The New Mission

The Sunset VillageI think everyone [well almost everyone] will agree that the Mission District is sooooo 10 minutes ago now. It’s filled with tons of entitled techies who have nothing better to do than move out the long time residents. Well that’s what everyone is saying at least.

The down side is that now people are going to be looking for the that new cool in spot to live and I think I know where that is and I’ve been seeing it happening for a couple of years, but well, it’s starting to take hold now.

It’s the Sunset District.

Yes, you heard me right. The suburbs of San Francisco, the Sunset District that two years ago people who say was too far away to live in has suddenly become the place everyone is saying they love. I think a majority of this has to do with the fact that it was the last affordable place to live in San Francisco. That’s changing quickly though and here’s why this is a problem.

The Sunset District is different than the Mission District. There’s a three story height limit that rarely gets approval to build higher and when it does it’s usually along a major thorough fare or commercial section. The rest of the time it’s just houses, mostly two story with a few three story thrown in, but very few apartments and those are only again along the commercial parts which are few and far between.

The Sunset District is the largest of all districts in San Francisco to the point that it’s broken up into the Inner/Central/Outer Sunset and the Inner/Outer Parkside, but everyone refers to all of it as the Sunset District for the most part. Technically I live in the Inner Parkside area, which is odd because it’s further away from Golden Gate Park than the Sunset, but I’m not a real estate guru, so I don’t understand the naming conventions.

Here’s where the problem is. Since San Francisco can’t spread out any more so it can only go up, but with a three story limit in the Sunset District proper you can’t go up. It would also be very rare to find several home owners willing to sell their houses together so that they could be torn down and have an apartment building replace it. This means that rents and home values will increase exponentially because there is a finite amount of space available and if everyone wants to move here because of all the room, well that’s going to be like trying to fit a square boulder into a round keyhole — it ain’t going to happen. So the only way to limit those who get to live here is by raising the price.

I’m not sure how I feel about this as I’m in a lucky spot that most other people aren’t. The houses aren’t rent controlled unless they’ve been split into two or more units [which Mayor Lee and Supervisor Tang are trying to get illegal in-laws approved] and I’m sure someone will buy the few apartment buildings and tear them down and rebuild them so they won’t be covered under rent control either. This will leave the Sunset in a weird place. My former next door neighbors were 6-8 [I never could tell how many] college students that were splitting the 4 bedroom house along with turning the dining room and living room into places for someone to live. In the near future you could see the same thing, but it wouldn’t be college kids, but well financed workers [I won’t say techies, because there are a lot that aren’t in tech] living like college kids. That’s just weird to me. I guess because I’m old I can’t see a rich couple spending multi-millions of dollars on what I would consider a not so big standard 3-4 bedroom home.

Ye Olde Tiled StepsThe neighborhood itself is changing which I don’t think is a bad thing overall. There were lots of businesses that you’d drive by all the time, but you’d never have a reason to go into them, or if you did it would only be once in maybe five years. There are restaurants that you can’t figure out why they’re still in business when you never see anyone go in or out of them. Clothing stores that are tiny and you can’t imagine paying five times what you would pay online for their t-shirts. We’re starting to get people to notice that there’s a beach that’s kind of cool to visit more than the few sunny days out of the year and the area at the foot of Judah Street has evolved into a new area being called La Playa. While that area has been around for awhile and was a bit alone and to itself there are a few other places that have little things that make gentri-sense tingle:

