People of Esmeralda: Wednesday Meeting to Upgrade Coleridge Mini-Park Needs You (Corrected)

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EDIT NOTE: A previous version of this article included an incorrect meeting date. This meeting will happen on Wednesday.

Neighbor Erin Veneziano is spearheading an effort to reduce crime and unpleasantness at the glamorous Coleridge Mini-Park by adding more lights and improving the infrastructure. There’s a meeting about this Wednesday, February 4, at 6 pm at the mini-park, and Neighbor Erin tells Bernalwood why Esmeraldans should attend:

Here’s the poster I’ll be distributing to our neighbors. This is a last ditch effort (lots of badgering and follow-up) to get additional lighting installed in a critical part of the Emseralda corridor.

The original meeting was with PG&E, SF Parks and Rec, and DPT; it was more like a 3 Stooges skit with all three pointing at the other and claiming to not have any jurisdiction over the park. My wife and I have kept contact with the city officials and through many email exchanges, photos, and personal accounts, we have finally agreed on having the SF Park and Rec representative come out after hours and during the evening to see how the pocket of darkness in the park allows crime to fester. With that said, they’ve already performed a cursory “lighting survey” and have attempted to placate our efforts by installing new park signs (with curfew information) and have trimmed trees to show that they are trying to help (but not solve) this issue.

I strongly believe that if we have a good crowd of neighbors that can share their experiences that we can assert this as a priority for the health of our community.

Got that? Citizens of Esmeralda: You know what to do.

Wednesday, Feb 4, 6 pm, Coleridge Mini Park.

Light Installation and Crime Reduction Meeting 2

PHOTO: Neighbor Erin

Real Snowman, Miracle of Precita Park, Reappears for Christmas 2014

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It would appear that the Seasonal Dieties Who Keep Score have decided that Bernal Heights was very good in 2014. Because, once again, the Precita Park Snowman has reappeared in our merry land! Neighbor Robert filed this photo from Precita Park just moments ago.

To all Ye Citizens of Bernalwood… have a wonderful Christmas!

PHOTO: Snowman in Precita Park, December 24, 2014 by Robert Weiner. 

Ghost of Steve Jobs Saves Building from Fallen Bernal Tree

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Compounding the chaos of this week’s storm, a tree fell yesterday on Peralta just south of Cortland. Previously, the tree had stood next to the “iPad House” — the venerable old house hidden behind the Apple billboard you see as you cross over Cortland on US101 south.

Well, yesterday the tree fell down, but the fall was arrested by the Apple billboard, preventing more serious damage to the structures below.  Neighbor Darcy was on the scene, and she filed an immediate report from her, uh, iPhone:

Storm news! Tree falls down, only thing holding up is the Apple billboard!

Of course, it wasn’t merely the Apple billboard that arrested the trees fall. Bernalwood’s sources tell us it was the ghost of Steve Jobs himself that reached into our world from the next to protect lives and property from harm. Extra Bonus: No appointment at the Genius Bar required!

So thank you, Ghost of Steve Jobs, for saving Bernal Heights from the falling tree.

PHOTOS: Neighbor Darcy

Neighbor Deanne Explains Why You Should Check Out the Bernal Yoga Open House on Saturday

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Neighbor Deanne from Winield Street really likes Bernal Yoga at 908 Cortland (near Folsom).

She doesn’t work at Bernal Yoga, or own the place — she says she just enjoys the yoga and the sense of community. Bernal Yoga has been a part of the neighborhood for many, many moons, and this Saturday, Nov. 15 the studio will host an Open House for the yoga-curious from 2 to 5 pm.

Neighbor Deanne explains why she’s become such a Bernal Yoga fangirl:

For those of you Bernal Yogis who do not often venture to the Eastern side of Cortland, you are missing out on a wonderful community-minded space we know as Bernal Yoga (“BY”). Or maybe you pass the studio all the time thinking that you’d love to try Yoga, but it seems too intimidating to get started.

I used to fall into the latter category until I finally ventured into this studio several years ago to take an intro class. I couldn’t believe what a friendly and nurturing environment it was compared to other studios where I had tried Yoga in the past.

For the record I am not an instructor, nor an employee – I’m simply a student, and from time to time you will find me volunteering at the BY front desk.

BY is a very unique and charming studio that really embraces the first time student (and the inflexible) and has an amazing group of instructors that teach all classes for all levels – from newbies to the very experienced practitioner. There’s a wide variety of classes for all ages and abilities, and if you want to just lay around on props and de-stress from your day, check out one of the restorative classes.

