Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Side of Politics with your eggs at New Village Diner

I have walked by the New Village Diner and have never stopped in. According to sfbulldog, they have the best breakfast in town and the lunches pack them in too.

Check out the review and a run-down of the political discussion of the day, including a run down on the tidal power giveaway PG&E is engineering.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I will be in soon.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Mischief at Studio Gallery

This e-mail just in from Jennifer at Studio Gallery:

characters, critters & cartoons, under $400
July 18th - August 12th, 2007
reception: Saturday, July 21st, 4-8 pm

STUDIO Gallery
1718A Polk St. (between Washington and Clay)
San Francisco, CA 94109
Gallery hours: Wed-Fri 11-8, Sat-Sun 11-6, Mon-Tue by appt.

Time for a walk on the wackier side...Mischief is our 3rd annual show of character-based art: yahoo! This year we have work from over 40 artists, including gallery favorites Brian Behnke and Ayu Tomikawa (who were the sole artists in the first Mischief show), Lark Pien, Dave Higgins, Chiami Sekine, Joanna Mendicino, Michael Loomis and Josh Coffy. We're also happy to welcome over a dozen new artists, including Josh Ellingson and Jeremy Mann, who are showing in the gallery for the first time. Work in the show includes painting, prints, ceramics, drawings, mixed media pieces and even some jewelry, plus lots of bird sculptures. Best of all, everything in the show is under $400.

We hope you'll join us at the reception, see the work and meet some of the artists. Click
here to see a complete list of participating artists, and here to see lots of advance photos from the show.

I, for one, am looking forward to this show. Lark Pien writes and draws my favorite comic - Long Tail Kitty, and has pieces in the show. I highly recommend attending the reception; Rab and Jennifer put out a nice spread and its fun to meet the artists.

Reply with your thoughts if you attend the show.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Istoria Eats Her Way Down Polk

I have a Google alert that shows me other people's blog posts about Polk Street. I found this one interesting because it shows you how a visitor engaged with Polk Street.

Istoria stayed at the Heritage Marina Hotel on Van Ness, and she had 7 meals on Polk (of 16 meals over 7 days, or 43%). She ate at Lemongrass, Boulange on Polk, The Crepe House, Cheese Plus and the Bagelry. That's a pretty good share of dining opportunites spent on Polk.

Who should care about this? Any restaurant owner on Polk should be looking for promotion opportunities at the nearby hotels. A regular delivery of goodies to the front desk would go a long way to getting you referrals. Then, who knows, maybe you get to leave menus in the rooms?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Northern Station Police Update

I attended the Northern Station Community Meeting on Thursday, July 12. The main topics of conversation were the gang violence at Eddy and Laguna and a series of muggings.

Gang Violence

Northern Station has officers stationed around the clock at the public housing on Eddy and Laguna. I am sure the folks who live in the area feel better with police presence, unless they were unnerved by the two further shootings of six additional victims within a block or less of the stationed patrol.

The stationary detail requires the full time work of 16 officers. This leaves ONE patrol car to respond to emergency calls.

The only success of this detail has been a reduction in the number of vehicles broken into. Seems the bad guys can leave the complex, but returning with the goods poses a problem. This minor win is offset by the fact that while the crimes are down in the immediate vicinity, a good deal of the activity has been moved outward.

So, when can we expect this detail to end? There are no clear answers on this point. The detail was at the behest of City Hall. It appears they would rather look like they were doing something, as long as that something is not failing more visibly that doing nothing.

I suggest you get in contact with your Supervisor and the Mayors Office and ask for some more detail on this one. I, for one, would like to see more patrol cars available for emergency response.

Item Two - Muggings

There are two teams of muggers working. Northrn Staion has a good bead on them and is working to catch them, but gave the following reminders about staying safe:
  • Don't carry computers in an obvious computer bag - they are targets
  • Be aware as you are getting in and out of your vehicle
  • Drunks make good targets
  • If approached, just give them the stuff, your life can't be replaced.

One last word - you can leave a copy of your registration in the car instead of the original. One less hassle if your car is broken into.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Mysterious Disappearing Trashcans

You aren't crazy. Trash cans are disappearing off San Francisco streets. Mayor Newsom adopted this measure so there would be less trash on the streets. Ay, yi, yi.

