About Bernalwood

Bernalwood is a blog about Bernal Heights, San Francisco.

“An interesting micro-local news source that is fun and funny and sometimes important.” - Neighbor Jillian

We love our neighborhood for all its glamour and grandeur, and we are militantly YIMBY.

 

 

61 Responses to About Bernalwood

  1. Sarah B. says:

    Welcome to the local blogosphere of SF! Love the Bernalwood photo :)

    Sarah B.

  2. Delaine Zody says:

    Glad to find your spot in blog land. Will keep a watch on your future broadcasts. Wishing you all the best for the rest.

  3. roger says:

    as a Ripley street resident in the fabulous world of Bernalwood…i could not be more excited about your niche in the sphere. cheers

  4. AkilahC says:

    Where’s all the “SHARE” buttons!!! NEED!

  5. Julia HJ says:

    Wow, this is great. I lived in Bernal for three years, and recently moved to Davis (my hometown) for grad school. The irony is that Bernal is where I feel most at home. I’ll be living vicariously through this blog until I can get my ass back to SF. Well done!

  6. Derek says:

    Great blog. Love the name! Will you get a Facebook page?

  7. CMKoenig says:

    This is fabulous… I grew up on the hill and I’m glad it has so much support from neighborhood, I think Bernal is hands down the best neighborhood in the city…though I wont lie Protrero has better parking and is a close second.

  8. Mike says:

    I love this site. I first moved to Bocanna Street in 1976 and half of the stores on Cortland were boarded up. It was scary to walk down the street after dark. Lots of drug dealing done behind the Library. Moved away for a few years and then moved back in 1984 and have been here since. It’s a wonderful NEIGHBORHOOD, something that is lacking in most urban areas and in much of San Francisco. We are lucky to have such a wonderful mix of people, stores, upscale & worker bee, lefty politics and concerned homeowners, babies and dogs. You are documenting its charm and quirkiness in a wonderful way. Thanks for all your work on Bernalwood. It’s great!

    • bernal coyote says:

      I grew up during the same time period. The drug dealing and boarded up window front came from white flight, regan bush economics and overall market economy shifts. But the neighborhood was much more open to freindly then now. families knew eachother, children played in the streets and the diversity of people was much more real, There are parts of the 80’s that reflected the ugle market forces and years of neglect and racism, but the 60-90 was a time in bernal that beautiful elements came together to make this a special place, bernal today is speical not becasue of the new wealthier and whiter white collar indivduals, its becasue of the blue collar artist, activist and open minded people who settled here in the name of justice and struggle, now its become a place of white washing and long diverse history of this neighborhood, are we now happt no more black people live here? or for that matter any working class people?

      • LittleTiger says:

        I agree with you Coyote. There’s an incredible sense of entitlement and smuggness in this new wealthier Hill that I find obnoxious. There’s a lack of appreciation and sense of history of this neighborhood – as if the new yuppies are the ones who put it on the map. I enjoy some of the new changes -it’s all very cozy. But what working class family can move into this traditionaly working class neighborhood, when a fixer-upper is $850,000? I mean, come on people!

      • Dano415 says:

        Thank you Coyote! I grew up on Winfield from 79 to 99. the neighborhood might be safer but where are all the Natives? san francisco used to be a blue collar city. Halloween in Bernal when I was a Kid was bustling. Now a days my parents, who still reside in the house i grew up in, get next to no trick or treaters. I miss the old Bernal. Blue collar bernal

  9. jp says:

    i’ve lived in bernal for 5 or 6 years and this is my first visit to your blog. love it! well done.

  10. Charlene says:

    I’ve lived in Bernal since 1996, and it just gets better and better. Love this blog – thank you thank you

  11. Antoinette says:

    I have seen many blogs..this is my favorite…love the name.
    I also appreciate the positive feedback on our store. (Chuck’s)
    Thank you.
    Antoinette

    • emelie says:

      I love that you stay open till 11:00!! You are the only ones on the hill that do and you save me so many times… and so many times to come! Thanks Antoinette!

