| November 2012
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Joe Eadeh and daughter Gina smile for longtime customers at Joe’s 24th Street Cafe. Eadeh closed the cafe in mid-October after 24 years on 24th Street. Photo by Christina Sauvageau
GRANT US THIS: Roughly a dozen neighbors showed up Oct. 18 at the Residents for Noe Valley Town Square community meeting at St. Philip’s. This was a pretty impressive turnout, considering that at the same time, the San Francisco Giants (soon to be World Champion Giants) were facing off against the St. Louis Cardinals in the fourth game of the National League Championship Series.
In that number we are not counting, of course, the six or so top volunteers in the Residents, who have been working tirelessly to make the Town Square a future reality in the parking lot at 24th and Vicksburg streets.
The meeting was called to order by the Town Square’s chief spear-carrier, Todd David (he’s also president of Friends of Noe Valley). After introductions, David looked out into the audience with a very serious face and quite soberly said, “There is a high probability this is going to happen.”
He informed those assembled that pledges to the square had now reached $435,000, including a pledge of one share of Apple stock (worth $600, plus or minus). David said he hoped the pledges would go over $500,000 by year’s end.
That would be a quarter of the $2 million the group has to raise to pay its share of the project, expected to cost about $4 million. (Note that $3.65 of the $4 mil would be needed to buy the land.) If the Residents come through, the city is expected to chip in $2 million in Open Space funds. Doing the math, there is $1.5 mil yet to raise.
David said they were looking into Prop. 84 grants—“Urban Greening” funds available through the 2006 Safe Drinking Water Bond Act—and had had discussions with State Senator Mark Leno (whose office originally tipped off the group about the Prop. 84 funds). They also have talked to the California Strategic Growth Council, which doles out the grants.
“We were told that there was up to $1.5 million available in grants,” said David, adding that the grant process involved a series of workshops culminating in a “pre-application” in March, “and by May or June, based on the pre-applications the council chooses from the pre-apps, those who will be invited to apply for the grant will get a project inspection within three to five months.” Whew!
“At this point we could use more help with the grant-writing,” said David, “and we have been talking with Rec and Park, who has offered to assist us.”
Chris Keene, speaking on behalf of the Noe Valley Ministry (the lot’s owner), said the church believes substantial progress is being made and is happy to allow the process to continue. (The Residents have been under a deadline of sorts, since the church needs the money from the lot sale to renovate its church building at 1021 Sanchez.)
Supervisor Scott Wiener, who also spoke at the meeting, said he was “cautiously optimistic” about the town square’s prospects and would continue to help the group wind its way through city agencies.
Hats off not only to David and Keene, but also to Kate Sherwood and Leslie Crawford, who are tackling the grant application, and to Misha Pillai, who is in charge of marketing, social media, and special events for the group.
It would appear there a lot of people in the neighborhood who want to make the town square happen. If you want to join them, go to their website and sign up (noe valleytownsquare.com).
You might also want to attend the first benefit being given for RNVTS. It will be a “Pilates Mat Benefit to Save Noe Valley Town Square,” held Nov. 4 at Spring Pilates (1414 Castro), with trainer Karii Rurup teaching a 60-minute stress relief and relaxation class. The suggested donation is $75.
And, to quote a famous former Noe Valleon, Bobby McFerrin, “Don’t worry, be happy.”
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THE RAMPANT RUMORS that Facebook’s face, Mark Zuckerberg, has bought a house in the neighborhood are apparently true. Amid a rash of mid-October tweets that Zuckerberg had been spotted “in the Mission” (walking his dog and chowing down at some of the local eateries), San Francisco blog SocketSite reported that the social media pioneer had purchased a “pied-a-terre,” and in real estate–speak, “the house in question is actually atop Liberty Hill on the non-Mission side of Dolores.” SocketSite also wrote that the house was not listed “For Sale” and that MZ’s name is not attached to the house, for which evidently MZ “paid a premium.”
An agent from the Noe Valley Bureau of Investigation (NVBI) confirmed that the home was purchased on the southeast border between Noe Valley and Liberty Heights, but will not release a more specific street address out of respect for Mr. Zuckerberg and all of his neighbors’ privacy.
The agent said his source, whom he called extremely reliable, told him it was a $4 million offer, made directly to the homeowner by Mr. Zuckerberg’s representative, and it was expedited with the words, “we want your answer by 5 p.m. or the offer is withdrawn.”
All this happened at the end of September, according to the NVBI agent.
By the way, he also reported, “Facebook cannot be reached by telephone.”
Maybe we will see Zuckerberg in the mornings boarding the Facebook bus for Menlo Park. Or driving it. How cool would that be?
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REALLY RANDOM RUMORS: Reports are circulating that the corner store on 24th at Sanchez—where First Republic Bank wanted to open a branch—has been rented to “a retail store, probably clothing.” Attempts to reach property manager TriTerra Realty for confirmation were unsuccessful, and by phone seemed impossible. Like Facebook.
The real, live news is that the owner of the old Safeway store (most recently Kohler Jones furniture store) on the corner of Church and Day streets would rather sell than rent the space.
“I have received many inquiries about the space” at 1747 Church, says owner Peter Kung, “that range all the way from exercise studio to restaurant. But,” says Kung, “at this point I think I would rather sell the building.”
