Bernal Heights No Longer Google Street View “Black Hole”

No one knows why it happened or why it lasted so long, but BIA signals intelligence analyst Andy Taylor reports that Bernal’s long absence from Google’s Street View maps has finally come to an end:

It’s true! We now exist on the map that matters mostest! Check it:

Let’s take a look at how we look:

And just in time for you, discerning Bernalwood consumer, to choose between Google’s map offering and the competing, “cubist” version from Microsoft’s Bing.

You decide what flavor you prefer, but rest assured, we’re so there.

Blackberry Alert!! Blackberry Alert!! Blackberry Alert!!

Fellow Bernalwoodians, we have our first Blackberry Alert of the season.

Reader Leslie sent along this photo, which was taken at approximately 6:54 this morning. She reports the blackberries were spotted in a bramble alongside Folsom Street, at the foot of the park portion of the Hill. Leslie said “the texture was firm and the flavor was tart, but still delicious,” adding that “it’s not a full situation yet, but definitely worth watching.”

Let the Chase Begin!! Bernal’s Bullitt Cameo, Then and Now

Although Bernal Heights has earned many a claim to Hollywood fame, my favorite is the role our neghborhood played in Bullitt, the 1968 Steve McQueen classic. It’s a great flick, but the most famous part, of course, is the epic car chase that screeches and sprawls around the street of San Francisco.

Bernal Heights plays a starring role here, because the chase itself gets underway just on the other side of US 101, near the intersection of Bayshore and Marin (near the site of the current car wash). The vroom-vroom action begins at the intersection  Army/Cesar Chavez and Precita Avenue, when two goons driving a Dodge Charger try to put the move on McQueen in his Ford Mustang. This screen grab shows the very moment when the chase gets underway:

Notice Bernal Hill making a cameo in the background, looking green and properly manicured. But perhaps the most interesting thing about this moment in the film is how little this corner of the neighborhood has changed in the last 40 years:

Fun stuff. From here the chase heads up York Street before turning onto Peralta, and from there it careens around San Francisco without rhyme or reason, as McQueen screeches around the corner in one part of town – only to reemerge in another. neighborhood, miles away.

The chase is a fun ride, and if you want to see it again, you can watch the thing right here. But for our purposes, the following video is also pretty cool; it’s a then-and now re-creation of the chase that allows you to follow along frame-by-frame to see how the City (and Bernal Heights) looked then, compared to how it looks now.

Drive safely!

Hat Tip: @burritojustice

Message from the Lucky Horseshoe: Opening Delayed!

If you were planning to get your drink on at the new Lucky Horseshoe (aka Ye Olde Skip’s Tavern) tonight, be advised that the grand opening has been delayed a few days, until Wednesday, June 29. Proprietor Lisa Marie wrote to Bernalwood to say:

During cable installation this morning our power was impacted.  We are postponing opening until we can have everything checked out and running properly. To be safe we are giving it some room for error, so we plan to open Wednesday June 29 at 4:00 in time for the 2nd of the Giants doubleheader. We will have free wi-fi and a 55″ screen.

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

New Neighbor Interview: Meet Dana; She Just Moved Here

New Resident
For those of us who have lived in Bernal Heights for a while, the glamour and high-society spectacles of our neighborhood are so familiar that it’s easy take it all for granted. That’s why it’s good to check in with a newcomer from time to time, to see how Bernal looks when you view it through fresh eyes.

Thus it is with great pleasure and eager curiosity that Bernalwood presents our first in an occasional series of New Neighbor Interviews, in which we will ask recent arrivals to Bernal Heights all sorts of nosey questions about their first impressions of this place we all call home. Let’s meet our first participant, shall we?

Name: Dana
Came Here From: Santa Rosa, Calf.
Move-In Date: May 21, 2011
Bernal Address: Eugenia (at Bocana)
Rent or Own? Rents 1 BR apartment in older home with 2 other units

What do you do for a living?
I work at PG&E’s service planning department. I help get electric and gas services to new or remodeled large commercial or industrial developments. My title is Industrial Power Engineer.

