Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Friday, February 23

Gapers Block

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Andrew / May 12, 2003 10:12 AM

I'm a big fan of Lincoln Square. Lots of little shops, interesting restaurants and a definite neighborhood atmosphere. I also like Rogers Park, for its diversity (and I live there, so that helps.)

Alex / May 12, 2003 11:19 AM

Well of course I am partial to the neighborhood I grew up in: Pilsen! You have the Mexican Fine Arts museum, tons of locally owned shops, small coffee houses, street vendors, and many families.

Shylo / May 12, 2003 11:21 AM

Well, I've got to give props to Andersonville, because I live there, but I've also been enjoying Old Town.

susan / May 12, 2003 12:05 PM

Um, I'm a Hyde Park apologist. It can't really compete in the fun shopping department, but the atmosphere of the neighborhood (both of the University and of the community as a whole) is amazing. I also adore the variety of non-megachain bookstores.

christopher / May 12, 2003 12:24 PM

although I live in lincoln square, and there are plenty of cute dogs and cute babies to look at, I've always felt that andersonville and east rogers park are somehow cooler. maybe someone who lives there can elaborate.

Chris / May 12, 2003 1:05 PM

I've lived in Lincoln Park, Bucktown, and Old Town. Now I live in Andersonville and it's great to be in a Chicago neighborhood that doesn't feel so cramped or that you can park your car in while still offering great restaurants, shops, and a mixture of people. Although the neighborhood has definitely been changing in the year since I moved... Clark street north of Foster gets clogged with traffic particularly on the weekends

Aaron / May 12, 2003 1:36 PM

I'm tempted to say Bucktown just because there are a dozen 24-hour taco joints that really hit the spot after a show at the Fireside.

But the not-punk-rock side of my wants to say Gold Coast because of the shopping. I'm not very punk-rock.

I live in Hyde Park though. Can't complain about the bookstores, but I think dining leaves a lot to be desired (good thing there are now 3 Subways within 5 minutes from my apartment). And there's no 'L' stop in Hyde Park.

brian / May 12, 2003 2:36 PM

I live in Avondale (Milwaukee Ave btwn Diversey and Addison), and even though it sounds like the setting of a Shakespeare play, it's more likely to be a good place to pick up some sausage or a burrito. Right now it's my favorite (that's why I live there, right?) because it's decidedly un-hip and quite cheap too.

Leading indicator: we don't have a Starbucks nearby.

Craig / May 12, 2003 4:17 PM

Well I live in Evanston-- not really a "neighborhood" per se, but I feel fairly connected to Chicago, which was a concern of mine when I moved here knowing nothing 10 months ago. My fiancee was afraid of city life and I wanted to plunge into the urban-jungle head first, so we compromised. Pretty good shopping, good restaurants, and I live 1 block from the lake. It's a decent medium, but I'm hoping to move more southerly in the next year...

dce / May 12, 2003 4:29 PM

Definitely NOT Andersonville. Positively nothing good to say about the place. Were I you, I'd stay as far away as possible. It's naught by a filthy hive of cretins, degenerates and perverts.

j3s / May 12, 2003 4:56 PM

Love for Logan Square. I've lived in the area for three or four years, and though technically now I'm closer to Humboldt Park, Logan Square is still a fave. Blue line, cheap rent, 24 hour taco's been odd, watching it gentrify, but as someone pointed out to me a while ago, "Chicago has always been about shifting neighbourhoods."

amyc / May 12, 2003 7:59 PM

Roscoe P. Village has been my hood for nigh on 3 years now. It has everything I need: a vegetarian cafe run by a cult, an indie record/video store, a nearby bead emporium and lots of friendly dogs.

heather / May 13, 2003 12:22 AM

I lived in North Center for 2 years - I loved the proximity to Roscoe Village, Lincoln Square, Lakeview, and CB2 with the bonus of ample parking, cheap rent, multiple groceries within walking distance, very very good looking neighbors, and not a starbucks in sight.

I'm working on a nest egg right now, so perhaps someday I'll hatch it in the form of a condo/house in that very 'hood.

I'd second dce's vote against andersonville, what with the riffraff that's recently moved in, but...perhaps it'll clean itself up in a year or two...

Kris / May 13, 2003 11:35 AM

I live in the bizarre nexus of Wrigleyville and Boystown. It's probably too yuppified for many of the readers and staff of Gapers' Block, but I think there's something to be said for the nonviolent clash of cultures here. Even the yuppies are a different, mellower breed than the Trixies and Chads to the south.

Great shopping, great restaurants, lots of dogs and very few kids, decent bars and music, and all kinds of public transport, which is vital to those of us who go car-less. (It also means the parking crunch doesn't bother me. If I did drive, I might want to live elsewhere.)

