HVNA President’s Column April May 2012

By Murrey Nelson

I am fortunate enough to both live and work in Hayes Valley. When I first started working at the Conservatory three years ago, I experimented with various routes from home to work, ultimately realizing that the shortest route was the best one for someone who really enjoys those extra five minutes of sleep. I am by nature a fast walker, so don’t always stop to smell the proverbial roses, or notice what is new. Because of my quick commute, I try to take a little walk around the ‘hood every few days during lunch or after work, to see what’s new and what is going on.

Being on crutches for the last several weeks following foot surgery, has slowed me down considerably on all walks, and I have memorized every piece of broken sidewalk and uneven asphalt between the first block of Waller and the first block of Oak. That is the downside of having to watch carefully where you put your feet each time you take a step. The upside is that I have gotten to experience the kindness and courteousness of many neighbors who have held doors for me, offered to carry my parcels, or just joked with me about how I injured my foot. It’s all too easy to get bogged down in the details of our day, to-do-lists, and errands, speeding around on auto-pilot, without noticing our environment. As someone who has been forced to slow down, I encourage you to do same and enjoy the vibrant neighborhood life of Hayes Valley.

I also encourage you to participate in the wealth of activities in which the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association is involved. As neighbors, we all have concerns about Public Safety and Transportation and Planning. We have committees for those! We are also curious about Art, Culture and Entertainment and Communications. We have committees for those too! We wonder what community projects we might get involved with. We…..you get the picture. My point is that there are many ways for us all to engage in the constant improvement of our neighborhood. For details and information about the various committees that meet regularly in the neighborhood, and how you can join, please see the calendar in this newsletter and/or visit www.hayesvalleysf.org.

Most of all, we want to hear from you with your concerns and questions. Many board members may be reached at the email addresses listed here. It was great to see you all at the Ham & Eggs Fire Breakfast on April 21st, at the Biergarten near Patricia’s Green. I hope to see you walking around the neighborhood. Happy Spring!

My Hayes Village

By Jarrod Shappell

I watch them from a distance. Every morning there are three or four of them sipping cappuccinos in the shade of Linden Alley. I can’t hear exactly what they are saying but they all tell stories, nod in agreement and laugh. Then after a few minutes and a goodbye handshake, they peek inside the stroller, throw the trendy diaper bag over their shoulder and head to Patricia’s Green. I’ve always wanted to be a part of this Hayes Valley Dads Club, but until recently I couldn’t pay the price of admission.

In October when my wife and I found out that we were expecting our first child, I immediately thought of this fatherly cohort. I could use some help because I admittedly do not know what it means to be a dad. How does one father in a city that has more dogs than children? How does one invest for a child’s future in a city with the highest rental prices in the country? What does it look like to raise a child in a city still navigating racism, violence, and gender equality? When I consider these questions about my forthcoming fatherhood, my reaction is more terror than joy some days. Which is why, as they say, I need a village.

If it truly does take a village to raise a child, then I am grateful that Hayes Valley is my village and that my villagers drink single origin espressos, attend yoga regularly, and appreciate locally-sourced produce.

A 30-minute walk around our “village” excites me. I think about the possibility of teaching my son what it means to care for the earth at one of our neighborhood gardens. I think about him sliding down a Hayes Valley Playground slide into my arms. I think about connecting with other parents at Seesaw as Sabrina Gabel leads the children in one of her many classes. And let’s be honest, how great is it that the Suppenkuche Beirgarten allows strollers?

I cannot imagine starting a family without these public places and the inevitable relationships that will form there. A recent New York Times article said that studio apartments and suburban fences are “chipping away at our humanity.” Tract homes are not the enemy but the growing opinion that collaboration and dependence are signs of weakness is a giant worth slaying. In a dense neighborhood like our own there is a tremendous opportunity to rely on each other to develop the families that our statistically childless city needs.

At one point the expectations of fatherhood were lower than Congress’s approval rating. But there is now a group of dads (and moms) who want to work together to create families they are proud of. If you are looking to join us, we’ll be in Linden Alley sharing tips on how to get into the best preschools.

