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Archive for the ‘Parks’ Category

Oct-1-2012

Tiles uncovered from 19th century Sutro Heights Conservatory Greenhouse


The Sutro Conservatory Greenhouse building above the Cliff House, 1886

Last Friday, a group of students from Ida B. Wells Continuation High School completed a 3-day archaeological dig that uncovered a portion of the original floor from Adolph Sutro’s Conservatory Greenhouse building [full story on sfgate.com].

The Conservatory building was torn down in 1939, along with Sutro’s family home, after they fell into disrepair. A little history about the building, courtesy of the National Park Service:

The conservatory was an elaborate greenhouse structure built to house Sutro’s collection of climate-sensitive tropical plants. Centrally located on an elevated mound east of the terminus of Palm Avenue, the structure was cruciform in plan, with a central ventilation tower. Built entirely of small glass panels mounted in wood frames, this ornate garden structure was supported by internal wood framing. The interior, which held a lush variety of palms, ferns, tropical flowers, and statuary, provided visitors with an impressive botanical display.

After last week’s excavation, the students found that the blue and white tiles that made up the Conservatory floor were still in pretty good condition, though some were cracked or upended by tree roots.

The activity was a service learning project for the students, and ended with a debate about what to do with the patch of land now that the tiles had been uncovered. Should they remain exposed to the elements so everyone could see them? Or covered back up to preserve them? The students settled on leaving about 30% of the tiled area uncovered.

Thanks to the Ida B. Wells students for bringing back a piece of Sutro Heights’ history! Makes you wonder what else is buried just under the surface of Sutro Heights Park…

Sarah B.


The uncovered tiles from the Sutro Conservatory Greenhouse building. Photo by Beck Diefenbach, The Chronicle


Students clear the ground over the tiles. Photo by Beck Diefenbach, The Chronicle


A close-up of the tiles. Photo by Beck Diefenbach, The Chronicle

2:57 pm | Posted under History, Parks | 9 comments
Sep-24-2012

Residents participate in Park(ing) Day in the possible parklet space


The Park(ing) Day installation on Clement near 3rd Avenue. Photo courtesy of CurbedSF

On Friday, two neighborhood residents gave a preview of sorts for the upcoming parklet on Clement near 3rd Avenue. They participated in Park(ing) Day, a worldwide event where artists, designers and citizens transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks.

The small park was set up in metered spaces on the 200 block of Clement, in the same location where the new parklet is being proposed.

One of the men involved in the creation of the installation is also the artist behind the infamous pole gardens. He displayed several of them alongside the Park(ing) spot.

Patricia, a blog reader, wrote to us and said, “I stopped by a few times throughout the day and was so inspired and uplifted by the effort. It was a memorable way to connect with neighbors and passers-by. You can do so much within a small space– the creative possibilities are endless!”

This is the first Park(ing) Day installation we’ve had in the neighborhood since the blog came online, but not sure if it’s the very first since the Park(ing) Day event started in 2005. Not that it really matters – it’s just great to see residents having fun, being creative, and participating in the global event.

There were dozens of Park(ing) Day installations all over the city on Friday. Stop by CurbedSF to see a gallery of photos.

Sarah B.

11:18 am | Posted under Events, Parks | 13 comments
Sep-6-2012

Lecture on the history of Mountain Lake, Sept. 11


Photo by
katherinejoy101

Did you know that Mountain Lake (in nearby Mountain Lake Park at 12th Avenue and Lake) is the only remaining natural lake in the city of San Francisco?

Two millennia ago, a small natural depression between the rolling sand dunes in the southwest corner of what is now Presidio National Park became inundated with groundwater and gave rise to a natural water body: Mountain Lake.

On Tuesday night, Liam Reidy, a UC Berkeley Environmental Geographer, will give a talk on the history of the lake – how it was formed, how the environment has changed over time, and how the lake reflects the human impacts of the Spanish, Mexican, and Euro-American occupation of the Presidio.

The event takes place at the Jewish Community Center (3200 California Street at Presidio) on Tuesday, September 11 at 7:30pm. Admission is free for San Francisco Museum & Historical Society members, otherwise it’s $10 for adults and $5 for seniors, students, K-12 teachers, and persons with disabilities.

Sarah B.

7:53 am | Posted under Events, History, Parks | 1 comment
Aug-31-2012

Possible parklet coming to Clement near 3rd Avenue

We first heard rumors of a possible parklet in the neighborhood back in 2010, when one was being considered at 5th and Clement near Toy Boat. But that never materialized.

Alissa, the owner of Foggy Notion on 6th Avenue, sent word yesterday that a parklet is now being considered for Clement Street near the corner of 3rd Avenue. She learned about it in a a meeting on Thursday with Supervisor Eric Mar and other local business owners.