Miranda / May 13, 2003 12:45 PM

I'm living in East Lakeview right now - which is great for public transportation and lakefront bike-riding - but not so great for cheap rent, parking, and being able to leave the house looking like crap. I'm moving to Lincoln Square this summer, however, so I have dreams of street parking and being able to wander around in my worst-lookin' T-shirt and shorts on my way to the Old Town School...

miss ellen / May 13, 2003 3:02 PM

i love my current neighborhood - humboldt park / logan square - but i'd rather represent my place of birth, as the south side is sorely under-repped here, aside from pilsen & hyde park.

gotta go with beverly for a great place to grow up / raise kids. it's still very much part of the city, although you've got much more wide-open spaces, little difficulties with parking, lots of parks, dogs, etc.

and, if you happen to be irish, like me, western ave. is your playground! and, come march, BEST.PARADE.EVER.

kathleen / May 13, 2003 3:21 PM

Wicker Park, though I'm a fan of Beverly too. I live in Hyde Park, and though I love the bookstores and the atmosphere, the lack of an L stop is very troubling.

tasha. / May 13, 2003 6:39 PM

I grew up in Lincoln Park and Lakeview (divorced parents), and currently live in Lakeview just at the tippy tip of Boystown. I appreciate that I can walk around at night and feel relatively safe and see all sorts of interesting creatures.

However I'm trying to broaden my city horizons and spend a little more time in a variety of neighborhoods. Even after 26 years I feel like there's so much of the city that I don't know.

brian / May 14, 2003 9:00 AM

tasha - I'm always surprised by how many people that grow up/live on the North Side have never ventured much onto the South or West sides. A number of people I knew in college who grew up in Lincoln Park had never been south of Roosevelt Road. I found that odd.

miss ellen / May 14, 2003 9:25 AM

i think the same goes for those who grew up on the south side. my time spent out of the south side was limited to downtown excursions with my parents (such as the annual christmastime trip to field's) and driving back an old uncle to clark/belmont area.

once i was of driving age, the horizons became a bit larger, but mostly doing things like driving up to north ave beach. it wasn't until college that i began to have friends living up north & then, i followed the migration myself. so, until i had actual friends to visit, i had no knowledge of the neighborhoods themselves.....

Benjy / May 14, 2003 10:01 AM

I'd have to vote for Lincoln Park. I love that I can walk out my building and across the street and be smack dab in the middle of a huge park, or I can go a block the other way and find hundreds of shops, restaurants, bars, etc.

Exxie / May 14, 2003 10:43 AM

I've lived in Hyde Park and Logan Square, and am currently living in Lakeview. I'd have to say, thus far, Lakeview has been my favorite, mostly for the close proximity of shops, restaurants, and bars and for the fact that I feel completely safe walking around in the middle of the night. I also love all the the public transportation as I've never had a car.

My only complaint about Hyde Park is the University. I went there. I have some bitterness toward it. Notice how I now live far, far away. (The lack of an el stop was annoying as well.)

Naz / May 14, 2003 11:14 AM

I'll weigh in with Lakeview/Lincoln Park. I live two blocks from Wrigley Field and it's just on the edge of Lincoln Park to not be too annoying (I used to live right on Belmont and Halsted which proved to be interesting but a little loud: suited my purposes at the time) and it's nice to be like some have said before, close to transport and good food, bookstores, record stores.

Having lived in Roscoe Village before for a brief time (nice but too quiet sometimes) and when I first moved to Chicago, Rogers Park (where I lived for three years) had it's charms and diversity but what got me out of there was a bullet that came through my window.

Wicker Park is quite nice, been spending more and more time there lately. But every once in a while and I'm in a car and driving through neighbourhoods I've never seen, do I realize that Chicago is HUGE.

Anastasia Beaverhausen / May 15, 2003 6:12 PM

Hate: Lakeview (cubbies suck and always do), not into drunk white boys whose liquor induced 'courage' makes them say nasty things to colored folks, hate Lincoln Park (too many pixes and not enough affordable housing), among other unfriendly and downright un-neighborly north side neighborhoods. (bucktown sucks too). Yuppies are parasites, viruses even. Unable to construct a culture themselves they live, not unlike a virus, on the culture and cultural products of bohemiams, until they suck dry the marrow of their neighborhoods and enclaves, forcing them out of house and home and in place erecting giant duplicate playgrounds of materialistic greed.

Love: Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village and East Village and Hyde Park, Chattum Hill, Beverly, etc.


Brakow / May 16, 2003 9:42 AM

Uptown Uptown Uptown. Best abandoned buildings and department stores. Wilson (Red line) is the most breathtaking El station in the City I've seen yet. Best subcontinental food south of Devon. Free acupuncture clinic. Nice bicycle shop. Good thrift stores. Enjoy Uptown before the Border's arrives!

