Monday, April 27, 2015

Chillaxin In The Backstreets

Rambling the virtual streets of Rogers Park on Google Maps the urban explorer can walk down more alleys than not. Coverage still far from complete with many abrupt stops and dead ends. Chicago is blessed with a proponderance of alleys. Houses or apartment buildings without alleys are the exception to the rule.

Some neighbors take advantage of the road less travelled looking for metal scraps, odds and ends, a new way home or as a quiet place to hang out. Drivers find another way around a blocked street or a new way home. Eccentric builders built coach houses some with stables and some without.

A couple back lanes (like the those inbetween Jarvis and Fargo) have stop signs. The scene below resemles a farm house on a country road.

For now there is no designation on Google Maps for which alley is what or an archive as to which alleys are included. If you haven't all ready got your building or your house address outback there's no time like the present to rectify the situation. Doing so aids firemen and policemen responding to emergencies.

Using Google Maps to scout alleys is an excellent way to check out unfamiliar territory, study a neighborhood you think you know quite well, or a good way to pass the time. There are always hidden pockets of the city that merit further investigation.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Alleys Off Clark Street

Is there a human skull on the red truck's hood?

Now that Google Maps has been almost everywhere they need to finish off the alleys. Random backstreets here and there are visible on the Chicago edition. The short lived Pac-Man version of Google Maps proved how important back lanes were in evading Blinky, Inky, Pinky and Clyde.

Joe Zekas commented on the slow addition of alleys to Google Maps last year. The most famous alley featured on Google Maps is the fictional Diagon Alley. There is an alley named alley on Google Maps here in Chicago, but the car never made it through.

So far the longest stretch of alley here in Rogers Park runs from Lunt to Touhy parallel to Clark. Exploring the alleys the virtual wanderer takes a left behind the old firehouse on Greenleaf. At the deadend make a right and take it straight down. The street view car took a right before hitting Pratt and then traveled east to Clark. 

Another short jaunt from Albion north (just east of Clark) almost to Pratt and then right to Ashland. Gets boring just driving on the streets. How many other alleys are on the 'net?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Faces Of Rogers Park

Another vacant store front is being put to good use. Photography will be on display at the former Goods For Less at Jarvis Square. May 28th at 6 pm with a suggested donation of five dollars.

So far 500 have been invited and 107 are going. Another great event sponsored by the folks at Tow Bar and R Public House. Rogers Park has a lively and active Photography Facebook page. Should make for an interesting gallery to study before taking the "L" downtown or just before dinner at one of the Jarvis Street restaurants.

This mall isn't in as bad shape as Rogers Plaza recently purchased by Jennifer Pritzker at Morse and Wayne. Its right next to rapid transit and the lake so definitely not the highest use for the land. Its perfect for those people who like to drive around and not walk.

Great place to get errands done but its definitely not drawing folks off the "L" or from outside areas. Unless you have business with the alderman, laundry (with wifi), currency exchange, cleaners or need a quick bite to eat or Indian food there is no reason to park here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Now you see it and now you see it?

Starting next month Sol Cafe will have an evil twin. An unreal doppelgänger tempting you to come in for coffee. Opening the door, reaching for that first cup of joe in the morning, it slips through your fingers. Your waving hand waves right through your friendly neighborhood barista. Your head starts spinning and you wonder if you've been drugged.

No you haven't dropped acid. It's just Benjamin Keddy's public interactive video installation. first broke the news back in early March. This morning the flyers for this art project gone mad were on display at Sol Cafe. Gotta do something with these empty storefronts.

Starting May 2nd running through May 29 th "a 3d digital model of Sol Cafe" will be "projected on the windows" next door at 1617 w Howard Street. Opening reception on Saturday May 9th 8 - 11 pm.

Last edited 4-22-15 11:10  pm

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Come For The Quesadilla & Stay For The Yoga

The awning which hung like a poster now serves as an awning. Now your local source for Mexican vegetarian cuisine. Too much bad karma from the chicken, pork and beef.

Inside decor is the same. Those in search of nirvana can start with introduction to yoga. Blue flyers have been posted all over the neighborhood inviting literally everyone to give it a shot.

Created to appeal to people from a wide range of goals are to stretch and lengthen tight muscles and connective tissue, improve strength and balance and enhance full range of motion. Yoga practice also cultivates a peaceful, open heart, a clear, focused mind, and refreshes and illuminates the spirit.

