The day after the landmark was removed from San Francisco’s Cliff House, marking the end of an era at the popular tourist attraction, the historic building was covered in graffiti.
Residents and visitors who took a New Year’s walk on Friday morning were greeted with sprawling black graffiti letters over the normally immaculate white building overlooking the Sutro Baths and Ocean Beach.
And it wasn’t the only place in the area. The empty Louis’ Diner just up the street, which was also closed in July after 83 years, also had graffiti on the walls.
The Cliff House officially closed on Thursday after restaurant owners Dan and Mary Hountalas said they couldn’t reach an agreement with the National Park Service on a long-term lease or continue to operate at a loss during the pandemic. The restaurant ended its in-house dinner in March due to the pandemic and ceased operations entirely in July after a brief, money-losing attempt to only offer a take-away service.
The Cliff House officially closed on Thursday after long-time operators failed to sign a lease with the National Park Service. (Sara Gaiser / SF examiner)
The closure also affects a café in the Lands End visitor center.
Park Service, which controls the property, said it offered the family a three and a half year lease extension but turned the offer down.
“However, this decision does not mean that the Cliff House building will be permanently closed,” the agency said in a statement calling the closure a “temporary cessation of services”. “The NPS is committed to maintaining this iconic building.”
However, the closure and the sudden appearance of graffiti raise questions about the long-term future of the Lands End tourist area.
(Sara Gaiser / SF examiner)
The Cliff House is the third and last major restaurant in the area to close this year. The Seal Rock Inn restaurant, just up the street, announced its final closure in August shortly after Louis’.
While valet parking has announced it will resume service at Cliff House, the advertising process has currently been suspended due to the pandemic, so it is not clear when the building will be inhabited again.
The agency has announced that it will take measures to prevent vandalism. A spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new graffiti on Friday.
Louis’ diner, which closed in July 2020, also has graffiti. (Sara Gaiser, SF examiner)
Elected regulator Connie Chan, sworn in to represent the Richmond District on Jan. 8, described the graffiti as “disheartening” and “disappointing,” especially so soon after it was closed. She said she intended to facilitate discussions with the community about what residents in the area would like to see.
Chan said the closure underscores the need for The City, legacy and small businesses to help.
“It’s a challenging situation,” said Chan. “I know it’s not just in Outer Richmond, but really in our entire city. How can we recover from the economic and social impact of the pandemic as a city, not just in this area? “
Louis’ diner, which closed in July 2020, will be empty on January 1, 2021 and will have multiple graffiti tags on it. (Sara Gaiser, SF Examiner)
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