The People's Guide is Curbed SF's tour of neighborhoods, led by our most loyal readers, favorite bloggers, San Francisco celebrities, 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 Juanita More: artist, DJ, and drag legend. Let's find out what she has to say about the Tendernob.
How long have you lived in your neighborhood?
I have lived in my tiny Tendernob apartment for 25 years. My friend's mother owned the building and he offered me the basement studio apartment when I moved back from NYC. I love it here and am grateful for rent control as it has allowed me to live as an artist in San Francisco.
What's the neighborhood housing stock like?
According to my sources, more than 25 percent of the neighborhood’s housing stock is either in nonprofit hands or has rents subsidized by the government.
Better for buyers or renters or both?
This neighborhood is pretty much all renters.
Do you need a car to get around?
You do not need a car to get around this neighborhood. As a matter of fact, you can’t even park a car in this neighborhood anymore. Parking garages have magically been transformed into luxury condominiums. Most recently the SFMTA has coined the term "daylighting" as their excuse to get rid of hundreds of parking spaces to protect pedestrians.
Our wheelchair bound residents are welcoming this change but not my family and friends that drive into the city to visit me. Parking has become impossible.
Most reliable public transit:
I don’t use public transit to get around, but I suppose the 38 Geary would be your ride if you wanted to get from the bay to the ocean.
Nearest grocery store (and why you like it):
This area has a liquor/grocery store on every corner - that’s as close as you’ll get to doing any type of grocery shopping. My choice would be going to the Farmers Market, appropriately called the Heart of the City. It operates Wednesday and Sundays from 7AM to 5PM, open rain or shine. It is an independent non-profit that is operated by its member farmers. This is my favorite spot during the summer to get freshly picked corn, squash blossom flowers, and tomatoes.
Good for kids?
There are many low-income families raising children in this neighborhood. It takes a lot of strategic navigation with a stroller to battle our street residents’ daily activities. Don’t forget that you are walking through the homes of our cities homeless when you pass through. Their living room, bathroom, and sometimes kitchen are on the sidewalks.
Best place to get a coffee:
Two coffee spots I frequent are Hooker’s Sweet Treats (with the most divine salted caramels) and Jane on Larkin, my go to spot for fresh, daily-baked bread.
There really isn’t a park in this neighborhood. If you dare to cross California Street by Grace Cathedral on top of Nob Hill, you’ll step right into Huntington Park with its playground for kids, benches surrounded by freshly watered green grass, and a nice area for your dogs. There are restrooms available too. At the Eastern end of the Tendernob is a couple of small muddy patches of grass at Union Square. Otherwise a couple of playgrounds exist where adults are not allowed without children.
Best-kept secret in your hood?
The best kept secret in my neighborhood is the patio at Jones. It’s a quiet oasis in the middle of downtown. Once a year it transforms into what is considered the "best party" during Pride week, which I just so happen to host.
Are the stereotypes true?
For the most part, yes.
Most common sight:
Stay away from:
If you feel the need to stay away from things in this neighborhood, I suggest you just go to another one.
Beloved neighborhood joint(s):
Aunt Charlie’s Lounge and the Gangway.
Where are the best places to chill and/or experience the outdoors?
The aforementioned Huntington Park is probably the closest and most pleasant place to spend some time outdoors.
Who wouldn't be happy here?
People with cars wouldn’t be so happy here. Cars get broken into on every block, every night of the week.
Piece of neighborhood lore:
The Compton’s Cafeteria riot happened several blocks away from my apartment in the Tenderloin proper back in 1966. Compton’s was one of the only places in which members of the transgender community felt safe congregating, often doing so under the spectre of daily harassment from the SFPD. One night, one woman had had enough and splashed coffee in an officer’s face, sparking the first transgender riot in recorded U.S. history.
Remember, this was four years before Stonewall even happened.
Describe your 'hood in one sentence:
The real deal.
What do people not know about your neighborhood?
The Tendernob is one of the best neighborhoods to be anonymous in.