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Archive for the ‘Golden Gate Park’ Category


Video: Territorial bird harasses pedestrians in Golden Gate Park

Reader Ben L. sent us this video that youtuber Mila Z. captured of very territorial bird in Golden Gate Park, shot in June.

As you’ll see in the video, the bird stealthily swoops down and attacks the heads of unsuspecting pedestrians as they stroll by on MLK Drive near the north Botanical Garden entrance near Stow Lake. (A victim left a comment on this story telling us she was attached twice while jogging by!)

Mila observed this behavior for awhile and deduced that this was just one rogue bird.

“Very few of nesting blackbirds actually attack people. There were dozens nests around, but only this one bird kept attacking people,” Mila wrote in the video comments.

She also wryly observed that “Some people behaved much crazier than the bird.”

The reason for the attacks? As you’ll see at the end of the video, the bird’s behavior was an attempt to protect its nest, which had two baby birds in it.

Sarah B.

10:56 am | Posted under Golden Gate Park, Video, Wildlife | 11 comments

Family makes “Wild Stowberry Jam” after blackberry picking at Stow Lake

L to R: Bailey, Tabitha, Mallory and Tanner pose with jars of Wild Stowberry Jam that they made. Photo by Meghan P.

Despite being an urban metropolis, San Francisco has a lot of urban farming going on. Just in our neighborhood we’ve got a guy who makes Golden Gate Park honey from his outer Richmond bees, and last week, we heard from a family who managed to produce some blackberry jam from berries at Stow Lake.

“My kids have been obsessed as of late with the dearth of blossoming blackberry brambles all over the Richmond. We hit up Stow Lake last week and were able to get enough blackberries to make our very own “Wild Stowberry Jam”,” reader Meghan P. wrote to us.

Ingredients: Stow Lake Blackberries, sugar, lemon juice and a dash of Richmond pride.

Sounds delicious!

Sarah B.

Blackberries picked at Stow Lake. Photo by Meghan P.

9:40 am | Posted under Golden Gate Park | 2 comments

After 30 years, medieval archery event leaves Golden Gate Park due to fees

Anyone who lives in the city occasionally has those “only in SF” moments where you come across something that is odd and unusual but at the same time, seems perfectly at home here.

That was my reaction the first time I learned about Debardchery, the Medieval Archery & Bardic event that takes place at the archery range in Golden Gate Park near Fulton and 47th Avenue, and is hosted by the the San Francisco Chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism.

They describe it as their “annual celebration of mirth, merriment, archery and the bardic arts” and the free event includes an archery competition, a Bardic tournament (poetry, song, music, skit), and a potluck lunch. Attendees are encouraged to dress in medieval or Renaissance fare garb, which they do, in spades (loaner tunics are also on hand for the wardrobe challenged). Typically they have 50 to 100 attendees, and the free event is open to the public.

Only in SF, right?

So I was saddened to hear that after 30 years of holding Debardchery in Golden Gate Park, organizers had decided to move the venue to an archery range in Pacifica.

The reason? Increased fees for their Rec & Park event permit.

Last year’s fees were $350 ($250 plus a $50 application fee and a $50 insurance waiver fee) but when they inquired about their fee for 2014, they were told there would be an additional $200 “park impact fee”. When they asked what that was for, they got no explanation from Rec & Park.

Lucien Canton, one of the event’s organizers, said they also received push back on some of the things their event has always included.

“[Rec & Park] was also requiring food handler certificates for the potluck lunch our members bring or we could not serve food. They would also not allow us to erect sunshades using stakes as we have always done in the past with the head gardener’s blessing,” Canton told us.

Canton says they did not even apply for their permit after getting the fee estimate, and instead sought another location for their event. The San Francisco Archers Range in Pacifica welcomed Debardchery with open arms, charging them $200 to host their event.

While an event fee of $550 (or more depending on the additional requirements) doesn’t sound cost prohibitive, it can be just that for small, local groups that use the park for events.

“The sums involved aren’t enormous in the great scheme of things,” Canton said. “However, our event only raises between $500-$600, mostly through donations. We use the money to purchase things like loaner equipment for our martial arts program and craft materials for our classes and to subsidize smaller events throughout the year.”

He says they’ve considered charging admission and have even tried it in the past, but it only limited attendance and hurt the spirit of Debardchery.

Canton says there are no hard feelings, just disappointment at having to leave the Golden Gate Park Archery Range after 30 years.

“We’re not looking to pick a fight with Rec & Park. It’s just unfortunate that they seem to have a “one-size-fits-all” mentality and don’t seem to make any concessions to small, local groups.”

Or ones that have been using Golden Gate Park for 30 years.

If you are interested in attending Debardchery at its new location, it takes place this Saturday (tomorrow!) at 10am at the San Francisco Archery Range in Pacifica, CA. As always, admission is free and dressing up is highly encouraged!

