Category: street life

601 BRODERICK: NOSTALGIA AND AMNESIA

601 Broderick in 2012

601 Broderick Street at Grove in the heart of NoPa went on the market on October 10th for $5,875,000, 2 1/2 years after the foreclosed black church and fixer-upper was snatched up for 40% above asking at $1,401,000.  The open house offered valet service and sushi.   Curbed sf’s Tracy Elsen calls it “our absolute favorite flip of the year.”

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EICHLERS: FRONT DOOR TO A SUBLIMINAL SUBURBIA

With an enthusiasm for mid-century modernism sparked by his home renovation my brother engaged in a fantastically obsessive photo study of the front doors of homes in  Eichler housing tracts at FairhillsFairhaven and Fairmeadow in  LA and Orange counties as shown above.  Continue reading

STREET ART/STREET CRIME: PAINT IT WHITE DIVISADERO

Pictured here is not a new anti-graffiti effort by San Francisco’s Public Works Department.   As if the neighborhood hasn’t become white enough, Absolut Vodka has come to town with its artistic promotion of inebriation “Open Canvas” whitewashing San Francisco’s  Divisadero Corridor between Hayes and Grove to create a  blank canvas for the work of selected artists while providing the Vodka an advertisement in the form of a news eventContinue reading

STREET ART / STREET CRIME

At San Francisco’s Vinyl Coffee and Wine Bar at Fell and Divisidero big bucks are paid for the Banksy-like work of Eddie Colla top and X’s “Thank you, Andy” at right.  The art successfully gives Vinyl some insider street cred in a traffic-challenged location.

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BARRY McGEE: ARTIST AND VANDAL

Last summer’s trip to Berlin, City of Graffiti, has us thinking about the lively yet criminal place of graffiti in the community.   The Berkeley Arts Museum visits the subject  in Barry McGee’s exhibit of constructions, sketches and graffiti art closing December 9th, 2012.  The museum building itself  is not to be missed, as it too is subject to closure as an art museum in 2015 as a result of ever-stiffening seismic requirements anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Big One.  Meanwhile, the building’s impending loss as a dramatic and now-unrepeatable gallery space is a tragic and crushing blow.

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EAST BERLIN/WESTERN ADDITION: CHANGE COMES TO PRENZLAUER BERG…AGAIN

“Berlin-prettier than ever!” beckons the 1947 prop art poster for Soviet  East Berlin’s 5-year plan for the rebuilding of social housing and infrastructure following the devastation of the Allies’ bombardment and the Soviet invasion.

Distance provides perspective.  Unpacking our mental suitcase from a recent summer holiday in graffitti-bedighted East Berlin, we edit snapshots, positioning them for inevitable comparisons to our own living situation, in our own neighborhood in the Western Addition considering topics of street art, gentrification, bicycles, social housing, memorials and population relocation.

The changes in Berlin have been cataclysmic.  A city of 4.5 million in 1939, the population now stands at 3.5 million, 25% un-occupied, uncrowded and affordable.  For those with connections to Eastern European immigrants, the absence of a vibrant Jewish culture in Berlin is a palpable loss.  The World War and Cold War past is still present in the empty lots, the bullet-pocked plaster, the missing windows, and graffitied squats standing side by side with chic window displays, hot clubs, cool condos and high art.  Continue reading

PLEASE, PLEASE, DON’T GO: PARTYING WITH THE HAIGHT-ASHBURY REUNION

May 25th, 2012,  Leah Garchik’s column in the San Francisco Chronicle reported on the Haight Ashbury Reunion which occurred on May 12th bringing together former and lifetime residents of the Haight Ashbury to party in the Golden Gate Park Panhandle.  The group was predominantly African American like the neighborhood 50 years ago. Garchik reports many had graduated Dudley Stone Elementary, now De Avila Chinese Immersion on Haight, in 1970 and 1971 to become among the first bussed out of their neighborhoods to A.P. Giannini Middle School at 37th and Ortega, 4.5 miles away.  Roslynn Grimal, now of El Sobrante, recalls, “Not only were we exposed to a different class of people, but it was the first time a lot of us were in school with anybody other than African Americans.”  Craig Cook, formerly of Waller Street, adds, “We were, like, sightseeing.  We saw grass.  People had lawns…”  Continue reading

DOWN AT THE CROSSROADS: BI-RITE ON DIVISADERO

google-bus

The Google, Facebook, Apple and Yahoo Commuter Buses have become a familiar sight along the Divisadero Street Corridor in San Francisco’s Western Addition.  The buses bring new income levels  to the Western Addition, increasing the commercial vitality as well as increasing pressure on existing housing, businesses and institutions to serve a newer, moneyed class.

Emblematic of the transformation on Divisadero is the replacement in October of a little-used local market (shown at top) by the second outpost of the incredibly popular  Bi-Rite Market — their motto:  “In our community, on our table”.  Currently successful in the gourmet ghetto of the Mission they are mid-block on 18th Street up from Guerrero Street along with the packed Tartine BakeryDelfina RestaurantPizzeria Delfina, and Bi-rite Ice Creamery.  As shoppers arrive on foot, bike and BMW, Bi-rite Market could  accurately be described as either harbinger of local food  justice or  boutique grocery.  Continue reading