SF Considers Leather-Themed Park

Via the Bay Area Reporter:

A leather-themed public plaza would be built on the roadway outside the Eagle bar in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood under a proposal backed by the developer of a new mixed-use housing and retail development. The plan would turn a block of 12th Street, between Harrison and Bernice, fronting the gay-owned bar into a parklet with design elements celebrating SOMA’s ties to both the LGBT and leather communities. Since the 1950s the neighborhood has been home to a number of gay bars and nightclubs, many catering to the leather scene.

Today, most of the remaining LGBT nightlife establishments are centered on or near 11th Street between Folsom and Harrison streets, with the Eagle a block away. The city has designated that section of western SOMA as part of an LGBTQ cultural heritage district. Backers of what is being called the Eagle Plaza contend it could serve as a focal point and main gathering spot for the LGBTQ district. “I am super excited about it. I think it is beautiful,” said District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim, whose office has been involved in the initial talks about the proposed plaza.

Concept designs for the park will be on display at the Eagle tomorrow during beer bust.

  • tcinsf

    The design has an area for “active” recreation and play, and another for “passive” play. Allow me to be the first to channel my inner 12 year old…..

  • Pollos Hermanos

    Totally read that wrong. I saw “Leather Theme Park” and thought, “wow, the tilt a whirl is going to be really interesting”.

    • hudson11

      a jazzed up catherine wheel?

      • Lane

        Oooh — you wrote jazzed up, with an “a”. Never mind.

        • hudson11

          yup, trying to keep it clean 😉

    • lattebud

      Wait until you see the Merry Go Round, or is that the Mary Go Round?

      • Craig C

        I can’t wait to play on the slingset.

    • Vista-Cruiser

      The proposal looks pretty boring. But an outdoor dungeon, now that would be something to see!

  • Larry Larson

    Dear God:
    Please let this park be named in honor of Porno Pete.
    Amen

    • George

      Brilliant idea.

    • guest

      Euwwwwww!

      Why would we give a hater any honor at all?

      • TimCA

        “Why would we give a hater any honor at all?”

        I think he’s being sarcastic. At least that’s the way I interpreted it.

        • guest

          Yes, I think so too, and thought so when I read it. I still would not name a pile of dog sh*t for Porno Pete.

      • Larry Larson

        Pete has done more than anyone, in recent years, to promote the joys of leather and assless chaps! /snark

        • guest

          Well, with all of the picture he has taken, you do have a point. Well done sir! Well done!

    • DaddyRay

      I wouldn’t do that to the park, the sanitation department would have to clean up after all the people who would end up relieving themselves in the park.

      • Larry Larson

        Perhaps a ring of urinals could be the “water sports feature” in the center of the park.

    • lymis

      … or at least, the rest rooms….

      • guest

        Ok, maybe a urinal then. I think Porno Pete would like that too. I am sure that would meet some fantasy of his too.

  • Estrafalario

    In other news Peter LaBarbera has bought a condo across the street from 12th and Harrison.

    • Mark

      Fully equipped with field glasses and a motion sensitive night vision camera.

      • Estrafalario

        Actually he’s pretty exacting about his equipment. He did make sure the kneeling height from floor to windowsill was just right for optimal…uhh…praying.

        • Mark

          and an anteroom to the main door for a hole cut in a big sheet of plywood….with the hole smooth and satin lined for comfort.

  • dcurlee

    I bet Porno Pete has booked his flight for the ribbon cutting ceremony

  • guest

    I admit, my large city influence is only 8 cities, but we seem to have had a loss in the size of the Leather Community since the late 1970’s and that is sad. I wonder if there are any studies on if the gay youth are into leather, or if the same percentages are there from times prior.

    I have been to that bar in SF on vacation and the people were friendly. I can see this as being a fin thing and a nod to the history.

  • clungeflaps

    I’m not sure what the point of that would be, considering that everyone except for techies have been forced out of SF, so they can put up more condos that look like Ikea furnished storage buildings. This city is about as bland and soulless as Omaha or Overland Park now thanks to the techies.

  • Ish

    The generation that killed off anything interesting or edgy about any part of gay culture.

    • Rocco Gibraltar

      Right, Ish, all gay culture of interest or on the edge is now dead. And we have all assimilated and become Volvo driving, NPR listening, designer baby creators. Note sarcasm. If you want bathhouses and back rooms, great. Not my scene. But don’t dare imply my way of living gay is less valid than yours.

