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Spotlight on NoVa: the Painful Allure of Noe Valley

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Padmapper, a nifty tool that’s basically a melding of Craigslist with Google Maps, comes in handy for those apartment searches with location, location in mind. And not only does it show you where your new home might be, it shows you where it sure isn’t.

A vast, empty space lies on the map, bordered North-South by 18th and 25th Streets and East-West by Douglass and Sanchez. This is the land of moving robot sculptures in front yards, of enviable cupolas, of the burble of backyard koi ponds. This is not the land of corner stores, dog shit, or graffiti. This is Noe Valley. We could call it NoVa, but we won’t.

Unless you blindly stumble into a great Craigslist deal offered by an in-all-likelihood-maniac housemate, chances are you’re not slipping into the verdant oasis of views and well-behaved dogs that is this neighborhood.

But no one ever said it was off-limits. If you’re up to the challenge (the challenge being one of those deceptive San Francisco mountains that seems conquerable until you get over the first crest and realize there are 5 more quad-strainers to go), the spot is one of the sweetest in the city.

No one is outside up here. And yet the gardens are amazing – it’s some oompa-loompa shit, I guess, where people come out to prune and weed and water when no one else is looking. I found a massive weeping willow in a median. Twin Peaks, Sutro Tower, the Bay off Hunter’s Point, the hospital on Potrero, and all of downtown are visible from pretty much every street.

And it might be the perfect place to take the object of all your a-hankering, what with the views, the plentiful kiss-friendly spots, the (dare we say it?) charming family values on display. Remember the idyllic San Francisco houses of Mrs. Doubtfire and George of the Jungle and similar gems of our youth? These are basically the houses of Noe Valley, and it’s hard not to imagine your future in these multi-million homesteads. Days spent sweeping and resweeping the gleaming hardwood floors, gardening in the twilight hours, setting up the barbeque on the expansive rooftop balcony, chilling in the cupola…such is the life.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

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Lucy Schiller - Destitute Dispatcher

Lucy Schiller - Destitute Dispatcher

Lucy's been able to live lots of places but holds her cornfed/pie-fueled Midwestern roots most dear, maintaining too loudly and too often that the Outer Richmond is the Midwest of SF: driven through to get elsewhere and knocked around for no reason (but what other neighborhood has bison?!). You can find Lucy letting things languish in her fridge, purposefully (limoncello!) or not (yogurt...), mouthbreathing, scouring Golden Gate Park for apartment-worthy items, sleepily serving up double nonfat half-caf-half-non-caf lattes at a certain cafe, skulking in various other ones, and yelling under cover of night and costume at SF Bike Party.