Heart of H.P.

I wrote about Hunters Point too soon, it seems, because yesterday, I found myself at Third and Newcomb, the corner Mr. 4-Tay says is “right in the heart of H.P.”

I didn’t plan to go to Third and Newcomb — ever. I’d planned to go to Sunday Streets, a monthly SF program where the city closes down a street to car traffic and opens it up instead to bicyclists, walkers, runners, roller skaters/bladers, etc.

I’ve wanted to get back on my bike, but riding in the City intimidates me. I figured Sunday Streets was a way to do some City riding without worrying about getting hit by a car or a bus. Plus this month’s Sunday Streets was a change to explore an area of SF that was still fairly new to me: Third Street.

Of course, I knew that Third Street crossed Newcomb at some point, but I thought you’d have to go really far down Third Street to get anywhere close to the infamous intersection from “Playaz Club”.  But it turns out that Newcomb is not very far down Third Street at all. In fact, it’s just a few blocks from Jerrold, where I’d gone to Flora Grubb Gardens, and it’s a surprisingly short distance from Dogpatch. It turns out I’d been within blocks of my most feared SF intersection many times before.

I stopped at the intersection to take a few pictures, to document my visit to Rappin’ 4-Tay’s SF. “This is a big moment for me,” I told Mr. WholeHog. I couldn’t see his face but I was sure he was rolling his eyes.

This corner of Third and Newcomb looked a little more “Playaz Club”:

But the corner where I’d stopped at to take pictures (shown below) looked like pretty normal. The only reminder that you’re not in Noe Valley anymore is the blue sign on the light post warning you that all activities are monitored by surveillance video.

Feeling cocky after facing what I had long considered to be the worst place in S.F. without incident, we veered off Third and headed down Evans in search of a park we’d seen on our way to Building REsources.

Evans is a wide boulevard with bike lanes that is initially flanked by office parks, but as we biked towards the bay, the office buildings disappeared and it became clear that Evans was taking us straight into the Hunters Point housing projects.

It was one thing to roll by Third and Newcomb on a day with a prominent police presence (there were cops at nearly every intersection on Third Street, helping direct traffic or, in the case of one officer I passed, enjoying a McDonald’s hot fudge sundae), but it was quite another to tour some of SF’s more notorious housing projects on our own.

So we turned around at India Basin Shoreline Park and headed back to Third Street, back to all the other bikers, runners and roller bladers, back to the police and their fast food sundaes, and back to the woman I saw walking along Third street wearing a shirt that said “Don’t Ask Me 4 SHIT”.

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