Tips on Bus Safety

By Bob Barnwell

The HVNA Public Safety Committee heard from a spokesman from the SFMTA (Muni), at the meeting on April 2nd. Sululagi Palega, Muni Transit Assistance Program manager, talked about how to be safe while riding public transit.  The biggest crime on Muni is theft of smartphones, tablets and computers.  Palega suggests to riders: be aware of your surroundings, put your electronic devices in safe places and be very alert when sitting by the door, as this is one of the most frequent spots on the buses for pick-pocketing. Statistically, the most crimes occur between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., however riders should be aware of their surroundings at all times while in transit. Palega also recommends sitting near the bus operator when riding transit late at night.

Bus drivers cannot stop to help document a theft or pursue a perpetrator of an alleged crime. However, Muni is implementing measures to make transit safer. 95% of buses now have operating cameras and Muni has their own police, including undercover officers.

To ensure riders are paying their fare, Muni’s division of Proof of Payment (POP) officers drop in on buses throughout the day.  In January and February, 2012 there were over 3,200 citations issued for lack of proof of payment. Make sure you pay your fare and ask for a transfer, as citations are $85 to $95.

Muni relies on feedback from the community to improve the quality and safety of service. In addition to asking transit-related questions, calling 311 can be used to report a crime (911 in an emergency), poor bus service, or to ask for an increase in good service. Palega reminds that with over 700,000 boardings each day, ultimately, Muni is a busy system that relies in part, on alert riders to help maintain safety.

Top Cop visits Hayes Valley

By Bob Barnwell

San Francisco Chief of Police, Greg Suhr, spoke before the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association (HVNA) at the general meeting on March 22nd. The Korean American Center was packed to hear the “Top Cop” and Captain Ann Mannix of Northern Police Station while enjoying food from a variety of local restaurants who provided a “Taste of Hayes.”

Chief Suhr, born in San Francisco, is a thirty-one year veteran of the department. He started the meeting by talking about the correlation between a lack of education and crime, citing that high school dropouts are 82% of the people in jail. Seeing the community building activities and youth programs in Hayes Valley and Western Addition is encouraging to the Chief.  He wants to see our kids doing well and keeping out of trouble.

San Francisco Chief of Police, Greg Suhr

Two years ago there was a major drop in crime in San Francisco, especially in the Northern Police District. The crime rate has remained flat despite the 10% reduction in police officers at each station. Knowing the importance a community plays in preventing crime, Suhr not only conveyed his support for community policing, but also gave praise to the housing officer unit in Hayes Valley, which was represented at the meeting, along with members of the Western Addition gang task force. With SFPD losing 90 officers a year due to retirement, the Chief talked about the need for more graduates from the Police Academy.

Captain Mannix and the officers in attendance provided an update on recent crimes in the neighborhood and the types of public safety situations being addressed by the police force. Several members of the community asked questions regarding trash and traffic problems, including the safety of pedestrians crossing thoroughfares like Fell, Oak, and Octavia.  The Chief noted that motorcycle police officers and their motorcycles have been distributed to the stations for use in addressing traffic-related issues in their respective districts. Another problem discussed was the health and safety issues regarding trash bin spillage. This difficult and complicated problem directly affects the businesses and beauty of the neighborhood.  The police have only a minor role in curbing trash theft.  (If you would like to join a task-force addressing underground scavenging of recycling and trash please contact SFSAFE’s Troy at 553-1968 or troy@sfsafe.org.)

Captain Mannix took notes and talked to many individuals after the meeting regarding many of the issues the community raised. If you have any additional crime issues to report, please email (SFPDNorthernStation@sfgov.org) or call Northern Police Station (415) 614-3400. In an emergency, always call 911.

We appreciate Chief Suhr coming to our meeting with his enthusiasm and appreciation for the vibrant community that is Hayes Valley.  We thank Absinthe Brasserie, Nabila’s, Arlequin Cafe, Suppenküche, Lynne Winslow Events, Two Sisters Bar and Books, Dobbs Ferry, The Boxing Room, La Boulange,  Richard Johnson, and Original Hayes and Kebab for providing food and drink for the meeting.

14th Annual Lily Street Sale April 28th, 9-3

14th Annual Lily Street Sale April 28th, 9-3

After 14 years, you know it has to be good! Running the length of Lily Street, with more households within an additional few blocks, there are many hundreds of items at over a dozen locations. And not only is this an annual sale, for some people it’s a moving sale, too, so there will be even more than usual available. We have a vintage housewares dealer as well as a rock band moving and lightening their loads.