  12. RenV says:

    Yay Bernal! I’ve lived here for the last 15 years. The sunniest, most neighborly part of SF!

  13. As usual, you all are doing a great job with this site. I enjoy it more and more every week. Have you covered that odd new construction at the corner of Bernal Heights Blvd and Bradford, where there is the start of a hill side terrace garden of some sort. I believe you have checked in on the garden, but what about that house? It’s got a million dollar view, for sure, but it looks like it went through three or four architects mid-construction. Anyway – keep up the great work. You make me love Bernal all the more all the time. Mike Hennessey

    • Todd_Lappin says:

      Thank you Mike! That house actually belongs to a friend. I’ll see if he’s up for show and tell.

    • carol says:

      Mike, The corner lot you speak of is being turned into a garden thanks to a 60k grant from the city. A Bradford Street advocate worked his way through the bureacracy to get the grant. He also did the top half of MayFlower Street garden which is next to his home which is currently being rebuilt. Carol

  14. Love your blog! I used to live in Bernal, too. Would you consider adding our Potrero site to your Bloggerhood: http://www.unitepotrero.org–thanks!

  15. rallyp says:

    I gotta say, this blog is OUTSTANDING! I just moved to Bernal Heights last Fall, all the way from Boston, and am absolutely loving it here. I think this blog proves to me that I wasn’t just hallucinating about all the good stuff here. Keep up the great work!

    • Aleks says:

      What a coincidence – moved from Boston (Somerville) to Bernal last fall as well – arrived in mid-October! Loving Bernal as well!

  16. Matt says:

    As a nine year resident of Bernal, so glad this site is here. Our wonderful neighborhood attracts creative souls! Keep up the great blogging!

  17. Bryan Tesar says:

    I’ve lived in Bernal for 27 years. It’s gone through a lot of changes ( most of them positive) over the years and I’m glad to see a site dedicated to it for the community. There’s still a lot of people in the city that have never heard of Bernal Heights or think it’s not part of San francisco. Thank you for your commitment to Bernal and it’s inhabitants.

  18. Debby Krant says:

    I’m a Gates Street resident for the past 28 years, and lived a few years before that in a Bernal Heights rental–raised my kids here and we all love this neighborhood!!

  19. Aleks says:

    So happy to have stumbled upon this blog! I recently moved from Boston to SF last October. Loving Bernal Heights so far!

  20. Rose Liggett says:

    Is anybody paying attention to what is happening to the library? New “final” designs have been
    posted that are truly …. awful. And the BLAP committee is trying to get them manifested –
    through approval from the library commission and the arts commissons. Heads up alert!

  21. Dear Bernal Neighbors,

    My name is Gabriel Martinez, and I am the GED Coordinator for the Precita Center on the north slope of your lovely neighborhood. (For those of you who can’t place us, we are the building on Precita with mural in front.)

    In any case, I am writing to you because I would like to get you all involved in all that we do at the center–considering it’s a neighborhood center and you are the neighborhood, I think it’s a good match. As a way in, I’d like to invite you all to an event we are having this weekend (August 6th). It’s a show with poets, singers, and jazz musicians and all the money we raise at the event helps us help our GED students.

    Below, is a press release we’ve been sending out for the event. I’m hoping you might help me spread the word by posting this. I can also provide an e-flyer with graphics if that helps. The bottom line here is that we need your help, and going forward, we want to hep you in any way we can. This would be a great first step.

    Thanks,
    gabe

  22. Dear Bernal Neighbors,

    My name is Gabriel Martinez, and I am the GED Coordinator for the Precita Center on the north slope of your lovely neighborhood. (For those of you who can’t place us, we are the building on Precita with mural in front.)

    In any case, I am writing to you because I would like to get you all involved in all that we do at the center–considering it’s a neighborhood center and you are the neighborhood, I think it’s a good match. As a way in, I’d like to invite you all to an event we are having this weekend (August 6th). It’s a show with poets, singers, and jazz musicians and all the money we raise at the event helps us help our GED students.