      • Ish

        Yeah that’s right I was advocating for bathhouses and backrooms psychically. In my mind. Clever of you to deduce it from my comment where those things are not actually mentioned. Hey look, Rocco, a pretty rainbow flag!

        • Rocco Gibraltar

          Sorry dear Ish. Please tell me what edgy and interesting aspects of gay culture have been killed off? And which generation committed the crime? Just wondering if I am guilty. You posted the comment, so please clarify.

      • Polterguest

        Don’t take it personally. He thinks that anyone else’s way of living, thinking, politicking, working or anything is less valid than his.

        • Ish

          Idiot. Stalker. Racist. Liar. Troll. Fuck off.

          • Polterguest

            Not gonna happen pig.

  • TimCA

    And on that note, across town in the Castro a different article in the B.A.R. talks about the problems being generated at the ‘parklet’ located there and the upcoming extensive remodel to try to remedy those issues.

    http://www.ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=70379

    • clungeflaps

      Are there actually any gay people in the Castro anymore? The last time I was over there, I saw nothing but neck bearded startup tech bros, with doritos dust covering their man boobs, hand in hand with their fat girlfriends.

      • BobSF_94117

        “Neck-bearded”?

        • tcinsf

          Dear boy, DO try to keep up.
          2. (n) Derogatory term for slovenly nerdy people who have no sense of hygene or grooming. Often related to hobbies such as card gaming, video gaming, anime, et. al.

          • Octavio

            Well, at least he got the “Dorito dust” correct. And often they sport Cheeto-stained orange fingers.

          • BobSF_94117

            I do try…

      • TimCA

        I don’t live in the City (nor even Northern CA) and haven’t now for many, many years. It seemed still pretty gay however when last I visited. Perhaps all the gay people I saw didn’t really live there and were just in the neighborhood to partake of the nightlife? My usual routine is to go out with friends have dinner at the Sausage Factory and then a few drinks. Generally we don’t get started until 7 or 8pm. Maybe all the straight yuppies are safe at home and indoors by that hour? 🙂

      • tcinsf

        Funny, I was just there last night. (had the dog with me.) I very much see your point.

      • Steven Leahy

        It has changed a lot, for sure.

      • hudson11

        I hope there area a of us left- hubby, a friend and I are flying down on Thursday night for my 50th! yikes. we have a cute house rented- airb&b- just off Castro. The last time we were there ±5 years ago, it was definitely in transition, we noticed lots of str8s with kids. I liked it, however. It was quite vibrant- contrary to previous visits where it seemed in steep decline.

        • clungeflaps

          i hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the Castro is honestly done. Actually, all of SF is done. Blame techies and gentrification.

        • hudson11

          wow- i need to proof better:
          I hope there are some of us left….

  • MythicalBeast

    With the exception of Sunday afternoon beer bust, The Eagle has been taken over by straight folks … the remodeled bar is nice but in all honestly the old spirit of leather in SF SOMA is for the most part a dim memory, at least by comparison to the heyday. I dunno, I have nothing against this plan really but as with the so-designated “Jazz Preservation District” in the Fillmore/Western Addition, it seems like too little too late, more nostalgic than anything.

  • Rebecca Gardner

    I’ve hated this idea since I first heard about it. SF is awesome but the only thing worse than it’s public transportation is it’s streets and parking. What has SF done to improve that? They have closed off streets and parking spaces for the stupid fucking idea of “Parklets.” Now they want to close off an entire block for another stupid park idea.

    In the nearly 10 years that I’ve been in SF, The Eagle has been a constant in my life (except when they closed and there was much sadz). This is a leather AND biker bar. Right how dozens upon dozens of motorcycles line up on the sidewalk, on the street in front, and on the street across the street. Where will all the bikers that help make some of their best beer busts park? Will the bikers want to have their beer busts there if there is no place for parking?

    There is a big, open, unused, lot right across the street from the Eagle that has been empty for years and years and years. Turn that into a park and leave the street open so people can get around the city and the people that frequent the Eagle can park their motorcycles.

    • MythicalBeast

      I like many of the better-designed parklets but agree that some of them not only inhibit traffic and parking, but are downright dangerous (the one in front of Squat and Gobble at 16th/Market/Noe for example … an intersection where traffic accidents are frequent.) However I think the over-designation of bikes-only lanes all over town is even more obnoxious. Nothing against people-powered transportation per se but the bike brigade in the city has used their bully pulpit to coerce SFMTA and City Hall to make some seriously unrealistic zoning decisions which have only added to driver confusion and general congestion.