Don’t miss it!

Items include:

Rear projection 55” TV; a 32″ HD TV (tube) — perfect working condition — great picture! — with Bell-O Italian glass and metal TV stand and turntable — (original price $1,750), other TVs and TV stands, music equitment, digital audio odds and ends, Sony Playstation 2 with games and controllers (one wired, one wireless) with HD cables

Top of the line Dobly 5.1 surround sound system — Yamaha AV receiver, JBL 5 speaker surround sound system (1 center channel, four satellites), RCA speaker stands (2) and an RCA floor model subwoofer –epson pro 4000 17″ giclee (high resolution photographic) printer with various supplies (inks, paper rolls) with rolling stand, HP LaserJet Printer

M-Audio Audiophile 24/96 PCI sound card, Native Instruments Komplete 3 with 4 upgrade, Cubase SL 3 with dongle, Assorted Loopmaster Sample DVDs, Limited edition albums, Indigo DJ laptop soundcard, TI-83 Plus Graphing Calculator, Philco DVD Player, TC Electronics Desktop Konnekt 6 firewire audio interface

Shoes, Clothing, Framed Photographs, Art, lighting, bicycles, housewares, lots of books, audio recordings, vintage magazines, Vintage Playgirl pictorials, Pimsleur Spanish Tapes, Picture Frames, snowboards, fish tanks

Antiques, collectibles and vintage housewares, Palm Tree Candle Sticks (fabulous!), Jewelry, Vintage Japanese vinyl handbags

Furniture including vintage furniture, sofa table, book cases, Mosaic Tiled patio table, Office Chairs, vintage 60s gunlock heavy duty executive office chair, vintage 50s enamel top kitchen table, quality vintage chair with missoni style fabric, big round glass top coffee table with white greek column base, vintage rugs including a rya rug aprox 8×10, pair of mint butterfly chair covers

Lots of quality vintage Christmas items (50′s and 60′s, japanese, elfs, birds, etc. satin bulbs, felt tree skirts, cards, etc)

vintage flip clock, vintage space age 70s tv radio combo (needs work), vintage radio (fm am only am works), vintage lighting, tons of vintage lamp shades, many sizes and shapes (lots of really big ones too) sizes, all in great condition
Tons of vintage art, including gravel art and large frames prints and paintings, giant tray with vintage travel stickers

There’s more, lots more, and the kids will be running a Lemonade stand, too!

Lily Street runs between Oak and Page Streets, from Buchanan Street to Franklin Street. A large portion of the sale will be on Buchanan Street. Other nearby addresses on Laguna Street and Hayes Street will be participating as well.

Update on the Hayes Valley Farm

Hayes Valley Farm: “Liquid Light” by flickr user CJMartin

As you may know, the interim-use agreement for Hayes Valley Farm will expire this summer.

The farm sits on two of the former Central Freeway parcels, Parcel O and Parcel P.

Central freeway development parcels Dennis Yang.jpeg

There are a number of Central Freeway parcels slated to be converted into Affordable Housing units, including Parcel O.

These projects were managed by Redevelopment Agency, which has recently been dissolved.

The Mayor’s Office of Housing is now responsible for managing these housing projects.

Come to the next Hayes Valley Community meeting to find out more about the future of the Farm and join the discussion!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

7:00pm at Hayes Valley Playground

ALSO: At this weeks meeting – we will have a number of discussions relating to our Hayes Valley environment.

Three short discussions to begin:
1. Isabel Wade presents the Just One Tree project
2. Hayes Valley Farm and the board’s recent vote of support of their continued interest in Parcel O
3. Gail Baugh Planting at Hayes Valley Playground

Our three main topics are:
1. The Better Market Street Plan - presented By Kris Opbroek, DPW
2. Street Tree Care and Responsibility, DPW Urban ForestryFriends of the Urban Forest (FUF) , District 5 Supervisor Olague (or her representative)
3. Street Trees on Hayes Street. What species to infill? - Hayes Valley Landscape Architect Marta Fry

Generations of Success

By Paul Olsen

Help support our schools and communities! Experience Corps Bay Area (ECBA) places older adult volunteers into public schools in San Francisco and Oakland to provide literacy intervention and mentoring to students in need. One of these twenty schools is John Muir Elementary, located in the Hayes Valley/Western Addition neighborhood.

