Hard Times Handbook - Page 7

Our guide to living better, for less, in the recession

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55 Taylor, SF

www.gaffta.org

SPORTS BASEMENT

Sundays, 1-2:30 p.m., free

1590 Bryant, SF

(415) 575-3000

LAUGHING LOTUS

Mon.-Fri. 2:30–3:45 p.m., donations

3261 16th St., SF

(415) 335-1600

www.laughinglotus.com

SATORI YOGA STUDIO

Mondays, 4:15– 5:15 p.m., free

40 First St., SF

(415) 618-0418

www.satoriyogastudio.com

PURUSHA YOGA

Saturdays, 11 a.m., free

Main entrance of Botanical Gardens

Golden Gate Park

Ninth Ave. and Lincoln Way, SF

(415) 694-8412

www.purushayoga.org

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Learning to love the rec centers

With free gyms, darkrooms, and play areas, city rec centers may be the athlete (or artist's) answer to the bum economy

By Molly Freedenberg

I've always though of recreation centers as places where kids took cheap summer camp classes or attended awkward junior high school dances. But these city-funded centers are actually some of the coolest, most affordable, and least appreciated resources any community has to offer — and especially so in San Francisco.

From weight rooms and basketball courts to dance studios, dog parks, and performance-ready auditoriums, SF's neighborhood centers offer a variety of resources for budget-conscious adults as well as their kids. Use of most facilities is free (or, on rare occasions, costs a nominal fee) and classes and workshops are priced low with a sliding scale and scholarship option.

Why does the city allocate $34.5 million in general fund support to maintain these centers every year? According to Elton Pon, spokesperson for the Recreation and Park Department (which also oversees public spaces like Golden Gate Park and Coit Tower), "they keep the city sane."

We've outlined the resources at some of our favorite centers, but check parks.sfgov.org for a full list, sfreconline.org for programs, or call (415) 831-5520 for information on renting rec center buildings.

CHINESE RECREATION CENTER

This Nob Hill neighborhood center caters primarily to youth in Chinatown, which is most apparent weekdays after 3 p.m. when its gym areas fill up with teenage boys. But everyone can enjoy volleyball, basketball, and even dance in its indoor gym, outdoor hoops, and mini weight room. The secret to getting some grown-up time? Visit early on weekdays or after 7 p.m.

1199 Mason. (415) 292-2017

EUREKA VALLEY REC CENTER

Well-maintained and recently renovated, this Castro District facility is a favorite for its resources and fantastic location (there's a grocery store right next door, not to mention the full Castro shopping corridor a block away). Parents love that the indoor and outdoor play areas are especially good for toddlers. Dog-owners love the enclosed dog run. Sporty adults appreciate that the basketball court is regularly relacquered, while event planners focus on the auditorium with raised stage and 70-seat capacity. Special bonuses? An LGBT Teen Center and an especially girl-friendly gym scene.

100 Collingwood. (415) 831-6810

HARVEY MILK ARTS CENTER