Boozy Miscreants Use Dormant Home as Million-Dollar Party Shack




It is 2014 and San Francisco is booming, housing is scarce, real estate is ridiculously expensive, and Bernal Heights is officially the sexiest neighborhood in the entire galaxy. And yet, somehow, in the middle of all this, it’s still possible for a million dollar home to become a semi-abandoned party shack where local miscreants can get drunk, enjoy the view, and trash the joint.

The party house is that Tahoe-style ski chalet that came up for sale on Mullen last March. The place sold for $950,000 in April, but since then it has had no regular occupants — except some errant local youths.

Neighbor Ian explains the rest:

The house that recently sold on Mullen Ave has sat dormant since the sale, encouraging locals to break in and party. It’s unclear who the culprits are, but there have been many gatherings of youth on the open space next to the house. Police responded a few weeks back and apparently nabbed a few people, but the partying continues. The next morning, dog walkers typically find liquor bottles strewn about, (along with the security caps found on higher-end booze.)

Neighbors have not met the new owner, but workers have come from time to time to add new plywood to the facade, only to have it pried off within 24 hours. I took these pics from outside, but I could have easily entered this million-dollar fixer-upper. Neighbors worry that these gatherings will continue. What is the obligation of the new owner to prevent these break-ins?

On the bright side, this can only mean Bernal has not yet gentrified to the point of becoming like Greenwich, Connecticut. Woo hoo!

PHOTOS: Neighbor Ian

Posted in Calamity, Crime, Real Estate | 21 Comments

This Kid Sold Us Some Fabulous Homemade Jam in Precita Park


Your Bernalwood editor was raised in a small town surrounded by cornfields, vegetable farms, and locavore M&Ms, so trust me what I say… small town life in the Big City doesn’t get much more tasty than this.

Last Sunday, Bernalwood’s Cub Reporter and I encountered this junior entrepreneur selling homemade jam for $5 a jar from a table in Precita Park. The jam was a plum-cherry blend, and he said it was made right here in Bernal using plums gathered from neighbors’ trees.

Of course we bought some. Because locavore. Plus, junior entrepreneur.

For breakfast on Monday morning, we took the jam for a test drive. I had mine on a slice of toasted Sour Flour bread, and it was… exceptionally delicious! Nice work, kid. Great product. See for yourself:


PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics

Posted in Food and Drink, Locavore | 6 Comments

Guess Which San Francisco Neighborhood Has Homes That Sell for the Most Over Asking Price?


No commentary. Let’s just get to the grubby business. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

An astounding 90% of San Francisco homes sold at or over their asking prices in the second quarter of 2014, according to data compiled by Paragon Real Estate. The average in the city during the spring quarter was 11% over list price with only 26 average days on the market. As Paragon notes, these statistics may indicate the prevalence of agents underpricing homes in order to create bidding wars.

Some neighborhoods fared even better than that already high average, with top over-asking neighborhood Bernal Heights selling at an average of 24% over.

How about a chart to go with that?  Here is a chart:

Absurd though it might seem, Bernal remains on the moderate side when you look at home prices citywide:

And you still get a pretty good deal for your money on a square-foot basis in Bernal— within the context of total citywide insanity. Plus, we’re still $5 per square foot cheaper than St .Francis Wood. Yesssssss!


Finally, San Francisco created 2290 new units of housing in 2013, but added 26,700 new jobs during the same period. See above, rinse, and repeat.

IMAGES: Aerial photo by Telstar Logistics. Charts via Paragon

Posted in Real Estate | 7 Comments

Rude Mockingbird Sings Loudly All Night, Will Not Shut Up


A male mockingbird has taken up residence in Precita Valley, near the intersection of Precita and Shotwell. And as male mockingbirds are wont to do this time of year, Precitaville’s mockingbird has been singing his little avian heart out during nighttime hours — and he is loud as hell.

