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Aug-14-2014

Photos: The parrots of… the Richmond District?


Photo by Tom Freeman

San Francisco is well known for its parrots of Telegraph Hill. They’re a regular stop for tourists visiting the city.

But the flock has gotten larger over the years – and let’s face it, savvier. They cover a lot of territory across the city, and it’s not unusual to hear a screeching pack fly overhead in a myriad of neighborhoods.

Reader (and Richmond District historian) John Freeman was delighted to encounter some of the parrots on the 600 block of 11th Avenue last week.

“I was shocked to see them in our neighborhood. There is a bush in front of a neighbor’s house that attracted them. We came home to see the bush covered with about 12 green parrots, plucking berries off the branches,” John told us. “I’ve lived over 70 years in the Richmond District and this is the FIRST time I have ever seen parrots on our turf.”

John’s grandson was able to snap a couple of pictures before they all flew on to their next feeding spot.

We had another parrot flock spotting at Balboa and 27th a couple of years ago. Do you run into the parrots in the Richmond? Leave a comment to let us know.

Sarah B.


Photo by Tom Freeman

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 11:09 am | Posted under Photos, Wildlife | 20 comments
Aug-13-2014

Photos: A dying relic – Sutro Baths just before demolition (and fire) in 1966


Sutro Baths, 1966. Photo by Suki Hill

Our neighborhood historians at the Western Neighborhoods Project shared a link to some interesting old photos of Sutro Baths, just before it was demolished in 1966. The plan was to build high-rise apartments on the land.

The demolition never took place because a large fire broke out at Sutro Baths on June 26, 1966 (video). All the structures on the property burned to the ground.

See the full collection of Sutro Baths photos here (plus a few of Playland)

The photos were taken by late photographer Suki Hill, who passed away in June. According to her website, she “photographed subjects ranging from the streets of Paris to portraits of rock stars, authors, painters, musicians and the rich and famous, but her favorite subjects were the people of her community – their celebrations, events, gatherings, work – in short, their lives.”

Sarah B.


Sutro Baths, 1966. Photo by Suki Hill


Sutro Baths, 1966. Photo by Suki Hill


Sutro Baths, 1966. Photo by Suki Hill

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 9:58 am | Posted under History, Photos | Add comments
Aug-12-2014

Police arrest Richmond Distict church pastor for alleged lewd acts on a minor


The building at 378 18th Avenue where Indonesian Pentecostal Foursquare Church holds its services

KTVU reports that Daly City police arrested 69-year-old Ventje Cornelis Singkoh this morning for alleged lewd acts on a minor.

Singkobh is the pastor at the Indonesian Pentecostal Foursquare Church, located at 378 18th Avenue near Geary Boulevard.

Authorities said he has also held services at other locations in San Francisco, Concord and his home in Daly City.

Anyone with information related to the investigation is urged to call Daly City Police at 650-991-8175.

Sarah B.

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 5:39 pm | Posted under Crime | Add comments
Aug-12-2014

Richmond Republic Draught House to open soon on Clement in old Haig’s space

The proprietors of Chomp N’ Swig, the beer and sandwich spot on Clement near 17th Avenue, posted this sneak peek photo of their new venture on Facebook.

It will be called the Richmond Republic Draught House and will open soon in the old Haig’s Delicatessen space at 642 Clement Street.

The space has been under brown window wrap for many months. This is the second business for the owners who opened Chomp N’ Swig, their first eatery, in February 2012.

Thank to Ben L. for the tip.

Sarah B.

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 5:12 am | Posted under Business | 14 comments
Aug-11-2014

Rest in Peace, Robin Williams – beloved comedian and longtime resident

We’re so saddened by the news of Robin Williamspassing today. There are too many remarkable moments from his career and life to try and list here, but we thought we’d highlight some of our personal and historic memories of him related to his time in the Richmond District.

Williams was well known for getting his start in San Francisco, most notably at the Holy City Zoo at 408 Clement Street (now Side Bar). Williams was known for using “the club as his neighborhood rehearsal space”. When the club shuttered in 1984 (for the first time, it lived on until 1994 in a few different forms), the Chronicle wrote about its importance to Robin:

ROBIN WILLIAMS was there, of course, but didn’t much want to talk about it. It was a highly personal moment. He did his earliest stand-up here, met his oldest friends here, met his wife here. This is where he learned his craft, and it was a sad, melancholy night on June 19, 1984. The Holy City Zoo, a legend among America’s comedy clubs, the ultimate “comedian’s hangout,” folded after 13 years.

“I’m sad,” said Robin. “We had wonderful times here, strange times here; this wasn’t a haven, it was a game preserve. I remember a big black guy who’d come in with a baseball bat and say ‘I’d like to audition.’ But a lot of that is in the past. So many changes.”