Experience Corps Bay Area is hosting a second annual “Generations of Success” benefit party in one of Hayes Valley’s glorious historic homes. Located just three blocks from the school, come celebrate with us Sunday, May 6th, from 1:30-4pm. Join with volunteers, staff, educators and elected representatives in honor of the 34,000 hours of service provided by these volunteers to our community. Tour an historic 1884 home and enjoy food, beverage and more. For more information, please see website www.experiencecorpsbayarea.org/events.

A Heritage of Comfort in Hayes Valley

Painted portrait of the building: the McRoskey building at Market and Gough Streets, oil on canvas, by Jung Han Kim, November, 2011

By Larry Cronander

One of the oldest and most respected manufacturers in San Francisco, and one with a direct connection to Hayes Valley, is the McRoskey Mattress Company. Although technically just outside the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association’s boundaries, McRoskey has considered itself a part of the Hayes Valley community since the company built its landmark building at 1687 Market Street in 1925.

Today McRoskey mattresses are still handcrafted to order in San Francisco. The Company is now in the third generation of ownership by the McRoskey family (the fourth and fifth generations also work for the company). McRoskey maintains every order ever placed with it since 1921, and has customers all over the world.

When It All Began

McRoskey Mattress Company was founded in 1899 (112 years ago) by two brothers, Edward and Leonard McRoskey, who came from St. Louis by way of Chicago to sell to mattress manufacturers mattress- making equipment they had invented. Being unsuccessful in this, they decided to manufacture mattresses themselves in San Francisco. Their first factory in the City was located in a flatiron building at the corner of 16th and Harrison Streets, which still exists. Their first retail location was at 1506 Market Street near Van Ness.

Edward McRoskey (far left) and the Company staff, 1904

San Francisco in 1899 was a boomtown. With a population of over 400,000, it was the largest city west of the Rockies, thriving after the Gold Rush, the Comstock Lode silver bonanza, and the Transcontinental Railroad. It was the West Coast’s center of shipping, construction, finance and commerce.

In those days, there were literally dozens of local mattress manufacturers, but most were in the area destroyed by the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906. McRoskey was the only mattress manufacturer in San Francisco to survive the disaster, and with 225,000 people homeless, for months afterwards, crowds would gather around the factory and purchase any mattress as soon as it was completed. Everyone needed a new bed!

The brand new McRoskey Mattress Company building, 1925

Market and Gough in the roaring twenties was known as “the Hub” because four streetcar lines converged at the intersection. Gough Street did not go through to Mission Street then (that happened in 1949) and the Gough Street side of the building today was the McRoskey parking lot. Where Fast Frame now is was the Hub Pharmacy, the only 24-hour drug store in the City. The Gaffney Building on Market Street, which now houses the Green Arcade and Bedroom and More, was a meat market, grocery and feed store. The Flax building was the Hermann Safe Company.

Making Mattresses on Market Street

McRoskey mattresses and box springs were built in the Market Street building for 85 years, from 1925 to 2010. In 2010, the manufacturing facility was moved to the foot of Potrero Hill in the Central Waterfront District. The showroom remains to this day in the building at 1687 Market Street. The building is to be included in the new Market Street Masonry Landmark Historic District.

Drop by the Market Street showroom anytime and lie down for a snooze, or to see McRoskey history firsthand. Learn more about McRoskey Mattress Company at www.McRoskey.com.

(For the sake of full disclosure, Larry works for the McRoskey Mattress Company.)

A McRoskey billboard at Eighth and Market, 1905. Note the Hall of Records in the background, later destroyed in the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906

Your Neighborhood Bike Shop

By Lauren Daley

For a neighborhood that has long advocated for bicycle routes and safety, Hayes Valley was sorely missing a key element: a local bike shop. Finally we have a place to go to for all our bike needs thanks to John McDonell and Matt Ames, co-owners of Market Street Cycles.

