Turn your sidewalk into landscaping

Two more classes offered to show you how to turn “grey to green”
October 8
November 12

The San Francisco Department of Public Works has teamed up with the SF Botanical Garden Society and SF Parks Trust to bring you free Saturday workshops to teach you everything you need to know to “green” your sidewalk.

We’ll give you step-by-step instructions to transform your sidewalk into a garden including permitting, designing and maintenance. We’ve got recommendations for trees and drought tolerant plants for sun or shade, and design ideas to boot!

When are these Workshops?
Classes held Saturday mornings from 9:00 am-10:00am at the County Fair Building at the San Francisco Botanical Garden.

Mike Gonzalez
Project Manager
(415) 661-1316 x456

For more information, please see link below:


Book reading by co-authors

Tuesday October 4, 7pm The Green Arcade (1680 Market Street @Gough) is proud to host West Coast book release reading and party Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels And Black Power: Community Organizing In Radical Times, with Co-authors Amy Sonnie And James Tracy: Introduced By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

(party will continue at Buck’s Tavern across the street after the reading)

Jack White art opening at African American Art & Culture Complex

Opening Reception: Thursday, September 29, 2011 6PM-8PM
Sargent Johnson Gallery
African American Art & Culture Complex
762 Fulton St. (@ Webster St.)
September 29, 2011 – January 12, 2012 (exhibit dates)

The Sargent Johnson Gallery is pleased to present Jack White, a pioneering American artist in his first solo show in California. Born in 1931, in Benson, North Carolina, Jack White has long been recognized for his contributions to mainstream art and arts education. A self-described Abstract Impressionist, Jack White’s works strongly reflect his commitment to his African heritage. His paintings, prints and sculpture have been exhibited in numerous venues; particularly college and university exhibition spaces, such as Syracuse University where he taught for a number of years. His work has also been shown at the Asheville, NC. Art Museum, the Syracuse Community Folk Art Gallery, the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jacksonville, the GWC Museum and Cultural Center in Austin, Texas, where he currently resides and at the Galerie Zygos in Athens, Greece, among others. As a result, he has raised awareness of the work and vital importance of Black artists in the larger arts community.

Jack White’s influence is as geographically broad as it is widely acclaimed. He has had numerous solo shows and participated in group shows from New York City to Pine Bluff, Arkansas. His influence is especially felt on the college campuses where he has taught, mentored and shown his work. His work is included in several museum and private collections. Among them are the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, NYPL; the Tampa Museum of Art, the Arkansas Arts Center and the James E. Lewis Museum of Art at Morgan State University.

Historically,he serves as a link between the mid- twentieth century African American arts movements through his association and study with Professor James Lewis at Morgan State University. Following a long tradition among African American artists, he was also an expatriate artist who lived and worked in Greece for several years. Further, the significance of White’s work is confirmed by its inclusion in the collection jazz great Donald Byrd, whose holdings constitute a veritable who’s who of African American art.

This exhibition is curated by Nashormeh Lindo and generously supported by the African American Art & Culture Complex and the San Francisco Arts Commission.

Longing for a DATE NIGHT?

Whether it’s a romantic dinner in Hayes Valley or catching up with a friend, you deserve a break from the kids. Let the nanny take care of your little one(s) for a few hours. For kids three years and up, and the kids are okay to show up in PJs!

We recommend emailing us a few days ahead for reservations. Email regina@seesawsf.com or call 415.553.8070. Same day reservations are allowed, but subject to availability.

$45 per kid (movie + dinner + snacks included), $15 per sibling (3 hours)
or $15 per hour per kid ($5 per sibling)

$10 non-refundable deposit per child to reserve your spots.

First Fridays of the month. 5 – 8 pm
Next one is October 7th.

Please let your parent circle of friends know about TGIF Date Nights with Regina at seesaw!

Hayes Valley Parklet Party

Mercury Cafe at 201 Octavia is hosting a parklet fund raising party. A parklet is a temporary deck built over two parking spaces. Ours will include a bench, tables, chairs, planters and even a small bike corral. Consider it a small urban park. This will increase foot traffic and spread business along the commercial corridor that is Octavia Street.