The I.M.U. lives on Mondays from 5:30 to 7:30 pm for 16 dollars.

La Reina Del Sur ( broke the news in early Feb) unfurled their new awnings sometime this past week. We were promised a Mexican restaurant at the other end of Howard. Looks like this one will do just fine. Sunday through Thursday 10 am - 10 pm and closing early on Friday at 5 pm. Credit cards and their resultant fees are also bad karma. So cash only please.

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Friday, April 17, 2015

Pub 626

Brought to you by the same schmucks as the Glenwood. This corner (Morse and Glenwood) has seen a lot of changes since the dollar store closed a couple years ago. First Morsel, then Bulkhead Canada (or was it Bullhead Cantina)? The only other corner to see this much action recently is Pratt and Sheridan (Pillars, Ciao Bella and now Philly's Best).

A Mexican restaurant gay tavern? Retaining the same wild west depression era bar and eeping what worked with Bullhead's Cantina fusing it with what works with the Glenwood. Catering to the growing influx of gays and lesbians priced out of Lakeview and Edgewater is just common sense. Gay Pride North only started being celebrated here a few years ago.

If you must try the Blue Moon Horchata Ale remember its a novelty drink. Cinnammon in a bitter alchoholic drink? It tastes about as good as it sounds.

Last edited 4-17-15 8:17 am

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Marshfield & Rogers Avenue CTA Cut Through Cleaned Up

CTA workers use this gate on Rogers Avenue to walk up to the "L" tracks. Its not uncommon to see their trucks parked at this corner doing some emergency repairs.

Years of accumulated garbage and litter has finally been picked up.

The 7400 N block of Marshfield used to be the boulevard of broken dreams.

 In case you forgot that big white metal box on the hill "is part of the ATC signal system, which keeps the trains from colliding with each other." Clark St posted this helpful comment last summer.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Do You Feel Lucky?

Be a part of our penny floor mosaic. Drop your two cents in the mail slot. We're making tiles like these to renovate the gallery.

B1E Gallery is out of commission right now because a much needed? overhaul. As long as it has that same charming off the wall content. Nothing posted to the Facebook page since 2013. Perfect timing for an Abraham Lincoln themed storefront. Yesterday marked the 150th anniversary of his assassination at Ford's Theatre.

This corner of Rogers Park is always fun to check up on at least quarterly. Google Maps reminds us of the dark days before B1E opened. Hope to see new paintings, sculptures, dioramas, and artists soon.

Like (Almost) Nothing Happened

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Roof Crash @ Gateway Parking Garage

Attempting suicide is not funny. Flipping your (Zip) car over on an empty roofdeck is hilarious. Kudos to the architect for making the walls tall enough so that unbalanced drivers can't drive off into the sunset. You never know how well designed something is until its put to the test.

Trying to kill yourself in spectacular fashion is one thing. Please don't do it at the expense of innocent bystanders. The important thing here is that no one died.

Every news or traffic chopper in the city (ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC) covered the scene of the driver being rescued by firefighters earlier today. How about just one helicopter get the scoop and then share the photo? Probably not a good idea for every pilot lookeeloo to do a fly by.

By the way when is getting a helicopter?

Kyros C. recounts the facts of the case on Rogers Park Everyblock.

Last edited 4-15-15 2:32 pm

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Evanston's Camera Truck

Is this a stake out? A multi-day stand off? Why has Evanston SWAT been parked on Custer these past couple days? Surely they have a better place to store their vehicles? Or is this truck here to help with neighborhood security?

According to Evanston Now the Evanston police department added this camera truck to its crime fighting fleet in 2013. The authorities park the vehicle in problem spots and record daily activity 24-7. It has a total of six cameras and can transmit video to squad cars and cell phones.

Retrofitting old armored trucks with video cameras is a common crime fighting tool. Peoria, Illinois unit "the Armadillo" predates the Evanston truck by a few years.

So if you see a giant armored trcuk parked in Evanston beware.  Your activities are being monitored.

Last edited 4/9/15 5:45 pm

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Funeral For His Holiness

Not everyone got the memo about the big event at St. George Cathedral (Mar Gewargis Cathedral). Suv barreling down the alley behind the church. The driver stops. "What's going on?" Big funeral for one of the higher ups in the church. Touhy is shut down from Clark to Sheridan. "Oh Geez I'm late for work" Slaps forehead and continues down the alley looking for another route.

