Archive for the ‘Golden Gate Park’ Category
Photo by James Gaither
While the rest of the country is bundled up, we’re enjoying record high temps and blooming magnolia trees at the SF Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park.
Mid-January through mid-March is the best time of year to see the magnolia trees in bloom, and the gardens have a few events to showcase the magnificent flowers.
On Saturday January 18, take the Magnificent Magnolia Tour which includes a tour of the collection in the company of a magnolia expert. The tour runs from 1pm until 3:30pm, and admission is $20, $10 for members. Purchase tickets online in advance. Additional tours will be offered on February 15, March 8, and March 9.
The following Saturday, January 25, the Botanical Garden will host a Chinese Lunar New Year Celebration, featuring lion dancers, lively folk dances, tai chi performances with dazzling sword forms, children’s activities and more. It’s a great chance to see all of the gardens and take in the magnolias. The celebration is free and the full schedule (9am – 3pm) is online.
If you can’t make an organized tour to check out the magnolias, the Botanical Garden also offers a self-guided tour. Pick up a free Magnolia Highlights map at the ticket kiosks.
There are also free docent tours of the magnolias every Saturday, January 18 – March 15, at 2pm, departing from the North Gate.
The Botanical Garden’s magnolia collection includes 51 species and 33 cultivars, including many prized examples from Asia. The collection began in 1939 with Eric Walther, who planted the very first magnolia in the Garden and continued to introduce species and cultivars throughout his tenure as the first Director.
One of the most famous species he planted was the cup and saucer magnolia or Magnolia campbellii, the first of its kind to bloom in the United States in 1940, attracting huge crowds of excited and curious visitors who stood in long lines to see the magnificent large pink blossoms of this lovely magnolia that still stands in the Garden today.
Photo by LVFotos
Photo by P Gonzales
It’s time to take a trip down memory lane and check out the most popular stories from this past year. From faery doors to farmer’s markets to sinkholes to human remains – our readers have a wide range of interests! It’s been our pleasure to cover it all.
Thanks for coming along for the ride in 2013! We can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store…
The original miniature faery door installed near the concourse in Golden Gate Park, filled with offerings from visitors. Photos by Erica Reh
1. The Mysterious Mini-Door in Golden Gate Park
This delightful story captured the hearts and imagination of readers not only in the neighborhood, but around the world. The story was full of whimsy, wishes and even shady politics when Rec & Park decided to remove the door without even serving the faeries an eviction notice. Undeterred, the father and son team behind its creation fashioned another bureaucrat-approved door that they installed in another spot in the park. The faeries even answer their mail from time to time…
2. De Place restaurant on Geary closes after only three weeks
After licking the wounds of Video Cafe closing, neighbors eagerly awaited the new restaurant that would open on the corner of 21st and Geary. It was under construction for months and when it finally opened with the underwhelming name of “De Place”, it sported tv screens, fountains, ample seating and a giant crawfish statue that greeted diners at the door. But after just three weeks, a sign on the door said they were closed, with the vague explanation of “we are not able to enlist the staffs than can assist us with our operation”. Things that make you go hmm.
3. Clement Street Farmer’s Market makes it debut
It took several years to come together but the Richmond District finally made it onto the Farmer’s Market map, debuting the Sunday market on Clement Street between 2nd and 4th Avenues on June 23. The market was an instant hit with shoppers and vendors, and has been approved to run weekly through June of 2014 (and will likely be extended after that).
Large HUGE sinkole opens up on Lake and 2nd Avenue
This story brought us one of our best photo ops of the year… Around 5:30pm on a weekday afternoon in May, the road gave way to a huge sinkhole on Lake Street and bungled up traffic for several hours, even attracting news helicopters overhead. The rupture of a 19 inch sewer drain was responsible for the fiasco.
5. Fresh & Easy to close all stores; what will happen to the Richmond District location?
In April, Fresh & Easy’s parent company, Tesco, announced they were planning to close all of the nearly 200 stores in the chain. The Richmond District location on 32nd Avenue and Clement hadn’t even been open two years. In September, we got the news that billionaire investor Ron Burkle was buying the Fresh & Easy chain and that only 50 of the stores would be shuttered – and the Richmon District location is not one of them. Phew!
