In a new series called “Putting the ‘Alley’ in Hayes Valley,” we explore the many side streets of our neighborhood and everything we find on them.
Join us for our first photo tour of Lily Street.
Lily Street is sandwiched between Page & Oak and only exists for 4.5 blocks. Known for its Lily Street Block Sale, it begins at Franklin and dead-ends halfway past Buchanan into the playground of John Muir Elementary School.
We started at the top of the hill and worked our way down. This is the western-most part of Lily that ends at the concrete wall:
It feels like this half block has more trees than most streets in San Francisco, right?
As we walked up the street, we found this driveway:
The green plants hanging over the garage entrance reminded us of how Savannah, Georgia is covered in Spanish Moss. Except this isn’t Spanish Moss. And there isn’t a bench where Forrest Gump sat and talked about Lieutenant Dan.
We looked across the street and found a mini-garden in front of one apartment building.
It’s great to see people planting trees or creating small gardens in our concrete jungle. We should all try to do that at least once, unless you have a good reason… like allergies. Or hatred for photosynthesis.
(Editor’s Note: We had a stalk of bamboo once but killed it)
(Additional Editor’s Note: Yes, we know how easy it should be to keep bamboo alive so you probably shouldn’t trust us with kids or puppies yet)
We made our way past Buchanan and caught this view of the entire street, the Bank of America building, and 100 Van Ness in the distance.
Lily Street is the home to the back of the Zen Center. There’s a pretty intricate design under the ledge of the roof:
First we thought it looked like a pair of (widely set apart) eyes. Then it sort of resembled two snake heads reaching for the same item. Do you see anything else there?
As we crossed Laguna and moved toward Octavia, we found a log cabin above a garage:
And when we looked across the street, we located the Pi House:
We particularly loved all the angles involved in the back of this building and garage.
2.5 blocks down and we already found a few horticultural and architectural gems.
We crossed Octavia (at Page because we didn’t want to die) and started up again at the gardens that run along the former Central Highway.
As we galavanted toward Gough, we noticed a lot of No Parking signs on this block of Lily. While many were the usual signs on garage doors, this display of text was our favorite:
We also found this parking lot at the back of an apartment building. We’re not sure what intrigued us more: the number three that looks like a reverse Sigma, or what the parking spaces actually looked like before the lines were repainted.
The International High School is located on Oak and the (so nice that we’re kind of jealous) basketball court faces Lily:
After a long journey, we reached the end of Lily Street where it ceases to exist past Franklin:
While it’s one of the shorter alleys in Hayes Valley, Lily Street has a lot to offer.
In 4.5 blocks, we found front porch gardens, wood cabins, two bags of unopened french fries, beautiful front door entrances, bags of plants, a school, a basketball court, and tons of new trees.
Stay tuned until next time when we explore another alley in the Valley.