North Beach Festival – June 14 and 15

The 60th annual North Beach Festival will take place this year on June 14 and 15 and is one of the busiest days for the neighborhood. Streets are closed for arts, crafts, music, live poetry reading, and food! It is always a wonderful time and highly recommended for anyone to attend. This is a free event!

Please click on the link below to get detailed information on the upcoming Summer festival!

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North Beach Rats

North Beach Rats

North Beach recently has been invaded with a fury of rats pestering businesses and restaurants as construction for the $1.578 billion Central Subway route has shifted towards the neighborhood.
According to locals and visitors of Washington Square Park, the rats can sometimes be seen in pairs, and at other times in groups of up to 20 scurrying across the park’s grass at night.
“One time when I was just roaming the neighborhood at night, I noticed a pack of about 25 to 30 of them running clear across the field,” Ryan Burns, a North Beach resident said. “It is crazy how construction in our neighborhood has unleashed these rats everywhere.”
Gaspare, an Italian native and now a manager at the US Restaurant on Columbus Avenue, has noticed that there is a rat problem, but luckily hasn’t had one in his business. “I know they are around and that other places are having a problem with the rodents, but I have not witnessed them in our restaurant and I hope that trend does continue,” Gaspare said. “I have seen them wandering Washington Square though. That seems to be their hideout right now.”
Although multiple citizens are positive the construction near the park is the reason for the oncoming rodents, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency does not necessarily agree. According to the SFMTA, they set up a Rodent Abatement Program with the Department of Public Health once construction in the neighborhood started, which has been in place since January 2009. This program is meant to control rodent problems before rats start to infiltrate the construction area. Efforts to prevent the flock of rodents are made when SFMTA predicts rats will appear and also when complaints are made.
Signs that could lead a house or establishment to being infested by rats are listed on the Department of Public Health website. Recommended procedures for checking for rodent infestation includes: looking for scattered rat droppings near common pathways, feeding locations, or shelters. Looking for doors, ledges, or corners of walls that look like they have been chewed on is another way of finding signs of rodents. Also, be aware of dusty areas inside or dirty surfaces outside, as a tail dragline might be present within those surfaces. If you come in contact with rats and want to make a complaint, which helps the city determine if an abatement plan is needed, you should contact the city’s call center at 311. This is extremely helpful as some of these rodents are known to carry certain diseases.
The SFTMA refuses to take full blame for the infestation because typically when construction is underway, rodent complaints usually occur during the beginning of construction, it rarely happens after. Despite this information, the Department of Public Health holds fast to its statement that the growing rodent infestation is because of the ongoing construction.
The construction of the new Muni rail will extend the T line so that it goes through Chinatown and ends near North Beach.
Although construction is still ongoing for this advancement in San Francisco’s public transportation system, rats have been an issue ever since they started the project at South of Market in 2012. At that time, the SFMTA set up traps for rats that might escape during the beginning of that construction and that no complaints of rats were filed at that time. An abatement plan was prepared before construction started to prevent the spreading of these critters.
Muni construction is taking place in multiple locations at the same time currently. Southern South of Market from Harrison to King, Northern South of Market from Market to Harrison, Union Square, China Town, and North Beach. Even with these spots being worked on, North Beach is the only neighborhood where rodents have become a major problem. Tourists have fled the park in a hurry because of the sudden appearance of the crowd of rodents, which affects business in the popular North Beach area.
Julio Vega, a frequent visitor of the North Beach neighborhood, says these rats are fiercer than the average ally or sewer rats. “There has always been a minimum amount of rats around here, I mean everywhere in the city has rats,” Vega said. “But the amount of rats that are around our neighborhood at this time is getting out of hand. And these rats don’t exactly run from you. They aren’t afraid of humans one bit.”
Richard Abruzzo, who works in San Francisco as a Longshoreman, believes that it will take the entire neighborhoods effort to get these rats to scram, or action from the city will be necessary to exterminate them. “These rats aren’t just going to go away by themselves, especially since this [Washington Square Park] is such a popular spot in North Beach. The rats just stay here because they know food is around and that food will get left by. But they have to go,” Abruzzo said.
Some complaints do get called over to the San Francisco Police Department as well, although these complaints should get sent over to the Department of Public Health’s 311 number indicated earlier. The more call-ins, the more likely the city, the SFMTA, and DPH will work together to come up with a plan to rid the critters.
“The SFPD does get calls every once in awhile about the rats in North Beach,” Gianrico Pierucci of the SFPD said. “We direct them to the Department of Public Health though. As cops, we can’t do much about the rat infestation. It does need to get some more attention though as it is a major problem in that beautiful neighborhood.”
The rodent abatement program has since helped with the problem and has set up rats and ways to disrupt their nests around the area. According to the DPH, the way to fully get rid of the rats is to set up traps, know where their nests are, send out a pest control, and stop feeding pigeons in the area for the time being as rats like to pick up extra scraps on the floor.
Again, if you would like to file a complaint, contact the DPH’s 311 call center, or visit the DPH website at: http://www.sfdph.org/.

