we are organizing a benefit/fundraiser:
Where: Valley Tavern
Address: 4054 24th Street
Time: 4pm – 8pm, Saturday September 17

We understand this is short notice but these victims are in need of your kind assistance. We are collecting items for our raffle and turning to you in hopes that you would be able to donate to this cause. We appreciate your help and consideration! 
For more info contact Aaron Bailey or Heather Romaine.
Update: The event has already been postponed - see comments. Stay tuned ... 
Update 2: Details for the new event on Oct 6 here.

[Photo:  @cyberdoggie]

September 10, 2011

2-Alarm Fire On 24th Street

A fire engulfed the upper unit of the building housing Radio Shack this afternoon. In case you missed the smoke but heard the sirens, here's KGO's official report:
A fire at an apartment in Noe Valley burned for 45 minutes before it was brought under control on Saturday.

The fire was reported shortly before 3:30 p.m. Saturday at a home along 24th Street between Noe and Castro in San Francisco.

Firefighters called a second alarm for the blaze at 3:57 p.m. Smoke from the fire could be seen for miles.

Firefighters were able to bring the fire under control shortly after 4:25 p.m.

The fire was contained to one structure that houses several apartment buildings. It's not known if anyone was inside those apartments at the time of the fire.

There were no injuries associated with the blaze.
Twitter was more helpful:
 Catherine Bergstrom 
Omg! Huge fire on 24th Street in Noe Valley! Fire in apartments above Radio Shack.

 Lisa Picarille 
there must be a huge fire in noe valley, the mission is flooded with smoke and fire trucks were headed up 24th towards NV

 Gregory Peebles 
there was a huge fire in an apartment and the whole neighborhood is full of smoke. @ 24th Street Noe Valley 

 Luis Garcia 
Ack. Big fire in Noe Valley right now. Hope peeps are ok.

 Jennifer Leonard 
Narrowly escaped the billows of black cloud and ashfall from massive house fire in Noe Valley. Scary.

Wife called - "not going to whole foods, noe valley is all messed up. What's going on, check your twitter...."

 Brett Emerson 
Fire trucks in Noe Valley @ Downtown Noe Valley

 Jim Goldstein 
Photo: Today’s fire in Noe Valley. 3 ladder trucks, 6+ engines and 2 ambulances   (Taken... 

 Dave Blizard 
Looks like the fire was contained to the Radio Shack building. The upper unit is trashed. :( Noe valley fire 
 Richard Brewer-Hay 
Mission accomplished. Thanks for all that you do.  @ Pasta Pomodoro - Noe 
KGO reports no injuries, but clearly at least one family was displaced. Does anyone have any info about where they will sleep tonight? Did the American Red Cross show up?

How can Noe Valley help?

[Photo: Jim M. Goldstein]

September 9, 2011

Street Trees: 24th St Blight To Get Blightier

The two trees in front of Real Foods are set for removal at the request of the owner, who apparently came out of hiding. The notice states multiple trunk injuries, decay, etc. The notice also states that the trees will be replaced by the Noe Valley Association, which is great but will leave a gap in the canopy for some time.

If you'd like to make the building owner show up at request a hearing to appeal the trees' removal contact the DPW Urban Forestry department at 2323 Cesar Chavez St, SF CA 94124. You can fax your letter to (415) 695-2147.

Click the photo for complete info.

September 8, 2011

NVV Sept 2011: 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.

September 2011

Front Page: Noe Valley Wine Walk is coming Sept 14 (a $30 wristband gets you unlimited pours from 19 shops and restaurants) and organizers expect 400 to 600 tasters; Noe Valley gets its own lipstick line; former St. Paul's Priest slammed for child abuse; 98-year old Keiko Fukuda earns Judo's highest honor of 10th degree black belt; results from the Census 2010 (highlights: Noe has lost a few residents since 2000, gained toddlers- up 50% from a decade ago, and "Snowy Valley" has a higher percentage of white people than the rest of SF - 78%  vs. 49% citywide).

Letters: A reader writes to complain about Whole Foods applying for a liquor license because "it may attract more shoppers;"  farewell Mystery Bookstore - you will be missed; another reader complains about parking on 24th Street so they drive to the Castro instead; a letter in defense of the blocked sidewalk violation citations ("sidewalks are for people!"); a complaint about a police car roaring down 24th St. at top speed ("a terrible accident could have occurred"); a warning about truth in advertising at Whole Foods on blueberries ("they weren't half-pint containers"); and a question about whether guest rentals are in fact legal (short answer: not usually and you need to pay taxes).

Cost of Living in Noe: The rental market is red-hot with 1%  vacancy in "well-managed" buildings thanks to the Google shuttle buses, easy freeway access, and Noe's "hip nightlife." (?) Average price of a house in Noe: $1.17 million.

Short Takes: Music in the Park is this Saturday at Noe Courts; Open Studios comes to Noe on Oct 1-2 - visit for more details or pick up a schedule at Phoenix Books on 24th St.

