Most people recognize Hippie Hill, Kezar Stadium and the Conservatory of Flowers as the easternmost end of Golden Gate Park. Little do they realize that the green space continues another eight blocks as the Panhandle. The Panhandle was originally supposed to be part of the park but was impossible to expand due to squatters who had built homes on either side. So it remains as a thin green strip from Stanyan to Baker bounded by Oak and Fell on either side. The Panhandle adds a lot to the Haight area by providing an ideal spot for walking, biking, dogs, picnics and other outdoor activities. It also functions as a bike commuter thoroughfare for people biking to work downtown.
The Panhandle is fortunate to still exist, as plans to convert it to a freeway were in the works at one point. The space was saved through neighborhood efforts and currently remains as an integral part of the region.
I will admit, in the past few years the park had fallen into slight disrepair. The basketball courts were dilapidated, the playground was not the most inviting and the place was just overall ill-kept. But fortunately it has seen a revival, with court improvements funded by the Warriors, a renovation of the playground as part of a city-wide project, and a general upturn in groundskeeping quality.