Maybe First Republic, which says it is looking for space in the neighborhood, should buy the space and open up a super branch.
We recently learned that Playhouse at Noe Valley has closed its doors after only eight months in the space at 3961A 24th St., across from Whole Foods. The website says they have moved classes to their Excelsior District daycare center.
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HARVESTED INTEREST: Were you among the thousands who showed up for the Noe Valley Harvest Festival on a perfect Noe Valley Indian summer day on Saturday, Oct. 27?
There were dozens of booths with great arts and crafts vendors, booths by community organizations, and some terrific local musicians and bands. Wow, the music never stopped—we heard the SHE’s and District 8, the Clef Divers, Alison Faith-Levy, and Steer the Stars, all of whom were outstanding. Then appearing on the Farmers’ Market stage were the cutting-edge groups the Paper Dolls, the James Lick Woodwinds Ensemble, the Knickerbockers, Chemistry of the Heart, Flown, and lastly but not leastly, the Curry Without Worry Nepali folk and dance ensemble. And you can relive it all, because the Noe Valley Farmers’ Market has a CD that features many local favorites.
My favorite giveaway at the booths was the totally cool grocery bag that was being handed out by the San Francisco Department of the Environment through a program called “Bring Your Bag.” The totes tied in with the Oct. 1 implementation of the city’s Checkout Bag Ordinance, extending the plastic bag ban to all retail stores and imposing a 10-cent per bag charge, which is, of course, avoided when you bring your own bag.
You might try to get one of these free bags by contacting SFEvironment.org/checkoutbag. By the way, when you bring your own bag to Whole Foods, not only are you not charged 10 cents, but you actually will receive a nickel credit.
The law writers might consider going one step further and requiring that all plastic produce bags be fully compostable. Those are available in the Whole Foods produce department.
And it was nice, finally, to get to taste the various gourmet teas of DavidsTea. The tea shop took the occasion to have the grand opening of its new store, which is located directly across from the farmers market.
It was also great that there was parking available in the James Lick Middle School lot, with the proceeds of the “donations” going to the school’s PTSA.
Stay tuned—the next big event put on by the Harvest Fest sponsors—the Noe Valley Association and the Noe Valley Merchants and Professionals Association—will be the annual 24 HoliDAYS on 24th Street, beginning on the first day of December and continuing through Christmas. It promises to be even bigger than last year—with music, food, and entertainment on almost every day of the month. And according to NVMPA President Bob Roddick, for your convenience they are looking into having parking at James Lick for some weekend events.
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GOODBYE JOE, WE GOTTA GO: Signs of Starbucks’ takeover of our beloved La Boulange Bakery have appeared at Whole Foods Market. It appears that the bakery items have all but disappeared from the WF shelves. Customers are being told that La Boulange (Bay Bread Group) is no longer shipping any products to Whole Foods stores “because of the takeover by Starbucks.”
There are also unconfirmed rumors that the coffee you will be drinking at La Boulange in the new year will be—yup—Starbucks. And the La Boulange products will no doubt appear at Starbucks, which in Noe Valley, is located in the El Vira Building on the corner of 24th and Noe.
While it appears that the Starbucks-La Boulange scramble will alter the situation in Downtown Noe Valley—there will still be scrambled eggs at Toast. Whew.
Everyone at Joe’s 24th Street Café was singing “What’s So Good About Goodbye” as the doors closed last month after 24 years on 24th Street. Joe Eadeh’s longtime business was the last member of the Herb’s-Hopwell’s-Joe’s diner trifecta, and we’re sorry to see it go.
Replacing Joe’s will be a tavern called Crafthouse, serving beers and wines along with a compatible food menu that includes sandwiches, burgers, and snacks. “We are going to be very focused on serving eight different beers on tap, as well as four or five bottled beers, and include the locally brewed beers and then [periodically] rotate the beer selection,” says co-owner John Dampeer.
Dampeer says in his new biz he has partnered with Adnan Daken, who currently owns the Internos Wine Café, located on Geary at Parker. Dampeer, who lives in Laurel Heights, says the tavern will be open six days a week (closed on Mondays). He’s fixing up the place and “planning to open December 1, but we will see how it goes. We feel very lucky to be able to open in such a great neighborhood.”
Paxti’s Pizza, as many of you might know, in mid-October launched a few menu changes in Noe Valley. They’re now serving only two pizza styles: a Neapolitan-style thin-crust pizza and its signature Chicago-style deep-dish pie. However, the rumor is that some patrons have been disappointed that the extra-thin crust pizza is no longer a menu option.
Speaking of pizza, Twin Peaks Pizza (on Church near 29th Street) has been distributing a flyer in the neighborhood with four pre-election specials: “Obama” ($4 off if you spend more than $30), “Biden” ($1 off/$20), “Forward” ($2 off/$25), and “Yes We Can,” which is $1 off on all orders. There were no Romney coupons.
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DON’T FORGET TO VOTE! The Noe Valley Department of Elections is hoping for a 100 percent voter turnout at the Nov. 6 general election. The NVDE has sent out a warning reminding all registered voters of the words of Edmund Burke: “All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men [sic] to do nothing.”