    Below, is a press release we’ve been sending out for the event. I’m hoping you might help me spread the word by posting this. I can also provide an e-flyer with graphics if that helps. The bottom line here is that we need your help, and going forward, we want to hep you in any way we can. This would be a great first step.

    Thanks,
    gabe

    Here is the press release:

    We’ve all needed a hand now and again. And sometimes, you have the opportunity to give something back and even get something in return. Here’s that chance:

    On August 6th, Stories in the Making 2: A Benefit for the GED Program at the Precita Center is on. This program has served hundreds of students over the years, and this year we graduated 22 young people who are now going to college, in work programs, and are on their ways to better lives. But we need your help to keep this program growing. Poets like James Cagney, Myron Michael and Sojari Bradley are teaming up with musicians from all over the Bay Area to show us their support. Now all we need is you! There will be food and drink and a raffle, and all of it is for $5, which goes to paying for students of our GED program to take their tests.

    You can’t beat that with a stick!

    And with all the state budget cuts that we all hear about every day, your 5 bucks will go a long way to helping us keep this program strong and vibrant.

    So here are the details:
    Stories in the Making 2:
    August 6th @ The Precita Center
    534 Precita Ave. (corner of Alabama)
    Doors open at 7
    Open mic @ 7.30
    Featured performers start at 8.

  23. North Slope Cat says:

    Love the blog! It is our small town newspaper. I am anxiously awaiting the t-shirt.

    • emelie says:

      Yeah!! T-Shirts would be great! Maybe they could use that cool Bernal postcard image. I would buy 1… No 2! I would send one to my dad as well!!

  24. Charles says:

    Any chance of getting more representation on the Holly Park side of Bernal? There is, for example, a new coffee shop opening on Richland tomorrow which would be great to push out…

  25. Molly says:

    Hope you can help…..I am an ex-Bernal Heights resident and am trying to find out the name of a now closed Italian restaurant. I believe the last time I was there was in 2004 or 2003.

    It was on Cortland on the same side of the street and a block or two? from Maggie Mudd. They had an amazing bell pepper farfalle dish. I was hoping the chef had opened another restaurant somewhere.

  26. Joe Thomas says:

    Over Christmas, I was wearing my (exclusive, glamorous) Bernalwood t-shirt around my dad’s condo in Virginia. “Isn’t that something Shakespearean?” he asked. “Something about Bernalwood and Dunsinane?” Close:

    Macbeth shall never vanquish’d be until
    Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane hill
    Shall come against him.

  27. Molly says:

    Hi Jody,

    Thank you so much! You are right. It turns out they have a new restaurant in Russian Hill. I was told that on Mondays they have a similar menu to Palatino’s.
    http://www.milanosf.com/stories.html. I am hoping to find the bellpepper pasta dish again. :-)

    Thanks again,
    Molly

    • Jodi says:

      Hi Molly — How funny! I just ran across your post today (from December) and you just heard about Milano this week — kind of awesome. I will have to check them out. I remember Palatino too and that it was good :)
      – Jodi

  28. The owners of Milano opened Palantino…

  29. Molly says:

    Thanks! Have you been?

  30. ashlanddyke says:

    Love this site! Thank you so much for paying a daily homage to my hometown and my childhood stomping ground.. My mother and father were the only African American entrepreneurs in BH back in the 80s. They owned Wool Street Grocery. What an amazing time
    period. While I still love BH, I miss the diversity. I miss my latino neighbors who ran Arrow Pharmacy. I’m taking my grade school friend to the hill to reminisce. Ahhhh…Bernal Heights. I can’t afford to live right below the hill on wool and eugenia. Wah!

  31. SC says:

    This is without a doubt the coolest blog in the city, a must-read each day. Love the hard and funny work you put into this. My folks from out of town think it’s a riot. So do I. Great job!

  32. Jo Dennis says:

    Love your blog, just moved in to Bernal …. Couldn’t be happier!

