Saturday: Celebrate at the Bernal Heights Library’s Gala 75th Anniversary Party


Bernal Heights Library Dedication, October 20, 1940

Bernal Heights Library Dedication, October 20, 1940

Its not hyperbole to say that the Bernal Heights Branch Library is a pillar of our community, and we are incredibly lucky to have it. The building is lovely, the role it plays is invaluable, and the library staff work hard to make it all happen.

Our library turns 75 this weekend, and Bernal branch manager Valerie Reichert wants you to come to the birthday party:

We are having our 75th Anniversary on Saturday!

Celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Bernal Heights Branch!
Saturday, October 10th 1:30- 4:00 pm

The Bernal Heights Branch is 75 years old. Come share stories and help celebrate our beautiful WPA branch built in 1940. Activities include : San Francisco Mandolin Orchestra, crafts making in the Children’s Room, refreshments and history slide shows. Volunteers and staff will invite you to record your “Hot Bernal Minute” which will be captured on iPads.

Fun! But let’s back up. Where did our glamorous library come from?

Here’s the basic history:

The Bernal Branch as a “library deposit station” was established in 1920 at 303 Cortland Avenue. As the neighborhood and library grew, it was moved, in 1936, to 324 Cortland. When that proved inadequate the neighbors lobbied for a new building.

The one floor branch library at 500 Cortland, was the 21st in the system and built on the site of the original Bernal School at a cost of $94,600. It was designed by Frederick H. Meyer, one of the most prolific and versatile architects in San Francisco at the turn of the 20th century, funded by the Work Projects Administration and dedicated on October 21, 1940.

After 68 years of use, the branch closed for renovation, as part of the Branch Library Improvement Project, in February 2008. The renovation, with a budget of $5.7 million, was designed by staff of the City’s Bureau of Architecture under the supervision of Andrew Maloney. His design is an intelligent and elegant response to Meyer’s building which originally devoted only the upper level to library purposes, and incorporates such modernizations as ADA accessibility, and seismic and technological upgrades.

Thank you, FDR! See you on Saturday.

PHOTOS: Top, Bernal library, circa 1940, via SFPL Online Historical Photo Archive. Below, parade on Cortland for the Bernal Heights Library, October 20, 1940. Via Living New Deal

Sunday: Bagel Popup at the PizzaHacker (But Don’t Sleep In)


Heads up, bagel fiends: You’re gonna want to get up early on Sunday morning.

Shegetz Bagel is having a pop-up bagel bonanza at the PizzaHacker (3299 Mission @29th) starting at 10 am this Sunday, October 11. But if you want in on the bagel action, don’t linger over the crossword puzzle. Bernalwood is told:

On Sunday, October 11th, Shegetz Bagel will host their second pop-up at PizzaHacker featuring a limited run of 240 bagels. The guys behind Shegetz Bagel don’t believe that it takes a New York City zip code (or water supply) to make a great bagel, and they intend to prove it by boiling and baking up quality bagels right here on the West Coast.

Shegetz is a collaboration between two San Francisco natives, Oliver Steele and Ben Kaminsky, and their long-time friend Alex Rogers; all three well-known staples in the Bay Area food and coffee scene. Rogers developed the lauded bread recipe for Local’s Corner, and became well-versed in bagel-making, working with Michelle Polzine at 20th Century Cafe (though Shegetz will be more akin to the New York style). Steele, a member of the industry darling Pizzetta 211, is a practiced set of hands in the world of dough and pastry. Kaminsky is a three-time US Cup Tasters Champion. After a three year stint as the Director of Quality Control and Espresso at Ritual Coffee, he has become a sought-after international coffee consultant and most recently helped launch Saint Frank in Russian Hill.

The trio focus on the details and obsess over perfecting the rise, density, crust, and dough flavor. Of course, topping things off with a little whipped Humboldt Fog never hurts either.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Doors open at 10am on Sunday Oct. 11
  • Bagels will not be toasted. Fresh bagels do not need to be toasted (because, you know, they were just in an oven)
  • Our West-Coast style bagels use sourdough starter
  • Bagels will cost $3–12 depending on toppings
  • There will be coffee. There will be sparkling wine
  • There will be a full staff to assure great service
  • The bagels are likely to go fast


PHOTO: Shegetz Bagel

Superstar Bernal Journalist Is Co-Host of New KQED Podcast


Bernal Neighbor Amy Standen lives on Gates, but she also happens to be an audio-famous public radio reporter for KQED. (That’s Neighbor Amy on the right in the photo.)

Her radio work is always lively and whip-smart, and now she’s co-hosting a brand-new KQED podcast called The Leap. Here’s how she describes it:

I’m spreading the word about a new podcast. My new podcast! I’m making it with my friend Judy Campbell, who in regular life produces KQED’s Forum.

The podcast is called The Leap  and it’s about people trying to transform themselves somehow. Each episode — one every other week — introduces you to a person in the midst of such a leap, and then kind of spirals out to the people around them and their own weird transformations.

