Medical library is on the block

Architect Albert Pissis designed the library and the temple behind it.

Architect Albert Pissis designed the medical library and the temple behind it.


The classical Health Sciences Library at 2395 Sacramento Street may soon find a new use. California Pacific Medical Center recently disposed of its collection and vacated the space, the library having gone entirely digital. The building, which was designated a San Francisco landmark in 1980, is currently for sale at an undisclosed price, marketed as a “one-of-a-kind development opportunity.”

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Harry’s is taking over Thai Stick

Photograph of the Thai Stick at Fillmore and Pine by Daniel Bahmani.

Photograph of the Thai Stick at Fillmore and Pine by Daniel Bahmani


Three bar-restaurants with well over 100 years of experience in mixing, pouring, cooking and serving on Fillmore Street are shaking things up in the 2000 block between California and Pine.

• Harry’s Bar, now in its 31st year, is taking over the Thai Stick, which has been in operation for 21 years at the corner of Fillmore and Pine.

• Harry’s will remain in its longtime location at 2020 Fillmore. For a few weeks, Harry’s outsourced its kitchen to an independent chef, who revamped the menu and upped the prices. That arrangement has now ended. A remodeling is also in the works.

• Across the street at 2043 Fillmore, the Elite Cafe is quietly tiptoeing back to some of its more familiar roots since its black-and-gray hipster makeover last year — and finally repairing its fire-damaged classic neon sign.

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A gathering place in Japantown

Photo illustration of Benkyodo by Frank Wing

Photo illustration of Benkyodo by Frank Wing

Benkyodo, with its colorful counter and corner tables, for decades has been a gathering place in Japantown for local business people, tourists and generations of Japanese Americans who love mochi and manju.

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Fillmore gets new beat cops

Officers Jason Castro (left) and Gordon Wong (right) with Dosa owner Emily Mitra.

Officers Jason Castro (left) and Gordon Wong (right) with Dosa owner Emily Mitra.

AFTER REPORTS OF an increasing number of grab-and-run thefts — and calls for help — from Fillmore’s fashion boutiques and other shops, the SFPD debuted a two-officer uniformed foot patrol on September 9.

Known as “Beat 44,” it stretches from Geary Boulevard north to Jackson Street. Officers Gordon Wong and Jason Castro will walk the beat from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

EARLIER: “Thieves put a target on Fillmore

Toasting an eventful first year

Tim Schuyler Hayman (center) welcomes guests to Scopo Divino.

Tim Schuyler Hayman (center) welcomes guests to Scopo Divino.


Some may mistake it for a hole in the wall, tucked away near the bustling corner of California and Divisadero, but to those in the know, the Scopo Divino wine bar has become a neighborhood institution during its first year in business. And the food has turned out to be just as important as the wine — surprising even owner Tim Schuyler Hayman.

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Fall in the Fillmore


Text & Photographs by BARBARA WYETH

My dear Aunt Fordy, who lived her life in Iowa, loved the fall, especially October. I happen to agree. It’s the best month of the year. She always called it “lovely blue October,” never just plain October. And there is a special color in the sky during the autumn months: clearer, richer and bluer than any other time of year.

Having now lived more than half my life in San Francisco, I am still amazed at how one season quickly morphs into another. In the fall, this yearly change seems especially sneaky because our seasons are not like the big, dramatic, showy displays of an autumnal east coast or midwest.

I’ve learned to love our blue October. True, it is much more subtle, but fall definitely makes its appearance. The air changes and our extraordinary light presents itself differently; dusk is more rosy, the clouds often the most dramatic of the entire year, sunsets frequently glorious.

This time of year, in neighborhood yards and pocket gardens, roses produce another round of blooms — never quite as lush as spring, but more precious perhaps because other things are going dormant. Showy dahlias may still be blooming their last hurrah. Hydrangeas turn red and freckle, their leaves taking on russets and gold like midwestern maples. The sycamores on California Street dry up and lose their leaves early on. The bright green leaves on the liquid amber trees on Washington Street turn red and drop, although they seem to do that year around.

In the yard behind my apartment building, the pear tree’s leaves turn gold. So do those on our beloved but straggly old lilac bush. The bougainvillea is still brilliant red, however, and in full bloom, and there is still lots of green everywhere. Our autumn is never dreary.

Maybe even more telling of the seasonal change in our neighborhood is the sudden appearance after Labor Day of Halloween at Walgreens: candy corn, harvest mix, miniature chocolate bars and bright orange plastic jack-o-lanterns. Pumpkin lattes show up in the coffee shops. Pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin spice everything appear at bakeries and cafes. The grocery stores and farmers markets fill with squash and gourds and pomegranates. Apples abound.

All along Fillmore Street, shop windows show snuggly sweaters and chunky boots and footwear, and in the early morning, the Hamlin girls in their maroon capes hurry to school, hand in hand with mom or dad.

It’s fall in the Fillmore.


