Recess announced that it’ll close at the end of this month; the building the play business occupied recently sold again, and the asking rent for the space is increasing another 35 percent. Not so long ago Potrero Hill was home to do-it-yourself teddy bear factories, mom and pop ice cream stores, and video rental shops that virtually the entire community frequented, especially families. No more. There’s plenty of caffeine and places to polish nails, but a certain soulfulness is fast fading, perhaps, we hope, replaced by something, if not better, at least authentic.
Sam Brannan is best known for the street that runs through South-of-Market, the northern edge of Potrero Hill and center of the City’s (bio)-tech industry. During the 19th Century Gold Rush Brannan purportedly shouted, “There’s gold in them thar hills!” while gallivanting through the streets of San Francisco. After being excommunicated from the Mormon church for pocketing tithe money, he supposedly asserted that God could have the cash whenever he asked for it. “Streets of gold” is a common catchphrase for tantalizing opportunities that draw outsiders to America, inevitably disappointing many, because our streets aren’t paved in gold. They’re paved in asphalt, concrete, and brick. Except on Arkansas Street, where artist Erik Schmitt painstakingly applied gold leaf to a water cover on the 800 block, part of roughly $600 worth of gold he’s painted onto mundane public objects around the Bay Area in a guerilla art installation, including on the 600 block of Howard Street.