Robin was also known to perform consistently early in his career (and to pop by occasionally after becoming a star) at the annual Comedy in the Park event in Golden Gate Park. I’m sure they’ll take time at this year’s event on September 14 to remember him well.

He lived in Sea Cliff for many years in a pink, Mediterranean-style house on a corner that was a popular stop on Halloween. One year I noticed a huge line outside Robin’s house as kids lined up to get their “treat” – a glow necklace. He was always generous on Halloween.

He was often seen around the neighborhood, usually on a bike. I spotted him once waiting outside Angelina’s Cafe for his order, barely recognizable under a hat. Even after he moved to Marin, he was seen occasionally in the ‘hood.

Another former resident, Cate Z., remembers her encounters with him fondly. “I used to see him walking his white Boxer in Seacliff. He always stopped and pet our big scary Rottweiler. Such a nice man and such a huge talent. He was a gentle soul.”

Feel free to share your memories of Robin Williams in the comments. His vivacious spirit will be missed.

Sarah B.

P.S. – Some local comedians gathered at the former Holy City Zoo on Clement Street after the announcement of Robin’s death.


At Comedy in the Park, 1987. Photo: Deanne Fitzmaurice, The Chronicle


The Holy City Zoo just before its closing. Photo: Chris Stewart, The Chronicle




Ocean Beach, 8/11/14. Photo by Katie L.


A chalk message outside Angelina’s Cafe. Photo by Mike F.


Mourners leave bouquets of flowers at Robin Williams’ former home in Sea Cliff on Monday, August 11, 2014.
Photo by Carlos Avila Gonzalez, The Chronicle.

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 4:52 pm | Posted under News | 30 comments
Aug-11-2014

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.

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 10:13 am | Posted under Events, Golden Gate Park | 54 comments
Aug-11-2014

Wine tasting fundraiser for new RDNC seniors food program, August 28

For the past year, the Richmond District Neighborhood Center (RDNC) and the Richmond Senior Center have been working together on a new program for seniors in the neighborhood.

It’s called The Richmond District Food Security Network, and its goal is to connect isolated seniors with fresh groceries and community support.

“Nationally, 40% of seniors over 80 live alone, and that number is even higher in the Richmond District,” said Sarah Huck, program manager at the RDNC.

“Our goal is to alleviate food security issues, loneliness, depression and other anxieties related to being home-bound by matching isolated seniors with volunteer neighbors to deliver fresh groceries, share in friendly conversation and serve as an additional ally and eye in the community looking out for our home-bound residents.”

After a small pilot this summer with 5 seniors and 5 volunteers, “to get the kinks out”, Huck said, the program is now almost ready for its full launch. The program will get help from many neighborhood constituents including Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church, families and neighbors from Katherine Delmar Burke School, the YMCA, Grocery Outlet, St. John’s Presbyterian Church and Starbucks who will serve as “hub sites” to identify volunteers and make sure deliveries are being made.

“Ideally we will be running 6 hub sites in our district within a year serving at least 120 isolated residents and engaging up to 200 volunteers on a weekly basis,” Huck said.

With the help of Supervisor Eric Mar, The Richmond District Food Security Network has already received $60,000 in funding from the San Francisco Food Security Task Force, which will be used to coordinate the program’s participants and volunteers, train neighbors as senior advocates, and provide assistance and referrals to participants as needed.

On Thursday, August 28 from 5:30pm to 9pm, the RDNC is hosting an additional fundraiser called Wine on the Westside, “an evening of wine, a taste of the Richmond’s most delectable foods, and live music” at La Promenade Cafe at 3643 Balboa.

The event will include food from local eateries The Cliff House, Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant, and Golden Chariot Bakery & Restaurant, plus raffle prizes from Marla Bakery, Pacific Cafe, and the San Francisco Zoo. Ron Scott will be playing live music.

Huck says their goal is raise $5,000 to help cover the projected costs of program planning, the pilot site and volunteer administration fees.

Tickets to Wine on the Westside are $35 – $50 and are available online; the $50 ticket includes unlimited pours.

Sarah B.

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 5:12 am | Posted under Community, Events | Add comments
Aug-6-2014

Photo: McGruff the Crime Dog hanging with local artist Frank Kozik


Photo by @skozik13

Last night, the SFPD Richmond District station hosted a National Night Out event. One of the highlights each year is the appearance of McGruff the crime dog, in his full trenchcoat attire.

Sharon Kozik, wife of local artist Frank Kozik, tweeted the above photo to us from the event. She was excited about meeting the dog detective:


Frank Kozik is in the process of opening a design studio/store on Clement Street near 3rd Avenue, in the old Kumquat’s location. Gotta wonder if his encounter with the crime dog will inspire some new works…

Sarah B.

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 4:06 pm | Posted under Art, Photos | Comments Off
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