Thursday, January 04, 2007

Bean there, done that

While decidedly more important issues rage on with the power shift on the Hill, in Iraq, Darfur or even locally in Hunters Point, we have a little controversy going on in my corner of the Mission. over the past year we have seen several dramatic shifts take place here along the eastern end of 24th Street. Some might say it began with the filming of the Will Smith vehicle The Pursuit of Happyness with the house a few doors north of 24th and York serving as the family home. Ironically, although the production crew spent weeks transforming the corner to look like the early 1980s, most of the shots that made the final cut of the film used contemporary not vintage images of the neighborhood. We've seen a retooled Rossevelt Tamale Parlour, a waiting list weekends at the Saint Francis Fountain and a number of hipster shops popping up. But perhaps the real barometer is a now raging tempest in the coffee urn of three new coffee shops on the scene. First was Progressive Grounds at 21st and Bryant, a nice addition that has a location already in Bernal Heights. Not a shock for the neighborhood, just a pleasant addition. L's Caffe followed shortly after, and in November came Sugarlump what many perceive as a sea change and are crying "there goes the neighborhood" -- translated the dreaded gentrification. Of the three Sugarlump has the most limited menu (to date) but oodles of hip, upscale atmosphere. It's a place that in 1998 we'd be saying "I can't believe this is on Valencia," but today would go unnoticed. bnow there is a fourth spot, Sundance Coffee, about to open at 24th & Harrison. Their sign just went up today.

In a neighborhood where having someone pee on the side of your car is sti
ll a part of the daily routine, this is big news. It's unlikely Will Smith will be coming back to just hang out in the 'hood anytime soon, but the transition will be interesting to watch.

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