If your new to the world of parklets, they are mini “urban” parks that have been installed in parking spaces around the city. Usually they take over 2 or 3 parking spaces, and each has their own individual design. They were developed as part of the city’s Pavement to Parks program; its goal is to reclaim or offer additional public open space in areas that are lacking.

There are currently 35 parklets in San Francisco (view map), including three in the Sunset District. The Mission has the highest concentration of them along the Valencia Street corridor. Treehugger.com has a helpful overview on the parklet movement.

The space where they’re looking to install the first Richmond District parklet is on the north side of Clement Street, occupying 3 parking spaces and beginning in front of Cumaica Coffee.

The cost for constructing and installing a parklet varies, but averages around $20,000. At the meeting, Alissa said there was some discussion about funding for the parklet which has yet to be secured.

So what do you all think? Are you excited for the first parklet in the Richmond District? Leave a comment to let us know.

Sarah B.


A parklet on Divisadero Street. Photo by Jeremy Shaw

5:05 am | Posted under Eric Mar, Parks | 54 comments
Jul-23-2012

Local links: Food news, aquatic cleanups, Mar legislates, Rockit Room & more


A menagerie at 10th & Anza. Photo by sftrajan

Happy Monday to all! Here are some local links to kick off your week…

  • Looks like the new Shabuway restaurant will be opening soon at 5120 Geary. I drove by this weekend and the exterior looked finished, the door was open but a “Closed” sign was still in the window. Last Friday they facebooked a nice shot of the restaurant’s remodeled interior. It will be the fourth opening for the Shabuway chain.

  • Congrats to Kisha Studio (210 Clement) on 4 years in business! They’ll celebrate this Saturday with a DJ, food, drinks, and raffle prizes. Stop by between 10am and 7pm to party with them.
  • After causing all kinds of ruckus this year for the neighborhood which resulted in a temporary closure, the Rockit Room bar and club on Clement appears to be turning things around. The Examiner reports that police “incidents and calls for service are virtually down to zero” and “there are no complaints from neighbors and no major incidents.” This has a lot to do with the club eliminating its reggae nights, which garnered good revenue, but also led to issues with police and neighbors. The club may be re-branding itself and launching anew in the coming months.
  • The Cliff House has some history walks coming up. Start with a continental breakfast at the Cliff House, followed by 1.5 hour walking tour of Sutro Baths and Lands End, led by John A. Martini, author, historian and retired National Park Service Ranger. August 11, September 8, October 13. $40 per person. Call 666-4006 to reserve.
  • SFWeekly reviewed new Hawaiian-themed restaurant Ono Grindz on Clement. “Ono’s focus is squarely on breakfast and lunch with a menu that mixes typical Hawaiian favorites with some mainland-influenced remixes… One word of caution: Make sure you don’t need to do anything productive after this meal.”
  • The former Y&Y Vietnamese deli team are back with “Y&Y Vietnamese Restaurant” at 914 Clement. EaterSF says there is a menu section for their “beloved banh mi”, but “now there are other options like deep fried chicken wings, spring rolls, and beer.”
  • Dim sum spot Old Shanghai (5145 Geary) closed this month. “It was the kind of place where no one spoke any English but they made a mean xiao long boa,” wrote Grubstreet.
  • Aziza (5800 Geary) hosted some VIPs last week when Chronicle food critic Michael Bauer dined with Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. Bauer details his 3 hour meal, mentioning her penchant for dark chocolate (“Her freezer is always stocked with chocolate ice cream, which she claims she can eat morning, noon and night.”) and her refusal of the wine pairings (“explaining that after a couple of sips she would be snoozing on the banquettes”). Get all the food porn pics and evening highlights at the Chron
  • Supervisor Mar has been busy proposing new legislation to his fellow Supes in the Board Room. Recently, he introduced legislation to ban cigarette smoking at all outdoor events in San Francisco (it’s already banned in public parks). However, smoking medicinal marijuana at these kinds of events is still ok per the proposed bill. Mar also proposed a bill that would exempt the local middle schools from paying taxes on their parking lot fundraisers that they hold in the summer months for large GGP festivals like Outside Lands and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.
  • It’s all gunked up… The Lily Pond in Golden Gate Park, located near the Conservatory of Flowers, has been overrun by vegetation and needs a proper cleanout. According to the Chronicle, the pond has a musty stench and the hardy species of African clawed frogs is thriving under the murky surface; one little boy called it “Jurassic Park”. The cost to clean it is estimated at $100,000, but they’re waiting on the state Department of Fish and Game to free it of frogs first.
  • Speaking of aquatic cleanouts… Mountain Lake will be undergoing remediation in the next year, beginning with dredging in August. CurbedSF reports that the Presidio Trust will be evacuating its current residents to the Sonoma County Reptile Rescue, who will “relocate them to vineyard ponds and private lakes.” The population includes sport fish, turtles, crayfish and former goldfish – koi that have grown to nearly 3 feet long. Well at least they’re moving to swankier digs up north.

