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Archive for the ‘South of Market’ Category

The end of an era

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on June 4, 2014

The Defenestration Building is no more. According to the website, this “[s]ite-specific installation on the corner of 6th and Howard St. in San Francisco” is a multi-disciplinary sculptural mural created in 1997 that “involves seemingly animated furniture; tables, chairs, lamps, grandfather clocks, a refrigerator, and couches, their bodies bent like centipedes, fastened to the walls and window-sills, their insect-like legs seeming to grasp the surfaces. Against society’s expectations, these everyday objects flood out of windows like escapees, out onto available ledges, up and down the walls, onto the fire escapes and off the roof. ‘DEFENESTRATION’ was created by Brian Goggin with the help of over 100 volunteers.”
When I used to work in the East Bay I would drive home via the Bay Bridge, exit on Fifth Street and, traffic permitting, I would make the jog up to Howard just to pass by the Defenestration Building on my way home. This wacky landmark was a wonderful gateway icon to view upon entering the City.
Here’s more from the Defenestration website: “The concept of ‘DEFENESTRATION’, a word literally meaning ‘to throw out of a window,’ is embodied by both the site and staging of this installation. Located at the corner of Sixth and Howard Streets in San Francisco in an abandoned four-story tenement building, the site is part of a neighborhood that historically has faced economic challenges and has often endured the stigma of skid row status. Reflecting the harsh experience of many members of the community, the furniture is of the streets, cast-off and unappreciated. The simple, unpretentious beauty and humanity of these downtrodden objects is reawakened through the action of the piece. The act of ‘throwing out’ becomes an uplifting gesture of release, inviting reflection on the spirit of the people we live with, the objects we encounter, and the places in which we live. The ground level has served as a rotating gallery for the vibrant artwork of street muralists.”
After unsuccessful attempts were made to restore the building to its artistic glory, the Defenestration Building sat, unused and awaiting demolition, for over a decade. Well, yesterday, its deconstruction as it were was begun. Here’s the SF Chronicle article about the demolition. Included is a slideshow of some 17 photos by James Tensuan. And here’s a video featuring Brian Goggin, the artist behind the art.
This one post cannot substitute for an entire website like Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, a beautiful, intelligent, and highly awarded site mentioned by me in this post. The city of San Francisco is vanishing before my eyes, our eyes, and it is all so very sad.

Posted in life, San Francisco, South of Market | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The madness…

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on June 21, 2007

San Francisco’s LGBT Pride Celebration is this weekend, and we’re bracing for the madness. The Trans March Friday night, Pink Saturday celebrations in the Civic Center, the Dyke March Saturday night, the main Pride Parade on Sunday, and a gazillion parties, concerts, and other events in between. Not to mention that every bar in the Castro, and there are a hell of a lot of bars, will be spilling celebrants out into the streets. (check here for a calendar)

It’s been almost a year since my wife and I moved from SOMA to upper Eureka Valley. We’re not in the center of the maelstrom, but comfortably perched above it. That said, there’s city “no parking” signs up all along Castro and 18th, and there’s not likely to be any parking for blocks and blocks around. More important to me as a user of public transportation, the buses are fucked up, or nonexistent, for two days. That means anything we do in the neighborhood will have to be done on foot.

You know what though? That’s city living. I chose to live in San Francisco in part because I would be in proximity to lots of exciting events and activities.

I’m particularly disturbed by the NIMBYism that has swept the city in recent years, and which is personified by the Newsom administration. Folks who purchased very expensive homes are complaining about the noise and nuisance of traditional events held in their neighborhoods, getting them shut down. The San Francisco Party Party website summarizes the casualties in warning about a threat to the Mission’s Carnaval celebrations.

More bad news: hot off the press. One of our editors just had a flyer placed under her door from a NIMBY group that is organizing to kill Carnaval next year. Apparently Mission NIMBY ( neighbors are inspired by NIMBYs in other parts of town that have killed Haight Street Fair, How Weird Street Fair, Halloween, and many other popular events.

We will have more information as this story develops. But for now please send an email to Tom Ammiano, Gavin Newsom, and the Board of Supervisors demanding that the city protect public events from NIMBY suburbanites (June 17th, 2007)

If I’d wanted to live in Walnut Creek, I’d have moved there.


Posted in anti-suburbanization, Bay Area, Carnaval, Castro Street, culture, Dyke March, Eureka Valley, Gavin Newsom, gay, Haight Street Fair, Halloween in the Castro, How Weird Street Fair, LGBT, neighborhoods, NIMBY, NIMBYism, Pink Saturday, Pride Parade, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area, SOMA, South of Market, The Castro, Tom Ammiano, Trans March, Walnut Creek, yuppie | Leave a Comment »

The parrots! The parrots!

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on June 11, 2007

We moved from South of Market to upper Eureka Valley ten months ago. We’re two thirds of the way up Twin Peaks, in dense trees and occasional fog. This morning, Sunday morning, the parrots flew by.

(I forget that this blog is set, by default, to GMT. It’s still Sunday evening, nine-thirty-ish, as I write this.)

The “Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill,” made famous in book and film, paid us a visit. Three flew screeching into the towering buckeye chestnut in the neighbor’s yard, then promptly flew away with much squawking, and then two returned to the buckeye and a nearby pine tree, again with much noise, and color. They were green and red, comical and playful.

Made my day.

Posted in Eureka Valley, life, parrots, San Francisco, South of Market, Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill | Leave a Comment »

Izzy’s is gone!

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on May 29, 2007

I walked around my old South of Market neighborhood yesterday. A lot has changed since I moved away 9 months ago, most of it not for the better. The residential building boom of apartments, condos and “live/work” lofts continues at an alarming rate, altering the light industrial character of the area with relentless gentrification. Upscale businesses are proliferating, yet there’s no commensurate expansion of public parking for the customers those businesses hope to draw. The Academy of Art University has spread like a cancer, occupying more and more real estate. Perhaps most disheartening of all, Izzy’s Brooklyn Bagels at 151 Townsend is no more.

I regularly walked down to the waterfront for exercise when I lived in the neighborhood, passing Izzy’s on the way. I always bought a bagel to nosh on for the remainder of my walk, and occasionally picked up a few more for home. I ate them plain, savoring the smell and taste of Izzy’s authentic, kosher bagels. Their bialys were to die for. Izzy’s bagels never failed to transport me in my memories to the times I spent in Brooklyn and Manhattan visiting friends.

Izzy sold the San Francisco store, and it’s now the non-kosher Bagel Bakery. There’s another Izzy’s down the peninsula in Palo Alto (477 S. California Ave.), but that’s a long way to go for genuine Brooklyn bagels. I’m saddened more by Izzy’s departure then I am about SOMA’s inexorable transformation into yuppieland. (Izzy’s website)

Posted in bagels, gentrification, Izzy's, life, South of Market | Leave a Comment »