      • Rebecca Gardner

        I am an avid cyclist and even bicycle to work. Please know that I am actually on your side on this one.

        I think making SF a bicycle friendly city is awesome. It’s good for the people, it’s good for the city, it’s good for the environment. However, I hate the bicycling scofflaws. If you are ever out and about and hear a 6′ tall blonde woman scream “NICE STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!” at a bicyclist that just ran a red light, please come over and say hi because that would be me.

        P.S. – Heck – My race bike is what I am holding above my head in my profile pic.

        • MythicalBeast

          Yeah, it’s a mixed issue for me because on the one hand, bikes are awesome, non-polluting, and good exercise. It’s a tough balance but there does seem to be sort of a problem with cyclist scofflaws. Hate to generalize like that but years of observation… well you know. 🙂

        • hudson11

          I live in Vancouver and it seems some days that City Hall has been taken over by the bike lobby. Streets, through intersections and turns limited to cyclists only make it hard getting around as a motorist. I bike to work on occasion and seriously, my bigger fear is getting hit by a cyclist running a stop sign or light without even looking. There is a real entitled, anarchist attitude with many cyclists here.

          The big joke here is that if you want funding from City Hall for a project, call it a bike lane and you’ll get you money. 🙂

          • Tor

            Tell me, hudson. I once spoke out a bicyclist running a red at a crosswalk. She called back, “I said excuse me!”

          • hudson11

            here you get an angry ‘fuck you’. Too many totally obnoxious cyclists on the road and the police do very little to enforce the rules of the road. We also have a mayor that seems totally onside with the bike lobby.

        • Joe in PA

          Damn, I’ve got to get my eyes checked…I thought your avatar was a teddy bear with a green jacket. LOL But now under closer inspection….

          Good for you! I’m a big cyclist as well. Years ago I did an AIDS ride in SF (flew from the east coast back when bicycles were allowed on planes—should have just given my plane ticket $$ directly I suppose). But I had fun! Great cycling the next day – climbed Mt Diablo.

          I will forever look upon you differently. 🙂

          • Literally laughing out loud because I thought her avatar was a teddy bear too!

        • Elsewhere1010

          I watched a bicyclist run a stop sign and hit a motorcycle that was in the center of the intersection where the cycle clearly had the right of way.

          No one was injured, but both the bike and the cycle went down.

          The cycle was a big Harley carrying a 6’1″ biker wearing full leather and a helmet with flames painted on it. The bicyclist and the biker both got off the ground and the bike rider said — and meant — “Sorry, I didn’t see you.”

    • guest

      They closed? And then they reopened?

      • Rebecca Gardner

        Yes. The Eagle was almost gone from the world forever. Fortunately it reopened under new owners.

        • guest

          Thanks, missed that history. Sometimes, when new owners come in, the whole flavor changes. I know on my 2nd trip of 2 trips there, the bookstore had new owners and it was just not the same feel. I still made some selections and said wanted to walk around and promised to come back before closing, giving them my business card and calling 1 guys cell phone to prove my number worked. He was a really nice guy. I bought some stuff because I always try to support local businesses and loved the books. They held my stuff and picked it up and went to the hotel outside of the city. I really like SF. i just wish the costs to live there were not so high.

          Thanks.

    • guest

      Turn the lot into parking and do the park as planned? Is that an option in your thoughts?

      • Rebecca Gardner

        Yeah! That would be awesome!

        • guest

          Thanks. Was trying for a visual here, as my 1 time there was in the early evening an dI had to go to catch the BART before their last ride. Suggest it, since you live there. There is usually a way to make all parties happy.

    • tcinsf

      The “parklet” idea to me has always seemed silly. To me its a cute little project to satisfy some 20 somethings desire to make “change” that is “sustainable” and “green” and [fill in the blank with the buzz-word de jour.] Reality, many of them are not “green,” they really aren’t that sustainable as they will decay in the way that real earth and ground doesn’t, and like you said, really screws up traffic flow and parking. I’d rather see real money go into parks and rec to maintain REAL parks, but then, they’d have to quit giving the tech sector all those tax breaks.

