Tuesday, August 4, 2015

1313 w Morse - Rogers Plaza Demolition

Slant of wind on Sunday didn't impede progress on J. Pritzkers' construction site at Morse and Wayne come Monday. This former drive in emporium is doomed. It served as a repository for valet cars for the past few months. Earlier this spring a couple guys tried to repair their car in the parking lot. The authorities came by and then a couple of big puffs of smoke and they were gone.

Fresh water is being siphoned off from the corner hydrant to prevent explosions and fire. A chain link fence was erected on the north end of the property for safety. Reminding this writer of the mini-mall on California and Armitage. Strip malls are a poor use of urban land. They can look and function better than the typical Rogers Plaza type. They could even have two stories.

When 1313 w Morse is finished it will be two stories taller than the Wayne Senior building seen above. J. Pritzker didn't waste anytime getting started. Just over a month since the Mayne Stage conclave.

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Monday, August 3, 2015

The Day After The Storm

An unusually bright cheery day after the hail storm that crunched cars, toppled street lights, strong enough to blow over bus shelters and knocked out power to thousands. You start looking at trees different after so many split open, fell apart or ripped free from the ground. Why didn't those leaning trees fall over? Were those trees leaning like that before?  The endlessly useful Google maps street view answers that question. Yeah they were and the trees that didn't make it looked sturdy enough..

Cherry pickers with chainsaws and linesmen from Com Ed were all over Rogers Park today. The poor silver Nissan that got squashed at Ashland and Greenleaf was photographed by everyone. Rahm stopped by to talk to those affected by the storm, assess the damage, and take pictures with the public.

Apparently the mayor has a professional picture taker that will fulfill that need to have your countenance next to Rahmbo's. Yeah he's short. But he has charisma and that you don't want fu$k with me that radiates from his small frame.  Flanked by his security detail he walked toward Heartland Cafe where a Channel 2 news van waited to interview the mayor and do their report.

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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Hail Storm Culls Rogers Park's Topiary

The storm started innocently enough. A drizzle and a cool breeze. The wind quickly accelerated coupled with a torrent. Cars in Edgewater waited out the storm under the Granville viaduct. Hail and straight line wind downed many trees. So many trees were blown over or snapped that some thirty eight thousand lost power.

It didn't last that long. The fast moving storm sure left a lasting impression. People returning home at night surveyed the damage. Scratching their heads in disbelief, snapping photos and hoping that their power was still on.

Traveling through Rogers Park Ashland was blocked south of Greenleaf and Greenview was impassable north of Greenleaf. Tree trimmers and Com Ed will be busy in Rogers Park, West Ridge and Edgewater.

Storms like these are tree killers. 75 trees were damaged or destroyed in Sundays brief but brutal storm according to DNAinfo.com. The bus stop at Morse blew over too.

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Saturday, August 1, 2015

1313 w Morse & Brick Paved Wayne

In the foreground one of the last two way brick paved streets left in Chicago. In the background a vacant mini mall near the Morse "L" stop to be demolished later this year. Then an eight story 45 unit building with three floors of parking is going up.

What does this mean for brick paved Wayne? There will be construction traffic, then more cars coming to Rogers Park to visit and live. Will this investment and increased attention to Morse and Wayne benefit this rare brick paved street? Only time will tell. Money is being poured back into Rogers Park. It may not be Wilmette, Illinois (home to many restored brick roads) but its not too shabby.

If you haven't strolled by 1313 w Morse take a closer look while its still unfettered by construction. At the entrance to the mini mall you will notice three rows of horizontal bricks perpendicular to the rest of brick paved Wayne. Details like this help make the 6900 north block of Wayne a one of a kind Chicago treasure.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Full Serve At Shell Gas Station On Touhy & Sheridan

This is biggest reason why we should bring full serve back to gas stations. Gas station attendants have almost been completely phased out. Glenview has at least one gas station left with full serve. In Oregon and New Jersey handicapped drivers don't have any problems getting filled up. Those two states mandate full service.