Why Bernal Heights?
I was going to move to Cole Valley with a friend, but after looking around with her, I decided I wanted my own place. The rents are sky high over there for not-so-nice places. I asked around for what are nice neighborhoods, and heard about Bernal Heights. I looked online and there was ONE apartment for rent, I checked it and the neighborhood out, and loved the area. My place is smaller than what I used to have, but I feel safe and cozy.

First impressions of the neighborhood?
I think its down-to-earth and welcoming. It reminds me of where I grew up in New Jersey. The hilly and narrow streets were a bit shocking when I first drove on them. I love the families walking their children and dogs around.

Any unexpected surprises after you moved in?
The tree that fell down and blocked the street was a big one. At least I met my very nice neighbors that evening. A friend told me a nickname for B.H. is Maternal Heights. I can see what she’s talking about, as there are a lot of kids.

How would you describe Bernal Heights to a friend from out of town?
Its got great weather, a nice park to go for a good walk, and the views from up on the hill are spectacular. Cortland has some great shops. The people are down-to-earth and its a diverse, safe, and seemingly friendly neighborhood.

What are your biggest concerns about your new neighborhood?
The guy who parked his motorcycle in front of my apartment has taken up two parking spots for the past two weeks :-(  Otherwise, no worries really. I’m still freaked about trying to unpack my previous 2 bedroom, 2 car garage house into a tiny one bedroom apartment.

Name your three favorite things about Bernal?

  1. The sunny-yet-breezy weather
  2. All the good energy from everyone walking around with their kids and dogs
  3. The casa salad at Vega’s.

Name three things you wish Bernal had (but which it currently does not)?

  1. Better AT&T Internet and TV service
  2. An Oliver’s grocery store like they have in Sonoma county. It’s really great, as they have cooked food to go, a really incredible salad bar, and local good food — its great for working people who are too pooped to cook.
  3. I can’t think of a third.
PHOTO: Neighbor Dana on Cortland Street, by Telstar Logistics

Why Bernal Heights iPhone Owners May Cheer AT&T Oligopoly

While perusing the City’s online Library of Cartography recently — don’t ask! — I discovered a new map that does a lot to explain why my iPhone gets such crappy reception inside my home, and why AT&T’s proposed merger with T-Mobile might actually go a long way toward making it better.

But before we get to that, please allow me a few minutes of cathartic iPhone ranting. Oh. My. God. It’s bad: I can’t make wireless calls at all from the garage or ground-floor office of my North Bernal home. On the second floor, the phone only works in the front of the house or in my back yard. It’s so bad that even my text messages fail to send about 75 percent of the time. The phone works great on the top floor of the house, but… seriously?!?

Calling My City Supervisor

Now, back to that map I found. It’s an Aprill 2011 visualization that shows the location of every wireless cellphone tower in the City, categorized by mobile provider. When I looked at it closely, I suddenly understood why my iPhone is mostly useless unless I’m on the upper floor of my house: The AT&T cell tower closest to me isn’t that close at all.

AT&T’s antenna coverage of Bernal Heights is sparse, and as much as I’d like to demonize the company, NIMBY obstructionism is partially to blame as well. Truth is, it ain’t easy to erect new cell towers in San Francisco. But when you look at the wireless facilities map of Bernalwood, one thing becomes clear: All those pink dots mean that T-Mobile already has our neighborhood pretty well covered.

And that’s why AT&T’s proposed acquisition of T Mobile might be a godsend for long-suffering Bernalwood iPhone owners. If the deal closes as planned early next year, AT&T will gain access to T-Mobile’s existing network of wireless towers. (Arguably, that’s actually AT&T’s primary motivation for pursuing the merger.) And since T-Mobile’s towers are strategically positioned around Bernal Heights, the net result may be substantially better wireless service for local iPhoneers.

So fingers crossed, and here’s to a self-interested reason to cheer for oligopoly!