Bayview and Hunters Point, originally distinct neighborhoods, were conflated long ago as the isolated area became marginalized and homogenized. Bayview, named after a hill in Candlestick Point State Recreation Area, is currently the more common name for the area, so that’s what will be used here.
In the 1860s the dock at Hunters Point became an important site for shipbuilding, and later became a site to decontaminate vessels exposed to atomic weapons testing, which created toxic waste; it was shut down in the 1990s. The area also housed a power plant that caused pollution and it too was eventually shut down.
While these industries boomed they attracted hordes of blue collar workers, and when they closed, those workers were stuck in poverty at the edge of the city in an ecologically destroyed neighborhood with crumbling infrastructure. This history has left Bayview with the highest rates of poverty, crime, and public housing developments in San Francisco, as well as the highest rates of African Americans, a population with a history of being disenfranchised by the city of San Francisco.
In the 1990s and 2000s, efforts were made to clean up the waste and to redevelop, but most of these efforts were criticized by activists as being misguided approaches.
But, like the Tenderloin, this neighborhood has pulled together to create real and lasting change, finding ways to support and take care of each other. Community activism is rampant here, especially with youth and environmentally focused endeavors, including the Quesada Gardens Initiative and the EcoCenter at Herod’s Head Park. Bayview also houses several artist communities as well as artists' studios.
Today it is home to some light industry and warehouses and a light rail train line was installed to connect the otherwise isolated neighborhood to downtown. Even more recently, the city has worked with community organizers to put an end to the food desert in Bayview, helping local grocers get their start. Soul food restaurants thrive here as well, reflecting the demographics and history of the neighborhood.
Commercial activity primarily runs along 3rd Street, also home to the light rail line, as well as the Bayview branch of the public library. You’ll find well-built and roomy (for San Francisco) single-family homes, most with backyards, as well as townhouses, duplexes, and some condos sprouting up.
The weather can be some of the best of the city, and the Candlestick Point State Recreation Area to the south is a great place for a hike or just a reprieve from city life. Bayview is in a state of renewal, diversifying in both cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, ranging from working class, middle class, artist, and doctors who work in the nearby Mission Bay neighborhood to the north.
At the southern end of Bayview lies the 46-acre Bayview Park, an area rich with wildlife and wildflower diversity, and a great place to hike.