Posts Tagged ‘Hall of Flowers’

The Giant Church in Golden Gate Park: CHRIST EMBASSY, in Our Hall of Flowers – CHURCH, MEET STATE and STATE, MEET CHURCH

Monday, July 20th, 2015

Our iconic Hall of Flowers regularly becomes a House of God, apparently.

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I guess they were they highest bidder? Did they need to hire a lobbyist, a fixer, an expediter, to get this deal through? I know not.

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The Soul is For Hire/
And They’ve Sold the Heart

We’re Already Well Into May 2012, So Whatever Happened to that Long-Promised Lawsuit over the Stow Lake Boathouse?

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

I haven’t heard word one about the long-promised lawsuit what was going to overturn SFGov and re-install the old tenant as the operator.

The civil lawsuit begins March 2012 and will expose the truth about all the many laws that Rec & Park broke in order to bring in an out-of-state chain, with no boating experience to take over this historic boating recreation site.”

Oh well.

Just saying.

Ah, Stow Lake:

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Oh, and the early reviews are in. And they’re pretty good, those reviews.

Leave us close this chapter of wealthy, white, real-estate-obsessed, dingbat, millionaire homeowner Preservationists vs. the Boathouse at Stow.

Public No-Shows Public Meeting Regarding the Future of the Stow Lake Boathouse – Plus, Spurious Lead Paint Issue

Monday, January 30th, 2012

I don’t know, when you have like just one member of the public show up at a meeting hosted by Rec and Park, would you call that a successful joint?

This was the scene for last Thursday night’s big PowerPoint presentation. You had people there from the new tenant and the new tenant’s Marin operation and RPD and etc.

Is this low turnout due to the fact that grand battle has already been won by the new tenant, or is it due to the fact that there was zero publicity for this particular meeting,* or maybe a combination of both reasons?

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Anyway, the latest developments at Stow are detailed here by Rachel Gordon.

And oh, the lawsuit against the City from the old tenant should have some activity soon, maybe something is scheduled for Superior Court in March 2012.

And the latest from the absurdly-named Save Stow Lake Coalition has to do with paint with lead in it, which, Gentle Reader, I’m sitting two yards from right now. And, this is true for you too, G.R. You know, ’cause paint with some amount of lead in it is everywhere. Simply everywhere. (If it turns out that this coalition is some long-running anti-NIMBY performance art project, I won’t be surprised…)

Not with a bang, but with a whimper.

Enjoy your upcoming rain-free, vernal paddle-boating season, everybody…

*I don’t know, was this meeting posted on the internet anywhere at all? NTMK.

The Next Big Public Meeting for the Stow Lake Boathouse is on January 26th, But, Shhhhhh, It’s a Secret

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Here’s the word on the street:

“The Recreation and Park Department and Ortega Family Enterprises are hosting a community meeting to discuss the upcoming renovations of the Stow Lake Boathouse. The work will include creating an indoor seating area so that the building is open to the public for the first time, adding an accessible bathroom, upgrading the building systems as well as upgrading the general condition of the building.

Date: January 26, 2012
Time: 7PM
Location: Hall of Flowers (County Fair Building)”

But, am I getting punk’d here? ‘Cause I can’t find any evidence of this meeting online.

Now, I can find the Save Stow Lake insanity* webpage, right here.

And, I can find the Official Twitter for Stow Lake Boathouse LLC, right here.

But, to review, I can’t find any evidence of this meeting online.

Oh hey, look, it’s Ortega Family Enterprises’ Armand Ortega hisself, at the last big Boathouse meeting (the last one that I know of, anyway) at the Hall of Flowers.**

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Oh well.

*Uh, Ortega Family Enterprises has “boating experience” now, doesn’t it? You might want to change that. And do you want the City and County poking about buildings in your real estate empire looking for paint with lead in it? I’d bet they’d find some. Oh no! And shrillness-wise, you’re giving us a 9. How about giving us a 3 instead? All right, take two, roll film, action.