Thanks to Wyatt Buchanan at the Chron for getting to the bottom of the mystery:

Let your supervisor and your Mayors Office of Neighborhood Services representative know what you think. Is the trash can removal campaign making the streets cleaner? FInd your rep with the links in the post :

VOLCOM comix art exhibit...OPEN BAR...this Sat

This e-mail just in from Space Gallery:

Space Gallery1141 Polk Street (at Sutter)

In May, Volcom launched a worldwide artshow tour and 60-page comic book in support of the biggest Volcom Featured Artist Series line ever.The exhibit travels from NY to LA, London to Tokyo and ends here in San Francisco at Space Gallery...And to celebrate, the drinks are on them!Invite your friends and check out the last stop on this historic tour of counter-culture comix.For more info:

Saturday, July 14th 8pm - late

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Chow Hound - Relaxed Restaurants on Polk or Filmore and the Search for Buble Tea

Relaxed Reccomendations

Chow Hound has this thread on an inquiry looking for relaxed mid-price restaurants on Polk and Filmore:

Added bonus - there's a Twins-spotting tip in one of the suggestions.

Tajine, among others, gets a mention. I have to say, I love Tajine. I never made it to their first location, and hear the prices have gone up a bit in the Polk Street location. However, their slow-cooked food with delicately layered flavors seems like a good deal to me.

Bubble Tea

The tapioca tea phenomenon holds no allure for me, but our very own Chai Yo gets a nod on another Chow Hound discussion thread. Chai Yo' s delivery number is on my speed-dial for those must-eat-Thai-food-in moments. Read on for the best in Bubble Tea:

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Frank Norris - Literary Polk St.

Frank Norris Place (see yesterday's blog post) was named for Benjamin Franklin Norris, who
published novels and short stories under the name Frank Norris. One of his most famous novels, McTeague, is set on our very own Polk Street.

Frank Norris wrote McTeague in 1899 and died in 1902 of a ruptured appendix. More info on Frank Norris on Wikipedia:
Here is a link to the text on-line:

Almost the entire novel takes place on Polk Street and Frank Norris wrote a lot of description about the street. Here is his first homage:

"The street never failed to interest him. It was one of those cross
streets peculiar to Western cities, situated in the heart of the
residence quarter, but occupied by small tradespeople who lived in
the rooms above their shops. There were corner drug stores with huge
jars of red, yellow, and green liquids in their windows, very brave
and gay; stationers' stores, where illustrated weeklies were tacked
upon bulletin boards; barber shops with cigar stands in their
vestibules; sad-looking plumbers' offices; cheap restaurants, in
whose windows one saw piles of unopened oysters weighted down by
cubes of ice, and china pigs and cows knee deep in layers of white
beans. At one end of the street McTeague could see the huge power-
house of the cable line. Immediately opposite him was a great
market; while farther on, over the chimney stacks of the intervening
houses, the glass roof of some huge public baths glittered like
crystal in the afternoon sun. Underneath him the branch post-office
was opening its doors, as was its custom between two and three
o'clock on Sunday afternoons. An acrid odor of ink rose upward to
him. Occasionally a cable car passed, trundling heavily, with a
strident whirring of jostled glass windows.

On week days the street was very lively. It woke to its work about
seven o'clock, at the time when the newsboys made their appearance
together with the day laborers. The laborers went trudging past in a
straggling file—plumbers' apprentices, their pockets stuffed with
sections of lead pipe, tweezers, and pliers; carpenters, carrying
nothing but their little pasteboard lunch baskets painted to imitate
leather; gangs of street workers, their overalls soiled with yellow
clay, their picks and long-handled shovels over their shoulders;
plasterers, spotted with lime from head to foot. This little army of
workers, tramping steadily in one direction, met and mingled with
other toilers of a different description—conductors and "swing men"
of the cable company going on duty; heavy-eyed night clerks from the
drug stores on their way home to sleep; roundsmen returning to the
precinct police station to make their night report, and Chinese
market gardeners teetering past under their heavy baskets. The cable
cars began to fill up; all along the street could be seen the
shopkeepers taking down their shutters.

