Local Links: Parklets, “Story” opens, outer Balboa improvements coming, Waldo’s wrap party, drawing classes, bison laid to rest & more

The new parklet being installed on Clement near 3rd Avenue. Photo by @Dameright

Whew, we’ve been saving up lots of links for y’all to enjoy! Don’t miss any of them – there’s some good stuff in here…

  • There’s a new gift shop and children’s clothing boutique at 202 Clement Street called Story. They’re hosting a grand opening celebration this Friday night from 6-9pm featuring Nobly, jewelry from Lina Shatara, and art by Nate1 Design and Sita Rupe. Stop in for some drinks and bites, and to welcome them to the neighborhood. And if you can’t make the party, just stop in to shop sometime!
  • And just outside the new Story shop… Construction of the new, woodsy Clement Street parklet is underway. The parklet was designed and is being built the fellows of Anzfer Farms, a workshop and showroom located in the Outer Richmond at 2441 Balboa. They’re targeting completion this Friday or Saturday in time for Sunday’s Farmer’s Market.
  • Speaking of parklets… Cinderella Bakery on Balboa near 6th Avenue also wants to build a parklet in front of their business. Reader Tracy tells us there is a proposal posted in the bakery window, and the comment period runs from 7/25/13 to 8/8/2013. Contact 554-5810 or parklets@sfdpw.org with any comments or questions.
  • Speaking of Balboa Street… There are big improvements planned for outer Balboa – $2.3 million worth to be exact. The Chronicle reports that the commercial district will get “a fresh look with new landscaping, better street lights and street and sidewalk improvements, but also a more visible identity, with 12-foot-tall monuments marking the area’s entryways at 34th and 39th streets.” The project will begin in September and is expected to take 8 months to complete. Read more at the DPW website or download the project fact sheet.
  • Sad news from Golden Gate Park this week. The SF Zoo had to euthanize the oldest bison in the herd that lives in the park. The unnamed bison had lived for 30 years (25 is typical). Eight bison still remain in the park – some from a donation thanks to Richard Blum as a gift to his wife and then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein in 1983, and the rest from a group of young females purchased from a Redding ranch in 2011 to bolster the herd. RIP Grandpa Bison.
  • Remember the Where’s Waldo? scavenger hunt that Clement Street merchants held this month? The wrap-up party and raffle takes place at Green Apple Books this Wednesday afternoon at 3pm. Stop by for food and treats, donated by some of the businesses who participated in the Waldo hunt. And our own Supervisor Eric Mar will be on hand to draw the raffle winners. We hear Waldo may even make an appearance…
  • More kudos for Green Apple – they were named to the Top shops’ hall of fame by SFGate. “This bibliophile’s delight tumbles out of its quarters daily in the form of its radically discounted sidewalk stacks. Within, no one can resist those staff reviews broadcasting the lovingly edited selection of new fiction and non- or the sizable collection of used volumes. Retreat from the Richmond fog in the magazine annex.”
  • Want to hone your drawing skills? Painter Eun Hee Lee is teaching an Experimental Life Drawing Class at the Park Presidio United Methodist Church (4301 Geary) on Tuesday nights from 7-8pm, from August 6 through September 10. The class is $40 and is open to beginners and advanced artists. View the class flyer (PDF)
  • A recent article on the KQED Blog says there is new data that indicates apartment rents in San Francisco may be falling slightly. The Richmond District median rent for a 1 bedroom as of July 2013? $1,835 a month.
  • The Richmond District Branch Library on 9th Avenue now has its own Facebook page. “Like” them to keep up with their wide variety of events.
  • This Saturday from 10am until 3pm is the Summer Gardening Fair at the Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park. The fair “is a free, fun and friendly gathering of plant enthusiasts sharing ideas, plants and plant-related items. This year, we’re proud to add lots of children’s activities to round out the day!”
  • This Friday and Saturday is the Fair Trade Bazaar at the de Young Museum, showcasing products from global artisans. Shop for jewelry, textiles, native handcrafts, and decorative accessories reflecting the many cultures represented in the museum’s collection. Admission is free, and members get 10% off any purchases.
  • Speaking of the de Young, someone “yarn-bombed” their bike rack last week, adding a little rainbow beneath the tower:

Photo by @deyoungmuseum


  1. I had no idea bike racks needed protection from the foggy chill ;^}

  2. i thought parklets were being built for areas not near parks and other open spaces. these are a few blocks from golden gate park.