It may see odd to the millennial generation but gas stations used to be service stations. When you drove up for gas you triggered a hidden line that signaled the gas jockey to fill er up. Ding! Ding! Full service or just gas today ma'am? Regular or unleaded? Oil corporations are maximizing profits by discontinuing car repair and putting in Mc Donalds, Dunkin Donuts. Subways (like this Shell on Touhy) and the like.

Full service used to mean checking the radiator fluids, oil, wind shield wiper fluid, the air in your tires and wiping down the windshield. That was before self service existed. People would usually pay cash for their gas and tip their attendant.

The early seventies oil crisis was the beginning of the end for this tradition. In 2011 CBS observed that most gas stations in Chicago did not assist drivers with disabilities at the pump. Bill Savage popular Rogers Park tweeter and NW professor wrote up his observations regarding the phasing out of check out clerks.

Pumping our own gas was just the beginning. Now we scan our own items, ring ourselves up (cashier) and bag it up (bagger) at most grocery and big box stores. All that's left is stocking the shelves and doing price checks. Jobs that used to be summer jobs and supplement income for those trying to make ends meet continue to disappear.

Last edited 7-31-15 6:40 pm

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Dead Trees Come Back To Life

No leaves back in early June. These drought stressed trees just needed more time and a ton of rain.

Even more impressive these trees were barren two summers ago. They have been dormant for a couple years.

Yellow Line is still out of commission. Its supposed to be fixed before the end of summer?

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Teal Room @ Pub 626

That extra room in-between the Glenwood and Club 626 now serves a purpose. It's now a private event space with a fully stocked bar.

For questions or to book an event, email TealRoom626@gmail.com.

It also serves on occasion as the cream and milk stand for Smack Dab coffee counter.

Maybe one day it will house Smack Dab. Right now that coffee counter is doing very well. Blueberry rhubarb is this writers favorite of late. Cold brewed coffee is a great way to imbibe your caffeine this summer. Less acid and higher caffeine content too.

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Please continue reading for a look inside the teal room

Main Street On The Lake

Three people are watching this E-bay auction which ends in 26 days. If you are a Rogers Park fanatic then this old street sign is something you must add to your collection. Its going for 800 bucks. Chicagostreetsigns has been active on E-bay since 2011 and presumably is the official city of Chicago outlet for all things Chicago and street sign.

"(It) measures approximately 36 inches by 27 inches and is a thick steel covered with porcelain.  It has a very nice design with hands of varying shades showing ethnic diversity in the city and the neighborhood." This has been the symbol of the northernmost lake front Chicago neighborhood for a generation and is featured prominently on Alderman Joe Moore's website.

In 2013 a traffic calming study for Sheridan Road won funding in the Participatory Budget election. Whether the community will reap the rewards of that study is uncertain.

Seller's notes - "It has the typical dings in the porcelain, oxidation, scratches, gouges, fading, bends, and blemishes (see pictures) of a used decommissioned Chicago street sign. It likely has some dirt and dust on it too." and "If there is a dollar, ruler, or something else in the picture other than they sign, it is not included and is for purposes of letting you judge the dimensions only." Sorry guys dollar bill not included.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Pulling Up Stakes On Morse

Nothing officially released yet regarding the historical society's move besides the moving sale notice on their storefront. Half price on all regularly stocked items! Mugs, totes, books, t-shirts, images, and note cards.

So far this has been the most eye catching storefront for the RPWRHS (est 1975 - now celebrating its fortieth anniversary). Next activity in Rogers Park proper is a guided walking tour August 23rd during the Glenwood Arts Festival. September 13th will feature their 29th historic house tour (location and time to be announced).

Does this mean the landlord has a new tenant lined up for Morse and Greenview? And where will the society be moving? And will they be able to take their etched glass with?

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Unnamed Park On Ashland

Dubkin Park lost its signage recently. Strange little park feels like a living room. It can be a mini dog park, a place for early morning drinkers, quiet meditative retreat or the local garden club depending on what time of day you walk by.

The triangle shaped park is bounded by Ashland, 7400 N Marshfield & its alley and the "L". Leonard Dubkin wrote about urban nature. His columns and essays were collected into the tome The Natural History Of A Yard.