Between seven and eight the street breakfasted. Now and then a
waiter from one of the cheap restaurants crossed from one sidewalk
to the other, balancing on one palm a tray covered with a napkin.
Everywhere was the smell of coffee and of frying steaks. A little
later, following in the path of the day laborers, came the clerks
and shop girls, dressed with a certain cheap smartness, always in a
hurry, glancing apprehensively at the power-house clock. Their
employers followed an hour or so later—on the cable cars for the
most part whiskered gentlemen with huge stomachs, reading the
morning papers with great gravity; bank cashiers and insurance
clerks with flowers in their buttonholes.

At the same time the school children invaded the street, filling the
air with a clamor of shrill voices, stopping at the stationers'
shops, or idling a moment in the doorways of the candy stores. For
over half an hour they held possession of the sidewalks, then
suddenly disappeared, leaving behind one or two stragglers who
hurried along with great strides of their little thin legs, very
anxious and preoccupied.

Towards eleven o'clock the ladies from the great avenue a block
above Polk Street made their appearance, promenading the sidewalks
leisurely, deliberately. They were at their morning's marketing.
They were handsome women, beautifully dressed. They knew by name
their butchers and grocers and vegetable men. From his window
McTeague saw them in front of the stalls, gloved and veiled and
daintily shod, the subservient provision men at their elbows,
scribbling hastily in the order books. They all seemed to know one
another, these grand ladies from the fashionable avenue. Meetings
took place here and there; a conversation was begun; others arrived;
groups were formed; little impromptu receptions were held before the
chopping blocks of butchers' stalls, or on the sidewalk, around
boxes of berries and fruit.

From noon to evening the population of the street was of a mixed
character. The street was busiest at that time; a vast and prolonged
murmur arose—the mingled shuffling of feet, the rattle of wheels,
the heavy trundling of cable cars. At four o'clock the school
children once more swarmed the sidewalks, again disappearing with
surprising suddenness. At six the great homeward march commenced;
the cars were crowded, the laborers thronged the sidewalks, the
newsboys chanted the evening papers. Then all at once the street
fell quiet; hardly a soul was in sight; the sidewalks were deserted.
It was supper hour. Evening began; and one by one a multitude of
lights, from the demoniac glare of the druggists' windows to the
dazzling blue whiteness of the electric globes, grew thick from
street corner to street corner. Once more the street was crowded.
Now there was no thought but for amusement. The cable cars were
loaded with theatre-goers—men in high hats and young girls in furred
opera cloaks. On the sidewalks were groups and couples—the plumbers'
apprentices, the girls of the ribbon counters, the little families
that lived on the second stories over their shops, the dressmakers,
the small doctors, the harness-makers—all the various inhabitants of
the street were abroad, strolling idly from shop window to shop
window, taking the air after the day's work. Groups of girls
collected on the corners, talking and laughing very loud, making
remarks upon the young men that passed them. The tamale men
appeared. A band of Salvationists began to sing before a saloon.

Then, little by little, Polk Street dropped back to solitude. Eleven
o'clock struck from the power-house clock. Lights were extinguished.
At one o'clock the cable stopped, leaving an abrupt silence in the
air. All at once it seemed very still. The ugly noises were the
occasional footfalls of a policeman and the persistent calling of
ducks and geese in the closed market. The street was asleep.

Day after day, McTeague saw the same panorama unroll itself. The bay
window of his "Dental Parlors" was for him a point of vantage from
which he watched the world go past.

On Sundays, however, all was changed. As he stood in the bay window,
after finishing his beer, wiping his lips, and looking out into the
street, McTeague was conscious of the difference. Nearly all the
stores were closed. No wagons passed. A few people hurried up and
down the sidewalks, dressed in cheap Sunday finery. A cable car went
by; on the outside seats were a party of returning picnickers."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Property Watch - 81 Frank Norris Place, Condos for 55+

Frank Norris Place advertises itself as a space "for people who want to live in a community of adults that embrace City life." As Baby Boomers age, how the 55 and over crowd chooses to embrace city life will make for some interesting communities.

Developers in San Francisco are enticed to build these 55+ communities because they are allowed to build more densely on the same site. For instance, without the age restriction, the developer could only have built 16 units at 81 Frank Norris Place, rather than the 32 for which they were approved.

While at least one of the residents of each unit must be 55 or older, there is no age restriction for purchasing a unit. So in addition to owner occupancy, some people will buy the condos for relatives and others will buy as an investment to rent out.

