544 Jones Parklet

The permit for the Nile Cafe and Hookah Lounge’s parklet at 544 Jones Street has been revoked.

No word on whether or not the operators or regular patrons of the adjacent Paradise Massage, in front of which the Nile Café’s parklet primarily sits and offers a full-frontal view of the parlor’s entrance, had anything to do with getting the permit for the Tenderloin parklet yanked (so to speak).

Regardless, the operators of the cafe are appealing the revocation, the hearing for which is tomorrow.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Amewsed

    Thank you for the humorous double entendre. Smokes and a no cover floor show.

  2. Posted by Stop Driving

    These parklets are a great way for the city to practice favoritism in a completely unfair manner.

  3. Posted by Frank C.

    Agree with Stop Driving – why is the city giving away parks to cafes or any other business? They should pay for them, because otherwise it’s a gift of city land. Last time I checked, land was somewhat valuable in SF.

    • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

      Since parklets are public property (anyone can use them, not just customers of the adjoining business) it would not be fair to charge the sponsor for the space. They’re already contributing their time and money for the construction and maintenance of the parklet.

      Now if the parklets were privatized then sure, charge the business rent on that space.

      • Posted by Anon

        “anyone can use them” …No they cannot. Ambulances can’t, nor delivery vehicles, nor fire trucks, busses, BIKES, and yes those evil “death machines” automobiles. Have you ever seen a homeless person try to sit in one of the private parklet chairs and be told to leave? I have. At a no longer existing parklet in Cow Hollow I sat on one of the benches to make a phone call while holding my bike and was told by the cafe owner to leave unless I was going to order food or a drink.

        There are MANY parklets that are being operated as private space throughout the city, and many people being made to feel uncomfortable for trying to use them. It is very similar to some of the “public” roof gardens in FiDi that building security guards do their upmost to make you feel you are not allowed to visit unless you are building tenant.

        • Posted by curmudgeon

          maybe that’s why the cow hollow parklet is not longer there…enforcement of the rules by the City? In any case, it’s the exception that proves the rule.

          • Posted by Anon

            I’m sorry, but these parklets are not a “win” for the city. The one pictured is not an attractive solution to a rather ugly urban streetscape. I would rather see a wider sidewalk with better landscaping than some silly gesture in the “war” against cars. The parklets started as a sit-in event to “take back the streets from cars”, and had nothing to do with good urban planning or design. An example of a terribly ugly new “pedestrian plaza” can be found where the naked men sit at Castro and Market.

          • Posted by Frisco

            If you want to pay for the sidewalk to be widened (and the environmental impart report and appeals) please, feel free. Parklets are way to take a step in that direction in a pragmatic and affordable way.

          • Posted by curmudgeon

            Anon, you clearly don’t keep up because the naked men were legislated out of existence. And it may be too fine a point, but there is a difference between a “parklet”, which temporarily appropriates a parking space or two, and a “pavement to parks” project, which permanently transforms uneccesary roadway into parks. The space at 17th and Market at the F-market turnaround is a pavement to park project. And it has its OWN major problems…not with naked guys anymore but with homeless youth, and all the seating has been temporarily removed. But that is quite another issue…

        • Posted by matteo

          According to the official SF Parklet Manual: “San Francisco’s Parklet Program creates open spaces that are publicly accessible. For example, members of the public are welcome to use and enjoy a parklet regardless of whether or not they are patrons of the business sponsoring the parklet.”

          • Posted by EcceMorons

            Cool. Fully furnished homeless encampments. Within easy panhandling distance of patrons of the cafes. And by law, the owner can’t do a thing.

          • Posted by Amewsed

            Hahaha! I never bothered to read the mission statement of a Parklet and always assumed it was a way for the adjacent store/cafe owner to expand their limited store space. After all, the City has been shifting its responsibility for maintaining the streets to private owners for years (ie. sidewalk repairs, pruning of street trees, graffiti abatement, parklets, etc.) and this was a way to do it by getting the store owner to pay for it.

            If I was a paying customer looking to sit down in a parklet, you bet I would tell a non-customer to move along and find themselves a public park bench @ GG Park.

        • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

          Don’t be silly Anon. By that standard most of the city’s park lands are not public because you can’t drive all over them.

          And the next time a cafe owner asks you to leave you should either stand your ground or report it to the city. So long as you’re not being an arse you should be able to hang out and enjoy the space. Speaking of which homeless people are also allowed to use parklets so long as they’re not being an arse either. Whether or not this is enforced is a different matter.

          • Posted by Amewsed

            Imagine if you were the cafe owner who spent thousands of dollars to construct a parklet (to attract more customers) only to find the seating space fully occupied by non-customers and/or homeless. How would you react? Do you protect your investment? Do you eat the loss or pass the costs to your customers by increasing menu prices. You are running a business, not a soup kitchen. Not much incentive to create parklets is there?