His park looks like an apropos spot to read about and observe urban nature. Michael Bryson agrees. If your looking for summer reading ideas how about learning more about the great outdoors of Chicago?

Maybe the city is fixing to put a new sign? This writer will check with the alderman's office come Monday.

Last edited 7-25-15 6:53 pm

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A new pot & point for Witch's Hat

The corner house has a new finial for the namesake turret. Hostas and a large stone planter now adorn the corner of Paulina and Rogers. First impressions are important. For many this is their first view of Rogers Park as the head south from the Howard "L" station.

A tough corner to take care of (trash from Gateway bus yard) but the new owners are doing a great job.

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20,000 Leagues Under The Sea @ Touhy Park

GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME AT TOUHY PARK (7348 N Paulina Street 773-262-6737)

Join us for one of our newest events, 20.000 Leagues Under the Sea presented by Strawdog Theatre. Live Music, Action, and a SQUID even on stage.

Friday, July 24th & Saturday, July 25th, Starting at 7:00 pm  BOTH DAYS. Weather is supposed to be delightful. Grab some lawn chairs, a blanket, don't forget your picnic basket, and enjoy this FREE outdoor show. 

Brought to you by the Touhy Park Advisory Council, and all their Great Sponsors making all events at Touhy Park possible.

Tony Iniquez,

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Blood Trail On Paulina

The blood trail starts on Rogers at the James Sneider senior apartments and ends at the crosswalk from Gateway Plaza going to the Howard "L". Someone was gunned down and found dead last night near the border of Chicago and Evanston. Neighbors heard about 5-6 shots around 11 pm at the 7400 block of North Rogers Avenue.

Like most murder write ups the media blandly states the facts. Color by numbers. A blank aged man shot at x number block of something avenue by y number of assailants in this or that part of his or her body. Decedent was taken to the nearest level one trauma. At least there is a crime scene photo.

Any other details are police business? The drips of blood begin at Rogers Avenue on the pavement and continue until the white garage door on Paulina. There they move onto the sidewalk until the murder victim collapsed near Life Storage and the crosswalk.

Lately kids (with or without gang ties) have been hanging out in the Gateway courtyard at night (westside of Paulina south of Howard). Like the warm summer night last night. A shooting death was inevitable. Major transit hub with lots of people coming and going. Some packing heat and some not. Some with beefs, some with previous murders on their hands, and some with revenge on their minds.

We may have lost a lot privacy with the ever present cell phone video camera or security cam. Even so plenty of homicides go unsolved. Resulting in more street justice.

Last edited 7-21-15 12:20 pm

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Busted Window @ Howard Paulina DD

If you had to have a busted window today would be the day. Dunkin Donut customers are treated to a breezy cup of joe today. The broken pieces already cleaned up in a CTA garbage bag.

This little strip is run by corporations. You won't catch any DD staff outside sweeping up the sidewalk. It's CTA property.

Police were on scene this morning at Dunkin to get a report. A customer was driving the staff nuts. He couldn't make up his mind which coffee he wanted among other things. The women serving him was thinking I'm about to scald his ass.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Something Is Not Right With Me

Fred stubbed his cigarette out in the desolate parking lot. He needed a place to run a couple of loads and make a couple quick phone calls.

Laundry manager chewed him out for lighting a Lucky Strike inside. That was the first thing that tipped him off that something wasn't quite right.

Brushing it off he fished through his pants for loose change. The laundry phone was charging more than twice its usual fee. After dropping two dimes and a nickel no dial tone.

"That thing hasn't worked in years", the manager remarked. "Hasn't seen much use now that everyone's got their own cell."

(Trying hard not to let it show. I tried to call you collect. You said you would not accept. Your friends are laughing 'cause no one uses pay phones.)

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Sculpture Yard Cleanup & Repairs

The weekend of July 25th-26th Glenwood's sculpture garden is getting spruced up. 10 am til 6 pm each day. Rogers Park Art Gallery is looking for volunteers to help out. No need to rsvp, just show up.

Those cd carousels are pretty yellow and some of the dioramas are worn out. The book exchange was fixed up recently. Can't wait to see how it looks after.

