August 30, 2013

Crime Beat: High Speed Police Chase Through Noe Valley Ends In Arrest Near Alvarado School

From Tuesday on Twitter:


We've been trying to figure out what it was all about, and today this was in the Ingleside Station newsletter: 
August 27

-- 12:40pm, Unit Blk Castillo. A robbery victim was walking home when he noticed a suspect walking towards him and asked the victim to use his phone. The victim handed over the phone and instead of using it the suspect put the phone in his pocket. The victim asked, “What are you doing?” The suspect then pulled out a handgun and pointed it at the victim. Fearing for his life, the victim told the suspect to keep the phone. The victim immediately ran home and called the police telling dispatch that the suspect just fled the scene in a Black Mazda vehicle. Moments later, Officer Aslam and Walsh arrived and began tracking the victim’s phone. Officer Aslam was able to ping the phone and kept the responding units updated on the phones current location, which was showing at Mission and Trumbull Street. Officers Barcojo, Chin and Sgt Hoo were listening to the broadcast and happened to be at the right place at the right time because they saw the Black Mazda vehicle speeding past them. The officers got behind the vehicle in an attempt to pull it over, but instead lead them in a vehicle pursuit. The officers followed the vehicle as it sped through city streets having no regard for the safety of the pedestrians and vehicles on the street. Several Ingleside units joined in on the chase, pursuing the suspect vehicle through the Ingleside and Mission Districts. The suspect thought he would try to lose the officers by pulling into a driveway and sneak out of the area on foot, but the officers were right behind and apprehended the suspect. A search of the suspect turned up the victim’s phone and a search of the vehicle revealed a pellet gun that was made to look like a real handgun. The vehicle that the suspect was driving was also a stolen vehicle. The suspect was ultimately taken to Ingleside Station and booked on a several felony charges.
[Photo: @garyc]

NVV September 2013: 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 online until the middle of the month.

September 2013

Front Page: Phoenix Books on 24th Street is for sale; Upper Noe Rec Center celebrates "Cinco de Noe" on Sept 7 - a day of live music, kid crafts, a dog parade and recreation; residents on Alvarado seek to curb free parking and petition for a residential area permit.

Letters: An Elizabeth St. resident wonders why private "Google buses" are allowed to idle in Muni bus stops for free; another resident of "West Noe" is unhappy with the no-parking zones created by endless and seemingly poorly coordinated PG&E construction work; a Noe native who lives on 25th at Noe reminisces about how Walgreens used to be a Baby Bell Market, Noe Bagel was a Double Rainbow, and Savor used to be Courtyard Cafe.

Features and Short Takes: A farewell letter from police officer Lois Perillo who is retiring after 29 years with the SFPD, 10 of which she spent patrolling 24th St; R.I.P. Ruth Asawa; Upper Noe Recreation Center turns 5 this year; the Bernal Heights marmot is rescued at Alvarado and deported to Yosemite; Music in the Square debuts on Sept 8 from 1-5pm, a free music festival featuring food, live music and a activities for kids in the future Town Square space; StreetLightsSF is a new app from the SFPUC that lets you report streetlight outages (or you can just call 311).

Cost of Living in Noe: Average price for a home: $1.8 million. Condos? $1 million. Also, Twitter co-founder Ev Williams exits Noe, and more luxury homes have been sold in the NV-Castro-Cole Valley area in 2013 than in any other area of the city.

Rumors: Bay Castle Cleaners is gone and the owners of the building who own and operate St. Clair's Liquors next door are submitting plans to build it out into a commercial space with residential units above and parking spaces in the back - they expect construction to begin in 1-2 years and in the meantime plan to rent the space to a pop-up store; LOLA was asked to vacate her storefront on Castro and after looking frantically in Noe, found a better space on Clement; false alarm on Tung Sing closing - the for rent sign belonged to a residential apartment above, so Noe's oldest Chinese steam table is still open for business.

Strange: Last month the NVV announced a change to their website: "Beginning this month, you'll be able to view the Noe Valley Voice online in the same layout in which it appears in print, including all of the original formatting, photos, and display ads." So while you'll get all the ads, the content is no longer indexed by search engines. Too bad.

[The Noe Valley Voice]

August 24, 2013

This Week In Noe Valley: Summer In San Francisco

It's the last hurrah of summer and there's not a lot going on in Noe Valley. Burners are departing, the Louis Vuitton Cup is about to wrap up and it seems everyone else has left for a last weekend in the woods. Or Napa. Or a smoked-out Tahoe. Whatever it is you're doing, stay safe and have a great week. San Francisco's summer will begin when you return.

[Photo: cierawest]

August 19, 2013

For Sale: Phoenix Books

Just ran across this item:
Phoenix Books, San Francisco, Calif., is for sale. Owner Kate Rosenberger, who owns three other bookstores in San Francisco--Dog Eared Books, Red Hill Books and Alley Cat--described the 1,500-square-foot store as "a Noe Valley cultural institution for nearly 30 years." The store stocks new, used and remaindered books, with a strong emphasis on children's titles and recent releases, along with cards and stationery, much of it created by local artisans. The store also hosts book clubs, reading series and a kids' story hour.

Located across from Whole Foods on the busiest stretch of 24th Street, Phoenix Books has a loyal following in the community, Rosenberger said. "We know a lot of our customers by name. They come to Phoenix Books not just to buy books, but to talk about them with their friends and neighbors."

The store is located in a classic San Francisco Victorian building and includes a full-size basement and the use of a large backyard.

