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The People's Guide: Vic Wong and Civic Valley

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The People's Guide is Curbed SF's tour o' the nabes, lead by our most loyal readers, favorite bloggers, and other luminaries of our choosing. Have a piece to say? We'll be happy to hand over the megaphone. This week, we welcome Vic Wong, writer for Mission Mission.

Neighborhood: I write for Mission Mission but I actually live where Civic Center meets Hayes Valley, a region I call the Civic Valley. It's a hot neighborhood that you should really keep your eye on. It's within 3 minutes walking distance to the breathtaking Fox Plaza, the SF Symphony, SFMTA HQ, and Zuni. How is that for range?

Tell us something we don't know about Civic Valley: When you put "San Francisco" into Google Maps, it puts the flag right in the heart of Civic Valley. That means it's the center of San Francisco, and therefore the center the liberal universe. Ok, second to maybe Telegraph and Bancroft. Also, the 24-hour All Star Donuts will make you a cheesesteak whenever you want.

Local customs of note: There are these guys that really like to skateboard in the parking lot on Franklin and Hickory. It has a low ledge that they've waxed up really well making it ideal for amateur-level 50-50s and tail slides. I'm sure when they hold the camera at the right angle, the resulting YouTube videos look very impressive. Every Sunday, I find myself joining about 30 other sleepy people in a line in front of a tiny coffee kiosk on Linden Street. I always forget the name... Blue Kettle or something like that. At the Civic Center farmer's market there are elderly Chinese ladies that sell black market supermarket goods on the sidewalk. I'm talking Wonder bread, Fruit Loops, and cans of beans. No one knows who their supplier is. It's an industry that's shrouded in secrecy.

Hidden gems in the Civic Valley: Lily and Linden Streets are great for long-term parking if you live outside of any SF parking permit zone. There are permit dead zones are all over this area with no real pattern and I Iive in one. On the bright side, it eventually made me get rid of my car. A Subway recently opened up on Hickory and Van Ness that's open pretty late for those nights where hunger is just a problem that I need to solve quickly and cheaply. Ananda Faura has the best vegetarian food served by a mysterious cult that I've ever eaten. I'm going to be really disappointed when the mothership returns for them leaving only their colorful sarees in an empty shell of a storefront.

Are your neighbors "Rotten Neighbor" worthy? If so, dish. If not? well, why not? I live in an apartment overlooking the Rickshaw Stop music venue. They aren't so bad during the week, but the 18+ club nights on weekends can be a bit much. One thing I've learned is that rock shows tend to end at a reasonable hour but club nights will take it right to the legal 2am cut-off time. After that, you need to account for the 30 minutes of street chaos while people spill out. I've never understood the universal urge to stand in the street and yell "WOOO!" when you're having a good time, but these folks have it down. I guess my point is try to move next a place where people are too cool to dance. If you can't sleep, try a white noise generator like an electric fan. Also, once I caught someone doing a number 2 on our doorstep. All I could muster was, "uh that's... not appropriate, miss."

Inflate the bubble or burst it: What's swell or not so-swell about your "perfect" neighborhood? It's cheap to live here. I rent an awesome exposed brick 1-bedroom for a price that would make most Mission folks swoon. The best part of the Civic Valley is it's central location. You can get on any major bus and BART in minutes. It's less than 15 minutes away from everywhere you'd want to go on a bike. Just take it easy on that triple lane change on Market and Valencia. On the negative side, it's boring and there are no good burritos which is why I go to the Mission every day.
· The People's Guide [Curbed SF]
· Photo via Sex Pigeon

Rickshaw Stop

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