      • Rebecca Gardner

        I’m originally from NYC. I got to watch and participate in the change to the Loisaida from the 80’s to the early 00’s. We took empty lots and made them community parks. It brought the neighborhood together and ended so much of the crime and disrepair. This is what SF needs to do. Stop closing streets and removing parking spots and instead create community parks/gardens.

        The parklets are so deeply hated because they are viewed as a disruption to getting around town and as something only the techie hipsters want. However, a community park in an empty lot works because it is something the community creates and it brings everyone together.

        • tcinsf

          I agree with you, but empty lots are going to be built out. On one hand, there is a market for “luxury condos,” on the other hand, the need and political demand for affordable housing. We’ve actually had to fight to keep open space here on Potrero Hill, and we’ve lost a few de facto parks.

          • guest

            What is Dogpatch there please?

          • tcinsf

            ?? Literal answer to your question is that Dogpatch is a neighborhood on the east side of the hill, is that what you asked?

          • guest

            Yes. I did a right click and opened a tab and pulled up the map and saw it. I could not tell if it was a park area, a large park area, or a neighborhood. the map did not get close enough to tell. i thought it would be a neighborhood. Interesting name. Thanks.

          • tcinsf

            Nobody really knows how it got its name. It’s traditionally an industrial area, but there’s lots of arts and restaurants and stuff like that there now (and the Hells Angels house…)

          • guest

            Thanks. I assume by Hells Angel House it is a place for the bikers.

          • tcinsf

            By hells angels’ house I mean their clubhouse … not just bikers – the real angels.

          • guest

            I forgot to add. i find some names interesting in how they happened. For example Dead Horse Bay got the name because that is where they buried dead horses back in the days.

          • stevenj

            Dogpatch is a neighborhood at the bottom of the east side of Potrero Hill from appx 18th St to 23rd St and east to 3rd St. Up until 10 – 15 years ago it was a fairly rough area but has been gentrified and now another unaffordable area for most. My grandmother worked at a steel plant at 3rd and 23rd during WW2. Most of that area was industrial and SF’s southeastern docks are here.

    • chrisinphx

      Agreed! I used to live in Chicago, in boystown they put in these silly rainbow rocket looking things on the street. Waste of parking!

      • Rambie

        I haven’t been to Chicago since ’98, but had fun in boystown. Had fun in SF in ’96 too, but seems like all the LGBTQ businesses have been ran out of Castro now.

    • D. Gray

      + 1
      this is one of the loopier ideas for a SF “parklet”

  • Tor

    Now that they’ve turned the Castro into an over the rainbow theme park, this only makes sense. I have only hope they put in some very thickly planted bushes.

    • Tor

      I hope you can read some snark in the above.

  • Lena

    Meh. I don’t see walking paths winding through overgrown jungle branching off into cozy cul-de-sacs …

    • BudClark

      ^^^^THIS!^^^^

  • DaddyRay

    Probably would get more visitors than the Noah’s Ark theme park

    • oikos

      I bet they don’t ask for tax breaks either.

      • DaddyRay

        Even if they did I am betting there would be no discrimination that would exclude them from getting public money.

    • Gene

      California will give this a (deserved) tax break WAY before KY will yield to that obnoxious Australian and his fanatasy land park.
      as per the park itself, I LOVE it…but, I sometimes bartend for charity at my cities Eagle, and they are my FAVORITE bars (( we NEED bars…and bowling leagues, and hell, knitting circles…grinder/growler/whathaveyou are useful and great, but, we are a COMMUNITY, not just a large group of fuck buds.
      A few years back I made it a habit of visitin the eagle in my city (Atlanta) after work. sometimes, I was one of three people there (its a later hour sort of bar). Me, the (HOT) bartender, and one other guy, who lived in a hospice for those with HIV nearby. he was older, very ill…las legs, truth be known. He mentoned that next Tu was his birthday. I went there that tuesday, birthday card in hand, feeling a bit silly really. I found him and the bartender (did I mention he is fucking smoking hot?) with a cup cake with one candle on it chatting with the guy. His birthday cake. he looked…something beyond joyous.. English does not have the word.
      wont find that on grinder.
      We need bars. We need preppy bars, and dyke bars, and Eagle bars for the leather community. We SHOULD celebrate that part, and ALL parts of our community, and fuck yes, build a park to celebrate it!
      The days when gay bars hid and did not have front windows is and should be SO. Fucking. OVER. We Are here. people are used to it.
      build the park

  • Steven Leahy

    LOL I was in SF in 1984/85 – I thought they already had several leather-themed parks 🙂 Like Buena Vista.

