December 31, 2017

This Year in Noe Valley: The Big Stories of 2017

2017 - it’s time to GTFO. Nationally, this was the year of fake news, alternative facts, covfefe, rampant tribalism and #metoo to name just a few of the things that defined our zeitgeist. In California, 2017 is was a year of record-setting rains followed by devastating firestorms. In San Francisco, it was a year of the Warriors winning (again), Mayor Lee dying abruptly and #resist. In other words, this year was exhausting. Things in Noe Valley were a little happier closer to home (hey, it’s still Noe Valley and we are soooooooo lucky to live here), but there was still a lot going on. Here were the biggest stories of 2017 in Noe Valley that preoccupied us, made us smile and that sometimes drove us crazy.

Nature Is Wild
In 2017 Noe Valleyeons spotted coyotes in the hood (including a dead one at Douglass park) and a wayward mountain lion was captured and relocated. We also had some pretty insane rain, heatwaves (115+ degrees reported, but more likely only 106) and lots of spare-the-air fallout from the NorCal and SoCal fires including spectacular sunrises and sunsets. The high point this year for natural phenomenon was the super cool eclipse. Just a little reminder that we’re just all just animals on a hot rock, folks. (Photo via hugitosf) 

Monster Homes and the Ensuing Eviction Backlash
In case you missed it, it’s waaay expensive to live here. The new high mark was the record-setting T-House sold for $12.5 million (for reference, it sold for a record-setting $6.1 million in 2011). Many other $5 and $6 million dollar homes sold for all cash this year. And megahomes are still being built. The dark side of all this: David Talbot posited that the real estate madness in SF is killing off the elderly, including Carl Jensen on 26th Street. However, a Noe Valley woman was the first to beat an Ellis Act eviction in San Francisco - perhaps a sign that evicting the elderly is finally uncool.

Endings, Beginnings and Coming Soon
Lots and lots of retail stores and restaurants closed this year and previously empty storefronts remained empty. Among the departures this year were Good News, Cliché Noe, Pasta Gina, Green11, Bom Dia, Radio Shack, Caskhouse (which is soon turning into a new burger joint)  and Cardio-Tone’s 24th St location. La Nebbia on Church closed but thankfully has been replaced by Ardiana pizzeria. Uma Casa replaced Incanto/Porcellino to rave reviews. Urban Remedy and LeCupboard opened as bougie TV dinner spots - with LeCupboard closing again in November. Overall, restaurants dominated the new business scene, with little pop-ups (like Rafe Mandelman’s campaign headquarters) and realtor offices filling in the rest. The oldest butcher shop in the West continued the tradition with the opening of Baron’s Quality Meats, in the old Drewe’s Meats space on Church. Also of note, Amazon ate Whole Foods this year, so we’ll see what that brings for our local grocery scene. Sadly, there are still around 15 empty storefronts and counting on 24th Street. But on a more upbeat note, the J Church turned 100 this year, Firefly turned 24, and Dorian D. Clair Clock Repair turned 30.

Real Foods Could Become Real Housing (Someday)
In August we got the good news that 14 years on, the Real Foods building has new owners who plan to sell it for housing. Of course, it still has to sell, there’s no clear path forward and it could take years for construction to start. But hey, at least it’s not locked down by the former absentee owners, Neutraceutical Corp. Here’s hoping it’s unblighted in our lifetime.

The Google Bus Is Here to Stay
Never mind that they’re too big for our little streets and very noisy (and this Noe Valley guy notwithstanding), San Francisco voted to make the tech commuter buses permanent. Get used to it. (Photo via photo_by_bill)

People Behaving Badly
Noe Valley was also home to some shenanigans this year like a massive meth bust (whaaa?!) and a racist White Supremacy note from a neighbor (no, it wasn’t on Nextdoor). Noe Valley was also ground zero for package thieves and car break-ins this year, judging from the volume of neighborhood police reports. One woman was so fed up with the package thief situation she wrapped her cat’s dirty kitty litter in boxes for the thieves to get back at them and made the national news for it (it’s come to this?!). The Raspberry of the Year for bad behavior, however, goes to Getzwell Pediatrics which covered up the historic Star Bakery sign with its own eyesore logo. Not cool. (Photo via @peephole) 

New and Notable 
This year we also saw some new stuff in Noe Valley - including duck art installations, lots of GoFord Bike stations and a regular pop-up sauna in the Noe Valley Town Square. Speaking of the Town Square, the space also hosted dozens of events this year including the amazing weekly Farmer’s Market, equinox drumming, dancing, movie nights, political rallies and more. Pretty amazing to see the space come to life so quickly. (Photo via leftcoastsauna)

Phew. We made it. Happy New Year, Noe Valley! Here's to a safe, fun and prosperous 2018.

Yearning for simpler times? Here were the top stories of 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012.

(Top photo via sam.a.miller)  


Claudia said...

I really appreciate your emails about activity in Noe Valley. But please check your spelling! Thank you

Anonymous said...

Actually, Uma Casa replaced Incanto, not Contigo. Contigo is still open for business and it's a great place!

Noe Valley, SF said...

Good catch we should have caught if we weren't so concerned about spelling errors. You're right - Contigo is great!