Noe Valley Voice April 1998

Ants Want a Piece of Pie

By Arthur Pod

According to an April 1 study released by the city, the demographics of Noe Valley have dramatically changed in the past year: In 1997, the neighborhood's population increased by 17 billion.

Most of the newcomers were ants.

The Ant-Americans, as they prefer to be called, started arriving in single file two years ago, attracted by the casual lifestyle and the intense barbecue smells from Hahn's Hibachi wafting across the city.

"I was born in Kansas, but I moved out here in 1996 and lived on Nob Hill, Goat Hill, and then Ant Hill," said Ant Em, of S'Antshez Street. "But I really like Noe Valley because of the sunny weather and also because people are concerned about the environment. They don't use Raid or pesticides here." During the rainy season, Ant Em's entire colony showed up in San Francisco. Now they occupy more than 10 blocks of Anterior Noe Valley.

This has become a problem for the neighborhood's longtime residents, many of whom prefer not to share their homes. Some are even pulling up the welcome mat and using extra saran wrap on their leftovers. "I hate to say it, but they're really taking over," said Edith Bunker, a candy maker who pulls taffy out of her Day Street residence. "They're living in squalid, overcrowded conditions -- crawling all over each other. I just feel like they'd be happier somewhere else, like Antioch."

Other residents are miffed because the immigrants, who recently swarmed into the congregation at the Noe Valley Ministry, voted to install anthrax in the church steeple.

But Adam Ant, a licensed exterminator, said he was grateful for the influx of Ant-Americans. He appreciates their cultural contributions.

"They've given us antipasta, antiques, Antigone, various anthologies, anthropology, antidepressants, the Anti-Christ, and of course, Ant Hermione, the food writer for the Noe Valley Voice."