  3. I feel sorry for people who live or park near 6th and Balboa (home of Cinderella Bakery). It’s already hard enough to park there but with the added parklet, there goes a couple of more spaces. That side of town is compacted but have a whole bunch of shuttered businesses. I can’t say this will help the other businesses on the block. I’m sure Cinderella will benefit from this since this is extra dining space for them to make money off of. The previous sentence is a known fact – there was an article in the Examiner a few years ago about this problem. A lot of restaurants & cafes who has a parklet in front of their business use it as extra dining space – this means they won’t let people who just want to sit there but don’t want to patronize the business use the parklet. Really, how is this taxpayer dollars at work?

  4. Great list, Sarah! Thanks!

    @ray – If you read the “Program Goals” section here (http://sfpavementtoparks.sfplanning.org/parklets.html) you’ll see that the goals really more oriented towards enhancing street life, encouraging foot traffic, etc. Doesn’t seem like they’re really intended to be a replacement for actual parks.

    @sfresident – parklets are public space so anyone who wants to sit there can – they don’t have to buy anything. If Cinderalla acts differently we should call them on it. I’ll make a point to go and sit in that parklet and NOT buy anything one day. (But it may be hard – they have really yummy baked goods ;). With regard to parking, well – we all agree that parking is tough in the city but I’m happy with city planning that doesn’t put cars and parking first. I think it’s a better strategy in the long run.

  5. Cinderella closed their dining room when they remodeled and their food is nowhere near the quality it was in the 1960s through the late 1990s. I haven’t been there in several years because there are better baked goods, pelmeny and piroshki to be found elsewhere.

    Does anyone know what is going on with the building across Balboa Street? Javaholics closed (again, third time IIRC) and it appears to be all vacant again. Will it be torn down?

  6. Parklets aren’t “taxpayer dollars at work”– they’re privately funded.

  7. @4thGenRichmond
    I’ve heard that some Hong Kong corporation owns that block of vacant businesses and that’s about it.

    Just hope they don’t end up as *more* massage parlors. This article illustrates how bad it’s gotten:

    This is not my idea of how the Richmond should be “thriving.”

  8. @4thGenRichmond – Interesting to hear your opinion about Cinderella Bakery. As a Russian living in the neighborhood for over 20 years, I can’t name a single place in a 100 mile radius that offers better quality, authentic Russian food. I would say that in the past few years the changes they’ve made to the store (including the removal of the dining area), have only done better for the business and the products offered. Unlike most of the Russian/Eastern European stores in the Richmond and other parts of town, their food is always fresh and made the night before. It’s become my “go to” for a home-made meal fix.

  9. RichmondDweller, I started going to Cinderella to celebrate Orthodox Easter and various birthdays with my “Mamushka” who arrived in San Francisco (fleeing China) in the 1930s. She passed away in the early 1990s. Her daughter had been my mother’s best friend in Shanghai, where their family fled to from Russia. The ownership changed in the 1990s, the piroshki became very greasy and many dishes which were previously made the same day, not the night before, started getting heated in the microwave, which could be heard while seated in the dining room. The baked goods lack the moistness they once had. With the closure of Russian Renaissance finalizing what had once been a fine eating stretch on Geary (missing my pasha, kulich and giant palm leaves from Tip Toe), there hasn’t been authentic Russian food of quality to be found unless homemade.

    For those of you who are wondering, my father’s side of the family has been in the Richmond since 1917, prior to that the family was closer to the shipyard except when they were displaced in ’06 and had to camp outdoors and eventually in an 8x8x6 shed.

    I too am concerned about the number of “service” businesses that are filling up vacant storefronts and believe that there should be more Federal enforcement of human trafficking laws affecting workers in many industries; there should also be more severe penalties for the business owners as the $1000 fine (in Derek’s linked article) is peanuts to these all cash establishments. To get a better idea on how insular certain immigrant groups are, read carefully the article at sfgate on The Wok Shop, paying particular attention to how real estate leases are handled on Grant Avenue. My feeling is since the garment manufacturing business was off-shored, there are fewer “positions” to place low-skill, non-English-speaking, indentured servants in to repay their transit fees to the snakehead. Before anyone starts on a rant, criminals come in every culture and so do good people. We need more good people in the neighborhood.

  10. Yes to a parklet at Cinderella! This commercial strip is suffering for lack of life and attraction for people to come and linger, not for lack of parking, and this will be a boost for the whole neighborhood.

  11. I think a parklet in front of Cinderella is wonderful for the Southeastern Inner Richmond! It is so unfortunate that the businesses across the street (like the wonderful Namu) were forced out by insane rent increases. That is the real crime here, that greedy landlords can negatively affect a whole community. A parklet will help bring some of that community feeling back.

  12. So I *just* moved to 11th and Fulton and am appalled at the restaurant cemetrary that is Balboa street. Look at what has happened on Divis recently — it’s amazing. What will it take to get a get few restaurants, cafes and bars into that strip to liven it up ?

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