          • Posted by Anon

            I am confused now. If a parklet “owner” asks me to leave” their” parklet, and I am not a customer of the adjacent store, I have a right to stay within the parklet? Could I bring my dog within the parklet while I sit there? I was asked to not have my very gentle golden retriever within the parklet space because “customers were eating” there.

          • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

            Amewsed – The cafe owner you describe is one that doesn’t understand the parklet regulations. How did they get through the process of building a parklet without understanding the rules?

            Anon – Yes, you have the right to stay in the parklet. I’m not sure about the dog issue though.

          • Posted by moto mayhem

            your dog also has the right as long as on a leash. you can also smoke if you want (although not very courteous). you can lie down. you can take up space with computer, books, a lawn chair. parklet is public. tell the owner to shove it.

          • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

            BTW, San Jose’s parklet rules (they’re called “curb cafes” there) seem to be missing the “open to the public” requirement. Public access might be implied but nowhere near as explicit as SF’s regulations which require the “public park” placards to be prominently placed.

          • Posted by Amewsed

            Contrary to your assertions, I do have a bit of understanding with parklets and sidewalk seating for cafes which are different. And I have experience in researching this issue for my comercial tenants who were thinking about it. However, they looked at the neighborhood demographics and realized that any economic advantage gained by having exterior seating space was outweigh by the costs of permit and construction. They opted not to proceed.

            So moto mayhem can lay his motorbike, his/her naked body over the parklet, and move in his/her dead ancestors, it still doesn’t alleviate his/her general unhappiness in life. I also suggest a visit to Atlanta, Georgia where it is the home of the highest number of successfully owned black businesses in America, as well as a large number of successful black professionals such as lawyers and physicians, something relatively non-existent in SF.

        • Posted by Chris

          Your comment does not make much sense. You point to one or two anecdotes of some private party being rude and asking someone to leave a public space. So? The cafe owner had no authority over you, simply politely or not-so politely remind them it is a public park and ignore them. How silly of you to think it is now the job of the city to ensure people don’t feel “uncomfortable.” No, it is not. Adults should be able to handle minor issues like these.

        • Posted by John Murphy

          Ambulances can’t, nor delivery vehicles, nor fire trucks, busses, BIKES, and yes those evil “death machines” automobiles.

          Like corporations – Cars and BIKES are people.

        • Posted by Bruce

          To which Cow Hollow parklet do you refer? To my knowledge the only parklet that exists or has existed in Cow Hollow is the one presently located in front of Rapha Cycle Club at Fillmore and Filbert.

    • Posted by curmudgeon

      Yes, private sponsors pay to permit, construct, and maintain the parklets. They come at ZERO cost to the City (presuming that permit fees are at full cost-recovery). The permits may also be yanked if the parklet isn’t being maintained correctly, and the sponsor is required to remove all the “improvements. It’s a win win for the City.

  4. Posted by eddy

    So much potential in this thread and all we can talk about is parklets. Shame. I guess they thought this was a long-time parklet.

  5. Posted by Dan

    This time, for the parklet haters, there is a happy ending.

  6. Posted by EcceMorons

    EVERY massage parlor in SF should have a parklet – where the girls can have coffee breaks, scantily clad, passing out discount coupons to any guy who’s eye they can catch.

    Now THAT would be beautifying the streets!

    • Posted by Orland

      That pretty much describes the scene in Cabo.

  7. Posted by Michael

    Sounds like they rubbed somebody the wrong way.

  8. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    That ugly black steel fenced cage is a masseuse of public property.

  9. Posted by odm2

    I have a guess as to why the permit was revoked. Nile Cafe has apparently been attempting to serve people on the parklet. The folks at Kare-Ken (next door) told that to my wife, my friend, and I when we ate there about a month ago. Lo and behold, when we sat at the parklet, someone from Nile asked if we wanted to order anything and then grumbled at us.

  10. Posted by Anon

    The only parklet where I was made to feel comfortable using, even if I was a non-customer, was at the Rapha Bicycle shop parklet in Cow Hollow. I also think that Rapha’s may be the most imaginative and attractive parklet creation. Parklets like the one pictured in this article are more typical of the ugly “designs” being plopped throughout the city and are not worthy of our self proclaimed “world class” status.

    • Posted by ttt

      yuck. that was the most uninviting and uncomfortable parklet i have ever been to. spending time with all those non-human sized surfaces was arduous.

  11. Posted by jamesjr

    The parklets are just another piece of the war on car puzzle.

  12. Posted by SFNative

    My guess is that the vast majority of people like/love parklets and that the haters are the vocal minority. So here’s a comment in support of parklets around the city that add space for people to sit and be outside, and are often very creatively done and add to the city’s built landscape.

    • Posted by Amewsed

      Let’s face the facts: parklets will mainly be created in more upscale neighborhoods where the majority of the folks using them are paying customers of the adjacent store. Those who don’t understand the proper social/business cues don’t belong in the neighborhood.

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