So now I am hooked – not just for the Yoga, but because of all the wonderful friends and neighbors I have met over the years at BY and for the community environment the studio fosters.

I also love that the studio offers much more than Yoga – including lots of different styles of classes (there is now an acroyoga class!), amazing workshops, pilates and bootcamps, but they also host the Bernal Yoga Literary Series, concerts, films, and other events to foster community and support local artists.

If you haven’t checked out the studio, or just want to do something fun this Saturday and meet some new neighbors, BY is hosting a fabulous open house from 2-5pm. They will be doing yoga demos with the lovely Meghan, having a free raffle, free food, drinks and Living Greens juices, offering free acupuncture, Reiki and Chinese healing massage with local expert healer Man Chiu Tam, Tarot readings, and offering special discounts for Yoga classes.

It’s going to be a fun event for Yogis and non-Yogis alike. So drop by to meet some new neighbors and experience the goodness of yoga and community!

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PHOTO: Top, via Neighbor Deanne

Raven Theft Highlights Challenges of Being a Bernal Merchant

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Over the years, your Bernalwood editor has gradually received an eye-opening education in the challenges faced by many of our neighborhood merchants.

Never mind higher-level stuff like marketing, advertising, parking, margins, and worrying about tectonic shifts in the retail environment triggered by ecommerce and Amazon. No, the matters that impress us most are the day-to-day issues that arise from the fact that when you operate a storefront, you are quite literally opening up your front door to anyone who decides to walk through it — for better or for worse.

Neighbor Darcy Lee from Heartfelt on Cortland is normally unflappable in this regard; She is a pro, so she handles most oddball encounters with the general public in stride. But a shoplifting incident last week really got under her skin. Neighbor Darcy writes:

We have/had a beautiful raven piece that sells for $650. We have sold two over the years. They are one-of-a-kind and the artist does not always make the raven, but recently we got it in again!

And then the other day I noticed it was gone. I had just done a display with it, so I knew it had been stolen very recently. It is big (18″ long) and a focal point in the store. Then I started counting the other hand carved birds that are by the same person. We are missing 5 altogether, which adds up to $2,000 in sales.

I filed a police report.

This part of retail is pretty tough – and I have taken it hard. Part of store ownership is being in denial about theft — if not, one would be constantly worried and or paranoid. That said, one must also be prudent. I will have security cameras installed. Blchhh.

On that last note… Darcy tells Bernalwood she seeks recommendations for a good security camera installation and service provider. Not just a camera, she says; she hopes to find someone who will install and support a new security camera system. So if you have any recommendations, you know where to find her…. as always, the front door at Heartfelt is wide open during normal business hours.

Saturday Morning: Come Out to Clean Up Precita Park

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Neighbor Demece, the reigning queen of the terrific Precita Valley Neighbors, invites Bernalese of all ages to join in for a Precita Park Cleanup, on Saturday, November 1 at 9 am:

Bring your bags, hand shovels, and rakes! We are going to Clean Up Precita Park!

This Saturday at 9:00a.m., meet in the Children’s Playground. Neighborly conversation and friendship provided!

And don’t be shy: tell your neighbors to get our emails by signing up at precitavalleysf.org! It’s free and fun!

Sparkle on!

RIP Bernard Mayes, Bernal Neighbor and Suicide-Prevention Pioneer

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Via an obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle, we learn that we have lost one of Bernal’s finest. Neighbor Bernard Mayes of Winfield Street, the creator of America’s first suicide prevention hotline, has died. The Chronicle writes:

The first suicide hotline in the United States consisted of one man with one phone in one room in San Francisco. The man was Bernard Mayes, and he has died at 85.

Mr. Mayes, a longtime San Francisco radio correspondent for the BBC, was also the founding station manager of KQED FM. His death Thursday was confirmed by Matthew Chayt, executor of his estate. Mr. Mayes suffered from Parkinson’s disease and had been hospitalized.

In a 2012 interview with The Chronicle at his home in Bernal Heights, Mr. Mayes recounted how he got the idea for the hotline.

“I did feel that what was really needed was a compassionate ear, someone to talk to,” he said in the smooth radio voice of his native London. “It occurred to me that we had to have some kind of service which would offer unconditional listening, and that I would be this anonymous ear.”

The year was 1962, and Mr. Mayes acted on his hunch by placing cardboard ads on Muni buses: “Thinking of ending it all? Call Bruce, PR1-0450, San Francisco Suicide Prevention.”

PHOTO: Bernard Mayes at his home in Bernal Heights, 2012. Photo by the San Francisco Chronicle