We launched this week with two stories: Episode 0 explains what we’re all about and previews a few upcoming stories.

Episode 1 is an actual story, our first. It chronicles the invention of a really bad smell (this smell) and traces its journey from a high school kid’s bedroom through the decline of the American manufacturing industry to a fake Iraqi battlefield.

Next story comes out on October 20, and it’s a tear-jerker.

Your Bernalwood editor listened to Episode 1 yesterday, and it was… engrossing! Wonderfully so. The first installment of The Leap tells you everything you ever wanted to know about the bizarre history of Liquid Ass — which perhaps may not seem like something you ever wanted to know anything about, but which is actually rather fascinating once you hear the tale. Of course, that’s the hallmark of a really good podcast.

Congrats to Neighbor Amy and her co-conspirator Judy Campbell, and tune in.

PHOTO: Courtesy of KQED

Don’t Panic, But Two Trees Were Removed from Bernal Hill Yesterday


Yesterday Bernalwood received an alarming news flash via our Twitter red phone: A work crew was hard at work on the top of Bernal Hill near Sutrito Tower,  chopping down some of the trees.


We dispatched the Bernalwood Action News Satellite Uplink Miata to rush to the scene. When we arrived, the work crew was already gone, but two freshly cut stumps were all that remained of the former trees.


Sadness! Confusion! Anxiety!

Bernal Hill is public parkland, so Bernalwood reached out to San Francisco Rec and Park see if they could explain what the f*&^$#*ck had just happened. Connie Chan, Rec and Park’s Deputy Director of Public Affairs, responded with this statement:

As we have already mentioned earlier in September, the Department has been in the construction planning process to renovate and improve the Bernal Heights Trails. In the meantime, we are working with a contractor to complete abatement work for a few trees that were assessed as potential hazards.

Two dead trees near the top of the hill are expected to be removed (their branches were already removed by our staff to minimize hazardous conditions), and one Evergreen Ash tree on the west slope of the hill is planned to be pruned to remove or reduce the length of the stem with decay.

As you can see on the map shown via the web link, the red circles are the the two removals, and the tree still to be pruned is the yellow circle.

Bernal_Tree Work map.pdf

Okay, that’s good to know. Rec and Park didn’t exactly do a great job of proactive outreach beforehand, so our collective panic was perhaps to be expected. Nevertheless, we’re glad to know the tree removals atop Bernal Hill are now complete, so we trust there will be no more unpleasant surprises in the days and weeks ahead.

Oh yeah, and PS: All this is happening as part of the Bernal Hill Trail Improvement Plan we told you about waaaaaaaaaaay back in 2012.

PHOTOS: Top, @BernalJournal. Stumps by Telstar Logistics

Your August 2015 Bernal Heights Real Estate Report: 20 Homes Sold, Average Price $1.3 Million


Let’s just cut to the chase: According to the August 2015 Bernal Heights sales report prepared by Downing and Company, the pace of home sales in our neighborhood remains brisk. Prices are lofty as well, with the average sale price in August weighing in at (ooof!) $1.3 million. Downing says:

August was a busy month for home sales in Bernal Heights. A total of 20 transactions were completed which was a spike compared to most months where the number of transactions often register in the low to mid teens.

The market remains hot with elevated prices and quick transactions. The average home price last month in Bernal Heights clocked in at $1.3 million. With tight market conditions and sellers in control homes were on the market for an average of only 20 days before going under contract.

For homebuyers looking to purchase for less than $1 million – alas there is still some hope in Bernal Heights. Three homes traded under that threshold last month (63 Arnold Ave, 1510 York St, and 29 Cuvier St.).

Click through to see details and specifics on each of the Bernal home sales shown above.

IMAGE: August 2015 homes sold montage from Downing and Co.

Late-Night Manhunt After Auto Burglary Suspect Injures SFPD Officer on Mirabel


Were you awakened by the sound of the helicopter circling low above Precitaville at around 12:30 am last night? That was a California Highway Patrol chopper that was brought in to assist the San Francisco Police in a coordinated search for auto break-in suspects who tried to run down an SFPD officer on Mirabel.

SF Chronicle reporter Kale Williams explains what happened:

A police officer was injured in San Francisco Sunday night when an auto burglary suspect tried to run him over, pinning him against his patrol car, authorities said.

Around midnight, officers responded to reports of the burglary on the 100 block of Mirabel Ave in the city’s Bernal Heights neighborhood, said Officer Carlos Manfredi, a police spokesman.

As the officer stepped out of his cruiser, the suspect, who was sitting in a stolen BMW, tried to run him over, Manfredi said, pinning him against his vehicle.

The suspect, whose name was not immediately released, then attempted to flee but was blocked by another patrol car, which he also hit, Manfredi said. He was arrested at the scene.

The injured officer may have suffered broken ribs and injuries to his legs. He was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where he was in stable condition early Monday morning.

Yikes. Bernalwood sends sincere gratitude and get-well wishes to the injured SFPD officer.