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Archive for the ‘coyotes in San Francisco’ Category

San Francisco, Paris of the West, part 6

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on November 4, 2013

TWO OUTLYING NEIGHBORHOODS

San_Francisco_Neighborhood_Map1
The above map, provided by a local real estate company (the name of which has been dutifully photoshopped out), provides the common realty names for various San Francisco areas. I’ve been focusing on the three neighborhoods surrounding my residence in this series; Eureka Valley/The Castro (or Eureka Valley/Dolores Heights), greater Noe Valley, and the Haight-Ashbury (including parts of Cole Valley/Parnassus Heights & Buena Vista Park/Ashbury Heights). There are two adjacent neighborhoods I also enjoy visiting and will briefly cover, while comparing them to Paris. Let’s begin with:

WEST PORTAL

west-portal-book-storel
West Portal is the residential area that runs west of the three block commercial West Portal Avenue. Bookshop West Portal (80 W Portal Ave) has been an anchor store for the neighborhood. It’s run by one of the former owners of Clean Well Lighted Place for Books, and it sells new and remaindered books, as well as provides a range of services, from author signings and book release events to a meeting place for classes and community activities. It has a nice kids literature section, tables and shelves for current fiction and nonfiction trade paperbacks, and magazine racks. The staff is dedicated and knowledgeable. This is a well loved, full-service neighborhood bookstore that easily could be found in Paris. Right next door, there’s The Music Store (66 W Portal Ave). Okay, so they’re not big on creative names here, but this tiny little record shop is crammed full of CDs, DVDs, vinyl, tapes, anything musical new or used. Mostly used. This place promotes various local and regional musical events as well and besides, its simply a cool fucking store. Lot’s of great pictures and posters. In Paris, everything has pretty much made the transition to digital, and there’s not much specialty vinyl around. Not like specialty Parisian bookstores, anyway. So The Music Store is truly unique.

San Francisco-El Toreador628x471
There is absolutely no way I can visually describe El Toreador Restaurant (50 W Portal Ave). The exterior has that bright Mexican house coloring that only hints at the complete chaos inside. The furnishings are as multicolored as the exterior, and every other surface—every wall and the ceiling—is entirely covered with stuff. Photos, murals, paintings, streamers, pinatas, dolls, sculptures, hanging furniture, “day of the dead” figurines, jugs, pitchers, dishes, signs, neon, graffiti; this is only a small fraction of the crap stuck on everything, everywhere. This is only decent Mexican food, what I used to call border Mexican food when I lived in San Diego. The amazing deal is the range of beers on the menu and displayed via empty bottles lining the walls. I’m no longer a drinking man, but I was impressed with the selection. There’s no experience comparable to El Toreador Restaurant in Paris. While the cuisine is no great shakes, the decor is authentic and eye popping. Plus, its a family owned and run establishment. After a Mexican meal, its time to take in a movie at the CinéArts at the Empire (85 W Portal Ave) across the street. First run movies, some “independent” and some 3D, in this multiplex movie theater, which offers stadium seating, air conditioning, and the usual food concessions. The CineMark chain got into trouble when a CEO (I think) acknowledged donating to the Proposition 8 Campaign and provoked a short lived boycott from the gay community. Yet, with the dwindling number of cinemas around (unlike Paris), CinéArts at the Empire has managed to weather this controversy and remain a hub in the West Portal neighborhood, as well as relevant to San Francisco in general.

GLEN PARK

lbird-beckett
Okay, Bird and Beckett Books and Records (653 Chenery St) fucking rules. This shop has had to struggle financially, like so many independent bookstores in San Francisco, and its month-to-month as far as the rent and bills. But Bird and Beckett is still here, and it is an institution not only in Glen Park, but in San Francisco as well. This place is not unusual by Parisian standards in offering new and used books and records. What is unique is the regular poetry readings and bebop jazz performances, in addition to the usual book and author events common to most other bookstores. When Bird and Beckett was evicted several years ago from down the block, its future appeared bleak. Now, at least the bookstore has a future, if only tentative. Keep patronizing Bird and Beckett to keep them afloat.

gialinaIMG_6177
Pizza is a religion in San Francisco. Thin crust, deep dish, twice baked, New York style; people fight over which is the best. Gialina (2842 Diamond St) serves up thin-crust Neapolitan-style pizza, not to mention fresh antipasti and salads, and a roast of the day. The place is small, and Gialina doesn’t take reservations, so expect to wait to be seated. It’s also family friendly, so a few squealing kids is par for the course. Canyon Market (2815 Diamond St) is right across the street. Canyon Market considers itself a full service neighborhood grocery for Glen Park, but its somewhat of a boutique market and a tad pricy. But what stands out here is the prepared foods, the salad bar, the butchered meats, and the fresh baked breads, which rivals anything to be found in Paris. My wife and I do go out for take-out grocery food, but of all the markets we frequent, Canyon Market offers the tastiest, most varied prepared foods. Delicious.