North Beach Library

North Beach’s library branch opened Saturday, May 10 and was the last branch to open ending a 14-year, $200 million plan that included eight new branches and 14 renovations for San Francisco’s library system.

For more information on the new North Beach branch, click the picture below to get directed to the North Beach branch’s website!

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A Profile on Gianrico Pierucci

Gianrico Pierucci, a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area and a Homicide Inspector Sergeant for the SFPD, is a frequent visitor of North Beach and the San Francisco Italian Athletic Club.

Pierucci, 51, was born in Caprile, Italy, a small village in the region of Marche. Eventually, Pierucci moved into San Francisco and as a young boy always dreamed of becoming a cop for the SFPD. His first real taste of this goal was becoming a crossing guard as a kid for Saints Peter and Paul Church within North Beach.

“It was kind of funny, because there I met a bunch of cops that were like to me, 20 feet tall,” Pierucci says. He was able to go on ride alongs with these same cops as well.

As Pierucci got older, he joined a cadet program where he worked with police during events and festivals in the city. He also did some filing for the station.

Although Pierucci started Political Science and Pre-Law studies at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, this was not his calling card. He went to the Community College of San Francisco where he studied Criminology and got back on track to being a policeman. After finishing up at City College, he then attended USF to work as a Public Safety Officer. From that point, the cadet decided it was time to further his career. “While I was at USF, I decided that I wanted to take the test for SFPD because it was time for me to do so, so I did,” Pierucci said. “It was a total change.”

He was accepted as a patrol officer with the SFPD in 1987 and went through a 7-month academy. Once he completed that, he started working midnight shifts. Pierucci went into detail about his numerous amounts of sleepless nights. This was not because of working midnights, which he has done in the past prior to this, but the court proceedings that followed all arrests was the reason for these long days. If he made any arrests during his midnight shift, he would have to appear in court the next day during business hours of 9 am to 5 pm.

This kind of fight against fatigue was a real test for Pierucci. A jury was set to decide the outcome of an arrest and he had to be at his best with accuracy and consistency to legitimize his arrest. “A lot of times, because of lack of sleep, you may come out and say something, and you didn’t think of what you were saying, and now things change because there are 12 people on the jury who are looking and saying ‘look at this guy, he just changed his story’,” he said. “They don’t know that I’ve been up two days in a row, three days in a row.”

Pierucci always wanted to work at Central Station because that is the police station that covers North Beach, but he was not sent there, instead he ended up at Northern where he was a worker in the Specialist Detail. Within that department, he handled a lot of hostage situations and situations with barricaded suspects. “It doesn’t end until the suspect comes out with his hands up,” he said.

On his days off, Pierucci studied to be a sergeant while at Golden Gate University and to obtain his Masters. He was a sergeant in the Bayview neighborhood during the midnight shift for three years. While chasing a suspect during his shift, he cracked his knee, which required surgery. While he recovered, he worked with internal affairs.

Finally in 1999, he got sworn into the Inspectors Bureau after passing their test. He started in the Operations Center, then to Domestic Violence. “It’s a horrible type of situation but you can help a lot of people in domestic violence.”

