‘Bayview Is…’

Excerpt from Alejandro Murguia's poem, "Seven Views of the Bay View", on the "Bayview Is..." mural.

Excerpt from Alejandro Murguia’s poem, “Seven Views of the Bay View”, on the “Bayview Is…” mural. 


Board of Supervisors District 10 Candidate Forum

Left to right: District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen, Ed Donaldson, Tony Kelly, Shawn M. Richard. Ed Donaldson answering a question from the audience.

Left to right: District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen, Ed Donaldson, Tony Kelly, Shawn M. Richard. Ed Donaldson answering a question from the audience.

District 10 candidates engage in a Q&A forum on Monday Oct. 6, 2014 at the Southeast Community Facility in Bayview. Forum was sponsored by the League of Women Voters of San Francisco in partnership with the San Francisco Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women.

Chicken and Waffles for the Soul

Strolling down 3rd Street begins taking its toll on me, and my hunger begins to creep up, accompanied with my stomach growling at me.

Between Newcomb and Mckinnon Ave sits a small, warm restaurant with a sign of a smiling woman in front of a heart-shaped waffle. The sweet aroma of waffles and heat from the kitchen drew me to Auntie April’s Chicken, Waffles, and Soul Food restaurant, owned by April Spears.

My first sight is set upon the kitchen where you can the see cooking unfold. Auntie April’s invites guests to seat themselves (I didn’t know that), and while they wait for a table, there is a small space with couches and reading material.

The restaurant is full with individuals enjoying their meal on their own, friends having lunch, family of 10, and those picking up their to-go order.

It’s common for one to walk in and instantly hear the music playing over people’s conversations, but Auntie April’s sounds come from the sizzling stove and voices of the guests.

A menu over 70 menu items, including award-winning Shrimp-N-Grits, makes it difficult for me to choose. I decided to go with the classic two-piece chicken, leg and thigh, and cinnamon waffle, which other options include original and buckwheat.

There is one server, a cook and cashier, yet they’re able to provide timely service. The server is able to greet guests and provide their drinks, even though she has to bus her own tables.

About 15 minutes later, two crispy-coated pieces of chicken and a large, round cinnamon waffle lie before me waiting to be devoured. My taste buds were elated after the first bite of the crisp, juicy chicken dipped in hot sauce. The sweet, cinnamon-flavored waffle complemented the chicken perfectly.

My stomach was satisfied and the friendly environment made the dining experience even better.

Also, the restaurant is named in Zagat’s 10 Best Places for Fried Chicken .

Auntie April’s.

A First Encounter: Bayview-Hunters Point

Driving down Third Street the economic disparity is evident as homes located on the left are newer and well maintained, while the residential area on the right is surrounded by commercial and industrial businesses.

For my first time in the Bayview-Hunters Point district, I was caught off-guard with the amount of trash roaming around the streets. Gentrification is alive in the Bayview

As I stroll through the residential area, barred windows are built on almost every home. Barred windows points towards the increment of crime over the years.

Melba Tyson, who has been a Bayview resident for 50 years, voices her concerns over the welfare of not only herself, but also other residents.

“The area is more violent. A lot more crime,” said Tyson. “I hear sirens everyday.”

Tyson feels insecure at night and refuses to go out at night. She says she prefers to stay in her house until the next morning.

The police station is not far from her house yet I didn’t see any police cars cruising around the neighborhood, which made me ponder on whether the police respond quick enough. According to Tyson, they do.

Out of four neighborhood parks, Martin Luther King Jr. Park is located in midst of the Third Street and the industrial businesses. On a sunny Sunday I was expecting to see families have cookouts or birthday parties, but only saw a few children playing in the playground.

At the top of Newhall Street and Revere Avenue, one can catch a distant view of the Bay Bridge and the end of Hunters Point. Accompanying the view is Bridgeview Gardens, a modest but fruitful garden taken care of by resident and community leader Mary McClore, and volunteers.

Candlestick View’s route takes a stroll through two distinct areas, an inviting residential area and Hunters Point community homes and housing projects. Though the two are a few feet away from each other, the difference is visible. Hunters Point requires more resources in order to renovate the worn-down homes.

The entire neighborhood has an abundance of trash, worsening the level of pollution the neighborhood is already facing. Trash flying around the dead grass decorates the front of the community homes and projects. Farther down the road is a corner occupied by a playground waiting for kids to swing on swings and climb the monkey bars.

Candlestick Park sits across the South Basin waiting for its fate, but my sight is quickly drawn away towards to the desolate docks.

As darkness creeps into the neighborhood, the lack of light posts gives off an eerie vibe. Light posts serve more than illumination in neighborhoods like Bayview. Having sufficient lighting can keep offenders away, and provide a sense of security for residents.

People have different perspectives on Bayview-Hunters Point but we can all agree that it’s in dire need of rejuvenation.