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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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Tuesday, April 23

Gapers Block

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Al / March 22, 2004 9:46 AM

Hyde Park is definitely misunderstood. Mimi Smartypants even called it "gentrified." Hyde Park? I would say Bucktown is "gentrified" but not Hyde Park. Somewhere I heard it's one of the the most diverse neighborhood in Chicago, which I'd believe. I have nothing to do with the University and still not quite sure why I live there since it's SO isolated and there's not much to do but I like it. Can you tell I'm tired of explaining myself to North-Siders?

Andrew / March 22, 2004 10:24 AM

For a North Side neighborhood Rogers Park gets little attention, other than in the crime reports. There's some interesting stuff going on up here.

jmo / March 22, 2004 10:39 AM

North Park and Albany Park (at the end of the Brown Line) are virtually unknown, very cool neighborhoods. Completely diverse, totally ethnic, and some of the best Karaoke plus Swedish meatballs plus Halal food all within a short walk.

Ramsin / March 22, 2004 10:42 AM

Rogers Park is pretty awesome, but few young Chicagoans take the opportunity to travel further than Uptown or Andersonville on the Red Line. i don't blame people--RP is kind of isolated because of how LSD ends, and Loyola's presence. The area has a great racial/ethnic mix, lots of great shopping and eats, and a really good community sense, too--the RPCAN (Rogers Park Community Action Network) has been fighting the good fight for decades and has helped set the tone for similar organizations around the city.

I'm also going to put in a vote for Tri-Taylor; Taylor Street between Ashland and California. Lots of good bars, a promising mix of folks, and, of course, amazing good-food-quickly "Italian" food. And a nod to South Shore, which doesn't have many bars but a few and some good parks and architecture.

And Hyde Park "gentrified"? As far as I can tell, it's had practically the same character since the 1950s. Maybe the areas around it are gentrifying, but not HP itself.

A lex, x, x / March 22, 2004 10:53 AM

Little Village/Pilsen in the house! And by Pilsen, I mean the REAL Pilsen -- not that pseudo-Pilsen UIC monstrosity that has crept up and killed anything unique around it.

Joe / March 22, 2004 1:26 PM

Mount Greenwood, the Alamo of the south side.

jennifer / March 22, 2004 1:30 PM

I spent a few of my formative years in Mt. Greenwood! I love Mt. Greenwood. Note to self: Make iron on Mt. Greenwood shirt.

Joe / March 22, 2004 1:43 PM

Jennifer: Make one for me too!

Ian / March 22, 2004 2:59 PM

Without doubt, the West Loop. Property is way undervalued and we have a major shortage of upscale dining options.

Brenda / March 22, 2004 4:10 PM

Joe- you can show your 'hood love by getting a shirt at Neighborhoodies.

Mich / March 22, 2004 4:17 PM

Al, I feel you. I moved down to Hyde Park this past fall and just love it--and completely understand the inability to explain exactly why to those sceptic Northsiders.

Kris / March 22, 2004 4:17 PM

Rogers Park is cool. I agree that it gets the shaft by being cut off from LSD. But, some friends of mine just bought a condo there, joining a few other acquaintances who rent in the 6000-7200 N. blocks. I think I might join them up there next year--I'm getting a little sick of how much "love" the E. Lakeview/ Wrigleyville/ Boystown area gets.

Craig / March 22, 2004 4:21 PM

Hey hipsters and bungalow developers-- here's a tip on a community to watch for... Word on the street is that "Lincoln Park" is a real "up-and-comer" that's gonna be "hott-hott-hott" in the next few years. Get in now before a Starbucks opens, gentrification kicks in, and those property values get inflated!

Mike / March 22, 2004 5:51 PM

McKinly Park!
Damon, Pershing, Western, Archer, 35th.
The park is a favorite for my dogs. I think it has the same charm of Palmer Square plus a lovely little nature walk and some very nice lagoons/ponds. Hey, there's even a Huck Finns right up the street!

pete / March 22, 2004 6:21 PM

well, i'm not sure why anybody would call hyde park/kenwood gentrified other than thinking that because yuppies-qua-grad students live in the same apartment building as working-class black people is the same thing as gentrification, which i am 75% sure it isn't, although i don't know what is gentrification. anyway, hyde park is severely underrated as a place to live, although i only learned that because i spent 4 years there thinking i didn't like it that much. i dont know how much i would like living there as a non-student, and there's no real reason to go there for a daytrip save for bookstores (powells, sem-coop, the one that's just religious textbooks, the one that is currently displaying a star trek the next generation franklin mint plate in the front window). my point of points is that HPK is a good woman to those who love her and dilletantes can cram it.