I recently took my bike in to get its rear wheel replaced and got a chance to talk with John and Matt. I know I join the many neighborhood cyclists who wish to welcome this great new business to our community. John and Matt have opened their shop at the corner of Page Street and Market Street. With over 800 bikes passing every day, it’s the busiest cycling intersection in the city! They have been open since the day before Thanksgiving, 2011. Their philosophy is to keep a practical, no attitude bike shop where cyclists of all levels of bike knowledge are treated with respect.

They open early at 8:00am and stay open late until 7:00pm, catering to commuters and those who use their bikes every day. With an appointment, they even have same day turnarounds for those who drop off their bikes in the morning. This is ideal for dropping off a bike on the way to work and picking it up on the way home. They offer a full breadth of services from custom wheel building to hydraulic brake work and everything in between. Surly bikes are in stock at the shop and Jamis soon will be stocked as well.

Simply put, John and Matt want to do whatever it takes to get people on their bikes and have a lot of experience doing just that. John McDonell, a San Francisco resident since 1997, started getting into bike maintenance when he got a job as a bike messenger in Washington D.C. in 1990. He has worked in several shops since then and has run several shops in the Bay Area. Before opening Market Street Cycles, he started and ran the bike portion of Mojo Bicycle Cafe. Matt Ames has been working in shops since he was 14 years old. He was John’s head mechanic at Mojo Bicycle Cafe and left in mid 2011 to become a full partner of Market Street Cycles.

John and Matt have worked hard to make Market Street Cycles the shop they envisioned. For years John had his eye on the location and was thrilled to finally negotiate a lease in 2011. The space was in pretty bad shape so they had to do a complete rebuild. They did it all themselves with Matt acting as the general contractor. The result is incredible – a bright, lofty, and clean space that is really comfortable to be in. John and Matt really like the neighborhood’s diversity and appreciate the warm reception they’ve received.

My experience, replacing my rear tire, with Market Street Cycles was wonderful. I felt respected and my bike was treated well, despite its rusty appearance. I got a fair price and they didn’t try to pressure me into buying anything I didn’t need. It is so nice to finally have a bike shop I trust and enjoy going to just a few blocks away from home.

Off the Grid Opens in Hayes Valley

by Brian Goldstein

As the night fog rolls down the intersection of Linden and Octavia, neighbors order dinner around three encircled food trucks and enjoy the burgeoning Bay Area experience that is Off the Grid. With live music playing in the background, hungry customers look for food that will fill their stomachs and warm them up this crisp night.

Food trucks are ubiquitous in San Francisco, with innumerable options for palates bent on the adventurous, refined, or simple down-home comforts. Now Hayes Valley residents have a new opportunity to enjoy this unique dining experience, through an organized night market, in the heart of the neighborhood.

Hayes Valley residents enjoy the start of another Off the Grid night market

Off the Grid is a San Francisco business, started in 2010, that operates weekly open markets with a variety of food vendors. At present there are 12 such markets throughout the Bay Area. Off the Grid Hayes Valley operates in the Proxy Project, the temporary art, food, and retail space along Octavia Street that is dotted with reconfigured shipping containers. The market runs from 5PM to 9PM, with accompanying live music playing 6PM-7:30PM. Currently the market runs Wednesday and Thursday nights, with an additional Friday market beginning April 27. Three selected vendors, from a group of six, rotate for each night.

The Market Lit Up at Night

When I visited the market in March, I spoke with the Hayes Valley Market Keeper Tim Ng. Tim explained that Off the Grid selects market locations based on their unique characteristics. They chose the Proxy Project because it embodies a fusion of food, art, and culture. The location is also home to Smitten Ice Cream, Ritual Coffee, and other food trucks during the day. Tim told me that he initially met with local Hayes Valley businesses and the Hayes Valley Merchants Association. Such outreach is meant to reassure any neighborhood concern over increased traffic and litter.

What to order??

This night the three vendors included Curry Up Now (Indian Street Food), Senor Sisig (Filipino Fusion Food), and Chairman Bao (Chinese Buns). Each brought a unique take on San Francisco street food, one that is a welcome addition to the Hayes Valley neighborhood. You can learn more about Off the Grid and find vendor schedules for all their locations at www.offthegridsf.com.