For many leather-lovers and bearded gays in San Francisco, SoMa (South of Market) is the preferred gayborhood compared to the internationally known and world-famous Castro District. Now word comes down that those hirsute-and-harnessed hipsters and old-school freedom fighters will be getting a new leather-themed plaza, “Eagle Plaza,” just a stone’s throw from SF Eagle, a home base of sorts for SoMa gays.
With the city’s leaders, including Mayor London Breed, having officially granted permits for Eagle Plaza, construction of the parklet — located just across from SF Eagle on 12th Street — is expected to start soon.
Eagle Plaza is intended to honor both the city’s LGBTQ community and the leather community. “Our LGBT and leather communities have a long history in San Francisco and western SOMA, and they will now have a permanent home in the neighborhood,” Breed said following a vote by city supervisors on Feb. 12. “The new Eagle Plaza will celebrate our diversity and the pride we all have in these communities, while also creating a much-needed new open space for all of our residents.”
Upon signing the resolution, Breed also took an opportunity to critique what’s happening in Washington, D.C. “While our federal administration is attempting to erase members of the LGBTQ community, we in San Francisco take pride in celebrating all those who bring diversity to our city,” she said in a statement.
Eagle Plaza is expected to host outdoor events and performances year-round, and it’s hoped that construction will be completed by late September, in time for the SoMa neighborhood’s annual Folsom Street Fair, the world’s largest kink event.
Interestingly, the Bay Area Reporter notes that a local development company will be funding the construction of Eagle Plaza in order to nail down approval of an adjacent lot’s redevelopment. Redevelopment is quite the topic of conversation in San Francisco, a city that many feel is losing its bohemian spirit to overdevelopment and gentrification.
“At a time when San Francisco is rapidly changing and developing, it is even more critical that we honor and celebrate the rich history and culture of our city,” says Supervisor Matt Haney, who represents SoMa. “The SoMa neighbourhood has been home to a thriving LGBTQ and leather community for decades. It is wonderful to see the important contributions of the LGBTQ leather community honored, while also bringing much needed public open space to our neighborhood.”