  33. DW says:

    Would have loved to send you this article but I could figure out ho to do that. so….

    The Sad, The Good and the Bad

    The Sad
    Whether she was physically assaulted, mentally disturbed or under the influence of drugs, the woman’s cries from Precita Ave. early Saturday morning were sad. As she and stumbled down the street yelling for someone to please help her, you could not help but me moved. She said someone had sprayed something in her eyes and face. She claimed se had been physically assaulted.

    The Good
    The plaintive sounds began at 6:00 A.M. from somewhere near the Precita Center between Alabama and Florida. Almost immediately a neighbor was out on the sidewalk to help. He called the police and told them the woman claimed to have been assaulted and seemed to be in plain. He also asked that they send someone right away because she seemed like she may be injured, or injure herself. The woman was inconsolable. Over the period of the next 25 minutes several neighbors took the time, many in robes or pajamas to come down onto the street to offer help and let others know that they had also notified the police.

    It is a great to live in a neighborhood where you know people will make the effort to help when needed. So many stories about crime and problems in our streets include messages about how bystanders and neighbors turned away or ignored the situation. Not to long ago and not too far from Bernal Heights a man dies after being stabbed. He dies on the street while people ignored him. Bernal Heightyites(?), Bernal Heightians (?) Bernalers(?), whatever we are called, we seem to conscientious, helpful people when put tot the test.

    The Bad
    At least 5 neighbor households claim to have called the police. The first call came around 6:05 A.M. To be generous, we will call it 6:10 A.M. details were given. At 6:25 the first police car finally showed up. Approximately 15 minutes passed from the time of the first call to the time “help” showed up. Now, I will make this clear. This writer is a big supporter of our police and other first responders. I believe they work hard and generally do a good job. But, 15 minutes for an urgent call like this is unacceptable.

    Whether the limited number of officers assigned to our area were otherwise engaged, or whether they didn’t understand the seriousness of the multiple calls or whether they were simply so far away that they could not get here is not an excuse. Imagine, as I have, that this woman was your wife, daughter, niece or neighbor. Imagine that her injuries were equally invisible from the outside, but perhaps life threatening below the surface. Imagine that the assailant was within a block or two when the first call was made, but on BART and already in Oakland by the time police showed up. Inexcusable.

    This cannot be how our neighborhood works. It can’t be a place where victims or helpful neighbors reach out to help only to find that they are dangling without professional support. Without prompt response times, we can expect crimes to rise, or help to fall. Both of which are not what our neighborhood wants or needs.

  34. Great blog for a newbee neighbour. Enjoying your regular feeds. Thanks!

  35. Jerry F. Schimmel says:

    The poster in question was prepared during the week of June 3 1973 and the celebration was on June 10. I was chairman of the park committee in 1973. There is a book in the BH library titled BERNAL HILL MEMOIR which has all the information. Jerry Schimmel

  36. Ali Reilly says:

    I grew up on Bernal Heights (18 Winfield Street, to be precise), and have many fond memories of the street parties and potlucks etc as a child in the 60’s/early 70’s. Live in Boston now, but interested in what it is like now!

    • Todd_Lappin says:

      Well, we all wear Prada and drive Ferraris now. Other than that, it’s pretty much the same. Bernalwood has a terrific Bernal Alumni Network tuning in, so please check in regularly. And if you have any stories about the neighborhood back in the day that you’d like to tell, we LOVE those.

