Six Timely Thoughts About Bernal Heights from Neighbor Darcy of Heartfelt

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Neighbor Darcy Lee, a resident of Alemanistan and owner of Heartfelt on Cortland, recently shared some miscellaneous thoughts about the July 21 Epicurean Trader vandalism incident and several other matters of topical concern to the people of Bernal Heights:

I read all these comments when [the vandalism] first happened and I just read them again. Because this vandalism hit retail I am chiming in:

1. Retail takes long hours and many days a week. I have worked 7 days a week for years and am now down to 6 days. There is no whine tone here, because I love what I do. I have thought long and hard at what the graffiti person was trying to express, and it seems that it was aimed at the customer that shops at these posh shops, and the storefront or what the business symbolized got caught in the crossfire. Thus I loved the comments that said ‘Hey I do not make a ton of money but I appreciate a business that is selling food from the little makers that are concerned with how we farm and manufacture stuff affects the environment and our bodies.’ Same with Pinhole Coffee; I think we could not have landed a more kindcontributor to the neighborhood, or a more concerned-with-the-world kind of person. (ie. JoEllen) My mantra here, bear with me, is that it is important to not assume new is bad.

2. Random vandalism to prove a misdirected point is lame.

3. Change happens within a city. I know a family that lives in the ‘burbs and rent out their family home in Bernal. They inherited it from working class parents and grew up in the small Bernal house. They maintain it, but they have not remodeled, and they rent it out at less than market rent (not way less, but less). Their mildly disabled sister lives in an inlaw unit in the back. The three kids feel this extra income has allowed them to buy their own homes outside of the city. They have no desire to live here, and they do not get why it is appealing. But they are respectful of what the changes in the neighborhood have brought them. The son told me that their parents, both from Mexico and now deceased, would be very surprised if they knew.

4. The other day on the radio I heard a short clip about Japan and why they are now in financial trouble. Excuse my summary if I got the facts wrong, but as I heard it, Japan loved itself too much. Japan thought it was invincible, and that it would always be the leader in selling the world shiny, modern stuff. (think Walkman) I think we in Bernal love ourselves too much, and we are trying to hold onto something that is already gone. Thus we stay in this sort of negative rant-mode. And SF, too. This way of thinking lets us hold to an ideal in our minds instead of looking around us. Walk the streets of Bernal. We are not just shiny dark grey and black homes; there are lots of different stories within our midst. Volunteer at the local public schools, visit our library, go to the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, visit the farm on Alemany, chat with your neighbor who is elderly and ask if they ever need help. I find this much more productive towards preserving what you miss as opposed to constantly whining what you loved is gone. I found this article Todd posted on Facebook to be fascinating.

5. Some say Airbnb is bad, because it takes apartments off the market.  Some say Airbnb is good, because it allows folks to get extra income to rent out rooms and stay in the ‘hood. Regulations are good, they make it so landlords cannot rip off tenants. Some tenants take advantage of this, so some landlords do not want to get anywhere near the rental market after a bad tenant. As a person who works on the street in Bernal, the stories we hear are endless and every point of view is expressed.

6. If you insist you are right, then someone else has to be wrong. Perhaps it is more important to take a breath and listen. I hear you Cortland graffiti person, I am curious about you, and I hate that you expressed yourself this way, but I hear your frustration. There are so many stories out there.

PHOTO: Neighbor Darcy Lee outside Heartfelt, December 13, 2014. Photo by Telstar Logistics

Bernal Neighbors Baffled by Big Bird of Prey

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Over the weekend Bernalwood received several reports that a rather large bird of prey  had been seen loitering in several Bernal Heights back yards. It began when this big bird was spotted in the backyard of Neighbor @Mop_Head, who speculated that the creature might be a Peregrine Falcon.

On Sunday, Neighbor Erin spotted a similar bird near College Avenue:

Over on Facebook, there were many theories. Perhaps it’s a juvenile red-tailed hawk? Or a coopers hawk? Or maybe a kestrel?

So what kind of critter is it? To answer that, Bernalwood shared the photos with ace birdwatcher Neighbor John, who theorizes:

A little hard to tell, but I’d say it is a juvenile Coopers Hawk. It’s a bit difficult to tell the size and a super similar looking hawk, though smaller is a Sharp Shinned.

Both are reasonably common around here. It would be great to think that this might be one of the two Red Tails that fledged from the nest on the north side of Bernal a month or two ago, but it’s too small and doesn’t have the right markings. For me the key is the dark stripe on the underside of its neck. Peregrines have a mostly white neck. As Coopers get older they add a rufous color to their necks and shoulders. And, as with all hawks, seeing them in flight is key to identification.

UPDATE: 3 August, 1 pm: Neighbor John and his bird-spotting son Eddie shot this photo this morning on the hill.  John says:

Eddie and I saw a hawk on our walk this morning, both in flight and in the tree above the Gates steps on the south side of the hill (see attached photo), and the young birder is “very clear” that it is a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk:

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Neighbor Tamara reports that she spotted this bird on the hill two days ago:

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PHOTOS: Top, @MOP_HEAD; below, @ecmesser

Piano Reappears Atop Bernal Hill, and The Rest Was Magic

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Hooray! Once again, a piano reappeared on Bernal Hill yesterday…  and the rest was just music and magic.

Listen:

👴🎹🎶🌇🌞😍😊

A video posted by Jen (@tuasomeblossom) on

#SundayEvening

A video posted by Linn Huang (@linnnhs) on

And of course, the fun continued as the sun went down:

PHOTO: Top, Vicky.se

Tuesday Eve: See Neighbors, Eat BBQ, Meet Local Law Enforcement at National Night Out in Bernal Heights

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Tomorrow evening, pack up the kids, bring an appetite, and head to the Bernal Rec Center behind the Library to meet some of the people who put the safety in Bernal’s public safety programs.