GLEN CANYON PARKcoyote-540x405
When I reviewed Dolores Park in part 5 below, I mentioned that it had the pretense of “wildness.” Glen Canyon Park (Elk and Chenery St) is the real thing, at least as real and as wild as a park gets completely surrounded by a city. Paris offers nothing like Glen Canyon Park in a fully metropolitan setting. There are grassy areas and playgrounds and baseball fields and a recreation center. Yet it also covers 70 acres, with a free flowing creek (Islais Creek), hilly and rocky terrain laced with hiking trails, and lots of trees and coastal scrub. Red-tailed hawks and great horned owls breed in the park, and coyotes have been seen in here. An example of urban planning at its best.

conclusion
I’ll conclude both this series (San Francisco, Paris of the West) and my other related series (City of Light) in a combined part 7.

Posted in City of Light, coyotes, coyotes in San Francisco, Glen Park, life, Paris, Paris of the West, San Francisco, San Francisco neighborhoods, series, West Portal | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Coyote ugly

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on July 26, 2007

ba_urban_coyotes2.jpg

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. Personal issues got the better of my time, but now I’m back with a followup to the shooting of two coyotes in Golden Gate Park. All the stories come from the San Francisco Chronicle.

First, there’s this about the fact that city dwellers often must share their urban space with a lot of wildlife, not just coyotes but raccoons, skunks, squirrels, bats, opossums, foxes, etc. Frequently, there are clashes between this vestigial wildlife that’s just trying to survive, and the humans who presume to have dominion over everything. Needless to say, the wildlife loses out most of the time.

Then, there’s this story that coyotes get underfoot in many urban settings, from southern California to Chicago, and not just San Francisco. An interesting side story is that the supposedly wild geese around Oakland’s Lake Merritt have become such a nuisance, or to be exact, their shit has become such a health hazard, that city officials are looking for ways to control the birds, to include importing coyotes as predators.

SF Animal Control officials speculate that the Golden Gate Park coyotes that supposedly attacked two leashed dogs were being regularly fed raw meat by humans, in violation of park regulations. The regular feedings made them more aggressive, it is claimed. Finally, a female coyote pup was found dead, apparently run over by a car, near where the two other coyotes were shot and killed. This seems to support the claim by pro-coyote folks that the two coyotes that were shot were simply protecting their young.

Posted in Bay Area, coyotes, coyotes in San Francisco, Golden Gate Park, life, Nature in the City, Oakland, racoons, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco Chronicle, urban wildlife, wildlife | 1 Comment »

Coyote killings defended

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on July 18, 2007

The followup story in the Chronicle about the killing of two coyotes in Golden Gate Park. The comments are also worth reading, including one from Peter Coyote.

Posted in coyotes, coyotes in San Francisco, Golden Gate Park, Nature in the City, Peter Coyote, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco Chronicle, urban wildlife, wildlife | Leave a Comment »

Urban coyote saga continues

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on July 16, 2007

A pair of coyotes in Golden Gate Park attacked two leashed dogs on Saturday. Today, US Department of Agriculture officials shot and killed the two coyotes. “City officials and wildlife researchers estimate that about five to eight coyotes live in San Francisco. These include at least two in Golden Gate Park and one on Bernal Hill. There have also been sightings in McLaren Park, Lake Merced and the Presidio.”

Scratch two from Golden Gate Park, which means three to six city wide.

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Posted in Bernal Hill, coyotes, coyotes in San Francisco, Golden Gate Park, Lake Merced, McLaren Park, Nature in the City, Presidio, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area, urban wildlife, wildlife | 1 Comment »

Urban wildlife (no, not wild life)

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on June 6, 2007

We have a family of racoons living in the extremely narrow, covered over space between our house and the neighbor’s garage. Or so our neighbor tells us. We haven’t actually seen the critters yet, though we do hear occasional scratching and scrabbling noises from that wall.

I’ve seen squirrels sauntering about our backyard as if they owned the place, and another neighbor said he found a very irritated ‘possum on his doorstep one night. Now, the SF Chronicle reports coyote sightings in the city, specifically in Golden Gate Park and Bernal Heights. (here) I lived in San Diego for way too long, and spent a few years in the suburbs, which are built on the outlying mesas. There were always stories about pet dogs and cats disappearing, the victims of marauding coyotes. Besides hunting in packs, coyotes can jump a fence and climb a tree as good as any cat.

There’s an organization in San Francisco, Nature in the City, devoted to “ecological conservation, restoration and stewardship of the Franciscan bioregion.” I guess our racoon neighbors are members, by default.

nature-in-the-city_1.jpg

Posted in Bernal Heights, coyotes, coyotes in San Francisco, Golden Gate Park, life, Nature in the City, racoons, San Diego, San Francisco, urban wildlife, wildlife | Leave a Comment »