So much to be grateful for…

in by
Art Agnos

Art Agnos served as San Francisco’s 39th mayor from 1988 to 1992, and was the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Regional Head from 1993 to 2001.  More importantly, he’s long been an engaged and charismatic Connecticut Street resident, helping to save and enliven Daniel Webster Elementary School and advocate for responsible growth along the Waterfront. He is awesome.

Dogpatch resident, Dennis Herrera, is without a doubt the country’s best city attorney.  He doggedly pursues justice for San Franciscans, particularly the most vulnerable among us; his excellence is reflected by the loyalty of his high-quality staff.  We are lucky to have him.

Jeff Adachi, who died earlier this year at just 59-years-old, embodied many of the characteristics that make San Francisco what it is, or at least what it was.  As our Public Defender Jeff and his dedicated crew represented thousands of defendants who could not afford their own attorney. He was a courageous and tenacious advocate for the people.  His passing renders a stitch in our City’s civic and human fabric.

Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi.  The View was an early and ardent supporter when she ran in 1986, and, my goodness, how that’s paid off for our City and the country.  Nancy may be the most talented Speaker of the House in the nation’s history; her skills have reached their apex at exactly the right political moment.  You go, Nancy!

Views.  They speak for themselves. Happy sigh.

SF-Marin Food Bank

Big Wheel Race:  A celebration of well-managed, fantastically fun, creative anarchy, that perfectly merges artistic, wheeled, self-expression with San Francisco’s first, or second, depending on how its measured, most-curviest street.

Food Bank: Feeding hungry people.  Pretty basic human expression of compassion, centered right here, in our own neighborhood.

Stanford the Corgi

Farley’s pet parade:  Pets in costumes, strutting their stuff at an event in which everyone’s a winner, not least of all the spectators.  Even better might be Farley’s Fourth of July street celebration, which nurtures the Hill’s exceptional small-town feel.  The community’s cup runneth over. 

Through meetings and negotiations, the Dogpatch Neighborhood Association advocates for construction and improvement projects that match the community’s collectively articulated needs. Dogpatch’s character and quality of life wouldn’t be what it is without DNA’s persistent efforts.

Its members are sharp, insistent, and affiliated with one of the City and County of San Francisco’s oldest and most powerful citizens’ advocacy groups:  the Potrero Boosters Neighborhood Association, which was founded in 1926.  The Boosters are the best!

Peter Linenthal. Does every neighborhood have its own historian?  We do!  How singular is that?

Many a Hill kid’s earliest childhood memory is of scooping sand, or swinging, at Jackson Park, which offers a cute clubhouse, accessible tennis courts, and athletic playing fields to boot.  In many ways the park serves as the community’s town square, at least for families, a role it’s destined to enlarge as renovation efforts are realized.

Starr King Open Space

Three-and-a-half-acre Starr King Open Space, which is owned by the community, was dedicated in 1984, protected from development to be enjoyed by all.  And we owe it all to legions of volunteer managers and caretakers, who have steadily worked to cultivate native species on the site.  Our very own open space is a star.

Founded in 1991, Christopher’s Books is “…really a community space that happens to be a bookstore,” according to owner Tee Minot.  She’s right.  This small, independent bookstore is a neighborhood gem.

McKinley Square: This oft-sunny open space, where many a toddler was first introduced to grass and communal play, has spectacular views and a busy, well-loved, playground. It’s a popular spot for birthday parties and picnics, with enough space to kick a ball or romp with a dog. Plus, beautiful cypress trees.

Potrero Hill Community Gardens

Established in the early-1970s, the Potrero Hill Community Garden is one of several commons dispersed throughout Dogpatch and the Hill, including the Pennsylvania Garden. Located on a once-vacant lot, the patch consists of 51 plots organically maintained by Hill residents.  It boasts panoramic views of the Mission, Twin Peaks, and beyond. Its sunny, Mediterranean climate enables cultivation of fruits, vegetables, and ornamentals, including dahlias, San Francisco’s official flower.

Just for You: This more than 30-year-old eggs-and-bacon-slinger was an early pioneer to Dogpatch; Potrero Hill residents still mourn its loss from the 18th Street commercial strip.  It’s usually packed, with good reason: the menu’s everything you could want for breakfast, including the Hangtown Fry: three scrambled eggs with bacon, oysters, and onions. According to JfY, “If this doesn’t cure your hangover, you’d better just go back to bed.”

San Francisco Fire Department’s Station 37 was built in 1914 at the corner of 22nd and Wisconsin streets. Today, the post is notable for its striking brickwork and the elaborate terra cotta that adorns its façade.  Plus, who doesn’t love firefighters, for all they do, and all they will do.