Foggy brisk spring morning. Perfect day for a funeral. This one was bigger than most.

Mar Dinkah IV Patriarch of the Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East passed on late last month. He was a Christian leader in the Middle East. Not a place known to be friendly to non Muslim religions or their peoples. According to his obituary he actually served in the ministry in Iran in the fifties. He had close relationships with key Middle Eastern political figures.

A more complete biography here outlines his career and move to the United States in the seventies.

The wake happened yesterday at St. Andrews Church in Glenview. Friday is the third day commemoration mass. Sunday Commemoration mass will take place in all parishes this Sunday.

Craig posted pics of the funeral itself. (So did Kyros C.) In the official notice it states that no pictures or video was to be taken of the event. Whoops.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Yoga Garden

Where In Rogers Park Is It Most Fun To Play Pac-Man?

Looks like this totally stochastic new Google Maps feature debuted today. Certain maps are more amusing to play and some have more power pellets.

Can anyone guess what streets these are in Rogers Park?  What is that short diagonal street going northwest? Or is it a street at all?

The variations are almost endless. Cemeteries make for a pretty tough game board. Its where the ghosts usually hang out. First tweet from Google re Pac-Maps this morning at 9:52. Apparently this isn't a permanent new feature? It should be. Many articles mention this is an April Fools prank?

Some places are not conducive to playing Pac-Man. Not enough exits, entrances or intersections. If this is temporary there is no time to waste. Terminate your current project, plans, business deal and check it out.

Forbes lists some crazy locales to try out.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

The Flats On Devon

Flats on Devon is threatening to move forward on their upcoming development. Multiunit mixed use conapts to be completed fall 2015.  Chain link fences now line the old funeral parking lot spanning Wayne to Lakewood on the south side of Devon. 

Open floor plans, hardwood floors, in unit washer dryer, bicycle storage and off-street parking are features of the new luxury apartments. Contemparary finishes? Goes without saying. This is new construction. Whatever its gonna be of the time.

Across the street to the east of the question mark building future retail space. So probably one story?

Update - 4-2-15 2:49 pm -'s article complete with new renderings, et cetera.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Ridge House Has Gone To The DAWGS

7245 N Ridge is nigh invulnerable courtesy of Door And Window Guard Systems. The people illegally occupying the vacant house were evicted earlier this month. Potential squatters will have a much tougher time gaining access to this old craftsman house. Basement, porch and first floor windows are walled off. No trespassing is posted in a couple places with emergency contact info.

DAWGS Chicago headquarters is located on the far west side (8770 W Bryn Mawr Ave). This vacant property security company reminds us how squatters, vandals and thieves get in.

Independent research has shown that 95% of break-ins occur on the sides or back of vacant property because those openings are concealed and less visible to passers-by.

A funny question.

9. Do DAWGS block out air and sunlight? No. Our window guards are specially constructed to allow in natural light and fresh air.

And a unique feature of the DAWGS system.

15. Do you have a keyless entry system? I may need people to access the property when I’m not there.
Yes. DAWGS door guards can be outfitted with a Frequent Access Security Tool (FAST) that allows anyone with access to open the tamper-proof lock without a key

The housing bubble and collapse of the market was a boon to vacant property security (links to Chevanston coverage of rival firm in Chicago) companies.

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Monday, March 23, 2015

CLOSED - Please Call Again - Will Return Never

Despite the eye catching LED Bed and Mattress Outlet is no more. It first opened just over a year ago.

The proliferation of light emitting diode to commercial storefronts helps illuminate otherwise dark corners. Drawing in more business and customers? Probably not. In may cases the cheaper and flashier alternative to neon serves to accentuate the seedier side of Chicago.

Problem with this location? Too small and irregular for decent showroom or storage. Limited hours - closing at 7 pm everyday and closed on Sundays. This triangle shaped storefront with so many windows is a natural for a cafe or restaurant.

Whoever thought you would or could walk down the street to go pick out a bed? In ye olden days you made the trek downtown to some warehouse or department store. Now most main streets and malls have a bed store. You can't download a crib and its nice to try out before having it delivered.

Mattress Firm, Sleepys, American Mattress, Verlo, Mattress King, etcetera. Not very exciting but it pays the bills and everyone sleeps.

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Serious Work Begins On Witch's Hat

A few days ago the wheelchair ramp was removed, the backporch boarded up and its rotten boards cleared away. Last month new windows were installed upstairs and downstairs.

