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Tenderloin Resident Erin Feher Montoya Has the DL on the TL

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The People's Guide is Curbed SF's tour of neighborhoods, led 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 time around, we welcome Erin Feher Montoya, a writer, an editor, and a resident of the Tenderloin.

What's the neighborhood housing stock like?
There is one single-family home in the whole neighborhood, otherwise it's a mix of old medium-rise apartment buildings, and new high-rise buildings popping up every where you look.

Better for buyers or renters?
Both. We bought here eight years ago and live in a great building with a community of owners who are really invested in the neighborhood. There is also plenty of rental stock and from what I hear, some "deals" can still be had.

Do you need a car to get around?
Not at all. We have nearly every bus, BART, and MUNI line pass by somewhere within half a dozen blocks.

Most reliable public transit?
From here, they are all pretty good and frequent. MUNI Metro is best—most frequent and fast—but BART and MUNI buses and even Golden Gate Transit and AC all have major stops here and are pretty reliable.

Nearest grocery store?
We have been dubbed a "food desert" but it's not completely true. In addition to a handful of Asian markets that carry decent produce and some great specialty stuff like fresh noodles, we are home to the biggest, best farmers market that goes down twice a week (Heart of the City). Plus the southern edge of the TL has a Trader Joe's on California and Leavenworth, Harvest Market is at 8th and Folsom and the new Market on Market is inside the Twitter Building (and it has IT ALL). If you're desperate and downtown, there is always Bristol Farms.

Good for kids?
I've got one, and we like it here. That said, I wouldn't exactly call it family friendly. Between the drugs, the homeless, the litter, and the crime, there are more "don't touch!" moments than not around here.

Best place to get a coffee?
We've got these in spades, and I can't choose just one. I love Philz, Acre, Machine, Jane and the brand new George and Lennie's.

Best park?
Bodecker Park was just renovated, but I can't say I go there often. I would have to say the Tenderlion National Forest, a wonderful project by the Luggage Store Gallery which turned one of the neighborhood's more brutal alleys into a whimsical park-like space.

Beloved neighborhood joint?
Jane, Elmira, Little Dehli, Mangosteen, Elephant Sushi, Mr. Holmes Bakeshop, Hooker's, Brenda's....the list is long.

Best-kept secret?
The incredible art galleries, new and old.

Stereotypical residents?
Drug dealers, drug addicts, and the mentally ill.

Are the stereotypes true?
They aren't false.

Who wouldn't be happy here?
People who are shocked easily.

Most common sight?
People selling stolen iPhones and people lining up for Cruffins.

Stay away from ...
Leavenworth below Geary is pretty gnarly. Choose an alternate route.