The evening will include food provided by Straw restaurant, live music by Gaucho, Even Taylor and Megan Keeley, art, a silent auction including items donated from Hayes Valley business and much more! 

Our nearby neighbor, Smitten Ice Cream will be donating fresh ice cream to the cause! They’ll be scooping up for the first 50 people or ’til they run out, so come early!”

Come, have fun, and meet your neighbors.

If you are interested in donating any items for the event or would like more information please contact lindsey@hayesvalleyfarm.com.

Here are our updated supporters who will be donating items for the auction and raffle.

McRoskey Mattress Company
Arlequin Wine Merchants
Southern Wine And Spirits
New Century Chamber Orchestra
San Francisco Symphony
Smitten Ice Cream
SF Zen Center
Earth Body
Smitten Ice Cream
Straw Restaurant

Public Safety Meeting Oct. 3

by Bob Barnwell

The next Public Safety meeting is Monday, October 3 at 7:00PM at the Korean American Center at 745 Buchanan. The theme of the meeting will be crimes against merchants and businesses. We will discuss (with San Francisco City officials and Northern Police Station) the extent of crime against the businesses in our area. What are the crimes against merchants? Is it on the increase or decrease? What can businesses do to protect themselves? How can the community help our local businesses? What is the city doing? We encourage our local business owners and community members to come to the meeting and get answers to their questions. On Monday, November 7 we will discuss preparing for the holiday season.

The Parsonage: A Shared History

by Lauren Daley

Recently I had the pleasure of sitting down with Joan Hull and John Phillips, owners of the Parsonage Bed and Breakfast at 198 Haight Street, where they recounted some of the memories they have accrued over the past thirty years of living in Hayes Valley. Joan is a retired Unitarian Minister and John is retired from a position at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. They moved to the neighborhood at a time when it was prostitution-ridden and there was rampant drug abuse. The only real community anchor in the neighborhood was the Zen Center and they spoke of how influential the Zen Center and its participants have been and continue to be in providing stability to the neighborhood. Joan and John have witnessed the neighborhood clean up, grow, and change and were spearheads in many community efforts along the way.

The house Joan and John moved into is listed as #164 on the San Francisco Historical Registry. It was built for the McMorry family in 1883. Designed by architect Thomas J. Welsh, the house is an excellent example of late Italianate style and originally featured twenty-two rooms, a detached stable, six fireplaces, two water closets, and one bathroom with a tub. The house was kept and lovingly maintained by the McMorry family for three generations, finally being handed down to the last two sisters, Alice and Grace.

Originally willed to the San Francisco Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco by the two sisters, Joan and John were able to purchase the house in 1983 before it formally went on the market making them only the second family to own the home, which is quite rare for a house that was already one hundred years old. They raised their two children at 198 Haight Street and acted as neighborhood pioneers, helping to clean up the area and give it a sense of community. From the start, Joan and John opened their home to neighborhood and church events and often gave people of the community and Joan’s congregation a place to stay in times of need. Over time their house became known as the “Parsonage” and when Joan and John opened their bed and breakfast in 1995 to the public, the name stuck.

Because the house was so well maintained by the previous family, Joan and John had to do little restoration. They altered a few things to make their home unique to them. One of the most striking additions is a wall fresco adorning their entire dining room. It captures the essence of Northern Italy and incorporates some of the most treasured places they have visited such as Agrigento, a Greek temple located in Sicily. The fresco took over three and a half years to complete: the result is stunning. They also added more modern features like electricity, a fire sprinkler system, and an elevator.

Oral history passed through generations has preserved the knowledge of the personal-lives and stories of the previous people who called this grand place home. Joan was told a story of a maid who lived in the house many years ago. During that time, the neighborhood fire station was located north of Laguna in the hilly southeast part of the Lower Haight. The firemen exercised their horses on Laguna because it was flatter. Apparently, one of the firemen caught the housemaid’s eye and everyday she held up a queen of hearts playing card in the window in hopes that he would notice her. Eventually her persistence paid off. He knocked on the door, asked for the housemaid, and later they married. Of course, Joan thought the story was too good to be true. But, while she was doing some house cleaning in the old servant’s quarters, she found a dusty queen of hearts card in a bureau that confirmed the story! After she recounted this story for me, she promptly produced the same card, now in a beautiful gold frame.