The units are all one bedroom/ one bathroom and some also have a study niche and/or a balcony. There are an in-unit hookups for a stacked washer and dryer. Take a look at the bright rooms and sleek finishes on the website:

Square footage ranges from approximately 482 to 907. Apparently, part of embracing City life is paring down belongings to the essentials (an idea I am in favor conceptually, but to my husband's chagrin, have a hard time engaging). Prices range form $439,000-$619,000.

Common Areas: Nice courtyard on the third floor (three units have direct access), parking for 11 cars (sold separately), deeded storage cage, off-site manager to keep HOA fees low (about $328-$428).

Nine of the 32 condominiums have been sold. Move-ins are expected to begin in 45-60 days.
If you drop by, say hello to Carlos Cabarcos (my friendly tour guide), Frank Nolan and David Clarke of Vanguard Properties.

Check back tomorrow to read more about Frank Norris, the man.

Property Watch - 1635 California St., #65

If I can ever figure out the universal remote, I am going to program it for everything in my life. That's as close as I am going to come to fulfilling my wishes with the snap of my fingers. 1635 California got me thinking on these lines because the gas fireplace has a remote. Click- fire, click - Barry White, click - lights dim, and the city lights come up all on their own.

The details: You enter the building through a light-filled courtyard. #65 is a 2 br/ 2ba with a balcony. Hardwood floors, in-unit laundry and reasonable closet space maximized with space dividers. Floor to ceiling windows make the most of a downtown view. The unit includes a storage space and 1-car deeded parking. Asking price is $765,000. HOA dues are $317.77.

For more information, contact Elena Golduber of Vanguard Properties at 415-613-3303.

Aunt Bill's Antiques Closes - 1429 Polk for Rent

After an extended going-out-of-business sale, Aunt Bill's antiques closed its doors.

I spoke to Avariso of A-Plus Painting and Remodeling (phone: 800-997-8354) as he was painting the interior in preparation for the next tenant. He referred me to the owner, David Levy, to find out who might be the next tennant.

Among the many things Mr. Levy told me - no tenant has yet signed a lease. So, maybe YOU are the next tennant? The storefront offers about 1400 square feet of retail space with additional storage. Contact Mr. Levy at: for more details.

Levy nugget #2: Wyatt Earp used to train horses in Hayes Valley and race them on Urbano Drive. Wyatt wasn't racing on public streets; according to Mr. Levy, Urbano Drive was a race track.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Property Watch - Multi Family at 2445 Polk

Trulia just turned up this listing on Polk Street for a Three 1Br/ 1 ba + one 3br/ 2ba multi-family building at 2445 Polk between Filbert and Union:

I can't tell if there are parking spaces or not. Two garage doors are visible in the photo, but the ground level is described as having a laundry and a room that could be attached to one of the units, so I don't know how many parking spaces they house.

The building was built in 1958 and is vacant. The price per square foot looks exceedingly attractive.

If anyone knows more about this building, let me know. At first sniff it looks like a TIC possibility.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Who Speaks for Polk Street?

Whether you vote or not, there are people who influence nearly every aspect of life on Polk. Everything from trash (notice all the disappearing trash cans?) to police patrols. We are going to be looking at the issues that effect life on Polk, so you will want to know who you can contact to help make a difference.

District Supervisors
Polk Street cuts through three San Francisco Supervisorial Districts. Michaela Alioto-Pier represents residents north of Union Street in District 2. South of Union Street and north of Post Street falls into District 3, represented by Aaron Peskin. Chris Daly represents Polk Street south of Post in District 6.

I'm not feeling the love from Michaela and Aaron. It is not that easy to find out what they are up to unless they get a mention in the newspaper or you dig around in the Board records. Compare this to Chris Daly's page which (love him or hate him) connects you to a blog of regular communications.

Office of Neighborhood Services
The Mayor's Office has an Office of Neighborhood Services, and assigns specific representative to each District.
District 2: Summer Graham, 415-554-6148,
District 3: Bernadine Lim, 415-554-6467,
District 6: Jason Chan, 415-554-6253,

Have you worked with the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Servies? Tell us all what your experience has been working with any of our representatives.

Our Metro Police Division is Northern Division, lead by Captain Kevin Dillon. I am going to drop into the monthly community meeting, held every second Thursday of the month at 6:00 pm, 1125 Fillmore St. Just marked my calendar! Check back here Friday, July 13 to hear the scintillating update. Better yet, join me.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Out of Walls? Art to wear or hoard.