While we’re on this topic, I wonder if the SF Archery range has room for a few hundred vintage cars that are looking for a new home

The SF Recreation & Parks Department was contacted for comment but did not get back to us in time for publication.

Sarah B.

4:35 am | Posted under Golden Gate Park | 32 comments

Outside Lands recap – how did the neighborhood fare?

Crowds leaving Golden Gate Park around 10pm on Saturday. Photo by citznkane1

Outside Lands concluded its seventh year on Sunday night, with headliners The Killers and Tiesto closing out the music, food and arts festival on Golden Gate Park. The Chronicle has a nice slideshow and writeup of the weekend’s activities.

On Friday night, controversial headliner Kanye West was heard all over the city, even in West Portal according to one of our commenters, thanks to the high volume and booming bass of his performance.

“Wow, Kanye has the bass turned way up. People in Ingleside, West Portal and Lake Merced are upset.” Another commenter wasn’t impressed with his use of the f*bomb.

Things seemed to improve on Saturday and Sunday. Commenters made note of the lower volume levels compared to past years and even compared to Friday’s performances:

“I must say I’m quite pleasantly surprised today (Saturday). After last night’s barrage of unpleasant sound, I expected to be blasted all the way to the Underworld today here in West Portal. But we haven’t heard anything at all and it’s already 5:30 PM. There was an article in the Chronicle this morning about turning down the noise, especially the bass, and maybe the Festival organizers read it and actually heeded the suggestion! Anyway we’re fine out here and hope this courteous lack of noise continues through the night.”

Another commenter that lives alongside the park said this was the best year to date. “We live at the entrance/exit @ 30th and Fulton and this has been the most improved year, thus far.”

It seems the organizers were more mindful this year of noise complaints that came in through their hotline. ABC7 News reported that “Organizers have set up a noise complaint hotline for neighbors and claim every complaint is investigated with mobile sound monitoring equipment, then relayed back to concert sound technicians who can adjust volume.” Watch the story below:

In spite of the concert noise being more manageable, some neighbors still found it tough to weather the crowds that streamed in and out of the park, leaving garbage and sometimes urinating on their lawns and front steps.

We had this comment passed along to us from Friday night from a resident that lives across the street from Golden Gate Park:

“I saw the complete sh*t show from about 10:30 to 1AM and the aftermath. Fights, fisticuffs, opening card doors into people, people jumping off moving Muni busses, gaggles of girls running full drunken throttle into oncoming traffic on Fulton, almost dying, bro-grammar dudes in total verbal altercation with their Uber driver, some amateur youth pukers and some urinaters outside of Safeway which was completely overrun with drunkards and animals of the night.”

Yup, sounds like a music festival.

Another commenter asked that the festival conclude a bit earlier on Sunday night. “Please end the festival on Sunday by 7PM. Some of us have to get up at 4:45am Monday morning. Ending at 9:45 + another 2 hours of noise is unacceptable on a work night.”

So it sounds like there were some improvements this year with regards to noise, but status quo with regards to the crowds and revelry.

What was your experience with Outside Lands this year? Leave a comment to let us know.

Sarah B.

10:13 am | Posted under Events, Golden Gate Park | 54 comments

2014 Neighbor’s Guide to Outside Lands Music Festival, August 8-10

Paul McCartney performs at Outside Lands 2013. Photo by Josh Withers

Ready to rock and roll, Richmond District? Outside Lands 2014, the seventh year for the large music festival, kicks off this Friday in Golden Gate Park.

The lineup is eclectic as always, ranging from rock to electronic dance music to hip hop to country. Headliners include Kanye West, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, The Killers, Arctic Monkeys, The Flaming Lips, Tiesto, Death Cab for Cutie and Ray LaMontagne. View the lineup by day or view the daily schedule.

There is also an official iPhone app for Outside Lands 2014, and an unofficial one called FestFriend for Outside Lands 2014. iTunes Radio also has an Outside Lands 2014 station.

If you live near the park and will be welcoming people to the neighborhood each day, here are some tips to help you negotiate the crowds and traffic – and give the best advice to the 65,000 concertgoers that will be visiting the festival every day this weekend.

The festival runs for three days, beginning Friday, August 8 through Sunday, August 10. Venues in Golden Gate Park include the Polo Fields (main stage), Hellman Hollow, Marx Meadow and Lindley Meadow. On all three days, gates open at 11am, music begins at 12noon, and music ends at 10pm (9:40pm on Sunday). The festival is officially sold out for all three days.

The festival box office will be located in Marx Meadow, off of JFK Drive in between 25th and 30th Avenue. Concertgoers can drive into the park at Fulton St. and 30th Avenue and park along JFK until Thursday at 8pm to pick up your tickets. After that they must access the Box Office on foot.

