Growing by the Bay

The Noe Valley Voice

noe valley voice

The Noe Valley Voice, in publication since 1977, seems to be a good example of a neighborhood publication. I would do some things differently from a design point of view, but the content seems on the whole to be earnest and real.

Noe Valley, which is named after one of the Spanish alcaldes around the time of the U.S. takeover, is a diverse community located on the eastern slopes of Twin Peaks, near the lower Mission. It boasts some fine Victorian houses as well as some nondescript later-twentieth-century schlock. The main commercial district is located on 24th Street. Years ago Noe Valley had a kind of granny glasses and granola image — this was probably more a stereotype than a reality — but more recently has tended upscale.

According to the Voice, a one-bedroom apartment in Noe Valley currently costs around $2000 a month, and a two-bedroom $3000. Can the community retain its character with such pricey rents?


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  1. I remember when Noe Valley started to change. It was after the Loma Prieta earthquake and those who lived in the Marina fled to a more earthquake safe zone. The rents started to raise and a lot of the old time stores were forced out – I think that Herb’s is about the only one left now. The community lost it’s “real” character; if you walk down 24th Street, it’s filled with nice but expensive fancy stores, coffee shops, Latino nannies pushing expensive baby buggies with blonde babies, well toned and very well dressed young people sitting in front of the various coffee shops, blocking the sidewalk with their huge dogs and other gear and giving off attitude. I do enjoy the area as I go up there to get my hair cut. I eat at Mi Lindo (Yucatan food, cheap and really really nice people) and take visitors there as well. I buy CD’s at Streetlight Records and mysteries at the Mystery Book Store but I sure couldn’t afford to live there. Whatever genuine neighborhood character remains is due to those who bought before the prices shot sky high but that’s true all over SF. There’s a completely run down small house for sale on my street; I know how run down it is because I helped my friend to move out of it; he is 65 but the house is not covered by rent control so “hit the road, jack – we don’t want you around!”. It’s a single family dwelling which has major damage from the foundation to the roof but it’s selling price is $800,000.

  2. That’s a good sketch of the neighborhood, Nancy, thanks. $800,000, wow.

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