  1. Twisted Doughnuts: OK, it’s a doughnut shop, but it sells maple-bacon doughnuts for $2.75 each. Bacon and doughnuts is a true sign of hipsters.
  2. Sunset Reservoir Brewing Company: Yes, we have a brew pub in the Sunset now. I actually like the idea that I don’t have to leave the Sunset to go to a brew pub, but now the parking along Noriega is nonexistent.
  3. Lou’s & Grubbin’: These are two gourmet sandwich shops. They’re both good, but they have lines out the door most days and I’m not sure where the lines are coming from.
  4. $4 Toast: Trouble Coffee seems kind of like a veteran now because it’s been there for a few years and they were one of the businesses that started people talking about how ridiculous SF has gotten. Maybe it’s all their fault that this started, but I doubt that.
  5. The Tiled Steps: There’s a few of them in the Sunset and someone’s redone them and now it’s a thing to take pictures of them and have your picture taken by them. Oh, did I mention that they’re in heavily residential areas?
  6. Taco Tuesdays: Once a thing of Nick’s Crispy Tacos and the Blue Light bars in Polk Gulch and the Marina we’ve had The Taco Shop at Underdogs attracting crowds now. They’re so packed on Tuesdays that they’re flowing out into the streets.
  7. The Poor Man’s Marina: I actually heard someone use this term to describe the Inner Sunset and I realized it’s kind of true. If you condensed down Union and Chestnut streets to 4 blocks you’d pretty much have the Inner Sunset. It’s been that way for a long time, but it’s gotten bigger and denser since 2010. More restaurants and bars per square foot than you can imagine. It’s a nice place to visit, but I can’t imagine living there now.

Now when I tell people from outside the Sunset that I live here it’s not that’s so far away, but I love the Sunset! It will be interesting to see what happens. I’m already seeing homes selling for past the million dollar mark out here and I suspect unless there’s a significant event that doesn’t make people want to love San Francisco the prices won’t go down any time soon. There are things I like about the changes, but the increase in traffic I’m already seeing I’m not liking very much. Hopefully someone will come up with an answer to that. You will notice I’ve left out the links I love to pepper my articles with and there’s a reason. I don’t want to make it easier to visit for you. 😉


So according to the weather service San Francisco could possibly be hit by snow Friday or Saturday. Lot’s of people are up in arms because for a lot of people who have been here for awhile don’t know what to do. Let me give you a little hint. Do nothing. Look at the picture to the left, that’s what snow in San Francisco will be perceived at by many. They’ll poke it with a stick and go about their workday.

I fondly remember the four inches of snow that came down in 1976. It was a really cold winter that year, much colder than we’ve had this year. I even remember getting up in the mornings and water that had condensed on your car was frozen solid frequently. It’s been a few years since I’ve seen that here, but I ain’t seen it once this year or last.

Just to refresh your memories if you were here in 1976, I was woken up by my Grandmother who pulled me outside in my underwear to show me the snow. Well, she was of German decent, so maybe it was more like she pushed me out in the snow. This warranted a return fire of a snowball that caused much yelling headed my way for mucking up the house with…snow. When the time came to go to school I was walking down to A. P. Giannini Junior High and there was no snow on the streets, maybe a touch on the sidewalks, but you would mostly find it on people’s bushes and grass.

When I got to the school everyone was out in front having snowball fights because that’s the only place we had any grass at the school. Note to everyone, this was a time period when people didn’t have to clean up after their dogs so some of the snowballs were more like “poopsicles.” Just keep this in mind if you get any ideas of throwing a snowball if it snows in the next few days.

School starts and we’re all excited because, well, it’s SNOW, in SAN FRANCISCO! Most of us weren’t paying attention that day to the teachers as we were too busy looking out the windows at the snow falling…IN SAN FRANCISCO! Good things have to come to an end though and when it was time for lunch a few of us snuck outside the gates to play in the snow only to realize, it was gone. Our few minutes of west coast urban dwelling in the snow was gone.

San Francisco is a beast when it comes to weather. Sure, we can have torrential downpours, but those are rare and rarely last more than a few hours before the powers that be push the rotten weather back north and just let us lounge around in our bad weather that we get.

Moving forward in time to 1986 I was working down in North Beach and from the third story of the building I was working in we noticed snowfall…AGAIN! We all ran down the stairs to stand out in the snow only to find that at ground level all we saw was a bit of fog. We ran back up to the third floor…snow…back down…fog. Snow will never beat us because of the heat generated by the smugness of the people of San Francisco. If you live in fear of snow in San Francisco take a day off work and sit in your window with the best view and sip a nice warm hot buttered rum, or you can be uber-San Francisco and run out in the snow naked with flowers in your hair [150lbs weight limit, please.]