  37. M. Labera says:

    It’s wonderful to see people who love their neighborhood so much that they have invested time in producing an informative, useful, and entertaining blog such as this. However, as a lifelong resident of Bernal Heights (since the mid-1950’s), I truly do not feel that the word “Bernalwood” reflects what Bernal Heights is. It has always been very rural–the country in the city (with lots of wildlife)–and often scruffy, yet whimsical with all the Victorians and winding lanes in the hillsides . . . I can’t think of anything more remote from the image one gets from the word, “Hollywood.” When I see “Bernalwood” I immediately associate it with “Hollywood.” I saw someone paint “BERNALANDIA” on the sidewalk and I think that is closer to the mark in describing Bernal Heights in a word, for historically it was quite a self-sufficient part of the City, kind of a world unto itself in many ways–a world away from all the hustle and bustle of the City. I have to laugh also when I see Precita Avenue referred to as “Precitaville” ! Actually, since I’ve always lived on Precita Avenue, it’s not so far off the mark because growing up and living on Precita Avenue all these years it has always been like living in a small (cow ?) town. But few people know that it is actually a VALLEY–Precita Valley–to be exact. San Francisco has a lot of other “Valley” neighborhoods, too, such as Noe Valley, Cole Valley, Hayes Valley, etc., but somehow Precita Valley remains the unknown valley in the City . . .

  38. As another lifelong resident of Bernal Heights (over 50 yrs), I agree with you completely. However, I read that some people consider “Bernalandia” a joke comparing it to “Portlandia”, a satirical comedy tv show. Bernal Journal is already taken. It’s really hard to pick a good name for a blog about such an ethnically diverse neighborhood. How about Tower of Bernal? (just kidding).

    • M. Labera says:

      Thank you, Gilda, for shedding light on how some people view the word “Bernalandia.” I had no idea . . . “Bernalwood” (Hollywood) ! “Bernalandia” (Portland) ! The perception of our neighborhood has certainly changed. And now we’re a SUBURB of Silicon Valley !

      • Todd_Lappin says:

        Without getting too deep into the origins of the Bernalwood name, suffice to say that it was chosen with tongue planted very firmly in cheek, and precisely because it evokes everyone’s worst nightmares of what Bernal Heights might someday become.

  39. M. Labera says:

    Oh ! What a relief to know ! I thought maybe some folks who lived in the Hollywood hills for a time relocated to San Francisco, ended up somehow in Bernal Heights, and were maybe homesick; hence the choice of the name “Bernalwood.” Truth really is stranger than fiction !

  40. Naomi says:

    This is sweet. How about some Bernal pictures? I am a 20 year resident on Winfield, and still feel like a “newcomer”.

  41. Mabel Romick says:

    My parents bought an old Vicorian on upper (dirt road) Montcalm in 1941. It was a wreck. The cost was $800.00. Yes. $800.00. They borrowed the down payment from my uncle and took out a mortgage for the rest. We lived there until the late 40s when they bought another Montcalm home down the street, but on the paved portion of the street. They sold the house to my aunt and uncle and my cousin, Sara, finished her growing up years in that same house. Recently I attended its open house as it was back on the market and totally redone with the front wearing a Victorian style once again. This time the asking price was nearly a million dollars. Yes. times and values do change. Our back yard was the size of a napkin, but we had the hill. No buildings behind us we hiked and played, especially in summer when we took cardboard boxes from which we made a sled-like surface and spent long days gliding down the dry grass. With fondness I will always remember my growing up years on that portion of Bernal Heights.

    • My father and I can both relate to the joys of cardboard sliding down the grassy hills of Bernal. Ah, the thrill of it all….(as William S. Hart used to say). I would think that anyone who bought a house on a dirt road around here in the 30’s and 40’s hit pay dirt, as long as they held onto it long enough. Just today a realtor was telling me that Bernal Heights properties are red hot right now. He asked me if I wanted to sell my old house. Very tempting, but the relatively rare Mediterranean (Etesian) type climate keeps me here. It’s great being close to two hospitals (for my dad) and we’ve got Safeway Delivery (no waiting in boring long lines). The Safeway delivery man cracked me up today when he said, “Beets didn’t make it.” But usually they have most items. Now Amazon Fresh delivers groceries here — their service is also excellent. I tried their 30-day free trial, but I like to use the paper bags from Safeway for recycling.

  42. South Bernal says:

    Is there any redevelopment plan for the housing project on Ellsworth? Potrero is redeveloping their their housing projects, I am wondering what the Bernal Heights neighborhood can do to make improvements?

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