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SOMA to Get Another LGBT-Themed Public Space

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Ringold Alley will get a makeover, complete with nods to its cruisy past

Last year we brought to your attention the upcoming LGBT-themed space at 12th and Harrison, aimed to focus less on the overall community's rainbow-flag waving and more on neighborhood's historic queer leather kink side.

Now Lamar Anderson (former Curbed SF editor) at San Francisco Magazine has word on another nearby public plaza set to receive a similar theme, this one a few blocks away on Ringold Alley. Poised to open in early 2017 and helmed by Miller Company Landscape Architects, it will feature new artwork, a cafe and eatery, a park, and nods to its cruisy past.

Anderson writes:

Ringold Alley won’t be a destination in itself so much as a series of pedestrian features, akin to the plaques embedded in the Embarcadero sidewalk that nod to port history. A black stone near the Ninth Street entrance will likely feature a reproduction of the [former bathhouse] Tool Box’s long-gone mural—famously captured in a 1964 Life magazine spread about gay life in America. Short granite curbstone pillars will honor leather institutions like miniature monoliths ... In a rugged twist on the commemorative plaque, bronze boot prints will conjure the footsteps of the men who once frequented Ringold in its heyday as a cruising alley.

Awesome.

For those not in the know, the alley is located behind the much-loved Stud nightclub on Harrison. The small stretch of street was an excellent SOMA cruising spot prior to the advent of such scene-killing apps as Grindr and Scruff.

The two public spaces are tributes to SOMA's gay past. In recent years, development and skyrocketing prices have booted out most of the former LGBT establishments and residents.