Here’s what the damn bird sounded like at approximately 12:37 am last night:

Why? Why do mockingbirds sing at night? What is the purpose of their nocturnal crooning? While prevented from sleep by the singing of this mockingbird last night, Bernalwood found a Los Angeles Times article from 1987 that provides some insight:

Research has shown that mockingbird males, like songbirds everywhere, sing to attract mates and to advertise territorial boundaries–during the day–but unlike most birds, they also sing at night for hours on end during the spring and summer. This piqued my curiosity. I was trained as a biologist, and while no longer doing “official” research, I am not above a speculation or two or even a simple, easy-to-do experiment. The results and the conclusions can be provocative and can also run counter to folklore. Mockingbirds, for instance, are not singing out of joy or pleasure as is commonly believed. Much of the time, they sing out of desperation. [...]

Like most songbirds, [mockingbirds] have evolved a system of parceling up the land, which acts as a kind of natural farm, with the males defending the boundaries. They rarely fight physically, though, presumably because injury is too costly at a time when a bird needs all its strength just to break even in the energy economics of life. But there is usually no need to fight, because the vigor and skill of your song gives a good idea of the vigor and skill of your body–should a little more convincing be necessary.

The odds are that [a mockingbird near the author's home] was locked in musical combat for his family’s survival. And singing was the measure of his substance and grit. If he got sick or injured, or old, that would also come out in his song, and his neighbors would probably start to encroach.

PHOTO: Northern Mockingbird, via Wikipedia

Posted in Nature and Wildlife | 30 Comments

Saturday: Celebrate Neighbor Aaron Zube’s New Paintings at Inclusions Gallery

Bocana II

Last February, Bernal Neighbor and painter extraordinaire Aaron Zube told us he was working on a new collection of Bernal Heights paintings for an upcoming show at the fabulous Inclusions Gallery on Cortland. Now he writes to say the show is live, and there’s a celebrity-soaked opening reception happening this weekend. Oh, and you’re invited!

I just wanted to invite Bernalwood readers who may be interested to my show of Bernal Heights paintings at Inclusions Gallery. The opening reception is tomorrow from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and all are welcome. I’ll be showing work with Sarah Newton who does some terrific drawings & etchings. I’ve attached images of a couple of paintings that will be included in the show. The show runs until August 24th — hope you have a chance to stop by & take a look!

Here’s another super-sexy image of one of Neighbor Aaron’s dreamy painting, and the show announcement:



IMAGES: Courtesy of Aaron Zube

Posted in Art, Events, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Tonight: Bernal’s Own Emperor Norton Will Be on TV


As you may recall, the (in)famous Emperor Norton, self-proclaimed Emperor of the United States, lives in Bernal Heights. Or, his modern-day doppleganger does. That is, when he’s not taking tourists on San Francisco walking tours.

Now, he also rules the small screen, because tonight our own Emperor Norton will appear on the Travel Channel’s “Monumental Mysteries” show:

Don Wildman inspects a bizarre acorn-shaped sculpture that commemorates an otherworldly event; explores the world’s smallest skyscraper that was once at the center of an outrageous scam; and investigates an engineering wonder inspired by an eccentric figure.

HINT: That “eccentric figure” is Emperor Norton, and the engineering wonder is the Bay Bridge.

Tune in tonight at 9 pm to watch Neighbor Emperor Norton tell the tale.

PHOTO: Emperor Norton, during a recent sighting at 331 Cortland. By Telstar Logistics

Posted in Celebrity, Media, People | 3 Comments

Bernal Heights Home Fire Reveals Marijuana Grow Farm


KCBS reports that an overnight fire in a Mayflower Street night revealed an unexpected surprise:

Firefighters battled a one-alarm fire in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights neighborhood where they uncovered an illegal marijuana grow operation this morning, a fire dispatcher said.

A report of a fire in the 300 block of Mayflower Street came in around 3:50 a.m., the dispatcher said.

Apparently, an arrest was made after the secret was discovered:


Posted in Calamity, Crime, Uncategorized | 12 Comments