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Okay, I know you’ve been waiting for it and the time has finally come. That’s right, it is the epic-ness that can only be The Pho Challenge. Now I don’t know if you remember my previous posts about the Pho Challenge but my friend Eyal, brave pho challenger that he is, agreed to go back for Round 2 to duke it out with the Pho. So who came out on top? Well, you will have to watch the video to find out. But I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

And be sure to check out the Pho Garden if you are interested in learning more about the Pho Challenge, or if you just want to find somewhere to enjoy a tasty bowl of Pho (and really what better time than summer in San Francisco for a steaming bowl of Pho).

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The Richmond District has a very rich and interesting history dating back more than 100 years. I made a timeline using dipity showing some of the more significant events in the neighborhood’s history. Check it out here. Also, a special shout-out to the Western Neighborhoods Project and their fabulous archives. They really are an invaluable resource to the Richmond (and San Francisco’s other Western neighborhoods). Also, sorry about the lack of an embed, dipity and wordpress don’t talk to each other apparently. One more thing, many of these events don’t have specific dates (only a year)  so dipity seems to have given everything a default date of July 1.

So I’m not really sure how it is already May (trying to figure out where my April went) but since all reliable signs point to it being May and the start of a new month I thought I would post another list of events going on in your favorite neighborhood this month. This list is by no means all inclusive but I tried my best to find a variety of events important to the community. And if you know of something I didn’t include and think that I should, please feel free to leave it in a comment or send me an email, tweet or any other way you can get my attention! (For a more comprehensive calendar, check out the Richmond District YMCA’s community calendar).

May 4th: The Save the Stow Lake Boathouse Coalition is organizing all the Stow Lake Boathouse supporters they can get and gathering at City Hall for the Board of Supervisors meeting to show their opposition for Rec & Parks plan for the boathouse and to try to get the support of the BOS. They are meeting outside Room 250 (the BOS chambers) at 5 pm.

May 8th: The sixth annual Richmond Health Festival. This free event takes place from 10 am – 2 pm at the Richmond Recreation Center (251 8th Ave.) and will feature live music (SF Conservatory of Music), Chinese Lion Dancers and sppeches from District 1 Supervisor Eric Mar and CA State Senator Leland Yee. There will also be activities for the kids and more than 40 community health organizations and free services such as screenings. For more info call 415.561.3077.

May 10th: The Presidio Heights Association of Neighbors (PHAN) will have its annual meeting to discuss issues important to the neighborhood. The meeting starts at 7 pm and is at Temple Emanu-El (Arguello Blvd. and Lake St.)

May 15th: The newly renovated Senator Milton Marks Richmond Branch Library will be hosting an open house/party in celebration of their one year anniversary since. There will be arts and crafts, shows and food. The celebration is free and will go from 1 pm – 5 pm. For more info call the library at 415.355.5600.

May 26th: Do you have a strong opinion about the controversial Geary Corridor Bus Rapid Transit plan? Well, If you do and want the chance to get personally involved, the Geary BRT Citizens Advisory Committee is currently accepting applications to fill two vacancies within the committee. Applications are due May 26th and anyone from the Richmond, Tenderloin or any downtown neighborhood can apply. For more info on how to apply go to the Transportation Authroity’s website or call (415) 522-4800.

On Saturday, April 17, the Ropes Course at Fort Miley celebrated 30 years of ropes, challenges and fun. I gave you a little peak of what the event was like last week and now you can see even more of the event and those who were involved in it. I hope you enjoy it and again, you can find out more about the ropes course at Fort Miley and how you can see it for yourself here.

A Look at Sutro Baths

If you live in the Richmond, or even if you don’t, you have probably been by Sutro Baths. But how much do you actually know about the ruins and the history behind them? I went out and talked with a couple of people very familiar with the Baths and their history and put together this audio slideshow to tell a little of the history of Adolph Sutro and his bath house. Special thanks thanks to Woody LaBounty from the Western Neighborhoods Project for all of his help and for allowing me to use some of their pictures.

The Ropes Course at Fort Miley in the Presidio celebrated its 30th birthday on Saturday with a free event where anyone could come check out the course and even try out some of the elements. The event was organized by a group of SF State students as a project for an Event Management class and included not only the Ropes Course event but a reception later on at the Lincoln Park Golf Course club house. Before Saturday, I had only ever walked by the ropes course so I was happy to check out this unique event and see for myself what it was like, I was definitely not disappointed! Here is an interview with Ian Mosier, one of the team leaders of the event. It is just a small excerpt of a longer video of the event to come so stay tuned. And if you would like more info about the Ropes Course at Fort Miley, check them out here.

A couple of months back Mayor Gavin Newsom announced that the city intended to install a handful of “parklets” throughout the city.

A parklet isa kind of ultra mini park that would take the place of two or three successive parking spaces and would, according to the Chronicle,  “consist of raised platforms to make them level with sidewalks for seating, planters and bicycle parking.” The Chronicle also reports that each parklet will come at a cost of about $7,000.

One of these parklets is planned to go into the Richmond District at 5th Ave and Clement St., in front of Toy Boat Cafe. And it seems that that many people in the neighborhood are pretty positive about the parklet program.

And I must admit that I am a little surprised at how receptive the Richmond seems to be to this idea. Concerns about the cost and parklets usefulness aside, I have to wonder why residents and merchants would support the elimination of even a few parking spaces in an area already known for terrible parking.

The first thing I thought of was the controversial Geary Bus Rapid Transit Program. This program is a source of seemingly endless controversy in the Richmond and its primary opposition is led by merchants.

BRT opponents contend that the elimination of parking spaces on Geary will dramatically hurt their business in already tough economic times. Now, I know that a parklet only calls for the elimination of a few parking spaces on one block and BRT could potentially eliminate dozens of spaces throughout the Richmond, but all  the same no merchants seem to find this distressing.

Additionally, another big concern for BRT opponents is that they feel that Geary BRT was part of a larger effort to re-characterize the Richmond District, saying that “urban renewal” conditions were attached to the proposal. But couldn’t this parklet program easily be considered an “urban renewal” project.

Now, I’m not saying that all BRT opponents should suddenly come out against the new parklet in their neighborhood, I’m merely wondering why this proposal has gone over so easily in a neighborhood that tends to be very protective of its small businesses and wary of these kinds of city projects. What do you think?