Third Street Stroll …

by Rochelle Metcalfe

LET’S STROLL! Every time I drive or walk past KENNEDY MARKET and Check Cashing store and CLUB LONG ISLAND, both located on opposite corners of Third and McKinnon Street, my mind recalls the days of the KENNEDYS – EMMIT AND DOROTHY KENNEDY, former owners of both spots who lived up above the store. They were a successful, hardworking couple – PIONEERS of 3-street legacy! Mrs. Kennedy was a dedicated member of Providence Baptist Church, located one block off Third street, on McKinnon. Emmit passed Sept. 10, 1987; Dorothy in mid-2000.

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Club Long Island

Often think of the good times had in the renowned Club Long Island that featured LIVE entertainment, marquee included Ike and Tina Turner, Bobbie “Blue” Bland before their rise to fame, VERNON AND JEWEL, JOHN TURK and Third Street Annex Band (he’s music director at Glide Church). The club was popular with community folks and Bay Areans who came to party, dressed TO IMPRESS, like EDDY AND CLASSIE KENDRICKS – ah, they were a good-looking couple! All good things must end – sure miss those days!

CLARENCE WILLIAMS, longtime Bayview resident, retired from San Francisco Water Department in 2004, BOUGHT Club Long Island, which houses apartments on the upper floor, from Mrs. Kennedy in 1997. Last year, March, there was an early morning fire that pretty well gutted the interior – brick facing remains, but one can see the destruction, black charred remnants visible – UNINHABITABLE until work is done to bring the place up to code – and temporary delay to remodel the building and reopen to the once elegant SHOWROOM of the past.

When checking out the block on a recent chilly Saturday afternoon, parked in front of Club Long Island, WILLIAMS was sitting out front on a chair in the doorway talking to a few gents. He SHARED GOOD news with me – I’ll let him tell you about that!

THIRD STREET IS MY BEAT (BUT will wander), on the street that afternoon to check news I HEARD THAT morning over radio station KCBS, reference Kennedy Market owners were selling “HEALTHY FOODS”! That perked my attention, so there I was in the store browsing over the small stand that displayed an abundance of large onions, potatoes and bananas. In a refrigerated cabinet – vegetables, lettuce, tomatoes, variety of fruit, delivered from a garden outlet.

My mind was distracted after talking with Manager MUSA “MIKE” DIRBAS, while assisting customers (at the time none were buying vegetables), shared his brother DAWUD DIRBAS, owner of several properties on the block, for one – the brightly painted green building on Third near Oakdale – temporary campaign headquarters of SUPERVISOR MALIA COHEN (D-10). WOW, the color has SPARKED up the block – a feeling of Spring – closed the day I was in the area.

SHOCKED to know that the KENNEDY-OWNED building that houses the market is in FORECLOSURE! Rightly so, the Dirbas brothers are concerned about their business, as their lease is GOOD until 2027! The Kennedys’ daughter, CECELIA KENNEDY, heir to their real estate holdings. Lots of DRAMA (more than I can repeat), as the Dirbas are caught in the middle. If she loses the property, they lose! STAY TUNED!

There’s some POSITIVE changes on the block between Newcomb and McKinnon – to my surprise, since the last time I walked within that block – of course MS. APRIL SPEARS, of Auntie April’s Chicken and Waffles, STILL THE QUEEN – now she’s got company! BY THE WAY – Miss April is having another LIVE event – Caribbean Night! July 6, oxtails and jerk chicken, and LIVE music of reggae artists RANKIN SCROO and GINGER!

HERE’S THE 411 – VELO Brews, Cafe and Cycling Community Center, 4634 Third St., formerly the site of the POP UP Market Place. General Manager ROSS DELDUCA shared the cafe has been open over a month. The front part of the space is the café, serving gourmet coffee, pastries, sandwiches; in the back, bicycling repair section.

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Verlie Mae Pickens celebrates her 98th birthday at the Dr. George Davis Senior Center on June 11. – Photo: Rochelle Metcalfe

On the corner at Newcomb, First Cup Coffee, the small neat place is a deli, serving not only coffee and donuts, but sandwiches, and HOT DOG ON A BUN – NOW THAT’s what I’ve been looking for on 3-street – sat down and ordered one on the spot – good! Manager ABDULLAH (son of the owner) delighted I was pleased! HEARD a bakery business will be moving in the vacant NORMAN building, located within the block.

Back on the street, ran into the PEANUT MAN bicycling, as usual selling his fresh roasted peanuts. HEY, there’s action at the site of the MONTE CARLO Bar!

MOVING ON – former San Francisco Mayor WILLIE BROWN JR. on 3-street at AUNTIE APRIL’S on Father’s Day. I’m told at the invitation of CHARLIE WALKER, Bayview businessman, community activist, cable TV host “AMERICA IS STILL THE PLACE,” title of his one-man talk show. HEARD the place was packed with fathers invited to the FELLOWSHIP BREAKFAST. Would have peeped in if I had known about the gathering!

Later that day, DA MAYOR was at GLIDE Memorial Church for the CELEBRATION IN TRIBUTE to MAYA ANGELOU, famed author, poet and civil rights leader, who passed at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, May 28. She was 85. There at Glide as well, AH, what a beautiful celebration in honor of this PHENOMENAL woman!

She requested in her WILL, a WEST COAST CELEBRATION. She spent a significant portion of her early life in San Francisco and, good friend of REV. CECIL WILLIAMS and JAN MIRKITANI, she often visited the sanctuary to rejoice in the diverse crowd with sage words of wisdom.

Maya loved San Francisco, graduated from MISSION High School, and FIRST FEMALE Streetcar conductor. She made lasting friends (NEVER had the honor to grasp her hand in greeting). Many there at the celebration on that beautiful Sunday afternoon of May 15, for the 90-minute touching tribute. Son, GUY JOHNSON and family members in attendance, most appreciative of the love!

The Glide Ensemble, directed by JOHN TURK, glorious in flowing elegant red robes, magnificent voices, that included EMMA JANE FOSTER and the Change Band. Words spoken by Rev. Williams, Jan, Willie Brown, CONGRESSWOMAN BARBARA LEE expressed Maya was a good and faithful servant. BELVA DAVIS MC. Recording vocalist VALERIE SIMPSON (of Ashford and Simpson) put the ICING on the cake (flying in from New York) sang, “Walk Around Heaven All Day!” suggesting that was what Maya was doing – talking the talk!

Congratulations to DR. MARGIE BAKER, retired San Francisco educator (48 years) in celebration of her new CD RELEASE, “So Many Stars,” featuring musicians who have performed with her through the years – JOHN SANTOS, JULES BROUSSARD, DANNY ARMSTRONG, HARLEY WHITE and more. So much to tell about this lady, space does not permit! An entourage of fans, family and friends there at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Burlingame, that included S.F. former Police Chief EARL SANDERS and his lovely wife; RUDY SMITH and family, WARREN and DONNA STEWART.

Gotta’ give a HAPPY 49th WEDDING ANNIVERSARY SHOUT OUT to longtime San Francisco Bayview residents, THURMAN “POPCORN” and ANN AUSTIN, HOW SWEEET IT ‘TIS!


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