    • TimCA

      Slut!! 😉

      • Steven Leahy

        LOL I just watched 🙂

        • TimCA

          Uh huh….sure lol!

        • lattebud

          So you looked down at the guy on his knees?

        • Mark

          Voyeur! come sit by me…..

        • Tor

          You probably saw me there…”Watching” as well.

        • BudClark

          I was known to have been fisted whilst hanging from a tree at Land’s End … good times!

  • GarySFBCN

    South of Market (or SOMA/South of the Slot) was once my playground.

    I doubt that this will be built and I don’t agree that it should be built. The area was the hub of the non-Castro scene. But it’s not anymore. The idea that it is part of a LGBTQ cultural heritage district is crazy.

    10 years from now, nobody will care nor should they. We need to move on, accept that the downside to our successes is that our culture, a culture based someone upon our oppression, is changing. Somethings are lost but we’ve gained a lot.

    This park idea feels like it is 2 degrees away from having a diorama showing lethermen in their native habitat.

    Let go. Move on.

    • BearEyes

      “This park idea feels like it is 2 degrees away from having a diorama showing leather men in their native habitat.”

      As an avid reader of signs wherever we travel, that gave me a real chuckle.

      • Huntington

        Ditto. Good one, Gary.

    • tcinsf

      -sniff- doesn’t mean I don’t miss it. Hell, I miss the Castro of my youth.

      • Octavio

        Me too.

    • Tor

      I agree. The Castro looks ridiculous with its new rainbow cross walks. I keep looking for the carnival.The whole thing is very forced.

      • TexasBoy

        I don’t know. I agree the leather park is…well…kind of weird. I mean how does one theme a public park to leather? But rainbow crosswalks would probably add some color to an otherwise bland roadway, making them more noticeable, and possibly safer.

        • stevenj

          Neighborhood ideas like this (and the Castro St remodeling) are now designed by (neighborhood) committee – if this parklet is ever built the final design may not look exactly like the rendering pictured above.
          The rainbow crosswalks in the Castro look best at night after a big rain when they are washed clean (something that only has happened this drought plagued winter in December during the month long deluges).

      • tcinsf

        I do like the wider sidewalks though.

        • Tor

          I do agree with that.

  • clungeflaps

    I wish the city would stop doing stuff like this, it feels so forced and fake. If they really wanted to reflect the sexuality of that neighborhood now they should put up a park with statues of anime girls and my little pony characters, since the only people that live over there are borderline autistic, anti social tech bros that beat off to hentai.

  • Jim Boyd

    the homeless will love it!

  • Justin

    This seems awkward… and then again, maybe I’m just become to inhibited and mainstreamed.

  • TKW

    This is just downright creepy. Leather and kink are supposed to be subversive and counter-culture not mainstream. I love that they have a couple apparatuses for flogging posts but where are the slings?

  • Claude Jacques Bonhomme

    Mr. Garrison and Mr. Slave have a disagreement about it… or is that agreement?

    http://i3.glitter-graphics.org/pub/1639/1639643aii8cpm9fl.gif

  • Octavio

    Why bother? I thought the new version of The Eagle was just one of several franchise joints now open in Chicago, New York, and a few other large cities.

  • Claude Jacques Bonhomme

    Creating a public square and revitalizing an area is not a bad idea to start with. The “theme” is awkward and forced. If the theme causes a flop, it will change fast enough, and the public square will be re-purposed.

  • chr477

    Not my cup of tea.

  • robirob

    Theme park? I think the city would benefit more from affordable housing projects to get fresh new blood into the city. I mean in a couple of years it’s Tech Nerd Central and the only edgy parts will be LEGO block sculptures.

  • Gordon.

    I have lived in San Francisco for almost 30 years. The Leather Community is dead. Much of it was killed off during the AIDS epidemic. And, the younger generation appears to have no interest in leather. If the Eagle bar itself can’t draw a crowd, much less a leather crowd, I don’t see that a park-let, out in front of the Eagle will draw a leather clad crowd.

  • I should really know better

    great… so SOMA just became even more impossible to drive around.

  • Michael Varian Daly

    Oh baby…

  • Tor

    First off, judging by the amateur graphics, this is not going to go far. And blocking off a street in San Francisco is just “brilliant.”