Renovated bread van caffeinates (and delights) park goers / Rivera mural finds new home

It's Tuesday, June 22.

Hey there, San Francisco. 

Around 2016, Buffy Maguire had an idea. What if her newly renovated coffee truck, which carried the name “Lady Falcon Coffee Club,” had a presence in the park that overlooks the iconic Painted Ladies? To Maguire, it seemed like a perfect fit. 

The city agreed and since Alamo Square Park opened from its renovations in 2017, Lady Falcon has served espresso drinks out of its vintage van to weekend park goers and caffeine seekers. 

“We like to think we’re like the parks in Amsterdam where the cool little vans sell you a cup of coffee,” Maguire said. “Part of the experience but not overpowering.” 

While Lady Falcon is a relatively new addition to Alamo Square, Maguire, a third-generation San Franciscan, has been a mainstay in the city’s cafe scene for years. In 1993, she and her husband started Java Beach Cafe in the Outer Sunset, and in 2008, they opened a second location on Sloat Blvd (across from the zoo). In 2011, the couple opened Beachside Coffee Bar & Cafe, but have since sold that business. 

“How do I be me in coffee?” Maguire asked while discussing her various endeavors. “I didn’t want to be another brown bag with a rubber stamp.” 

Lady Falcon Coffee Club is far from a cookie-cutter operation. Maguire said she acquired the dilapidated, former bread van from a friend in Oakland and found an East Bay mechanic (who moonlighted as a magician) to help her with the fixes. The roof was pulled off and re-welded. The front grill was removed, re-cast by Burning Man artists, and then set again. The counter space inside was made to be ADA accessible. 

Even the mechanic’s magic skills were put to the test when he devised a mechanism that expanded the side of the truck to add more standing room when needed (it can collapse again when the baristas are back on the road). 

“We ended up [working on] it every week,” Maguire remembers. “Piece by piece.” 

Today, the Lady Falcon truck can be found at Alamo Square Park every Friday from 8 am to 3 pm and every Saturday and Sunday from 8 am to 4 pm. Maguire’s two Java Beach locations also serve Lady Falcon coffee and enthusiasts can buy its beans directly online

As for its name, Lady Falcon Coffee Club is a nod to the Falcon Women’s Bicycling Club, a group of women in the 1880s who broke stereotypes and rode bikes in the Sunset District. Maguire wanted to keep that history and eclectic spirit alive. “It’s a vibe,” she said. 

Story by Paolo Bicchieri

And with that...onto some news… 

Quick bits: 

  • 🚎 As expected, Mayor London Breed vetoed the Board of Supervisors’ effort to make Muni free for all riders this summer. “If we want to put money in the pockets of our most vulnerable residents, let’s invest in programming that targets them, not temporarily subsidize those who could afford to pay,” Breed wrote in her June 18 veto letter. (Chronicle

  • 💵 On Tuesday, Supervisors Hillary Ronen and Matt Haney introduced new legislation called “First Year Free,” which would waive fees that small businesses in the city currently must pay for permitting, inspections, and more. Those fees can total between $15,000 and $30,000, the Chronicle wrote. “San Francisco should be the easiest place in the country to open a small business,” Haney said. “Right now it’s one of the hardest.” (Chronicle

  • 📖 Four more public libraries opened on Monday with a new policy the city is calling “Browse and Bounce,” which gives patrons a 60-minute window to peruse books, music, and other offerings before needing to check out. All library locations are expected to open by the fall. (NBC News)

  • 💦 Golden Gate Park and the Panhandle use around 427 million gallons of water (that’s drinkable) each year. But come summer 2022, the city plans to use recycled water (from a system that’s currently under construction) to keep its largest park looking lush. (SF Gate

  • 🏡 Zillow got your home-owning hopes up? Not so fast. The Chronicle published a piece on Tuesday that found 62% of homes in the Bay Area sold for more than their asking price on Zillow in the first quarter of 2021, which was up from 47% during the same period last year. In San Francisco specifically, 42% of homes last quarter sold above their list price. (Chronicle

And finally… 

A massive (and somewhat forgotten about) fresco by the Mexican artist Diego Rivera has a new home in the city. 

As New York Times reporter Carol Pogash wrote on Tuesday, “after a four-year, multimillion-dollar undertaking involving mechanical engineers, architects, art historians, fresco experts, art handlers and riggers...the 30-ton, 74-foot-wide-by-22-foot mural has been carefully extracted [from the City College of San Francisco] and moved across town to San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.” It’s set to go on display on June 28. 

So how did the painting, described by the project’s manager as a “70-foot eggshell,” make its way to the MOMA? “Very carefully,” the Times writes. 

There’s a really cool time-lapse in the Times article that shows a crane lifting the Rivera piece (known as “Pan American Unity”) off of a semi-truck and into the museum. There’s another that shows workers on scissor lifts piecing it together. The fresco, which was originally painted on Treasure Island at the 1940 Golden Gate International Exposition, is beautiful and quite breathtaking itself. 

I also love the bit about the former City College employee who became the de facto “guardian” and promoter of the painting, which, the Times said, was previously only seen by about 100 art students and Rivera tourists each month. 

When discussing the exposure the MOMA display would bring to the fresco, the former employee told the Times, “This is all I’ve ever wanted.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story referred to Diego Rivera as “Mexican-American.” According to MOMA, however, he was Mexican.

That’s all for today! Thanks so much for reading y’all and see you back here tomorrow. - Nick B.

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