December 31, 2018

This Year in Noe Valley: The Biggest Stories of 2018

2018 we hardly knew you. But boy did you flood the news headlines. Nationally this was the year of presidential lies (and felonies), tragic mass shootings, climate-change induced disasters, heartless immigration separations and epic Supreme Court battles. In California we saw impossibly sad firestorms. And in San Francisco, we saw history made with the first African-American woman mayor, a new transbay terminal that opened and then abruptly closed, plus outrage over a snarl of homelessness, a lack of new homes, and gentrification. In other words, this year was beyond exhausting.

Things in Noe Valley were a little less depressing but still a mirror of the world around us. Here were the biggest stories of 2018 in Noe Valley that preoccupied us, made us smile and that sometimes drove us crazy.

California Is Burning 
Climate change is real y’all. We mourned with our fellow Californians in August when the Carr fire broke out and we choked on smoke and cried more for the people of Paradise and surrounding areas in November. Here’s hoping this is not the new abnormal.

Endings, Beginnings and Coming Soon 
Lots and lots and lots of retail stores and restaurants closed this year in Noe Valley (and all of SF) and previously empty storefronts remained empty. Yes, there were new and welcome stores and restaurants in our little village this year (welcome Douglas, Seokyo, Sultan’s Kebab, Hi-Way Burger and Fry). But there were far more places that closed down or moved away (Podolls, Noe Valley Cyclery, Pete’s Cleaners, Hamlet, Mill, Contigo, Le Cupboard again… and the list goes on), and many more that vacated last year that are still empty (Pasta Gina, La Panotiq, Radio Shack, Fattoush…. and on and on). On a more upbeat note, Omnivore turned 10, Firefly turned 25 and the amazing Noe Valley Farmer’s Market turned 15. We’re also looking forward to the new Noe’s Cantina, a new Malaysian restaurant called Azalina and some new murals on 24th St. We are so lucky to have amazing local shops and restaurants – let’s keep it that way. #shoplocal

Housing Is (Still) Nuts 
It’s insanely expensive to live here, and maybe with good reason: If you own a house in SF, it’s earning an average of $60/hour – or $125K per year – with no effort on your part. These crazy prices led one landlord to ask $19,500 a month for a 4 bedroom house on 26th St. Meanwhile, historic homes are being illegally demolished around the city, and one Noe entrepreneur decided to rent out a van to people (like Google employees) who are desperate to live here. The average cost of a home in Noe Valley was $2.5 million this year. Which makes this next item even more ridiculous...

Real Foods Is Finally, Maybe, Going to Become … Something 
No, it’s not going to be housing. And it’s not going to become a Real Foods again either. 15 years on, the Real Foods building has new owners who are renovating the existing space and carving it into four small retail spaces of which we already have too many vacancies for on 24th St. #housingfail

People Behaving Badly 
Noe Valley had its share of people behaving badly in other ways too. There was a drive-by shooting that injured 2 people (no suspects found), a road-rage bat attack that sent a man to the hospital, kids who got sick on edibles at James Lick and had to go to the hospital, and a mother was attacked with her baby at 28th St and Sanchez and endured a skull fracture. Scary. We also learned that one of the priests accused of sexually abusing children worked at St. Paul Catholic Parish and School in Noe Valley from 2006 to 2011. Yikes. But then there are the self-inflicted wounds – like the way the head of the NVMPA Rachel Swann is bringing ridicule to 24th St across from Whole Foods by opening Doggy Style: “a boutique, with unique dog furnishings and accessories. Members of the private club can relax in the owner’s lounge, mingle with other doggy moms and dads, drink Bernie’s coffee, all while the dogs play outside...” Ugh.

So Much Greatness 
That said, there was still so much to be grateful for in 2018. Magnolias were gorgeous this year, we saw rainbows and double rainbows, a meteor shower, and the super blood moon. New ultra quiet MUNI trains started rolling on the J Church line and the colorful historic trains are back too. And our neighborhood is so photogenic. With all the craziness in the world, we’re so lucky to live here where we can fight for a better neighborhood with vibrant retail and restaurants, better housing options and all that good stuff.

Phew. We made it. Happy New Year, Noe Valley! Here's to a safe, fun and prosperous 2019.

This blog turned 10 this year too (whoa - how did that happen?!). Thanks for reading both here and on Twitter @NoeValleySF.

Yearning for simpler times? Here were the top stories of 20172016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012.

(Photos: Noe vista via travismonsonsf and sfgate, smoke skies via bats1234, Noe Cantina via liammayclam, over-the-top Hill Street house via Ruth Krishnan, Real Foods via NVSF, crime photo via KPIX, and steps via geoff.welch)


Anonymous said...

Thank you for all your work running this blog on our neighborhood. It is appreciated!

Anonymous said...

I second that!
Thanks so much, Ed., for all you do to bring us the latest and keep our community informed and unified!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone one know what happened to the candy cane parking meters this past holiday season ?
We missed them.