Victoria Manalo Draves Park (
It’s neighborhood perception versus (at least one reader’s) reality:

As someone who has lived within two blocks of [the SoMa Grand] for the last 15 years, I think it deserves mention that this neighborhood has already changed a lot. When I moved into an apartment on Tehama between 5th and 6th back in 1992, there were smash-and-grabs every day, often multiple times a day. I have seen people being zipped up in body bags, shootings, and trannies giving tricks right on the street. But things started changing with the dot-com boom. I believed in the trend enough to purchase a loft on Minna between 6th and 7th in 1992, and felt (barely) safe enough to start a family.

I would never had guessed 15 years ago that there would be a nearby park (Victoria M.) I can actually take kids to. Sure, I still feel out of place when we walk up Sixth to Tu Lan’s, but nobody bothers us. And I hate that people use the entry way to our building as their restroom, but even my friends in Pac Heights have to deal with that every once in a while.

Why do I stay? I love being able to walk to work, and to be so close to Yerba Buena Gardens, MOMA, Metreon, Westfield, Union Square, the shops and cafes on Folsom Street, and the Sunday Farmers Market–just to name a few.

So if things get better, great. But as long as they don’t get worse I’m cool.

And a question for those in the know, how long has Stan’s stay been extended?
Stan In SoMa (
UPDATE: Thanks to Bob, we have the update on Stan’s stay: “Stan” was extended to April 15, 2008 by the Recreation and Parks Commission (this was the rare case where everyone from the neighborhood who showed up to testify seemed to love an art installation).”
We Tried To Warn Tell You, The Neighborhood Is A Changing [SocketSite]
Grand-opening of Victoria Manalo Draves Park [BeyondChron]
Stan in SOMA park [Black Rock Arts Foundation]

15 thoughts on “Neighborhood Perception Versus (At Least One Reader’s) Reality”
  1. I like western SOMA (approximately @ 8th&Howard), though my partner hates the feces on the streets and (understandably) leering and verbally abusive men. Another 15 years of Sanhattanization, it will be wonderful.

  2. I live in this area as well and the neighborhood is indeed getting transformed. There are still street minglers on 6th and Mission but a lot of new businesses are opening up which may cause them to find somewhere else to go. Between the revitalization of 6th and Joie de Vivre’s projects on 7th, the next year or so will be that of drastic change for the better. I personally plan on extending my lease here another year..

  3. I am endlessly impressed at what a difference planting a few dozen palm trees (in pairs) at 6th Street’s intersections has made. Those babies have proved themselves to be both cheerful and indestructible!
    Repeating what they’ve done on 6th Street throughout the neighborhood would go a long way toward taking ‘the edge’ off of SOMA’s large and notoriously unfriendly intersections.

  4. “Stan” was extended to April 15, 2008 by the Recreation and Parks Commission (this was the rare case where everyone from the neighborhood who showed up to testify seemed to love an art installation).

  5. Purchased a 4 unit TIC with 3 partners some 3 years ago. We live right off of Folsom between 8th and 7th. Victoria Manalo Draves park has been a huge improvement although a drive by the park after 3 AM on any Thurs-Sun night will still reveal crack dealers set up, complete with chairs. We know the police are undermanned but this gives new shame to the enforcement of “Drug Free School Zones” everywhere.
    The homeless situation seems to have remained mostly the same over the last 3 years. The only major gripe of ourselves and our neighbors are the 3 local clubs, Icon Lounge, Cat Club and Club 8 for the following reasons.
    Icon Lounge attracts the bridge and tunnel crowd who show 0 respect for the neighborhood. Additionally, Icon pumps their music up to ridiculous volumes. The SF Entertainment Commission has completely failed the neighborhood in the enforcement of their “Good Neighbor” policies and, especially in the granting of a late night permit to Icon and an all night permit to Cat Club. The Cat Club can be tolerable or terrible as a neighbor depending on the night. Hip Hop nights have ended in shootings but continue and on a good night just mean that someone will be drunkenly showing off the power of their speakers with some bass heavy music at 2:30 in the AM. Club 8 is simply a gay ecstasy crowd who don’t cause any destruction to the neighborhood but the club’s music levels are a nuisance for all.
    Nightlife is an important part of SOMA but the neighborhood is no longer an industrial area. There are many residents and while Cat Club has been around for decades (Icon and 8 are both 1 year new), the expectations for these clubs must change with the times or they must be censured. For anyone considering moving to the 8th and Folsom area or the 11th and Folsom area, be aware that the worst part of living there is the clubs.

  6. So, there were clubs already in the neighborhood when you moved in but now that you are there they should have to change?
    SOMA used to be industrial but now its residential so these establishments should change?
    All of San Francisco is becoming either a residential area or office/commercial area. Where are clubs like this supposed to go?
    This explains the perception that SF is becoming increasingly boring as more condos are built in these areas.

  7. Yeah, this is a bit like the people that buy homes under the flight path of an airport that has been there for decades, then they complain about the airplane noise and try to close the airport.
    I totally understand that it is “challenging” to live near a nightclub, particularly those with patrons who are unruly or even dangerous. But to move in near a noisy club and then complain about the noise seems a but unfair. Seems like somebody didn’t do their homework before moving into the neighborhood and now wants to make it someone else’s problem.
    Clearly the clubs could do more with soundproofing, etc. Perhaps the complaining neighbors ought to offer to pay for it, since they are the ones it would benefit.