6. Shooting at 29th & Geary
Thankfully, we don’t see a lot of violent crime in the neighborhood, so when gunshots rang out at 7pm on a Sunday night on Geary near 29th Avenue, it sent a ripple through the neighborhood. A few eyewitnesses left their comments about what happened, and to date, we haven’t heard any news of an arrest of more information about the crime.
7. Bicycle lane on JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park cause for concern
We reprinted an article from the Richmond Review (because we agreed with it) about the new, questionable configuration of the bike lanes on JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park. Like most cycling stories, this set off a debate in the comments, which had both bikers and non-bikers taking both sides of the arguments. SFMTA, what say you?
8. What (or whom?) lies beneath the Legion of Honor?
Readers seemed to enjoy our Halloween photo special of human remains underneath the Legion of Honor Museum. They were discovered during the 1993 renovation and were photographed extensively by Richard Barnes. And yes, they’re still there.
Photo by Richard Barnes
9. Neighborhood’s first traffic circle installed at 23rd & Anza
Heads were being scratched after this roundabout was installed in January. It’s the only one in the Richmond District and it’s unusual/non-standard because it has stop signs on all sides, making it more decorative than calming. So it was hardly surprising when KRON TV’s Stanley Roberts provided video proof of how badly people navigated the circle. SFMTA is supposedly planning more for the neighborhood, ugh.
10. Haig’s Delicacies closing after 57 years
We do love our businesses here in the Richmond District, so many readers were saddened when Haig’s on Clement Street announced they were closing their doors after a half century. Beloved for the selection of spices and hard to find foods, commenters lamented the loss. A new spot (Local’s Cafe?) is under construction in the space, and it’s from one of the owners of Chomp & Swig. We’ll keep you posted.
A conceptual, overhead rendering of the four renovated fields at Beach Chalet
City Fields Foundation issued a press release today about a legal ruling that will finally allow the Beach Chalet Soccer Fields renovation project to proceed:
The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department and the City Fields Foundation announced today that Superior Court Judge Teri L. Jackson has ruled in favor of the renovation of the Beach Chalet Athletic Fields in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.
Judge Jackson found that the City’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) adequately reviewed the project under the California Environmental Quality Act. Recreation and Parks and the City Fields Foundation can now bid the project and then initiate construction.
San Francisco Recreation and Parks and the nonprofit City Fields Foundation are jointly funding the $14,000,000 renovation of the Beach Chalet Athletic Fields. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2014 and the fields are expected to reopen in 2015.
On their website, City Fields posted “The lawsuit challenging Beach Chalet’s environmental review has been denied! Congrats and thank you to all of you, the City Attorney’s Office and our partners at Recreation and Parks! Yahoo!”.
More about the renovation from the City Fields website:
City Fields and SF Recreation and Parks are proposing to install synthetic turf, field lights and on-field spectator seating – bleachers on either end of the field and low profile bench seating between the two center fields. A new viewing plaza will connect to the restored restrooms with new paths leading from JFK Drive in the Park to the athletic fields.
A children’s play area will occupy the little ones while spectators watch the games from adjacent barbeques and picnic areas. With neighbors in mind, field light heights were reduced by 20 feet so the light standards will not be visible from surrounding neighborhoods and “open play” hours will be posted to ensure community access to the new fields.
A new pick-up & drop-off area near the restroom will increase safety for kids and athletes and 81 bike parking spots will be installed. Twenty new spaces will be added to the existing car parking lot to keep additional cars off park roads and a pathway will encircle the fields to provide disability access and to make it easier for everyone to enjoy the fields. The current eight foot fence will be lowered to four feet around most of the fields and rise to 16 feet behind the goals to keep balls in bounds.
An overhead view showing the renovated parking, playground and seating area.
Instead of tall bleachers, an 18-inch raised walkway featuring built-in spectator
benches runs across the center of the fields.
The holidays are upon us and we have two special events coming up in the neighborhood.
