North by Northwest

Dear Readers,

It’s been a great 6 months here at CVA, but as of earlier this week, yours truly has relocated to the beautiful city of Portland, Oregon. I will therefore no longer be posting to this blog, however it will remain up for archival purposes until (if) someone decides to take it on.

If you or someone you know might be interested in making regular contributions and/or would like to take over as editor, please contact me and I’ll help get you started.

In the meantime, be sure to check out the fabulous ColeValleySF for all the latest neighborhood news and events.

Thanks so much for your support and for spending a little time on Cole Valley Alley.

Brendon Constans
Cole Valley Alley

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Filed under General

San Francisco Cyclery Closing

CVA reader and fellow blogger D. Madey of Ice Tubes Blog tipped us to a new banner he saw hanging outside the San Francisco Cyclery (672 Stanyan @ Haight) indicating they’ve lost their lease and will therefore have to close:

Hey, I saw that SF Cyclery (Stanyan @ Haight) lost their lease and have to move. Big huge sign on the store saying just that, and “everything must go”. IMHO, best bike shop in the neighborhood. Totally bummer.

I went to the shop today to speak with an employee and see what went down. The person I spoke to was very friendly, but didn’t want to get into much detail or have their name printed, as it’s still a sore subject/emotional issue for all involved.  What they did tell me is that the landlord was going to triple their rent, so the partners/owners decided to close up shop. They think the landlord might have done it with the explicit intention of driving them out (knowing full well they wouldn’t be able to/want to pay such exorbitant rent) so they could take over the space for their own purposes.

The building has been home to bike shops for over 100 years, with the current owners taking over in 2005. There aren’t any current plans to move the store to another location, so it appears this will be the final ride for the San Francisco Cyclery… at least for now.

Historical photo of Stanyan, just past Haight. Note the building with the "BICYCLES TO RENT" sign, current location of the SF Cyclery. Apologies for the poor camera phone capture quality and lack of date. Image courtesy San Francisco Cyclery.

Although it will be very sad to see them go, we’re lucky to still have three remaining bike shops just up the street: Avenue Cyclery at 756 Stanyan, American Cyclery at 510 Frederick, and their sister store American Cyclery Too at 858 Stanyan.

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Filed under Local Business

Haight-Ashbury Street Fair TOMORROW

In case you hadn’t already heard, the 34th Annual Haight-Ashbury Street Fair is happening tomorrow, Sunday June 11th, from 11 AM – 5:30 PM. The event usually draws tens of thousands of people to The Haight, so be sure to plan accordingly… and have fun!  More info on the affected streets & Muni lines at SF Appeal.

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Filed under Events, Muni

Red Vic May CLOSE in July!

Oh no! Say it ain’t so!

As reported by several sources (KQED/Haighteration/Uptown Almanac), after 30 years in operation, the Red Vic Movie House (1727 Haight @ Cole) may have its final showing July 25th. Apparently, despite several fundraisers, they just don’t have the cash flow to stay afloat.

As a worker-owned-and-operated theater, and one of the few remaining single-screen theaters in the city, they were able to provide a wide variety of programming and quality of service you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. Unlike the majority of theaters and multiplexes that tend to hire high school or college students at minimum wage, the Red Vic was one of the few movie houses where, as owners, the employees were truly invested in the operation, something you could see and feel in the way they treated their customers and participated in the community.

There are so many fantastic Red Vic oddities that will be sorely missed if/when they shutter: Their nicely padded old church pew seats, the hilarious pre-show mini-movie (seen below, which has been played prior to every screening since 1983), wooden popcorn bowls, ceramic coffee mugs, re-usable hard plastic soda cups, and of course their extensive popcorn spice bar (nutritional yeast & garlic salt, yum!).

As much as I love going to The Castro for its grandeur or The Kabuki for its comfy reserved seating, they (and the corporate multiplexes) lack the down-home neighborhood feel and eclectic programming of the Red Vic. Where else can you see The Great Muppet Caper, Wayne’s World, House (Hausu), and Kuroneko all in the same week? Not to mention their frequent showings of films like Baraka, The Room and Vertigo, and various one-of-a-kind film festivals.

If the theater doesn’t get a major influx of cash soon, they’ll be wrapping up their 30 year run with Harold & Maude (another Red Vic favorite) from July 22-25th, with the final showing at 9:30 PM on Monday, July 25th.

If you or any of your wealthy friends would like to help save this Haight-Ashbury institution, donations can be made HERE.


Filed under Events, Local Business

Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council Meeting TONIGHT

Happy Bike to Work Day!

The Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council is having a General Meeting TONIGHT from 7 – 9 PM in the downstairs Community Room of the Park Branch Library (1833 Page, between Cole and Shrader).

There will be a discussion about how the Golden Gate National Recreation Area Plan will affect the dog community, how City budget proposals will impact our neighborhood, and a brief announcement about the pedestrian path in the Panhandle.

Hope to see you there!

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Filed under Events

Sun Sets on Ashbury Market

As reported by SF Weekly, it appears as though Ashbury Market and their neighboring wine & cheese shop have closed.

Opened in the 1950s by Walter and Jane Wong, the store remained in Wong family hands until it was sold in 1999.

A few months ago, current owner Resat Turgut launched, an online grocery delivery service bringing Ashbury Market goods right to your door. A visit to their website reveals the following message:

“We are moving into a new warehouse. Feel free to browse around our site but we can NOT process any orders at the moment. We appreciate your patience during this time.”

So was the Market suffering due to its residential location? Were they unable to compete with the new Whole Foods? Or did they simply close up shop to focus on the potentially more lucrative (and decidedly lower overhead) grocery delivery business? The above-mentioned message regarding the warehouse makes me think it’s probably the latter.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens, and with so much space now vacant (they took up nearly three storefronts), what might take their place.


Filed under Local Business

Mayor Lee And Supervisor Mirkarimi Gettin’ All Up In Our District

Mayor Edwin Lee & Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi will be holding a couple events in District 5 tomorrow.  Here are the deets from the Mayor’s Office:

10:00 AM
Mayor Lee to visit Western Addition merchants with District 5 Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi.
Merchant walk to start at Gussie’s Chicken and Waffles
1521 Eddy Street at Fillmore Street

6:30 PM
Mayor Lee and Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi to host District 5 Budget Town Hall.
Hamilton Recreation Center        
1900 Geary Boulevard at Steiner Street

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Filed under Events, Local Business, Politics