I live on Hartford Street in Eureka Valley, aka The Castro, with my partner, John Kruse, and our 4-year-old daughters, Zola and Veronica Kruschel. Hartford Street is a quiet little residential street just steps away from the hustle of Castro Street and the bustle of Market Street. I love living here.
We have a great mix of businesses in the neighborhood. Take a walk with me and I'll tell you my personal faves. I buy birthday cards at Wild Card! I'm addicted to the Morning Rush coffee beans at the Castro Cheesery. I love the Castro Theater. Its marquis defines the neighborhood, and I'm thrilled that it has begun mixing first-run movies into its fare, giving me yet another reason to patronize it. When I need hardware to hang a picture of Veronica, I head to Cliff's Variety. I'm happy that both A Different Light Bookstore and Books, Inc. carry "Papa and Daddy and Babies in Alaska", the book I wrote about how John and I became fathers to our daughters. I window shop for real estate porn at Herth Realty. I bank at Wells Fargo, the most gay-friendly bank I've ever been in. We get takeout at Thaihouse Express. Buffalo Whole Food satisfies my Barbara's Cheese Puffs and Reed's Ginger Brew cravings. The underwear I buy at Injeanious Lounge makes me feel sexy. I feel virtuous shopping at Under One Roof. I just bought a nightlight of the Castro Theater there. I shop for groceries at Delano's – I love their cold cuts. (I wish Trader Joe's had been welcomed in the Duboce Triangle, and I hope one day to see a fruit and vegetable store closer than Church Street or 16th and Mission.) Sumi is great for an intimate dinner. The burritos at Zapata are quick and yummy. Walgreen's is great for buying a box of Sponge Bob Squarepants bandages to make Zola's booboo feel better. The croque madame at A Bon Port is an indulgence I grant myself. At Superstar Video, I rent movies the whole family can enjoy, as well as ones just for John and me. The roast turkey sandwich with swiss cheese at Rossi's Deli makes a good lunch. I'm sad when a restaurant I like closes – farewell Ararat – and excited to see what takes its place – welcome Poesia. I'm glad to see some businesses go – bu-bye Wolf Camera, but I don't understand why some storefronts are vacant so long, and wish they would be filled.
I love seeing children in the neighborhood. My block has ten, with more on the way. I love seeing multi-culti tutti-frutti families coexisting with traditional ones. Toto, we're not in Kansas! Walk by the playground at the Eureka Valley Recreation Center on a weekend and burst with pride at the diversity.
I'm glad to live in a neighborhood in which neighbors take care of their property. I like to stop and smell the roses in front of Al and Govinder's house. Don't pick them! I'm heartened that my neighbors care enough to make a difference. When The Cafe wanted to remodel and expand, my neighbors got the EVPA involved and made sure that The Cafe did it in a way that respected the interests of the community, as well as the interests of The Cafe. My neighbors recently formed the Hartford Street Neighborhood Association. We're currently fighting MUNI's plans to run the 37 bus line down our street. Aside from that, I like MUNI because it makes it so easy for me to visit other neighborhoods. The F-line, especially, makes me smile. It's an amusement park ride with a purpose.