Today we present the second installment in Hayeswire’s exploration of the many alleyways of Hayes Valley.
In part one we took a stroll down Lily Street. Today: Linden.
Linden and Octavia form the crosshairs aimed at the heart of the neighborhood, converging on the sculpture in the center of Patricia’s Green.
While Octavia runs the length of the city from the Bay to the 101, Linden is a modest five blocks long – but those five blocks pack a lot of punch.
Beginning at its western end, Linden doesn’t appear to be much. Public housing lines the street from Webster to Buchanan, and its starting point offers only a hint of San Francisco architecture. (A little Twilight Zoney in the fog, no?)
But past Buchanan, things start to get so Hayes Valley. This basically means: incredibly bright colors, romantic San Francisco bay windows, and kooky staircases – all peppered with heavy postmodern design involving lots of sharp angles.
This blue Rubik’s cube of a building belongs to the newly renovated Hayes Valley Playground, where the equipment looks like maybe a 9-year-old, time-traveling Tim Burton got bored and started designing playgrounds.
It also boasts blue basketball and tennis courts – which, as these energetic people are demonstrating, are equally suited for dodgeball.
A little further down and we find our first of many Escher-like staircases.
We continue eastward, and find on the side of Earthbody Organic Spa the most mind-blowing garage door in this galaxy. Seriously. Step back and stare at it for a while. (Just don’t stand in the street please.)
As we make our way towards the heart of the neighborhood, we find ourselves wandering through 1962*, and see more enviable staircases in the forms of twisted sister mini-stoops.
*Not really 1962. We just happened to be shooting near a guy with an impressively well-kept Studebaker.
Also, note the near-infinite row of blue garages across the street from Miette Bakery.
We’ve now arrived in the bustling Mecca of Hayes Valley. The current standing sculpture is an interactive piece called “Future’s Past,” created by Kate Raudenbush and selected by the Hayes Valley Art Coalition. If you missed the chainy beast of a woman who used to live here (called Ecstasy), you can still see her in all her glory on Google Street View.
For anyone who visited this area pre-2011, what we see across the park is astounding. The growth of these proxy sites has been swift, and a source of pride in the community. Two empty lots flanking Linden now house a coffee shop, an ice cream parlor, a bicycle rental stand, a home for Off The Grid, and the Ultimate Unifier: a chill spot to get drunk outside.
We spotted a sign clearly crafted by spirit guides for the great droves of wayfarers passing through the district.
Several of the East Linden murals are iconic to locals in H.V., but our travels brought us to a few charming hidden gems.
A space rabbit, Jeremy Novy’s Koi fish, what appear to be art dolls doing Hitchcock, and a sweet red rose.
On this block, you can also get your car fixed, decorate your bust line, and stand in the World’s Longest Coffee Line. While you’re waiting, take in one of the few trees in San Francisco that understands what “Autumn” is.
One mad dash across Gough (by which, of course, we mean we took the proper route via the Fell and/or Hayes crosswalks), and we’re on the final stretch of Linden.
Here you can find available parking for Walgreens, as well as these super-duper gates.
We end here, at the construction of the SF Jazz building. This site will no doubt bring more vibrant culture to our already rich neighborhood.
So, that’s Linden Street — a key corridor in the community, where the diversity of students, seniors, professionals, and families all come together to eat, drink, and be merry – and stand in line for coffee.