follow up question, when is the never-ending hipster diaspora pipeline to Logan Square going to pay off in the form of hipster businesses? maybe i need a working definition for what is and isn't a hipster business before this question can be answered. basically, if it has signage that involves weird 3D metal lettering and art-damaged decor OR there is reason to suspect that freelance graphic designers were involved in making the logo, it's a hipster business. and logan square only has three or four, not counting the fireside which is grandfathered in as pre-hipsterian.

Haydn / March 22, 2004 6:25 PM

McKinley Park would definitely be near the top of my underrated list, but tops would have to be the Heart of Chicago section of Pilsen. Restaurants, diversity, transportation-the only thing missing is a first-rate park, but McKinley Park is only a 15-minute walk away. Also, the Island section of Austin, cheap, so close to the el and the assorted charms of Roosevelt Road in Oak Park and Berwyn and fairly quiet. And a final, half-serious vote for the northern end of the East Side-not too far from the end of the South Chicago Metra line, and including old homes, genuine diversity, a first-class lakefront park and a thriving business district on Ewing Avenue (and it's a two-minute drive down Indianapolis boulevard to the casino in Hammond!). Sure, it's a million miles from the rest of the city, but all the displaced and permanently complaining artist and hipster types (plenty of old factories) could finally find a home they won't be followed to by bankers. I imagine the blank stares Joe Hipster would get when telling others "I live on the East Side" would be extremely satisfying.

And a side note as a native Rogers Parker-
The fact that LSD was stopped at Hollywood and not Devon is a blessing, not a detriment, to the neighborhood. Sure, it might be a little more isolated, but it saved the neighborhood's street end beaches, which are unique to RP and, in lesser numbers, South Shore. Plus, the embarrassment it surely caused Loyola (whose church, Madonna Della Strada, translates roughly to Our Lady of the Expressway and has a grand entrance with its back turned on the city) is an added bonus.

Al / March 22, 2004 10:22 PM

to follow up on more reasons why i love Hyde Park:
- commute to downtown is 15 mins on LSD and I'm usually going 60 almost the whole way
-nearby Kenwood's beautiful mansions make for great sunday walks
-Rajun Cajun- Indian AND Soul food in one happy place

mike / March 23, 2004 12:18 AM

My house. Which is by percentage 33% white, 33% Indian, 16.5% Jewish, 16.5% Hispanic. It's awesomely diverse and we even live in harmony and have similar salaries! Wow.

Mark / October 1, 2004 3:52 PM

I've lived in South Chicago Neighborhood for 4 years this October in my own home. After some acclamation I began researching the history of my new home. Consequently I developed an affinity for Chicago, more
so for Calumet, and decided early that living in Chicago is all about the lakefront. My house is in the 3000 east area. I enjoy livng here despite what I found were gross inequities that I think of simplistically as perpetually closed mindsets which fuel persistently unyielding sociological constructs. As stated it sounds rather vague but the effects have dynamically shaped the demographics of the City of Chicago throughout it's history thus revealing it's dark pathos.

Now that Revitalization is in full swing I fear that gentrification is at the threshold of what will soon be promoted as "Chicago's newest lakefront community" with major development of South Chicago's lakefront(USX) and business center(Commercial Av).
The Metra Electric is my favorite mode of travel to Hyde Park and downtown.
All three "Private Row" stations in South Chicago have been upgraded. Much more easy to board and ride, a higher tax bracket could afford the slightly higher fares. The "L" just can't compete as far as comfort. Saying that, I've observed more European Americans staying on past Bryn Mawr, South Shore, Windsor Park and Cheltenham...all the way to 93rd St!

When did this become a warning sign?
Actually it's not.
But I've heard it expressed as though it were.
Almost the reverse of "white flight"

I was raised in a community where Blacks are only 11%. But mine is a family of generational homeowners whose schools and many churches have been integrated from my youth. There's no fear of being priced out. Here in South Chicago that simply is not the case for much of the African-American and Latino communities.

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