Entrances into the festival are located at 30th Avenue and Fulton on the north side of the park, and near 36th Avenue and Lincoln Way on the south side of the park. Download the festival map (PDF)

Download the festival map (PDF)

Most Richmond District residents that live past 25th Avenue already have a “front row” seat to the amplification of the Outside Lands stages. ;)

But if you want to get closer and really hear some of the performances, SF Funcheap has guides on where to position yourself outside the festival fences to catch the bands performing each day – Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Last year, they streamed some of the performances on TuneIn and UStream, but we haven’t been able to confirm if that is the case for 2014. If we find any information on that, we’ll update it here.

UPDATE: According to the Outside Lands website, they will be streaming some performances on their iTunes Radio station: “Check back on August 9th and August 10th to catch shows from performers like Duck Sauce, Chvrches, Tycho, Phosphorescent, Deer Tick, Lucius, Dum Dum Girls and more being broadcast live from Golden Gate Park. Check back for the weekend schedule!”

During the festival, the venues and roads around them are closed to the general public and all car traffic due to cyclone fencing which has already started going up. If you want to get through or around the park this weekend, plan on using Park Presidio / 19th Avenue, Stanyan, or the Great Highway (and don’t expect it to be quick).

Here’s a map of the entrances to the park that will be closed to car traffic during the festival:

Several areas of the park will be closed prior to the start of the festival and afterwards for festival setup and teardown:

Polo Field: Wednesday 7/30 6am – Thursday 8/14 8pm
Hellman Hollow: Sunday 8/3 6am – Wednesday 8/13 8pm
Lindley Meadow (East End): Monday 8/4 8am – Tuesday 8/12 8pm
Lindley Meadow (West End): Tuesday 8/5 8am – Tuesday 8/12 8pm
Marx Meadow: Monday 8/4 6am – Monday 8/11 8pm

There is no official car parking for the Outside Lands Festival, so expect parking to be really tight in the outer Richmond this weekend. Concertgoers will also be arriving by festival shuttle, by foot, MUNI, taxi, or bike. The festival offers free valet bike parking beginning at 10am every day (if you drop off between 10am and 8pm, you get a free bike wash!).

Again this year, schools in the neighborhood will open up their lots and raise money by charging for parking. Below is the list of school lots that will be open; except where noted, this information is from 2013 so fees and hours may vary once you’re at the lot:

1) Argonne Elementary – 680 18th Avenue @ Cabrillo Street
Hours: Friday – 4pm-11pm, Saturday & Sunday 10am-11pm

2) Lafayette Elementary – 4545 Anza Street @ 36th Avenue
Hours: 10am-11pm, all 3 Days

3) Presidio Middle School – 450 30th Avenue @ Geary Blvd.
Hours: 10:30am-10:30pm, all 3 Days

4) Washington High School- Enter on 30th Ave between Geary & Anza
Hours: Friday through Sunday, 11am – 10:30pm
$30 [this info was confirmed for 2014]

5) Jefferson Elementary – 1725 Irving Street @ 19th Avenue (SUNSET DISTRICT)
Hours: Friday & Saturday – 10am-10:30pm, Sunday 10am-10:15pm

The festival has set up a community hotline again this year to take calls from neighbors – “to respond to any issues that may affect you during the festival”. The number is 415-390-2737. It is open from 10am until 11pm Friday through Sunday.

In addition to hotline staff, the city will add 2 dedicated tow trucks and 1 Parking Control Officer on each side of the Park to quickly respond to any blocked driveways or any other parking issues related to the Festival. You can also call SFMTA Parking Enforcement at 415-553-1237 or 415-553-1200 if you need to have a car towed.

Want to really get your point across about your driveway? Stop by The Richmond District SFPD station at 461 6th Avenue through Friday afternoon to pick up a SFMTA printed sign alerting concertgoers to not block your driveway.

Neighborhood 311
Information Guide (festival hours etc.)
View the daily schedule
Download the festival map (PDF)

Rock on Richmond District!

Sarah B.

Photo by Josh Withers

The Red Hot Chili Peppers perform at Outside Lands 2013

Photo by Josh Withers

4:30 am | Posted under Events, Golden Gate Park, Live Music | 87 comments

BigPicture, Academy of Science’s first photo exhibition opens August 1

The Luckiest Penguin by Paul Souders

This week, the California Academy of Sciences will open its first official photography exhibition since it’s re-opening in 2008.

The show will display spectacular images from the Academy’s inaugural BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition. The competition received over 6,300 entries from award-winning nature, wildlife and conversation photographers around the world. Just 45 were selected as finalists and included in the final exhibition.

