Quintessential San Francisco is on Twitter!

Quintessential San Francisco has joined the Twitter world!

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Twitter has been a great place to not only share what’s going on with Quintessential San Francisco (QSF) but it is also a great place to connect with the QSF audience.

So if you’re part of the Twitter-verse, keep up to date with what’s going on in the Marina and Pacific Heights neighborhoods by following @QSF_blog

You can visit the QSF Twitter by going to www.twitter.com/qsf_blog or you can also see the QSF Twitter updates on the right side of this blog site.

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Reflecting by the San Francisco Bay

The sun has finally been shining over San Francisco lately, making the more hours in the daytime an enjoyable treat that locals and tourists love to soak up. Alta Plaza Park is full of sunbathers and tourists can be spotted all around the Marina shoreline once again meaning only one thing; summer is almost here!

I have been anxiously waiting to write this post, not because it symbolizes the end of my junior year at SF State, but because I’ve wanted to reflect on my time spent in the Marina and Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco.

Over the span of a few months, I’ve learned a lot about these neighborhoods that I would not have had a chance to experience if I had not decided to choose these neighborhoods to cover. Although the process was difficult, reporting about the happenings in these neighborhoods has been a rewarding experience.

The sign above the Marina Theater. Photo by Jamie Balaoro

Aside from the very few visits I made prior to covering the Marina and Pacific Heights, I really had no idea what these neighborhoods had to offer. I was just like the tourists that roam around the city and stick to the familiar. All I had known about these neighborhoods were the stereotypes and the image that most tourists probably had of what they believed was quintessential San Francisco: picturesque, but nothing more.

I still remember sitting on the bench at Marina Greens, staring off into the San Francisco Bay, thinking of all the things I thought I knew about this neighborhood that I had heard over the years about being full of rich people and being the nice part of the city. I remember already thinking to myself that talking to people was going to be difficult because no one would probably want to talk to me.

As the semester went on, I was pleased to find that most of what I thought about these neighborhoods was wrong. It is a nice area, but the people who live in these areas really care about their community.

The mansions that lined Marina Boulevard were intimidating at first, as were the homes in Pacific Heights, but as I went beneath the surface of these luxurious facades, I found a tight-knit community that functioned like a small town.

I’ve met a lot of helpful people who made covering the stories of these neighborhoods possible and taught me that in this big city, even the stories of these communities are overlooked sometimes.

Walking around the Marina or Pacific Heights feels different now that I’ve been there so many times. I almost feel at home there, even though my home is on the other side of the city. It’s a place I’ve grown very fond of and love spending time in and I know that even though the semester is over, I’m still probably going to be visiting these neighborhoods quite often for years to come.

Welcoming the America’s Cup to the Marina

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As the marine layer rolls into the San Francisco Bay, almost covering the Golden Gate Bridge, two ORACLE Racing yachts sail across the water, disappearing for a brief moment into the thick fog.

Over the past couple months, the ORACLE Racing team has been out on the San Francisco Bay practicing for the upcoming America’s Cup regatta, one of the largest international yacht racing events in the world with participants from several different countries.

With exhibitions starting as early as August this year, the Marina District of San Francisco, the host city of the 34th America’s Cup, is busy with preparations. As the center for not only viewing the regatta but for America’s Cup festivities as well, the Marina community has been prepping themselves for the influx of visitors, on top of their usual tourists, that the city is hoping to bring in through the America’s Cup.

“I’m already beginning to imagine all the tourists that will be flocking the area and dashing around like ants,” said Marina resident, Big Onglatco.

Like Onglatco, many residents have shared some concern towards what their neighborhood might look like because of the crowd, but a few have also said they are looking forward to the big event being hosted in their city and are proud to show off San Francisco to the world.

“San Francisco has always been a premier venue in hosting large scale and exciting events,” said Carlo Bonafe, San Francisco resident and frequent Marina visitor. “It’s nice to know the city will be welcoming another tradition to its already large list of celebrations.”

To accommodate the large number of spectators that are expected to visit the city for the America’s Cup, Capt. Ann Mannix of the San Francisco Police Department’s Northern Station, which serves the Marina District and Pacific Heights area, explained the great amount of planning the SFPD Northern Station has been putting in to prepare for the America’s Cup regatta.

“We are increasing staffing for the race dates for crowd management purposes,” said Capt. Mannix, adding that the Marina Green Park will be holding a festival in association with the America’s Cup, making the public shore the focus for the Northern Station.

“All affected city agencies have been working on the event for over a year,” said Capt. Mannix. “We will also have a contingent of officers dedicated to crowd associated crimes, including auto burglary, street robbery, public intoxication, illegal vending, etc.”