Store Trek: Press: Works on Paper

Rumors: In the weeks before Sept 11, 2001 in Noe on Church Street, Cafe XO was opening, Cafe J was about to become a Greek restaurant on Church (now Henry's Hunan), Star Bakery was closing to become a Curves (now Getzwell), Speckmann's was becoming Contigo, and a retro ice cream shop called Fountain of Youth was struggling to stay alive (it's now a nails waxing salon). 10 years on in Noe ... First American Title Company is opening on Castro; Tamasei Sushi is becoming Akai Saru sushi in a few months; Urban Cellars is becoming Noe Valley Wine Merchants; and J & J is empty. Other changes afoot: The Accent on Flowers remodel should be done by the last week of September and the space will be up for rent; Star Magic/Cosmic Wizard is no more; and Bespoke is leaving Noe for Pacific Heights. The old Tuttimelon space could become a First Republic bank soon - though the Noe Valley Merchants  and Professionals Association still has to consider the idea (and there are already 5 banks on 24th St). The psychic space has been transformed into Walkershaw men's clothing (Connie Walkershaw also runs Sew Salon on Castro at Jersey). Giants pitcher Matt Cain is reportedly leaving Noe for the East Bay; the huge neon sign above Cotton Basics has been removed from outside the building, and you can visit it inside the store now; more Real Foods buyout rumors; a belated nod to the 2011 Best of the Bay winners in Noe; and there's a memorial on Sept 9 for long-time local Bank of America bank teller Jorge Casilla Ramirez. RIP.

[The Noe Valley Voice]

September 6, 2011

News of the Strange: Public Nudity Legislation

Just in time for the return of Burners to SF, today Scott Wiener introduced this legislation:

Legislation would require nudists to cover public seating before sitting down and would require clothing to enter restaurants

At today's Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Scott Wiener will introduce legislation to ensure that public nudity comports with basic concepts of public health.  While there are many opinions about the appropriateness of people going nude in public, there is little disagreement that public nudity should be sanitary.  Supervisor Wiener's legislation will help accomplish that goal.

Supervisor Wiener represents, among other neighborhoods, the Castro, which has seen an increase in public nudity recently.

The legislation will address two issues.  First, it will require people who are nude in public to place an item -- for example, a towel -- underneath them when they sit down.  This will avoid situations, as currently occurs, where nudists sit down on public seating without placing anything between their body and the seat.  Second, the legislation will require nudists to don clothing before they enter a restaurant.

"San Francisco is a liberal and tolerant city, and we pride ourselves on that fact," said Supervisor Wiener.  "Yet, while we have a variety of views about public nudity, we can all agree that when you sit down naked, you should cover the seat, and that you should cover up when you go into a food establishment."

For more information, please contact Supervisor Wiener's office at (415) 554-6968 or
[Image: Demotivational Posters]

September 3, 2011

Noe Valley Music in the Park - Saturday, Sept 10

The real summer in San Francisco is upon us, and the Friends of Noe Valley has unveiled the details [sic] for the Sept. 10 Music in the Park event at Noe Courts:
A neighborhood event with music, BBQ and fun-filled family activities including:
  • Emcee for the day Noe Valley’s own Michael Capozzola, comedian and cartoonist. Michael has performed at many local comedy clubs as well as hosted the Noe Valley Harvest Festival.
  • District 8 Rock Band, a rip-roaring amalgamation of roots, prog and indie elements, made up of local parents including drummer Dan Luscher from Noe Valley, who will treat us to a roster of their greatest hits.
  • Hilary Craddock, Noe Valley singer songwriter and piano teacher, along with former Playdate members Sharon Gillenwater, also from Noe Valley, and Rich Burns who preform in a style that is strong on harmonies with a bit of alternative twist.
  • Willow the Wisp a banjo, accordian group based in Noe Valley.
  • Hula hoop demo and workshop presented by Nicloe Wong, founder of Cherry Hoops. Nicole brings high-quality instruction complete with professional hoops to make it easy to learn this mesmerizing art form.  Get ready for single hoop, poi-style twin hooping, and multi-hooping in this laughter-filled and fun workshop!
  • San Francisco Scottish Dancers who provide fun, fitness, friendship and great music in a performance including lively jigs, hornpipes and reels, and elegant strathspeys.
  • A Jumpy Castle that is sure to delight the kids.

What: Music in the Park
When: Saturday, September 10 11:00am-4:00pm
Where: Noe Courts (24th and Douglass)

Labor Day Is (Still) Real Foods Day in Noe Valley

Labor Day 2010
It's Labor Day, which means you can always expect to see something posted  at the the blighted closed Real Foods space on 24th Street. Today, there were several printouts of articles and comments from around the blogosphere including this one from this blog and this one from SF Appeal … and a sheet to add more comments under each on the storefront. It was an attention getter - lots of people stopped to read.

The signs were up during the farmer's market and gone without a trace by 2PM. Is someone actually keeping tabs on the Real Foods space that closely? And is that a good sign or … ?

September 1, 2011

Closing: Joseph Andrade Floral

Open only a year and a half, high-end florist Joseph Andrade is closing up shop at 3961 24th St. They weren't open when we noticed the sign, but the clerk at Vivon confirms the listing is not for the downstairs space long-vacated by Qoio.

But what we really want to know: why are vacant spaces on 24th St almost always listed by Rockwell? How's that working out for everyone?