**Yes, that’s the actual color of the interior of the Hall of Flowers. I call it indescribable green.

San Francisco’s Worst NIMBY-Historical-Neighborhood Group of 2010 Has Got to Be “Save Stow Lake”

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

I don’t know, numerous people have told me that the people behind the Save Stow Lake website/group/social movement have been paid off by the long-time tenant of the place, but I don’t have any evidence of that except for the monomaniacal focus the people behind the group manifest.

I’ve seen a lot of NIMBY / homeowner / historical groups in my day, but these people take the cake.

Could it be parody, or performance art? Maybe somebody wants to tarnish ALL historical groups? I can’t tell…

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Anyway, have at it, see if you can tell from their latest missive. Enjoy:

Save the Stow Lake Boathouse Coalition
It’s not over yet!

The lease has not yet been approved by the Board of Supervisors and there are many reasons it should not be approved.

Supervisor Eric Mar sold out thousands of his constituents and began fast tracking thedeeply flawed lease to a New Mexico based souvenir chain with no boating experienceNINE days BEFORE the Rec & Park Commission voted to approve it. In spite of overwhelming opposition from the community and a lease that gives the New Mexico chain a discount, is full full of inaccuracies and embedded with high hidden costs to the taxpayers, Mar is sponsoring this lease. WHY?
Contact Supervisor Eric Mar [Redacted]

Phil Ginsburg, Rec & Park General Manager, says “every dollar counts” and that Rec & Park has a huge deficit, which is why he lays off gardeners, rec directors for our kids… but on Dec. 2nd, Rec & Park refused the New Mexico chain’s offer to pay an extra $175k guaranteed rent each year! Clearly Rec & Park staff Phil Ginsburg & Nick Kinsey, failed to negotiate the best terms available to San Franciscans who are facing a huge budget deficit and our giving business and our boathouse to an out-of-state company.

Stow Lake Boathouse Judgment Day is Finally Upon Us – Listen In at 2:00 PM as the “Historic Snack Bar” Gets Terminated

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Terminated with extreme prejudice, that is.

I don’t know man, I’ve seen more than my fair share of NIMBY groups and hysterical societies in the 415 over the years, but the absurdly-named Save Stow Lake campaign is, without a doubt, the worst in recent history.

See the NIMBYs  go down in flames starting at 2:00 PM (at the earliest, tonight’s meeting could be a long one) at the SFGTV.

Click to expand, yah?

Here’s a mini photo essay and here are all the deets.

Artist’s conception of the Stow Lake boat repair facility, post-termination. It will be a cafe soon:

Recreation and Park Commission to Approve New Vendor at Stow Lake Boathouse December 2nd, or Soon Thereafter

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Appears as if there’ll be some changes coming to Golden Gate Park’s Stow Lake Boathouse – our Board of Rec and Park will vote on the matter on December 2nd, 2010, anyway.

Check out the PowerPoint and the new lease if you want.

(The phrase “pink popcorn” is used three times, IIRC)

Out with the boat repair room and in with a cafe:

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All the deets:

“On December 2, 2010, the Recreation and Park Commission will consider approving a Lease with Ortega Family Enterprises, doing business as Stow Lake Boathouse, LLC for the lease and operation of the Stow Lake Boathouse. The Commission meeting will be in City Hall Room 416 and will begin at 2:00 PM.

The lease is available for review on the Department’s website by following the link below.


To review the Department’s Presentation from recent Community Meetings regarding Stow Lake, please follow the link below.

Ortega Family Enterprises
Stow Lake Boathouse, LLC. Lessee
For the Lease and Management of
the Stow Lake Boathouse
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, California
November 22, 2010

Mark Buell, President
Tom Harrison, Vice President
Gloria Bonilla, Commissioner
David E. Lee, Commissioner
Meagan Levitan, Commissioner
Lawrence Martin, Commissioner
Philip A. Ginsburg, General Manager

Stow Lake Boathouse Community Meeting: Today, Monday, Nov. 8th at 1:00 PM at the Hall of Flowers

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Get up-to-speed here for the latest developments and here for the agenda for the Next Big Meeting regarding the Stow Lake Boathouse in Golden Gate Park. It’s a getting-to-know-you event so you can learn about Ortega Family Enterprises, the new operator and how they’re fixing to give the SLBH some TLC

Second Meeting:
Date: Monday November 8, 2010
Time: 1PM
Location: Hall of Flowers (County Fair Building)

Now, I call it the big meeting because it will almost def. wind up having more attendees than the first one on November 3rd. There was just a handful of Real People who showed to hear from Ortegas père et fils. (And I’ll add that the meeting today seems to have caught the attention of the Save Stow Lake crowd.)