America’s Cup organizers have been promoting the regatta as a “family-friendly event,” making SFPD’s job to maintain San Francisco’s reputation under the international spotlight as the “perfect host” of utmost importance to the city.

In 2010, the ORACLE Racing team won the 33rd America’s Cup in Valencia, Spain, allowing ORACLE co-founder and CEO Larry Ellison to choose which city will host the next America’s Cup. Ellison chose San Francisco, and on March 28 this year, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved the agreement made in 2010 to host the international event.  According to America’s Cup organizers, this will be the first time the America’s Cup will be hosted in San Francisco.

Although much of the talk surrounding the upcoming America’s Cup regatta preparations have been about the renovations of the piers where the racing teams will stay, which are currently underway after, according to news reports, a scaled-back agreement was made by the city, the Marina District is where most of the spectators will be.

The proposed route of the race takes place right on the San Francisco Bay starting from Piers 27 and 29. The yachts will then go towards the Bay Bridge, circling around near Treasure Island then passing Alcatraz, heading towards Marin. From there, the yachts will head towards the Golden Gate Bridge, turning right in front of Crissy Field and passing directly in front of the Marina shoreline as they race back to the finish-line.

For the Marina District, this means a front row seat to all the action. With parks such as Marina Greens Park and its neighbor in the Presidio, Crissy Field, spectators will be able to see the race much closer than anywhere else in the city, as written about by District 2 Supervisor, Mark Farrell, in some of his columns for the Marina Times.

Although the America’s Cup is an international event, much of the organizing and planning has taken place right in the Marina. The Golden Gate Yacht Club, which is in the Marina and is home to the ORACLE Racing team, has been busy as well with meetings in preparation for the upcoming regatta, according to Commodore Norbert Bajurin.

Tom Ehman, Vice Commodore of the Golden Gate Yacht Club, has been traveling around the country for “Cupdate” shows, which are presentations on updates for the America’s Cup. His most recent “Cupdate” called “Flying on Water” was held at Pier 27 on April 27, where the 161-year-old America’s Cup trophy was also displayed.

The city still has much to prepare before the exhibition races begin, but it is an overall exciting experience for San Francisco, and more specifically, the Marina community.

The America’s Cup shows off some of the Marina’s best assets, such as its views of the San Francisco Bay and being the home to the ORACLE Racing team’s yacht club. The America’s Cup regatta brings international attention and gives the Marina a chance to share with the world their small-town hospitality to all those visiting the city during this historic event.

Brandy Melville on Chestnut Street

There’s a new shop in town and it’s called Brandy Melville.

Brandy Melville on Chestnut Street is new to the neighborhood, taking over the spot that was once the Pure Beauty salon. Photo by Jamie Balaoro

Brandy Melville took over the space that was once occupied by Pure Beauty salon, which closed a couple of months ago and left an empty space behind for a while. The windows of this space were covered, leaving people passing by to wonder what this space was going to be up until a few weeks ago.

Now a woman’s clothing store, Brandy Melville opened in March and revamped the space with tables full of accessories as well as walls full of dresses and blouses hanging around the store. For a considerably small space, Brand Melville has managed to fill their store with a variety of clothing as well as a much-needed fitting room for their customers.

According to their site, Brandy Melville carries a range of styles, from “loose-fitting off-shoulder tees, to soft Angora sweaters and stylish dresses and tops.”

Brandy Melville originated in Europe and spread to the U.S. in 2008. Their newest location in the Marina District of San Francisco fits with the hip and young Marina vibe. On a warm Friday afternoon, their store already had a couple of customers walking out their door with Brandy Melville bags in hand.

You can check out the new Brandy Melville store on Chestnut Street or go to their website: www.brandymelvilleusa.com

San Francisco Crab Feed 2012 at Fort Mason

Still unsure of what to do this weekend in San Francisco? How does spending a Saturday in the Marina eating endless amounts of dungeness crab sound?

The San Francisco Crab feed, hosted by Pinchit, is this Saturday, April 28! This all ages event will be at the Herbst Pavillion at the Fort Mason Center, making it the perfect pre-event for the 29th Annual San Francisco International Beer Festival, which will also be at Fort Mason (Festival Pavillion) later the same day.

The event will be from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m, but if you buy a VIP ticket, you can enter at 1:30 p.m to get first dibs on the tons of crab available to try as well as the other food and drinks that will be presented at the crab feed.

According to their site, there are also a few tickets still available, so if you’d like to get your crab feed on this Saturday or just want more information about this event, you can visit the event site [here]