Repair of the house with the magnificent cupola started soon after it sold late January. Its fate was in limbo ever since its former owner passed away four years ago.

Not the only Witch's Hat; there is also a brewery, water tower, hostel, The term witch's hat is synonymous with the pointed roof aka cupola. Not many survive today. Those structures that still have their witch's hat intact are special. It's not called the Witch's Hat for nothing.

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Friday, March 20, 2015

SAVE - Live To Race Another Day

Number 47, Runge Roach Racer is back from a day of demolition derby at Sycamore Speedway. It was towed back to homebase (7478 N Rogers) for repairs and an overhaul. You have to spray paint save on the car after the derby if you don't want your heap hauled off to the scrap yard.

Tim Rungee and his son Austin have been racing in Maple Park, Illinois for the past fifteen years. They haven't missed a single weekend. When they arent't tearing up the track in the hinterlands of Chicago the pair put in long hours fixing customers cars and their pet projects.

On his off hours the younger Rungee toils late into the night on his own street stock car. If you look carefully at Austin's car you will notice that the headlights are decals. Modified for racing and definitely not street legal.

Dirt track racing is the most popular and common auto racing in the United States. Top seeds at the Sycamore track are usually 70-80 mph. If you're looking for some excitement maybe drive out west and cheer on our local race car drivers.

Last edited 3/20/15 1:16 pm

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Neighbors Tie Blue Ribbons @ 24th Police District HQ DNAinfo Reports

Deoxyribonucleic Acid Information Dot Com reported earlier today that citizens of Rogers Park were responsible for the blue ribbons at police headquarters. The ribbons were posted to show support for the local constables.

Outside 6464 N Clark is an old fashioned concrete park from the brutalism days of architecture. The sculpture is impenetrable, uninterpretable. It serves as a deterrent to those who would linger. When Chevanston photogs walked the plaza there actually were people hanging out and kids running around. But not for long. The negative energy soon drove them away.

Almost everyone's lives matter. Save those who don't heed the mantra that life matters. Everyblockers discussed the blue ribbon movement as well. Some facts were shared, this blue ribbon affair started back in 1988 , May 15th is Police Officers Memorial Day. Otherwise it was the standard internet argument. Which is to say those with different opinions typed unworthy sentences at each other.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Boulevard Of Broken (Orange) Bikes

Trash swirls among the two wheeled wreckage along Granville boulevard. Is this some strange beautification project? Has an orange loving gang taken over? Or does it mean another orange theory fitness is moving in?

Orange Theory has announced its about open a studio at 1126 w Granville (among many other locations). There will probably be a lot of head scratching this spring all over Chi-town. Orange Theory pulled this stunt in San Diego last year.

Our local DNAinfo reporter Benjamin Woodard did some research regarding abandoned bicycles this past January in the chain link forum. Were these cast off bicycles imported or merely repurposed for advertising?

DKNY was the originator of the orange penny farthing phenomenon back in 1908. Or was it 2008?. New York City rounded up the carrot colored bikes in short order.

3/18/15 1:12 pm - Update - DNAinfo reports that complaints to the Ward 48 have resulted in the removal of the orange bikes.

Last edited 3/17/15 11:18 am

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Monday, March 16, 2015

Capt'n Nemo's Here

The sign is back up (above pic from last year). Not an off hours place to get food. Mainly the lunch or early dinner crowd (Hours: M-Sat 11am-7pm Sun closed). Consequently lots of people haven't checked out this Rogers Park original.

The restaurant (est. 1971) that launched a small chain. An excellent alternative to Jimmy Johns subs (which has yet to invade RP). Captain Nemo's gets a solid four out of five on Yelp. If you haven't stopped by you are missing the best subs and soup on the north side. Where else can you hang at the Jules Verne room?

PM magazine broadcast a review of the place in the early eighties (when the original sign was still up and Lou Ragusi the owner still worked behind the counter). Norman Mark gave them 9 and a half forks out of ten. One half fork off for not having parking. The decor has taken a hit on the inside since. Original wooden whale sign is gone.

The quote (below) from the review is classic. If you watch the video you can see Rogers and Clark before Walgreens wrecked the corner with its parking lot.

"No parking except by meters, nondescript neighborhood. I mean you're not going to send a postcard home from Rogers Park to say wish you were here. But yet here we have the triumph of the human soul. We have a temple built for the submarine sandwich."

Last edited 3/17/15 11:21 am

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