The grand-prize winning image, pictured above, is entitled “The Luckiest Penguin” and was shot by Paul Souders of Seattle, Washington. It depicts a Gentoo penguin narrowly escaping a leopard seal near Cuverville Island in the Antarctica. Leopard seals are known for being brutally efficient hunters in the Antarctic waters, frequently ambushing penguins as they enter or leave the water.

“I love photographing in the Antarctic. The wildlife there are quite comfortable with (human) presence. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see the world in a near pristine state,” Souders said. He has also won a National Geographic Photo of the Year award.

Another first place winner is a stunning, stark image of a mountain lion on the steps of a home in Boulder, Colorado where about 70 mountain lion sightings are recorded every year. Photographer Morgan Heim captured the great image with a camera-trap technique, which reminds us of the close proximity of human and animal habitats.

BigPicture is the Academy of Science’s first photo exhibition since it opened in Golden Gate Park nearly 100 years ago. Spokeswoman Elena Fuhrmann says the exhibit came about because of its synergy with the Academy’s mission.

“The Academy has the unique advantage of being home to both a public science museum and institution of active research. This exhibit is designed with both of those qualities in mind—presenting both the art and beauty of compelling nature photography and the critical sustainability challenges we’re working to address, so that moments like the ones captured in these photographs can continue to be appreciated for generations to come.”

The winners of the BigPicture competition will be honored at a special Nightlife on Thursday, July 31 where attendees can see the exhibition before it opens to the public on August 1. The exhibition runs until November 2, and is included with the price of admission to the Academy.

Sarah B.

Beast in the Garden by Morgan Heim

Attack by Pål Hermansen

5:05 am | Posted under Art, Golden Gate Park | 5 comments

Local links: Beach Chalet, Marla Bakery opens, Sushi Wako, tree planting & more

Inside the new Marla Bakery on outer Balboa

Happy Friday to everyone! Here are some local links to dance you into the weekend…

  • Marla Bakery is finally open at 3619 Balboa near 37th Avenue. The Chronicle says it “will be open as a cafe all day and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner most weeknights, and brunch weekends, along with a Sunday supper that will happen at one long table, with a prix-fixe menu and wine pairings.” Stop in and welcome them to the neighborhood!
  • Just when you thought the debate over the artificial turf fields at Beach Chalet was done… In the upcoming November election, it’s likely that voters will be faced with two dueling ballot measures. One from a group of environmentalists, neighbors and others that want to prohibit artificial turf and field lights at Beach Chalet, and another measure from the city that is designed to override the opponents’ measure. The opponents of the fields have until July 7 to get the 9,702 valid signatures they need to qualify for the ballot.
  • Friends of the Urban Forest are planning another tree planting event in the Richmond District in August. If you’re interested in planting a tree in front of your property, the deadline to apply is July 16. Get all the details here
  • A new sushi spot is open at 211 Clement Street called Sushi Wako. They remodeled a former sushi spot and expanded into the space next door, resulting in a lovely rebuild. According to their website, Wako, which means “Japanese Fragrance” was started by two chef buddies. Reviews on Yelp so far are very good with one reviewer writing, “I have a feeling this place is going to be packed once the word gets out. So shhh…keep it down.” Oops, sorry. :)
  • Into Playland history? Author James Smith, whose latest book “San Francisco’s Playland at the Beach: The Golden Years” recently came out, will be speaking at the Sunset Branch Library (1305 18th Avenue) next Tuesday, June 24 at 7pm. Smith will speak and show photos from his latest book which is an illustrated history of the much-loved park from 1940 until its closing in 1972. We’ve got the book, it’s snazzy.
  • There’s a poignant piece about a duck needing a mate at Mountain Lake Park. “But duck does not live by bread alone. Duck should not, in fact and in the natural state of things, live alone. And Musco is all alone. I am on a one-woman campaign to find him a Muscovy mate.”
5:03 am | Posted under Food, Golden Gate Park, History, Politics, Shopping | Add comments

Frolick on the open roads at Sunday Streets on the Great Highway, June 8

This Sunday, the first of two Sunday Streets comes to the Richmond District. This Sunday, streets in Golden Gate Park and the Great Highway from Fulton all the way down to Sloat will be closed to cars – and open to frolicking.

This is a great chance to hop on your bikes, strap on your rollerskates, or just stroll through Golden Gate Park and along Ocean Beach with complete freedom. Vendors and activities will be set up along the route, including live music, exercise classes, bike lessons and tune-ups, yoga and more. See the list below for complete details.

Want to make a game out of it? Download the Sunday Streets bingo card and play along for a chance to win prizes.

Sunday Streets runs from 11am until 4pm. And be sure to save the date for our next one on July 13 which takes place in the inner Richmond along Clement and Arguello Streets.

Sarah B.

9:41 am | Posted under Events, Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach | 2 comments