Stephen / May 16, 2003 9:43 AM

While existing in Logan Square will get you some excellent taco action and a nice rent, it tends to leave you in a black hole. While its a nice black hole -- families, not too many shootings, culturally its main attraction is dollar stores. However it doesn't leave me too far from Bucktown and Wicker, although recently I've been digging Ukrainian and all that weirdness on Chicago ave.

Still really dig Lakeview, though. The access to the lakeshore is great, and its filled with fun little shops and mom and pop joints and you can always find entertainment just wandering around. Although Lakeview cannot boast the barking guy.

Ian / May 16, 2003 12:21 PM

Love the NYC feel...West Loop.

brandoni / May 16, 2003 12:41 PM

I love biking the full coastal stretch from Evanston down to Grant Park on a hot summer day... I'm going to have to find a decent subsitute in San Diego...

Carlos / May 16, 2003 1:17 PM

I grew up on Western and Fillmore but I don't know what that part of town is considered. For many years I assumed it was Pilsen but I may be wrong. 2443 W. Fillmore! That was the first house I remember. My parents lived on Ashland and 18th St. a year into my life but moved here because my uncle owned the building.

Yeah, I loved it there. I hope to one day but that house and restore it to it's original one family early 1900's glory!

Now that would be cool!

Kim / May 16, 2003 1:30 PM

Wow, I feel the need to stick up for my 'hood after reading this.

I'm not sure what you're talking about with the "riff raff" in Andersonville. It's statistically one of the safest neighborhoods in Chicago. I think it's second only to Boystown in terms of safety. It's very diverse - gay and straight, old and young, all colors of the rainbow. Yet we all manage to co-exist peacefully.

Great stores, restaurants, and a few bars up and down Clark. Two of the best bakeries in the city in Taste of Heaven and the Swedish Bakery. Parking is easy, which few other neighborhoods can claim. Rents are cheap - my roommate and I pay $550 each for a gorgeous 2 BR with views in all 4 directions, hardwood floors, around 1500 sq ft. The same apartment would rent for close to $2000 in other neighborhoods.

Andersonville rocks. I'm not sure what basis the people above have for dissing it, but it rocks. And the barking guy is a very nice man - I've talked to him several times. No need to dis people that have problems.

Other cool places in the city - Lincoln Square, Rogers Park, Logan Square, Ukranian Village, Beverly, East Lakeview (except for the parking).

Naz / May 16, 2003 1:47 PM

Kim, Dave lives there currently and loves it. And Heather does too. They were both being sarcastic and dissing it I'm assuming so that it preserves it's great vibe = not getting yuppie-like. They're sarcastic that way.

the BigBadMan / May 18, 2003 3:13 AM

I grew up in the Jefferson Park area of Chicago which was and still is one of my favorite parts of the city. As a kid, it seemed that I could ride my bike or walk just about anywhere. The streets were lined with Mom & Pop stores where everyone knew your name...and your parents too.
There was (is) Jays Beef and Toots and of course, Superdawgs!!! How can you go wrong? We had places to play ball, swim, hike etc. all within the neighborhood. And who could forget the Drive-In that used to be at Harlem & Irving where a Pizza Hut stands at the old entrance. I would love to see pic's of that place. We used to go as kids and couldn't wait to be able to go as adults. We would sneak in thru the fence and watch the "adult" movies they used to play late at night. Ok, now I'm rambling... lol.

marusin / May 18, 2003 9:51 PM

the West Loop... I used to work here and loved the concept of great restaurants, techie-companies (well they used to be there!), meat-packing/food distributors and very cool buildings all combined with each other... It is such a strange combo that just works.

Matthew / August 7, 2003 10:14 AM

Buena Park (Buena and Clarendob between Montrose and Irving Park near the Lake). Beautiful turn-of-the century brick apts everywhere, lot's of parks - blocks from the lake and far enough away from lakeview where spillover (from Wrigleyville or boystown) makes the area more tranqil and pacific than any neigborhood I've lived in.

Matthew / August 7, 2003 10:15 AM

Buena Park (Buena and Clarendon between Montrose and Irving Park near the Lake). Beautiful turn-of-the century brick apts everywhere, lot's of parks - blocks from the lake and far enough away from lakeview where spillover (from Wrigleyville or boystown) makes the area more tranqil and pacific than any neigborhood I've lived in.

Morgan / August 7, 2003 12:28 PM

Agreed. Buena Park is great. It's in walking distance to wrigleyville and lakeview, and it's beutiful. I pay super low rent and I'm like 2 blocks from the harbor! We have mansions, a comfy little bar, a train, express busses downtown, plus Marine drive, the lake, what else can you ask for?

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