Long gone are the times when the house was occupied with family and with their attendants. Against the devastating fires following the 1906 earthquake, avoiding destruction in the name of Redevelopment, beyond the freeway’s reach and through Hayes Valley’s general decline, the home stood firm. Joan and John said they never felt like Hayes Valley was unsafe, just extremely unwholesome and neglected. Interestingly, they pointed out that because Hayes Valley was so undesirable for so many years, large-scale developers had their attention focused on other areas, allowing Hayes Valley to be more adaptable, vibrant, and intimate for us to enjoy now. Some positive changes they’ve witnessed are people strolling on the street, people taking care of their properties and sidewalks, and people participating in the community. They especially enjoy the diversity and the youth in the neighborhood now. They said that one of the biggest positive changes is the improvement in attention paid to the neighborhood by the police and they gave the late Patricia Walkup a lot of credit in helping to get that accomplished.

Currently, Joan are John are thoroughly enjoying their bed and breakfast, the guests that stay with them, and the Hayes Valley neighborhood they helped to shape.

Japanese Small Plates, Now Local

By Jarrod Shappell

The first time that I went to Nojo, I couldn’t get a table. Hayes Valley’s newest Japanese restaurant has been bustling since its opening over five months ago. Thankfully I am persistent, and I savored one of my favorite meals in recent memory.

While distinctly Japanese, Gregory Dunmore’s Hayes Valley restaurant is not pretentious and is very hospitable. After a short wait we sat down at our table. The attentive server introduced us to the menu and told us to “take our time” and “order a lot of things.” We did not argue.

The menu is vast and everything sounds delicious. While the menu is primarily organized into two categories (“on a stick” and “not on a stick”) words like shungiku and nameko were unfamiliar to me. Confused and knowing that we needed to “order a lot of things”, my eyes wandered the restaurant. The table next to us had the tempura vegetables and appeared to love them. Other dishes passed by and I inched up out of my chair to get a look or smell of what was coming out of the busy kitchen.

The kitchen is one of the unique features of Nojo. As we looked toward the kitchen we could see dishes being prepared and passed to servers. There is almost no separation from the dining area to the seating area. It makes you feel like you have a back stage pass for a culinary performance.

And what a performance it was. We started with the tataki – a melt in your mouth tuna that was not too fishy and was served with fresh tomatoes and thinly sliced radishes. This was no opening act, it was a delicious first course that was both authentically Japanese and Californian. Then we had the bacon wrapped cherry tomatoes with lettuce sauce. They were decadent and disappeared off my plate in seconds.

Before I continue, I must warn you that the Nojo menu is seasonal and thus these items may or may not be available. I just thought you should know.

Then we had the almond pork rice balls. They were crisp on the outside, warm and comforting inside, and served with just enough miso mustard to add some bite. We also had the tsukune with egg yolk sauce (on a stick). It was very moist on the inside and perfectly balanced with a small amount of the subtly sweet sauce.

All the while our servers were very helpful and right on target in helping us choose sakes that were to our taste.

We couldn’t miss dessert, and as suggested, ordered a lot of it. The Nojo sundae is constructed with sesame ice cream, thunder crackers (imagine a rice krispie treat and granola hybrid) and fresh berries. Although a sundae, it was light and not too sweet. We also ordered the red miso poached peach. The homemade mochi was perfect in texture and a great complement to the peaches. Both desserts were excellent.

From start to finish, Nojo is worth the wait. Hayes Valley should be proud to have such a local, authentic Japanese dinner experience.


Hayes Valley’s Historic Hotel and Opera District

By Henry Ostendorf

Last week’s demolition of an abandoned warehouse on Market Street uncovered this “3 Kinds – Eat Carnation Mush” billboard at the gateway to Hayes Valley (Market at Franklin Streets). For those who are wondering, “mush” is now better known as polenta. And it’s probably being served at the Zuni Café half a block down Market tonight.