Velvet da Vinci is a reasonably serious gallery. Let's just say, they post artists statements. Given that, I sort of expected some gallery attitude, but I was happily relieved of that misconcepton by the gracious Ariel who greeted us, gave us a tour of the gallery and even gave our dog a biscuit. (Say,"Thank you," Chester.)

The gallery specializes in artist jewelry and metalwork. Ariel shared the thought behind the layout - the front half of the gallery usually shows many of the gallery's regular artists and the back half is reserved for larger shows.

Kristin Beeler has the big show to herself in the back half of the gallery from July 18 to August 26. You can get a preview of Beeler's "Beauty and Other Monsters" show on the VDV website:

Velvet da Vinci is at 2015 Polk Street, phone: 415-441-0109, Open Tues - Sat 12-6, Sun 12-4

Monday, July 2, 2007

School of Rock

Ever wonder what the "bird" storefront on Polk houses? All I ever saw was the kraft paper covered windows in a space where some antiques stores used to reside, and the enigmatic message: MUSIC +COMMUNITY+TECHNOLOGY. Maybe a survivor?

In a fit of curiosity; I picked up one of their brochures. Turns out there’s a whole lot going on. There’s the school of rock – band workshops for kids. Ok, and a school of yoga and dance. And recording.

Bird, at 1924 Polk, covers a lot of territory with their musical offerings. Adults can take classes and rent equipment, but at bird, the focus is on kids and young adults. I mentioned recording? I should have said, "complete studio equipped to record a full cd". Kids can learn all about how to run their band – how to run a rehearsal, stage presence, and engineering live and recorded sound. Your kid doesn’t have a band? She can put one together at bird.

Polk is no Noe Valley - not a lot of kid activity. So, it’s nice to have a space that is kid-centered and that takes kids seriously.

All you party planners out there, take note – the bird performance space can be rented for special occasions.

Contact bird at 415-441-3551 or

And yes, its “bird” with a little “b” (for the little birds?).

Property Watch - 2br/ 1.5 ba at 1440 Filbert

San Francisco is a hotbed of property staging. For a prime example take a look at this: . Katherine Holland and Rahul Pathare of Coldwell Banker are representing the sale of a gorgeous 2 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom TIC. Listed at $899,000.

The shotgun layout runs you past two decent sized bedrooms with good sized closets into an enormous great room where the kitchen, dining room and living room are all allotted full-sized space.

Sweet extras - fireplace, wood floors, in-unit washer and dryer, and parking.

This unit is situated to take advantage of the Upper Polk lifestyle - good restaurants and shopping, plus Fort Mason athletic trails.

I will keep an eye on this listing and let you know when it sells and for how much.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Studio Gallery Defines Polk Community

I have to credit Jennifer Farris and Rab Terry with two things:

1. Selling me nearly every piece of art I own.
2. Welcoming me into the Polk Community, or at least their little corner of it.

Jennifer and Rab own Studio Gallery on Polk. Mike, Chester and I stop in nearly every time we walk down Polk -- on the way to pick up Chester's food at The Animal Connection, after a martini at the Lush Lounge or after a stop at the post office (yes, Chester's been welcome in all three). Chester gets a charlie bear treat and we get to meet whichever artist or neighbor has also stopped by and we check out the latest work.

I have no neat classification for the art at Studio. All the better. From fine art to craft, paintings, jewelery and furniture, everything is tied together by Jenneifer and Rab's sensibilities. There are a few theme shows every year (so far): "Delicious" - the food show, "tiny" - art under 7"x7" and under $200, "Salvaged" and "Mischief" - cartoon and character works. A sense of hilarity abounds.

Maybe this list of items that just arrived will help give you a sense of what I mean

  • Loads of crab & fish plates in new colors by Lorna Newlin
  • Newly restored classic clocks from Jake Wrench
  • Lots of Baby Edddy Heads from 3D-Edddy
  • New Dust Bunny paintings &
  • Lots of "Fear of..." encaustics from Brian Behnke

'Nuff said? The next show is the return of "Mischief", character-based art, everything is under $400, July 18th - August 12th, reception: Saturday, July 21st, 4-8 pm.

Studio Gallery: 1718A Polk Street, between Clay & Washington, 415.931.3130, Hours: Wed - Fri 11am - 8 pm, Sat, Sun - 11 am - 6 pm.