A man on a Mission



On the front cover of my new documentary photography book, The Mission, a young Latino mother and her daughter are pictured walking in front of a striking black and white mural of Carlos Santana.

Santana — born in Jalisco, Mexico, but raised in the city’s Mission District — also has a strong connection to the Fillmore neighborhood. He got his first big break from Bill Graham at the Fillmore in 1966. For a time his studio was on Fillmore next door to the Clay Theatre. Those early years in the Fillmore launched him to international fame and iconic status that merits his bigger-than-life portrait by muralist Mel Waters at 19th and Mission Streets, only four blocks from where Santana attended high school.

My own interest in San Francisco, and especially in photographing it, had a decidedly different history. I was born on a ranch in western Oregon. It did not take many winters of feeding cattle at 5 a.m. for me to decide to go to college. That led to engineering at Oregon State University and a 48-year career in the global aluminum industry, the final years as ceo of Alcan with 75,000 employees in 63 countries. Photography became an appealing medium to record my ceaseless travels.

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Immigration fight snares a familiar face

Luis Quiroz, a staffer at Fillmore’s Invision, is among those threatened.

Luis Quiroz, a staffer at Fillmore’s Invision, is among those threatened.


When 27-year-old Luis Quiroz heard the news that DACA — the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program — was being rescinded, it was as though something he’d worked for all his life had been stripped away.

“I felt completely defeated,” he said.

Quiroz was born in the Mexican state of Guerrero and was brought to America when he was 6 months old. He grew up in San Diego and later moved here to attend San Francisco State University.

“My whole life has been devoted to the United States,” he said. “I know no other home. California has been my home my whole life, pretty much.”

DACA changed Quiroz’s life in two crucial ways: He found a job at Invision Optometry on Fillmore Street, which helps him pay off education expenses; and he obtained a driver’s license, which allows him unrestricted movement. DACA validated his identity.

“I could prove to the world that I was Luis Quiroz and that my birth date was the date it was and that I was a California resident,” he said.

Quiroz worried about his family living close to the Mexican border in San Diego, where there was heightened immigration enforcement activity — and he was right to worry. When Quiroz was 15, his 23-year-old brother was detained and subsequently deported. Two years after that, his father was deported. And in 2015, his mother was sent back to Mexico.

“The reason they fled Mexico in the first place was for economic opportunity, to escape violence, for a better future for themselves and their children,” Quiroz said. “As much as we want to see each other again, my parents recommend I stay in San Francisco.”

His voice thickened with emotion, Quiroz talked about a recent tragedy in his family. In March of this year, his brother, who operated a business for tourists, was assaulted and shot point-blank in front of his 4-year-old daughter.

“I currently have no way of going to Mexico, or visiting his grave, or visiting my parents or my brother’s daughter, whom I have never met,” Quiroz said. He had just finished putting together the paperwork and fee for DACA’s advanced parole, which would have enabled him to visit his family in Mexico. But now, with DACA rescinded, advanced parole is no longer an option.

“I’m very lucky to be in San Francisco, of all places,” Quiroz declared, enumerating the various resources the city has offered him.

S.F. State set up healing circles at their Dream Resource Center after the DACA announcement. San Francisco’s Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs offers advice, support and sanctuary to Dreamers. That office also provides help with DACA renewals, fee assistance and legal aid.

Dreamers like Quiroz are concerned about what might be compromised in the zeal to get Congress to pass the pending Dream Act.

“I personally feel torn about this,” Quiroz said. “This Dream Act offers relief to less than 10 percent of the undocumented population, and it excludes everyone else.”

He fears that while he would personally benefit from the bill, the larger undocumented population will be left unprotected.

“It’s like saying, ‘We get to stay, but our parents will get deported,’ ” Quiroz said.

An earlier version of this article appeared in Jaya Padmanabhan’s In Brown Type column in the San Francisco Examiner.

Kabuki, mon amour

The theater in its heyday as the Sundance Kabuki.

The theater in its heyday as the Sundance Kabuki, when it was Robert Redford’s place.


People call it “the Kabuki” still, as if clutching at something and hoping it will stay there. It is, or has been, our neighborhood movie theater, with a front onto Post Street, a parking garage, an alleged restaurant — and a certain dejected character.

I’m being as generous as possible because I want it to remain. But I have my doubts now, and I understand if people still think of it as Sundance, Robert Redford’s place, Carmike, AMC or the longtime home of the film festival.

Over the years, there were rumors: Were the Coen Brothers really thinking of taking it over? No, those guys were too shrewd for that. Our Kabuki feels like a place people are waiting to unload.

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Thieves put a target on Fillmore



A surge in daring grab-and-run thefts is plaguing Fillmore Street merchants.

Salespeople at upscale fashion boutiques on upper Fillmore say shoplifting has now morphed into blatant thievery and that some fear for their personal safety. Merchants report numerous instances — more than half a dozen in August alone — in which people case a store, wait until staffers are distracted, then scoop up merchandise and dash out.

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