First up is the 84th Annual Holiday Tree Lighting at McLaren Lodge in Golden Gate Park (Stanyan and Fell) this Thursday. The festivities begin at 4pm, with the tree lighting taking place just after dusk. The celebration will include a train ride, live entertainment, and a special visit from Santa!
The following week on Thursday December 12, Angelina’s Cafe will host Santa Claus from 2:30pm until 4:30pm. Stop by for a pic with the jolly fellow and to decorate cookies. Plus a magic show from Professor Salamini at 3:30pm.
Angelina’s is also collecting new, unwrapped toys for the SFFD Toy Program, so if you’re headed to the Santa event, bring a toy to donate.
The Batkid Express train below the tree in McLaren Park. Photo by @melissahandley
Photo by Derek
Kids enjoyed the fake snow that was spread out on the Academy’s front entry and reindeers Yukon and Willow were introduced to their home for the next several weeks. Apparently, Willow “is full of energy and has recently taken to pushing Yukon around”.
It’s the fourth year for the Academy’s annual exhibit which focuses on reindeer and their unique adaptations. Reindeer migrate up to 3,000 miles per year, their antlers are comprised of some of the fastest growing bone, and they see the world in ultraviolet, enabling them to find food even when it’s buried beneath the snow.
Other highlights of the festive exhibit include indoor snow flurries, a giant Snowman Theater screening the kid-friendly documentary Roaming with Reindeer, and daily penguin shows at 11:30am.
‘Tis The Season for Science officially opens tomorrow and runs through January 5.
Photo by @calacademy
Happy Friday to everyone! Here are some local links to take you into what we hope is a great weekend. – Sarah B.
- State Senator Mark Leno was in the neighborhood last Saturday. While here, he honored Green Apple Books and Joe’s Ice Cream as Small Businesses of the Year for 2013. Congrats to both of them!
- Next Tuesday, Blondlogic, a purveyor of new and consigned women’s clothes and accessories at 792 Arguello, will celebrate their third birthday. To celebrate, stop by for some late night shopping, wine and live music from Em K from 5pm to 10pm (music starts at 7pm). Ever wonder why they called the store Blondlogic? Owner Sally Hanley says because that’s how smart they were to open a new business in what was then a depressed economy…
- Reader Gabriel reports that there is a notice for change of ownership at Fredy’s Deli out on La Playa. Look for a new name – Kawika’s Ocean Beach Deli – in the near future.
- The ban on overnight parking for large RV’s and campers in the outer Richmond and other areas is working ao well that there are plans to extend the affected area. “Along La Playa Street and the Great Highway, for example, 21 oversize vehicles were known to park. But after three months of enforcing the new law, just two were counted in October.” [SF Examiner]
- Paul’s Hat Works is about ready to open their second location – in Kentucky! We wish them well on their November 22 grand opening, and loved their new commercial… “It’s Your Head, Put a Hat on It” – makes perfect sense to us
- And as it turns out, we do live WAY out here… The new bike sharing program that the city started is doing well, but project manager Heath Maddox told the SF Bay Guardian that expansion to the west side will never happen. The reason? “The eastern side of the city has more economic and population density, making for more bike usage. As for the west side, he said, “the economics aren’t there.” Perhaps the bike rental company in GGP wouldn’t take kindly to it either…
- The Western Neighborhoods Project, a non-profit dedicated to preserving the history of the western parts of San Francisco, recently moved their headquarters into the neighborhood at 4016 Geary. Director Woody LaBounty tells us “we’ll likely get a spiffy sign or two to announce our presence.”
- We love Golden Gate Park but so do butterflies apparently. A recent SF Chronicle article profiled the efforts to restore healthy habitats for butterflies in the park. Project co-founder Liam O’Brien calls Strawberry Hill a “singles bar” for butterflies. Boom chicka boom.
- Want to get your groove on? Then head over to the Shan-Yee Poon Ballet School on Arguello near Clement for the Mission Groove hip-hop dance class taught by Jenya Lum. It’s every Monday night from 7pm until 8:15pm, all levels welcome.