Heroes, Ninjas, and Other Strangeness
Visitación Valley is a neighborhood on the Daly City border bounded by 3rd Street/Bayshore, Mansell, Geneva and John McLaren Park. It is best known for being the heart of Southern San Francisco’s working class Asian community and also for the multiple housing projects concentrated in the southwestern corner of the neighborhood. The northern half of the neighborhood (above Raymond) is hilly while the southern half is entirely flat.
One thing that becomes immediately apparent upon exploring the neighborhood is the lack of amenities; outside of a sparse commercial corridor on Leland Avenue, most of Visitación Valley is largely devoid even of the corner stores which are normally ubiquitous in San Francisco’s urban neighborhoods. The lack of storefronts gives the neighborhood a very different feel than the neighborhoods that surround it.
While Visitación Valley itself is largely comparable to neighboring Excelsior in terms of crime, the neighborhood’s housing projects are widely considered to be the worst in San Francisco. Despite their adjacency, the two projects – Towerside and Sunnydale – are separate turfs. At many points throughout the last couple of decades the two projects have been at war with each other, and many have died as a result.
Sunnydale is the older and larger of the two (the largest single housing project in San Francisco); like many other projects throughout SF, it was originally built as a military barrack during WWII and then converted into Section 8 housing by the San Francisco Housing Authority. Given that they were originally designed to be temporary, their very poor construction is unsurprising; what is surprising is that they’re still used at all. Quite a few of the units throughout Sunnydale are boarded up, burned-out and/or both. While many of them are occupied, a lot of them lack plumbing, electricity, etc.
Towerside consists of the Geneva Towers, one-time luxury highrise towers that were later converted to Section 8 housing.
While the projects and the larger Visitación Valley neighborhood are technically part of the same community, in reality they are two different worlds that happen to be next to each other.