Phoenix Books has four experienced, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic employees. "I only hire bibliophiles," Rosenberger said. "They must be real readers who appreciate both good writing and the book as a physical object. One of the reasons we've been able to thrive in the digital age is that we don't recommend books based on an algorithm like the online stores, but offer personalized customer service. The human element is key."

Rosenberger hopes to find a new owner who shares her "passion for good books and her love of Noe Valley." For more information, contact Rosenberger at
We're wondering what prompted the sale. The building owner that houses Dog Eared Books on Valencia has evicted the two other ground floor tenants. Could the sale of Phoenix pay for a rate increase on Valencia? We're trying to find out. Regardless, Phoenix is prime real estate and a nice-sized space. It would be nice if it stays a local bookshop.

Update (8/20): We contacted Kate Rosenberger and she gave us some more details about the sale. She states that Pheonix is profitable, but needs some updates to compete in today's market (new computer system, space upgrades, etc). She says the lease is solid for years out. She also told us that despite a hefty rent increase, Dog Eared Books is profitable and will remain on Valencia St. Likewise, Badger Books on Cortland and Alley Cat books on lower 24th St are also doing well. But they all take up much of her time and as Kate put it: "The fact of the matter is, I have an 8 year old daughter, and I don't want to miss her childhood."

So Kate is looking to simplify.

Here are some more details from Kate about selling Phoenix:
  • I am asking a modest price for Phoenix, as I would like to see it remain a Noe Valley fixture. I am asking little more than the cost of the current inventory and fixtures.
  • However, to get specific, I would ask interested parties (and there already is one!) to contact me at
  • I am doing my best to sell the shop to an experienced bookseller.
  • I do think the transaction should take place soon, as we are heading into our very busiest season-the holidays.
  • The new owners will be delighted to see the amount of neighborhood support that we receive. At holiday time, we are literally running off our feet, selling books and providing our free gift wrap service.

[Shelf Awareness: Phoenix Books For Sale]

Closed: Tung Sing Restaurant

It survived a shutdown by the health department but not gentrification: Noe Valley's last steamtable Chinese takeout and restaurant, Tung Sing, has closed. A printed sign in the window at 4105 24th St declares simply that the restaurant will be closed from Aug 18 – 30, but a For Rent sign is already in the window.

Judging from the reviews on Yelp, there weren't many fans of the place anymore, although a few remember it fondly ("...if you are ever enticed to the restaurant behind the take out area, and the wooden screens, you may find food that is made to order, and fabulous...").

We overhead a neighbor out front saying the place has been there for more than 35 years. End of an era.

Update (8/24): The for rent sign is down, but the "closed for remodeling" signs remain. There is evidence of painters inside and all the food serving trays have been preserved under plastic sheets. Maybe not for rent after all?

Update (8/30): Open for business. The NVV reports that the sign was for an apartment upstairs, poorly placed by an agent.

August 17, 2013

This Week In Noe Valley: Cesar Chavez Explained, Another Wine Walk, And More Summer Fun

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

Moved: LOLA

It started as a pop-up Christmas store and turned into a full-time project for clothing designer Lola Herrera, but now the designer dress store LOLA at 1303 Castro near 24th St. is moving on. A sign in the window reads: "LOLA is moving to a beautiful new location 55 Clement Street (between Arguello & 2nd Ave) San Francisco."

There's no For Rent sign in the window yet so it's unclear what's destined for the space next.

[LOLA San Francisco]

August 6, 2013

Ruth Asawa, 1926-2013

Sad news from SFGate today: renowned sculptor, art advocate and Noe Valley resident Ruth Asawa passed away yesterday at the age of 87. Ms Asawa served on the SF Arts Commission and on the board of trustees of the Fine Arts Museums of San Franicisco. Most recently her Hyatt on Union Square Fountain was saved by the SF Planning Department from removal to make way for a new Apple store.

In 1942, Ms. Asawa was interned with other Japanese Americans at the age of 16, and it shaped how she thought about the world. She believed in making art accessible for all:
"Art is for everybody," according to Asawa. "It is not something that you should have to go to the museums in order to see and enjoy. When I work on big projects, such as a fountain, I like to include people who haven't yet developed their creative side — people yearning to let their creativity out. I like designing projects that make people feel safe, not afraid to get involved."
In addition to creating large public installations, Ms Asawa founded the Alvarado School Arts Workshop which was later expanded to 50 public schools in San Francisco. In 2010, the School of the Arts high school was renamed the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts.

[Official Site: Ruth Asawa]
[SFGate: Sculptor Ruth Asawa dead at age 87]
[Video via KQED Spark: Ruth Asawa]

NVDC Summer Fundraiser

This Thursday is the Noe Valley Democratic Club's summer fundraiser. Should your politics lean to the left (and we're guessing they do as we've never heard from a NV Republican Club) it will be a "good opportunity for Club members and neighbors to mingle with the political luminaries of the City." More:
The club is requesting a $35 contribution to help club activities including the advertisements we purchase in the Voice.

Confirmed for the event are Supervisors Scott Wiener, City Attorney Dennis Herrera, Board President David Chiu, Supervisor David Campos, Treasurer Jose Cisneros and City College Trustee Rafael Mandelman. Expected to attend are State Senator Mark Leno and District Attorney George Gascon. Hoping to attend are Assembly member Tom Ammiano, Assessor Carmen Chu and School Board member Emily Murase.
What: NVDC fundraiser
When: Thursday, Aug 8th, 6:30-8:30PM
Where: Savor, 3913 24th St
Cost: suggested donation of $35