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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sherwin Chase Neighbors Meeting

Something different for the metal pickers


The Touhy Park Advisory Council, Sherwin Chase Neighbors, and surrounding  community will meet on Monday, July,13th 7:00pm at Touhy Park 7348 N Paulina. 773-262-6737.

 I will give a short report on events for this year.I promise they will be exciting  events, at beautiful Touhy Park.New ideas and suggestions are always welcome. Reminder, We (had) have Shakespeare tomorrow at 6pm and Sunday (TODAY) at 11am we have Music with Jeanie B, followed by Shakespeare at 2pm. I need your feedback.     

We will discuss safety concerns and crime in our area,Please come to the meeting to report any Bad Buildings, Gang Activity, Drug Dealing, or any other illegal activity in our area.I will submit your reports to the New 24th District Police Commander, Roberto Nieves. ( Formally Captain at the 12th District, on the near west side )        

Thank You Tony Iniquez,TPAC Sherwin Chase Neighbors

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Sunday, July 5, 2015

July Jargowood Meeting

Tuesday July 7th @ Chalet Living & Rehab 7350 N Sheridan at the conference room at 7:30 pm.

Remember to keep your porch lights on for neighborhood safety. Put your address on your garage so police and fireman can find it in an emergency.

Next meeting September First.

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Could it be? Yes it could... Somethin's comin' somethin good

Update 7/7/15 9:39 am

Earlier this month Armilla quietly closed. From regular hours to open by appointment to gone.

Yesterday one day after posting this mysterious message (written on the blank storefront above) we have the solution. 7/6/15 just after noon Joe Moore released his communique regarding the recent vacancy at 6928 N Glenwood

The owners of next door business Rogers Park Social are applying for a liquor license to open "Rogers Park Provisions at which they intend to sell cheese and charcuterie, gifts, craft spirits, higher-end wines and craft beers."

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Thursday, July 2, 2015


If ever there were a brick wall perfect for movies. The nice lady in the big black truck uses her projector to call attention to cruelty to elephants.

A surreal scene with the full moon on this unseasonably cool summer night.

Ttam started their tour of the Windy City October 2014. Colleen Plumb and company took a break this past April to wander Portland.

So far she has only been written up by fnews magazine (of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago). Her mission statement was posted to her blog before this all started September last year.

Anyone half paying attention to NPR already knows that astounding numbers elephants are being slaughtered for their ivory. Its gotten so bad that people have banded together to hold ivory crushes. Its make it or break it time for our fellow mammals.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Results Of 1313 W Morse Community Meeting

4-5 years ago the owner of Rogers Plaza was optomistic that he would find a new tenant. The facade was given a fresh coat of paint . Magic Video was cleaned out and fixed up into an empty vanilla box. Then nothing. Now somethings happening.

Chicago Curbed calls Jennifer Pritzker's new plans for 1313 w. Morse Anti-TOD.

20 minute presentation from Tawani. Then lady with long rental history. Rogers Park Business Alliance talk half an hour. More people (with money) need to live there for the empty stores to rent out. Tawani has long waiting list for rental units. 5 units set aside for low income housing by law. 950-1500 range of rent.

Bike racks, air pumps, garbage shute with compactor. Two elevators for residents and one for parking in the lobby.

Overall a pretty boring meeting.

While there might be some objections from the peanut gallery this building is going to be built. Its not surrounded by single family houses. The landlords and owners in the area are generally in favor of the project.

Crib notes from the meeting courtesy of DNAinfo.com.

Chicago Streetsblog doesn't like the plan. They call it transit ignoring. The author is biased against cars as a means of transit.

Last edited 7-3-15 10:06 am

Scout Video Collection Unit

Bill Savage @RogersParkMan
I was wondering about this too. How many cyclists will it catch blowing the stop signs (besides me)?

Traffic study in progress for the low stress N/S Glenwood bicycle route. Could it be for any other reason? One unit set up at Greenview and Fargo and another one block north at Birchwood.

The units are locked to stop signs and are about 20 feet high. Apparently an anonymous traffic study. More info at miovision.com. This study is being performed by Gewalt Hamilton Associates Inc., consulting engineers.

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