It’s time for the Bernal Heights edition of National Night Out, the nationwide program that seeks to build stronger ties between local communities and law enforcement. Neighbor Sarah shares the glamorous preview of what’s happening:

Join Your Neighbors on Tuesday, 8/4, for National Night Out at the Bernal Rec Center!

National Night Out, in its 32nd year, is designed to get neighbors out on a summer evening so they can meet each other, police and fire personnel, local organizations, and merchants – all with the goal of promoting community safety.

This year’s National Night Out celebration for the Ingleside Police District will be in Bernal Heights. Come out for a FREE BBQ dinner, lots of fun, kid-friendly activities, and a chance to learn from numerous organizations that will be tabling at the event. Join a neighborhood watch with SFSAFE; sign up for NERT training with the Fire Department; improve the safety of your block through environmental improvements like planting a tree with Friends of the Urban Forest.

Meet members of the city attorney’s office, the district attorney’s office, and Supervisor Campos’s staff to voice any concerns to them directly. Climb the SF Park rock climbing wall; jump in bouncy houses; play basketball with SFPD recruits. Visit the library to learn how it can be safe place for teens and tweens. Pick up the coveted 2015 edition of the Bernal Heights Safety Resource handout. Full details below:

Tuesday, August 4, 5-8pm
Bernal Heights Rec Center and Bernal Heights Library
500 Moultrie Street @ Jarboe Ave.

FREE BBQ dinner
Climbing wall
Games
Jumpy houses
Arts & crafts
Giveaways
Safety resources
& More!

Exhibitors include SFSAFE, NERT, ALERT, the Department of Emergency Management, the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, the SF District Attorney’s Office, the SF City Attorney’s Office, Rec & Park, Friends of the Urban Forest, and the Bernal Heights Library.

Sponsors include SF POA, SFFD, Recology, Cordova Market, Mollie Stone’s, and the Boys and Girls Clubs.

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Hear the New Single from Heartwatch (and Neighbor Eric!) Before You See Them at Outside Lands

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There’s a terrific new single from Heartwatch, the San Francisco indie-rock band that includes Neighbor Eric Silverman, a distinguished resident of Precita Avenue.

We wrote about Neighbor Eric & Co. last January, back when the group was called The Tropics. Since then, your Bernalwood editor has spent an awful lot of time listening to The Tropics, which recently changed its name to Heartwatch. Why the new name? We don’t know. Perhaps to confuse us. Anyway, it doesn’t matter, because these months of listening to The Tropics Heartwatch  have turned your Bernalwood editor into a genuine fanboy. They’re really good. Plus, Neighbor Eric lives down the street, which is rockstar fun.

Here’s the 411 from the press kit:

Heartwatch. The name is new but the band – fka The Tropics – is no stranger to hoards of San Francisco’s young and beautiful.

In late 2014 the group released their inaugural EP, Wind House, to national acclaim, solidifying their status as the Bay Area’s favorite new band. Their critically adored live shows take a sonic victory lap through the very best of pop music from every decade since the 70’s, crossing the finish line in the present golden age of west coast music.

The band has been staying busy in 2015 with a sold out Noise Pop show at The Independent, an appearance at the Phono Del Sol Music Festival and the recent finishing of their forthcoming record.

You can catch Heartwatch in August at Outside Lands Music Festival in San Francisco.

Did you catch that? Outside Lands! So hot right now!

Heartwatch will play Outside Lands on Saturday, Aug. 8 at noon,  but before you go, Neighbor Eric offered us a special Bernal Neighbor Backstage Pass to hear their brand-new single, called “Faultlines.” Fall into it:

UPDATE: 3 August: Bonus!  Here’s a brand-new video of a recording session and band interview, recorded in Neighbor Eric’s Precita Ave. backyard. Loovley!

PHOTO: Courtesy of Heartwatch

Infographic Reveals Bonkers First-Half 2015 Bernal Heights Microhood Real Estate Trends

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Love it or hate it, San Francisco’s red-hot real estate market is a reality, and in the spirit of looking reality square in the eye, let us now take a moment to consider the new map of Bernal Heights Microhood Sales Trends for the first half of 2015, as compiled by Bernal neighbors and realtors Michael Minson and Danielle Lazier.

Just as they did for 2014 (and once again with Bernalwood’s permission) Neighbors Michael and Danielle tracked recent home sales data according to the boundaries of the official Bernal Heights microhoods map.

The basic story here should be morbidly familiar to all of us by now: Lots of people want houses in Bernal, but there are precious few houses here to buy. The result is a home sales price chart that keeps going up and to the right at double black-diamond angles.

Here’s another infographic to digest:

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Finally, here are a few extra-credit observations from the Bernalwood News Team:

  • The high. $1356 average price-per-square-foot in Precitaville may be skewed by the record-setting $3.15M sale price of 3407 Folsom, aka The Helipad. Bernalwood has learned that the buyers are also current Bernal residents, and that they may also be inclined to retain the lady-shark mural. (Personally, I hope they do.)
  • Frustrated neighbors report that the Abandoned Million Dollar Party Shack on Mullen is still abandoned, with problems of vagrancy and graffiti continuing. Sad.
  • Another silly episode of Mission Dollar Listing: San Francisco aired last night, and if you want to catch up on all the fake drama about the fake sale of that real home at 535 Gates in fake-crappy Bernal Heights, we heartily recommend this boozy recap of last night’s misadventures. Preview: It seems that Andrew, the incompetent realtor trying to sell the Bernal property, may be sort of fake gay. Or, at least, hetero-curious. How awkward.

IMAGES: Courtesy of Michael Minson and Danielle Lazier