  8. You don’t move into SOMA unless you like to live with clubs all around you, homeless on the streets, very few trees or parks, and driving everywhere! For a buyer in the area to want to change that is not only crazy, but you should be ashamed of yourself that instead of allowing this city to be a CITY, you want to shut down businesses that bring in revenue and make the city a diverse environment. Move to Walnut Creek! Really, 8th and Folsom, I’m pissed right now that you could be SO shortsighted and selfish that you think this neighborhood should revolve around YOUR life instead of continuing to be a place where people go to bars & clubs, which is what it has been for 10x longer than you’ve lived there. Every neighborhood does not need to be a master-planned, developer-built, mimic of a residential part of Vancouver! (if any city planners are reading this: reread that last sentence about 100 times).
    I once lived in a warehouse loft space in Oakland. My roommate was a DJ and we loved to have loud parties for about 200 people. But, we had a older couple in their 60s who lived next door, through a thin wall that didn’t have any sound-proofing. One day, we went up to them and apologized for how late and loud a recent party was. They immediately said, “No problem! Hey, we wouldn’t have moved into a loft space if we didn’t expect parties to happen around us. We live in spaces that are made for parties! We should use them!” – now THAT was someone who accepted what they were getting into before they bought the place. Everyone should do that, instead of buying and then wasting taxpayer money dragging people through the Planning Commission.

  9. “Icon Lounge attracts the bridge and tunnel crowd…Nightlife is an important part of SOMA but the neighborhood is no longer an industrial area.”
    This all sounds very “bridge-and-tunnel,” in a most literal sense…have you ever looked into Walnut Creek or thereabouts?

  10. I lived behind the Cat Club for 4 years and I must compliment them on their soundproofing. When we first moved in we could identify each and every song they played on 80’s night. Over the years I noticed a considerable drop off in the level of noise in my apartment from the club.
    Even though I stopped going to the clubs about the time I moved to the neighborhood, I enjoyed living in a vibrant neighborhood.
    My biggest complaint is all the traffic and exhaust fumes from the Bay Bridge approach and its onramps.

  11. I live at 12th & Howard and have gotten used to the noise the 11th street party goers make on Fridays and Saturdays. It’s slightly annoying at times but it would be much worse for the city if the clubs were closed by noise complaints. Who wants to live in a dead zone? That’s what surburbs are for!

  12. I live near the 11th&folsom scene. I can understand where 8th&folsom is coming from. it’s one thing if the clubs/bars were servicing the neighborhood, but when they r servicing bridge&tunnel. that sucks. cuz those people don’t care about the neighborhood. they trash them, they urinate everywhere, they drive around making noise, etc. that’s my main compliant. i don’t mind having clubs/bars around me, in fact, i encourage that, i want that. i just hate the way the bridge&tunnel crowd ruins my neighborhood. note:Icon&8club are new names, not new clubs. those particular locations have been clubs for decades.

  13. Just came across this string and while I am late to the party, I want to add to what other residents have said.
    I live on Folsom Street between 8th and 7th. I’m a good 200 yards from Icon Lounge and the Cat Club. These clubs are now operating 6 nights a week and for the contributor who implied that the clubs were here first, you are mistaken. The Cat Club has been around for years and as another contributor noted, they have gone to great lengths to sound proof their club (but not to sound proof or screen the crowd they attract which has gotten especially seedy on a weekly hip hop night). Also, while they have been around, they have recently added an all night party Sat night / Sunday morning. So, for the person who implied it is like moving near an airport, on some level that should be qualified as moving to a local airport and then having them fly 747s all night long.
    The other place, Icon, is only about a year old and they appear to have taken no efforts to limit the sound levels that regularly emanate.
    Its frustrating to read posts that say you are a “yuppie” for wanting less lawlessness, less excessive noise and less vandalism. If wanting less of these things makes someone “bridge and tunnel” or a yuppie then count me in…while I still live in SF, where I have been for the past 16 years and while I make a teacher’s wage.

  14. Wow, i’m super late but…I’ve lived on an alley way btw 8th and 7th on off Folsom for 4 years now. Both Cat Club and Icon owners have reached out to me personally about a couple of issues I’ve had with urination. They went so far as to place a security person on my alley way to deter people from urinating on my block. This lasted for a few months until another neighbor told me that they complained to sfpd about the security person because they didn’t want their house guests to think that they lived in an unsafe neighborhood. I confirmed the story when one of the club managers told me that sfpd told the security person that what they were doing is illegal because the streets are public property.
    I understand some of these complaints but I also know that these clubs do try to remedy neighborhood problems. I moved to the SoMa knowing that it had a busy nightlife so I’ve learned to deal with it and talk directly to the owners.

  15. This comment was very funny
    Posted by: Bob at December 10, 2007 9:51 AM
    “We live right off of Folsom between 8th and 7th. Victoria Manalo Draves park has been a huge improvement although a drive by the park after 3 AM on any Thurs-Sun night will still reveal crack dealers set up, complete with chairs…For anyone considering moving to the 8th and Folsom area or the 11th and Folsom area, be aware that the worst part of living there is the clubs.”

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