La Lengua, has your time come?

Sure, triangular region of “La Lengua” was acknowledged first by the blogsthe ExaminerCBS local news, and even Google.

But when the real estate folks catch on, it somehow feels… wrong.

Maybe we should call it “the Really Oblique Trapezoid”, in step with recent trends? Or the “2nd Amendment Flats”. You know, because of the gun store and Eagle Donuts.

Goodbye pig, hello bird

Angry pig, begone!


and here it is deskewed:


La Lengua microhood gets even more validity

More congrats to Johnny0 (aka Burrito Justice), who single-handedly named a neighborhood using only his imagination and a series of tubes. This takes some serious chops. I should know, as I was totally unsuccessful in my attempts to coin “Civic Valley“.

In the latest installment of this saga, the SF Examiner took an interest in this story and wrote it up. They declare:

So welcome to La Lengua, the Mission district-Bernal Heights microhood that needed a name. Yes, that’s right, it’s Spanish for “the Tongue,” a reference to the district’s shape, its preponderance of eateries serving tongue meat and the active imagination of the dude behind the Burrito Justice blog.

Perhaps most chilling, to me at least, was the closing line:

“I wouldn’t say it’s a hipster thing,” Johnny0 said. “I think it’s what happens when hipsters grow up and have kids … they come and live in La Lengua.”

The first time I met Johnny0, I invited him to brunch the next day. He said he was busy doing dad stuff. Then he said sorta waved his fingers in front of me and said in a spooky voice, “I am your fuuuuuture!”

This has haunted me ever since.

[via the Examiner]

Benefit for victims of last night’s fire

There’s already a benefit show being organized for tomorrow to benefit the victims of last night’s fire in La Lengua. The residents of the building lost nearly all their possessions and are without a place to live. Here’s the full release from facebook:

Hey Ya’ll

Many of you saw or heard about the devastating fire that happened on Mission and Valencia last night. The house that took the brunt of the damage was actually a house full of amazing friends who many of you may know and love. It looks as though the fire destroyed most or all of their possessions and made the house uninhabitable for the foreseeable future.

Currently the residents are without homes, clothes, and other basic necessities and could really use assistance getting back on their feet. The four people who lost their home are all amazing people who have been active vibrant parts of our queer community in San Francisco and have always shown their strongest support for the needs of others. Now its our turn to show our support and bring together the generosity and might of our community to support them in this time of need.

El Rio has generously allowed us to take over their front room on Friday night for an emergency benefit to raise funds for these four amazing folks to purchase the basics they need to stay afloat. Please please please spread the word about this event on facebook and elsewhere and come out, dig deep and share your $$ with folks who really need it right now. At the door there will be someone collecting cash to be distributed directly to the victims of the fire, so just make sure that person gets your donation, come in, have some drinks hangout on the patio and dance a bit if you like.

Also, El Rio will also be donating 100% of their bar proceeds from 8-9pm directly to the four folks affected so come early, donate and drink.

Brown Amy & I are going to be DJ’ing & anyone else who would like to be involved by DJ’ing, speaking, whatever please contact me and let me know.

*** If you are unable to attend you can make your donations via Paypal to ***

Friday, April 8th
El Rio
3158 Mission Street
Donations suggested – as generous as you can be

[Thanks to Cat for the heads up and the flyer design]

Update: If cash aint your thing, donate stuff. Tom says:

In terms of clothes if anyone could donate some size 13 shoes or mens pants with a 31/32 or 36 waist that would be really amazing. Shirts, Mediums and larges… MUNI Passes, grocery gift cards, things like that too!


“Take the Folsom-Dolores Diagonal To 826 South Market”

Eric Fischer brings us news that the merchants of Valencia Street are considering renaming Valencia to “South Market”.

(Wait, what’s that, Eric? I thought you said it was in the Chronicle? Ohhhh, in 1935, got it.)

“Efforts over many years to make Valencia a first-class commercial street having failed, they believe by adopting the name of South Market the desired object can be attained.”

Needless to say, the California Pioneers were unamused.

I am sure the merchants of 1935 would look upon the oasis that is Valencia St with abject horror. Then again, the shots we have of pre-1930 Valencia St certainly seem that they could have been trying harder.

1929 , looking  south down Valencia towards 24th. image via SFPL

Lest we be too hard on our great-grandparents, do note their first effort at parklets above — check out the sandbags on the right of the tracks in this shot. (Bonus points to whomever correctly guesses what they are.)

Another item captured by Eric Fischer (half-man, half-scanner) is “the Folsom-Dolores Diagonal”, a 1928 plan to convert the Southern Pacific Railway right of way into a boulevard. Eric’s original scan is on his Flickr page, but I have taken the liberty of highlighting and de-diagonalizing it for our viewing pleasure.

The Folsom-Dolores Diagonal is certainly no Mission Freeway — oh, 1928 city planners, why did not not dare to dream!

Remember this was just as they were widening the Bernal Cut (today’s San Jose exit from 280) so they were considering increased traffic flow into the city.  Remember also there was no 101 / Bayshore Freeway yet —  just the Bayshore *Highway*, aka today’s Bayshore Boulevard, which was also under construction in 1928.

I’ve highlighted in yellow one mysterious notation on our diagonal map:

Correct me if I’m wrong, but does that say “Dolores Street Tunnel?There’s some pretty serious grade between 27th and 26th on Dolores (there actually was a Dolores street bridge for the old railroad) so topolographically it makes sense. But to a tunnel where? The secret bathrooms at Dolores Park? I vaguely remember 1920s transit plans for subway emerging at 26th and Dolores but I will be damned if I can find it now.

UPDATE: Eric found it – it was in the 1937 SF transit plan where a subway would run underneath the SPRR RoW.

Other detail on Eric’s map includes our utterly whacked Mission / Dolores / San Jose / Randall intersection (the very tip of La Lengua) – it seems to have been implemented then:

If you need that many arrows, you have failed, sirs. Also, San Jose Ave was entertainingly narrow.

Take a look at this 1927 SFPL shot looking south down San Jose Ave, across 30th.  It is completely unrecognizable compared to today. It seriously took me an hour to figure out it – even with my before/after shot it still makes my head hurt.

The buildings on the right (west) were all torn down when they widened San Jose and Guerrero in the 1950s. Google Earth Overlay below (click to zoom). Yellow estimates field of view for the 1927 photo.

The green overlay was the saloon you see on the right hand side of the old picture (note the fancy rounded turret window thing). Blue were the apartments across 30th on the right. All those are long gone.

The red overlay is the Carmel (a boarding house if I’m not mistaken). I really don’t know if it’s the same structure — it’s a strange shaped lot, so you kind of have to make a building in that shape. Windows seem to be in different locations too, so I’m skeptical.

Such is the actual and retrofuture Mission and La Lengua in the 1920s and 30s.

What, No Drinks?

This minimalist menu was observed by @Robertol in front of what I believe is SoCha’s.

Reminds me of the old Gary Larson Far Side classic. Or, “It’s a trap!!

Corduroy Corner

Hmm, what’s this?  The flag of some breakaway Soviet republic?  Fabricstan?

Nope — just a Levi’s ad…

…tacked up to the windows of Groger’s Western Store on Valencia & 26th.

Guess that explains the burnt orange bicycles and lavender sawhorse (which is now gone). For a minute I though Levi’s was opening up a store on Valencia. La Lengua would welcome you with open arms.

But you have to admit it’s rather appropriate for Groger’s.  Though I really don’t know which of those colors would go best with a brushpopper shirt.