Here’s Armand Ortega, who talked about how Culture should lead Commerce…

…and here’s Shane Ortega, who talked about the courses he took while earning an MBA bidness degree at Stanfoo:

Don’t count on them to return today but somebody from OFE will be on hand I’m sure.

And here’s something new, it’s the proposed floor-plan of the cafe:

And here’s the view that you’d get the way things are today when the “Historic Boat Maintenance Shop Door” (shown at #7 in the floor-plan) is open:

Stow Lake Boathouse “Nominated” for Landmark Status? – The Exterior and Interior Both? – Planning Commission to Review?

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

[UPDATE: Per Sarah Ballard, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at San Francisco Recreation and Parks, “no formal action had been taken” by the Planning Department as to landmarking the inside, the outside or any side of the Stow Lake Boathouse. Apparently, this process would have to be initiated at a hearing and that hasn’t happened yet. Apparently, Planning staff regards the information they’ve just received about Stow Lake as being merely a letter from a constituent, something that doesn’t necessarily need a reply. And apparently, all of Golden Gate Park could at some point become an “Historic District,” so maybe there’s some confusion over that. We’ll see how this all shakes out…]

[UPDATE II: An [alleged, see Comments] area millionaire feels it’s her right to make up stuff and post it to the web – see her comments in the Comments. She’s good at making and spending money, and she’s into historic preservation, evidenced by her spending up to seven figures on one house just for the pleasure, but she’s not good at making cohesive arguments. One wonders why she herself doesn’t just kick in six figures for the boathouse the way that “evil,” “out of state” corporation has already volunteered to do. One wonders….]

The latest salvo in the battle over the Boathouse at Stow Lake has done been fired. Check it, from the webpages of

“11/3/10 Update: The formal nomination for the Stow Lake Boathouse to be designated as a local landmark has been made.* In the months to come it will be reviewed by SF Planning Department Preservation staff and the Historic Preservation Commission. The nomination is for landmark designation of BOTH the interior and the exterior of the boathouse.”

Landmark status, here we come?

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Of course, pretty much anybody can raise the idea of nominating anything for anything, right? In that sense, this gambit is similar to gang founder Stanley “Tookie” Williams being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize back in the day.

And landmark status can be tough to get, right? Oh well.

Anyway, this will be just more grist for the mill in the seemingly endless process to get the Boathouse off of a month-to-month lease, something that’s been costing San Francisco beaucoup bucks for years.

Speaking of which, there’ll be a couple of meetings concerning the Boathouse coming up. Appears as if the people at don’t want to tell you about tonight’s get-together (something to do with alleged improper notice) but it’s your choice:

First Meeting:
Date: Wednesday November 3, 2010
Time: 7PM
Location: Hall of Flowers (County Fair Building)

Second Meeting:
Date: Monday November 8, 2010
Time: 1PM
Location: Hall of Flowers (County Fair Building)

On It Goes…

*I’ll note the use of passive voice here. My understanding is that one of these people below would be needed to get any landmarking process started. Don’t see anything about this on today’s agenda anyway. And isn’t there a movement afoot to landmark the entire Golden Gate Park, as opposed to doing it piecemeal? Mmmm.