Sarah B.

11:53 am | Posted under Business, Eric Mar, Food, Parks, Politics | 7 comments
Jul-3-2012

New Lands End Lookout is a target for vandals

The Lands End Lookout just opened at the end of April, and already the new building – which includes exhibits and artifacts, interpretive merchandise, a café, and restrooms – is a target for vandals.

Spokeswoman Jennifer Greene of the Parks Conservancy sent an email out today detailing the latest offenses, and included photos of the damage.

“Vandals aggressively chipped out the skateboard cleats on several of the seating wall cubes in front of the Lands End Lookout this past weekend. This damage marks a new severity in destruction. Vandals also damaged the mirror in the men’s room at the Visitor Center, and destroyed a “Bus Only” sign, which marks the third time we have had to replace that sign due to vandalism,” she wrote.

The center is in the process of getting estimates for repairing the damage, and Greene says The National Park Service and Parks Conservancy are considering additional security measures for the building.

Greene also asked residents to be on the lookout for graffiti and vandalism, encouraging them to call the Park Service’s emergency number at 561-5656 if they witness any vandalism in progress. Non-emergency reports can be called into 561-5505.

Could this be the work of skateboarders? Vandals tore out a section of a handrail on 48th Avenue and Balboa in January. One neighbor had overheard some skateboarders complaining that it was impeding “their best jumps” ever since it had been rebuilt.

Perhaps tearing out the cleats at the Lookout was their way of thumbing their nose at anti-skateboard measures? Let’s hope not – there are plenty of other places to ride in the neighborhood.

Sarah B.


Skateboard cleats were chipped out of the wall at the Lands End Lookout


Skateboard cleats were chipped out of the wall at the Lands End Lookout


Graffiti in the men’s room at the Lands End Lookout

3:14 pm | Posted under Crime, Lands End, Parks | 24 comments
Jun-26-2012

Vote for your favorite neighborhood park – it could win a big $ grant

Coca-Cola is sponsoring the third annual “America is your Park” campaign. People around the country can log on and vote for their favorite local parks. The three with the most votes win grants ranging from $25,000 up to $100,000, which can then be used to make improvements or additions.

We’re not clear how these particular parks in the Richmond District were chosen, but here are the ones that you can vote for:

Muriel Leff Mini Park (7th & Geary)
Lincoln Park (33rd Ave & Clement)
Lands End Trail
Sutro Heights Park

Golden Gate Park:
The Blue Playground/Park in Golden Gate Park (off Fulton near 10th Avenue)
Lindley Meadow
Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden
John McClaren Memorial Rhododendron Dell

There are two ways to vote: Visit the LivePositively.com/parks website and vote online. Or check in at one of the above parks using the Foursquare mobile app to give it a whopping 100 votes.

There’s also a “wildcard” $15,000 grant that will be randomly awarded to a park that ranks from 4th to 25th by the time voting ends on July 15.

Vote today – maybe one of our parks could get a nice makeover!

Sarah B.

5:16 pm | Posted under Parks | 3 comments
Jun-7-2012

Groundbreaking celebration for the Cabrillo Playground renovation, Saturday

This Saturday, SF Rec & Park, SF Parks Alliance and residents will officially kick off the $4.5 million renovation of Cabrillo Playground.

On Saturday, the park will host a celebration for residents before it closes up for a year long overhaul. The renovation will include the renovation of the historic clubhouse – originally built in 1945 as a New Deal project – as well as a complete overhaul of the children’s play area, creating separate play areas for pre-school and school age children.

Work will also be done to the picnic area and sport courts, paths will be repaved, new lighting will be added, accessibility improved and new landscaping installed.

In October 2011, the City Arts Commission approved Colette Crutcher to create the public art for Cabrillo Playground. Crutcher is the artist behind the tiled sculptures at the 24th & York Mini Park, as well as the tiled steps on 16th Avenue at Moraga.

Construction begins this month, with plans to re-open the playground in June 2013. View the project fact sheet

Saturday’s celebration will include lots of fun for kids like face painting, a bouncy house, and a visit from a genuine SFFD fire truck.

To help raise funds for park programs, there will also be a cake sale, plus dahlias from Cabrillo Playground’s Dahlia Garden will also be available for purchase. Donors can also purchase name tiles that will be installed during the remodel.

The Friends of Cabrillo Playground group have a goal of raising $15,000 to cover the cost of capital improvements not covered by the SF Rec & Park budget.

Stop by Cabrillo Playground (38th & Cabrillo) on Saturday between 10am and 3pm for the celebration. The actual groundbreaking ceremony with city officials will take place at 11am.

Sarah B.


A vintage photo of the Cabrillo Playground Clubhouse, built in 1945. Courtesy of The Living New Deal

5:05 am | Posted under Parks | 5 comments
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