Five years ago, he took an interview for the homicide unit and got accepted within that and that is where he stands today.

Dressed in suit and tie, with his police badge polished clinging to his suit, and a constant smile, no one would ever guess this man sees dead people for a living. Not only has he been with the SFPD for over 27 years now, but also on the side, he is a contributor with the San Francisco Italian Athletic Club in North Beach and is a popular figure among the Italian Club. In fact, he was club President in 2009-10.

In Pierucci’s off time, he is often found around North Beach and the Italian Club. “Not only is Gianrico a big part of the Italian Club, but he also supports the St. Francis of Assisi Lights at the Porziuncola on Vallejo Street,” Bernadette Mendoza says, who is the Manager of Francesco Rocks. Francesco Rocks is a little shop filled with Italian ceramic frescos and other religious art gifts that is intertwined with the Porziuncola.

Paul Alioto, the general manager of the Italian Club, only had good words to speak of Pierucci. “He is just a real stand up guy and always helps support this club. He is a former President here and was great at it. He’s an active member.”

Pierucci has been married for 27 years, 28 years in May, and has two children.

Mama’s on Washington Square

The family-owned Mama’s has occupied the same location of 1701 Stockton St. for over 50 years with their popular breakfast and lunch plates and now hope to digress their long lines by opening a new location just a few blocks away.

The corner of Vallejo Street and Columbus Avenue has been vacant long enough, according to the owners of Mama’s. It is rare to show up at Mama’s for breakfast or lunch and be seated within an hour of your arrival. That is the price to pay when individuals decide to dine at Mama’s. Ownership has been planning for about a year now in taking over that empty space and opening a 6,000 square-foot expansion of Mama’s, according to SFgate.com writer Paolo Lucchesi. The new location will double the activity of the old location with approximately 80 total seats, compared to just 35.

With this new location, Mama’s is hoping that these dreaded lines will disappear without service and business taking a hit as well. While getting to know Mama’s, numerous customers waiting in line did eventually leave once they realized the wait might be too ridiculous. Mama’s is hoping that this expansion gets rid of that problem. Although several customers did not think the wait was worth this ever so popular San Francisco breakfast, others would agree to disagree.

Gaspare, the manager of the US Restaurant on 515 Columbus Ave., does have his opinion and thoughts on Mama’s opening a new store near him. “Mama’s is always popular with a line stretching out the door. Usually it is not a problem for the neighborhood since most restaurants here are for the nighttime anyways. But them opening another location might affect businesses who offer lunch.”

Sean Hedgpeth, who was born in Santa Rosa and currently living in Seattle, is on a two-day stay in San Francisco and made it a priority to have a breakfast at Mama’s. “I’ve been here once before. The first and only time I came to Mama’s was because I was around North Beach and saw how long the line was. I expected it to be delicious and I was not one bit displeased with the results. Except this wait is crazy.” Hedgpeth was in line for about an hour.

A couple waiting as well in the hour-long line also only had good remarks for the hospitality and quality of Mama’s. “I’ve especially heard that the French toast here is amazing. I’ve been here twice and it has been great both times,” Daniel Cassodus said.

It is strange to see the most popular restaurant in the entire neighborhood of North Beach, with Italian roots, is a breakfast and lunch diner that is run by a family of Mexican heritage. According to Rosa Reyes, who has attended Mama’s twice, agrees with those before her and thinks it is popular for a reason. “It is just delicious. That is why this line is this long and why it is worth it,” Reyes said.

Mama’s started up in 1967 by Michael Sanchez who originated from Guadalajara, Mexico. He started it out as a sherbet shop but eventually turned it into what Mama’s is today and named it that in honor of his wife. Mama’s has always been a family style restaurant which is why it is so attractive as well. Mama’s has workers that are part of the 3rd generation of the Sanchez Family.

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Original U.S. Restaurant

No, U.S. does not stand for United States. It actually stands for U. Siciliano. I tried the lasagna here and it was absolutely delicious. The service was fast and friendly. Also, for those sports fans out there, they routinely play the hottest sports game that is on while you are there on one TV that looks out the whole restaurant. Great visit.

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