Alan Martinez

SEAT 1 Historic Architect

512 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102

415-626-9379 (W)
415-626-9389 (Fax)

Andrew Wolfram

SEAT 2 Historic Architect

Perkins + Will
185 Berry Street
Lobby One, Suite 5100
San Francisco, CA 94107

415-546-2914 (W)
415-856-3001 (Fax)

Charles Edwin Chase

SEAT 3 Architectural Historian

Architectural Resource Group
Pier 9, Embarcadero, Suite 109
San Francisco, CA 94111

415-421-1680 (W)
415-421-0127 (Fax)

James M. Buckley

SEAT 4 Historian

1650 Mission Street, Suite 400
San Francisco, CA 94103

415-786-2885 (W)
415-681-4542 (H)

Courtney Damkroger

SEAT 5 Preservation Professional
Vice President

2626 Hyde Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

415-923-0920 (H)

Karl Hasz

SEAT 6 General Contractor

1650 Mission Street, Suit 400
San Francisco, CA 94103

Diane Matsuda

SEAT 7 At Large

John Burton Foundation
235 Montgomery Street, Suite 1142
San Francisco, CA 94104

415-693-1321 (Direct Line)
415-348-0011 (W)
415-348-0099 (Fax)

Another Stow Lake Boathouse Community Meeting Set: November 8th, 2010 at 1:00 PM at the Hall of Flowers

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Here’s the latest – there will be another Community Meeting regarding the new tenant at the Stow Lake Boathouse:

First Meeting:
Date: Wednesday November 3, 2010
Time: 7PM
Location: Hall of Flowers (County Fair Building)

Second Meeting:
Date: Monday November 8, 2010
Time: 1PM
Location: Hall of Flowers (County Fair Building)

The aging Boathouse at Golden Gate Park’s 4.5-star Yelp-rated Stow Lake will be the subject of a Community Meeting on Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010 at 7:00 PM at the Hall of Flowers near 9th and Lincoln Boulevard, just north of the Inner Sunset (“The InSet“).

Check it:

“Please join the Recreation and Park Department for a conversation regarding the Stow Lake Boathouse Concession. As you may be aware, in August of this year, the Recreation and Park Commission selected Ortega Family Enterprises to manage the Stow Lake Boathouse. On Wednesday November 3, the Department will convene a community meeting to discuss the concession and present the Ortegas to the community.”

Now, the Insane Clown Posse and assorted Juggalos/Juggalettes over at !SAVE!STOW!LAKE!, the least-persuasive, least-successful group of preservationists in the recent history of San Francisco, well, you can read what they have to say for yourself. Environmental Impact Report, everything’s illegal, BOAThouse, etc…

Now you’re up to speed.

All the deets:

When: Wednesday November 3, 2010 at 7PM

Where: Hall of Flowers, Auditorium

Information about Ortega Family Enterprises and Stow Lake:

On August 19, 2010, The San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission selected Ortega Family Enterprises to run the historic Stow Lake Boathouse. The Department is in the process of negotiating a lease with Ortega and is hosting this Community meeting to solicit the input of community members.

Ortega Family Enterprises has more than 20 years of experience working in public parkland and 22 years of accident-free boat and kayak rental management experience. Ortega Family Enterprises is a family-run enterprise that emphasizes environmental sustainability and best practices in all phases of its business. It has a track record of turning around underperforming park concessions and maximizing their potential, including concessions at four National Park Service locations: Bandelier National Monument, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, White Sands National Monument and Muir Woods National Monument in the Bay Area.

Ortega Family Enterprises has proposed the following improvements to the Stow Lake Boathouse operations:

Investment in a new fleet of pedal, row and other boats while maintaining affordable boat rentals for the public.

Capital improvements to stabilize and improve the boathouse building while preserving the facility’s historic architecture and charm. All restoration efforts will follow the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Preservation and will be completed to LEED-certified standards.

A small, informal café that will feature traditional Stow Lake favorites like pink popcorn, pretzels and animal crackers while also providing a new menu of local, organic, healthy and sustainable food and beverage options. Menu items will remain affordable with most items available ranging from $4.95 to $8.95.

Implementation of ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems, Certification as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.

In 2009, the Ortega family won the Marin Conservation Council’s Green Business Award for its renovation and rejuvenated operation of the historicMuir Woods concession. They incorporated sustainable construction materials, implemented a trash disposal system that recycles and composts 90 percent of waste, and achieved significant electric and water savings. The Recreation and Park Department is looking to emulate this model at Stow Lake.

And here are a few relevant images:

The Present:

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Possible future:

The Present:

Future. Note swan boats:

Maybe you’ll go there and end up saying, “Si, Ortega!”