Apparently in the early 20th century Carnation “held the world milk production record for 32 consecutive years.” One particular cow “produced 37,381 pounds of milk during 1920”. So I’m assuming canned Carnation Mush was a way of selling this excess milk to working folk living in the hotel district at the eastern boundary of Hayes Valley.

Yes, Hayes Valley had a hotel district. I discovered this when visiting the unassuming lobby of the Opera Apartments at 145 Fell Street. Found on display there are clippings of neighborhood hotels and the musical history of the area. The text below is from one of the clippings complied by the building’s management.

The Historic Opera Hotel Apartments.

In 1907, the year following the great earthquake and fire, the City was beginning to rebuild…especially around the Civic Center district. The Opera Hotel Apartments on Fell Street between Van Ness and Franklin was built in 1907 and operated for many years as the Hotel St. Cecile, just up the street from the still existing Oak Hotel and the Whiteside Apartments on the corner of Franklin. The Masonic Temple at 25 Van Ness between Oak and Hickory was built in 1912 and loomed large in the area as the scattered building projects began.

The Hotel St. Cecile, with palatial entry and classic Edwardian styling occupied front floors. The laundry and support services for the hotel operated on the ground floor. The floor plans and elevations by Koenig and Pettigrew Architects are for the original Hotel St. Cecile.

In the early years of the twentieth century this hotel began to acquire a reputation for being a temporary home to visiting opera players and stars as San Francisco gained more cultural as well as commercial prominence.

In more colorful days the two major opera houses in the area were the Tivoli Opera House and the Grand Opera House. The Tivoli closed its doors in 1888 and the Grand was closed by the devastating earthquake and fire in 1906.

The opera would continue in San Francisco for the next ten years in various theaters and halls then took up residency at the newly built Municipal Auditorium (now the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium) in 1914 as part of the Panama-Pacific Exposition. Finally in 1932 the Beaux Arts style War Memorial Opera House was built at Van Ness and Grove.

Somewhere along the way the Hotel St. Cecile’s name was change to the Opera Hotel to reflect this operatic connection.

In the early 1950’s a devastating fire gutted the interior of the hotel leaving only the original façade and brick shell. When it was rebuilt the hotel became a five-story apartment building.

As to which opera stars might have frequented the Opera Hotel, no records or clippings have revealed clues. But the hotel now named the Opera Hotel Apartments, honors the connection and it’s place in the fascinating history and evaluation of San Francisco. –Opera Apartments Management.


President’s Column September October Voice 2011

by Karen Mauney-Brodek

Come one, come all and ask questions of the future mayor on September 22! The Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association (HVNA) and several other District Five neighborhood organizations are co-sponsoring a Mayoral Forum from 7-9pm at University of California at San Francisco (UCSF)’s Cole Hall, located at 513 Parnassus. (A quick ride on the #6 or #71 bus and you are there!) It will be moderated by ABC7 –KGO News Anchor Carolyn Tyler. Check our website and blog for more details. It will be a great discussion and provide you with opportunities to ask questions of the 12+ candidates that will be there.

This debate is just another example of the work the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association does to make our neighborhood and our city what it should and can be. I hope you continue to support our growing membership base and renew this month (September is our membership month) or join for the first time. The membership form is located on page six of this newsletter for your convenience. Please renew right now by filling out the form and mailing it back with dues. Do it right now. I’ll wait.  Print out this image below, fill it out and return it with your check to Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association, 1800 Market Street, PMB #104, San Francisco, CA  94102.

Done filling out your renewal? Thank you very much.

This year there are many issues that the HVNA board, committee members and neighbors have focused and continue to work on including: the completion of the Hayes Valley Playground Renovation, safety (we can never lose focus on this), our re-energized business relations committee that is actively doing outreach this fall to our business members, and continued vigilance on issues of neighborhood development. As many of the development projects that have been on hold come back to life, such as the UC Extension redevelopment (aka 55 Laguna), and Parcel P (the empty lot along Oak Street between Laguna and Octavia currently in use as one side of the Hayes Valley Farm), we must continue to be a voice for development consistent with the principles of the Market Octavia Plan and progressive urban development that will make our neighborhood proud.

Please renew, join, stay involved, come to the mayoral forum and our meetings and neighborhood events (see our Calendar) and shop in Hayes Valley!