Built in the 1940s, Potrero Annex-Terrace is among San Francisco’s oldest public housing developments.  It isn’t pretty to look at, may not be all the comfortable to live in, and it’s taking too long to replace the obsolete, hastily constructed, buildings.  Still, the complex is home to roughly 1,300 people, of all ages, none of whom would be able to afford to reside in our neighborhood without Annex-Terrace.  And that’s a blessing, which’ll become an even greater one when ongoing renovation efforts are finally completed.

Although less than one percent of San Franciscans identify as Episcopalian, St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church, on De Haro Street, draws a large congregation from around the Bay Area to its beautiful building, with about 20 percent of regular attendees Hill residents.  Neighborhood and recovery groups use the church for meetings and events. Since 2001, a food pantry has distributed free groceries to hundreds of families. In a shaded area next to the structure’s main entrance a bench and chalkboard enable people to write prayer requests and express what they’re thankful for, much like the View is doing right now.

St. Teresa's

St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church has about 200-member families, a small subset of the quarter of the City’s population who are Catholic. The Church was established in the 1880s, expanding from a Third Street boarding house. A permanent church was built on Tennessee Street, but as the population migrated the structure was disassembled and rebuilt at its current 19th and Connecticut streets location. St. Teresa’s is active in the Society of St. Vincent de Paul; volunteers distribute groceries to the needy weekly; they make sandwiches for homeless individuals monthly. 

Pera's Restaurant

The warmth and graciousness of Pera’s staff draws Hillians repeatedly to this 18th Street eatery.  Brothers and co-owners Metin and Earphan Yalçin are, quite frankly, splendid.  Their menu features lots of variety, including small plates that can be shared family style, such as saganaki, a tasty pan-fried halloumi cheese presented on an iron skillet and set aflame tableside while the server says “Opa!” Plus, hummus, baba ganoush, creamed spinach and salads, and Bird’s Nest, a kind of zucchini casserole with crispy topping.  Delicious!

The View’s gratitude issue wouldn’t be complete without mention of Hazel’s Kitchen, a pocket-sized delicatessen that serves an impressive range of sandwiches, bagels, burritos, soups, and salads.  Owner Leslie Goldberg and her staff greet guests with a warm smile; if you come back a couple times, they’ll remember you and your order.  And of course, neighbors are always welcome to add their own message to the gratitude tree outside the shop.

Over the past 25 years more than 3,500 babies have been born with support from Homeless Prenatal Program, almost all healthy and drug-free.  Catering to an under-resourced and vulnerable population, HPP combines prenatal education and parenting classes to help ensure fit  birth outcomes and strong parent-child bonding.  We’re deeply grateful to have this great resource in our neighborhood.

Martin de Porres House of Hospitality

Martin de Porres House of Hospitality is a freerestaurant, serving breakfast and lunch weekdays, brunch on Sundays, though the main meal is a large portion of compassion, understanding and loveA community of people reflecting diverse spiritual practices, Martin is rooted in the Catholic Worker Movement, following the philosophy of “gentle personalism,” in which all persons have dignity; eating is a right, not a privilege; feeding the hungry is a matter of justice, not charity.  Since 1971, a year after the View was founded, Martin’s volunteers have lived this commitment, helping others live lives of self-respect.

Edna and Pablo Molina, along with J. Ferreira, manage Pumas United, a competitive and recreational soccer club that cultivates more than great playing skills. The Molina’s stay on top of their players’ game, on an off the field, placing academics first, deploying the discipline required for success in sports as a broader message about how to excel in life.  Great soccer coaches and managers are hard to find, especially for teenage girls. Pumas United is a tiger of team.

The "O.K. Leaf"

From a View reader: “The O.K. Leaf,” found by Odin Nguyen Marin in Oakland, November 2018, who dedicates the image to his “amazing violin/viola teacher Erika Miranda, in gratitude and appreciation.”

The Potrero View thanks:

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Bill Johnston

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Farley’s Coffee

Frames on 3rd

Good Life Grocery

Hazel’s Kitchen

Jewish Community High School

Kaiser Permanente

Mary Lace, Sotheby’s International Realty

Melinda Lee, Zephyr Real Estate

Museum of Craft and Design

Owlcam

Tim Johnson, Compass

Primary Residential Mortgage

Rickshaw Bags

Roger Miller Housekeeping Service

See Far Housing

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

San Francisco Department of Building Inspection

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Mission Neighborhood Center

Smog Queen

St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church

Susan Olk, Zephyr Real Estate

Wendy Watkins and Wes Freas, Zephyr Real Estate

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Mark Pearson

And anyone we accidentally missed!