Thursday, April 17, 2014

Back By Popular Demand - Sick Fisher @ Sol Cafe

Perfect for that dreary windowless dungeon

The last time Sol Cafe (1615 w Howard) featured Sick Fisher's paintings and work was October 2013 (complete with his magnificent representation of Howard and Marshfield). Easily the best artist to have his or her pieces hosted at the Howard Street cafe (aside from IPaintMyMind ofcourse).
Returning artist Sick Fisher has curated a diverse collection of art from some of Chicago's brightest including paintings, illustrations, cartoons and masks. (Yes, masks)
Judging from his latest works his artistic powers have improved. Hard for galleries to make it on their own save for those catering to the super-rich or well off. Coffeeshops are excellent places for artists to get exposure and build an audience. Hopefully there will be a big soiree at the end.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pop-Up Victory Garden

Hello Howard Garden. The wooden posts appeared sometime in the past week; the new signs were posted yesterday. April snow still partially covers the chip piles in front. About half of the chips have been spread around the south end of the grounds. Chicago's finest keep watch over Howard and Ashland.

Not even a month into spring and shootings plus murders have been keeping the cops busy and neighbors worried. Garden grown food, flowers, and increased foot traffic should help reverse some of Howard's negative image and safety concerns. New wooden planters were built on site by gardeners this past Sunday.

Update 4/17/14 8:55 am - The rest of the chips on the north side were spread sometime yesterday.

Victory garden refers to plots of land public and private where was food grown during WWI and WWII. There used to be a victory garden at Peterson and Campbell in the 1940's.

Last edited 4/17/14 9:01 a.m.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Springtime In Rogers Park

Seedtime wonderland!

Yesterday someone posted a picture yesterday on Instagram of Keep Grass Off The Grass in dogspeak (Woof wof wof Wooff!) . CG posted a photo on Facebook 3 days ago. Looks even weirder with snow on the ground.

Tree buds are forming, plants are shooting up, birds are singing, potholes being filled (not fast enough), old projects are being worked on (People's Gas and Divvy), bullets are flying (unfortunately), and it snowed again. Snowfall total for last night 1.8 inches, just 0.6 inches above the monthly average for April.

Last edited 4/15/14 6:27 pm

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Just Another April Snow Shower

Leonard Dubkin Park

According to Tom Skilling the only completely snow free months of the year in Chicago history are July and August. The biggest April snowstorm in Chicago (according to the Trib) happened on April 2nd-3rd 1975 with a total of ten inches.

Eight times significant snow has fallen in May, the highest total was 2.2 inches May 1-2 1940.

Consulting the National Weather Service site we see that April snowfall isn't so uncommon. NWS site states that the normal snowfall total for Chicago is 1.2 inches and the highest accumulation was 13.6 inches in 1938.

Chuckman's Chicago nostalgia site has a great April snow photo (woman writing on her windshield).

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Community Meeting On Biking

Alderman Joe Moore & The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) invite you to a Community Meeting on Biking Thursday, April 17th, 7 p.m. Field School Auditorium -7019 N Ashland Ave.

Use doorway on Lunt side of building. Learn about the expansion of Divvy Bikeshare and the proposed new Bike Routes in the 49th Ward.

For more information contact the 49th Ward Service Office at (773) 338-5796 or

Friday, April 11, 2014

Zombie Property Back From The Dead

Nothing spiffs up distressed acreage like Sotheby's for sale sign (placed earlier today). Two weeks ago the bank plunked down a dumpster and threw out the junk. This house has been deemed worthy of private ownership again. (Is the Moonie owned house @ Sheridan and Fargo undead?)

Great opportunity with this (East) Rogers Park stucco home. Wonderful entry leads to open living room with fireplace. East facing sunroom for extra room! Separate dining room adjoins kitchen with newer cabinets and granite counters. Partially finished basement w/bath. Side drive leads to 1 car garage. Close by 6/30/14 & request up to 3.5% of sale price towards closing cost credit. Restrictions apply.

Pictures on the Sotheby's site were taken 4/3/14. The place needs lighter wall colors, columns in the front room need to go, new backsplash for the kitchen, and the bathroom tile needs work. Squatters did inhabit this abode for a short time when it was vacant.

Not mentioned in the ad - walking distance to Jarvis and Howard "L" stops, the lake, nightlife like Peckish Pig, R Public House, and coffee shop Sol Cafe. 7362 N Ashland was built in 1901 and last changed hands in 2007 for 484 k. Asking price today is 318 k.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Patch Cafe

Burek - baked filled pastries made on a thin flaky dough known as phyllo. Fillings can be cheese, vegetables or meat. Originally from Turkey and Bosnia. Also quiche, panini, soup of the day, mediterrean salad, and sweets.

Specials everyday, this past Sunday - Pear Passion Lasagna! - crafted with pears soaked in white wine, figs, goat cheese, artichoke hearts, and drizzled with honey, this lasagna is a rich taste of heaven you won't find anywhere else! Made lovingly by James & Jasmin! $8.70.

Also coffee, cafe au lait, tea, tea, latte, hot cocoa, espresso, cappuccino, americano, chai latte. The storekeepers are very nice, knowledgeable and friendly. Hours of operation - Mondays - closed, Tuesdays through Sundays open 11 am til 7 pm.

Patch Cafe is located @ 7557 N Ridge Avenue just south of Evanston. Its worth the trip and the stop in. If you've been curious you won't be disappointed.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Murder At The Gateway Of Chicago

The reports have been all over the place on this shooting. First three hit, then two hit, now one dead and one seriously injured or one dead and two wounded. Whatever happened there are a ton of bullets for the crime scene investigators to look at.

At St Francis Hospital a Code 67 is paged overhead. Most doctors, nurses and cnas pay no attention. The trauma team readies itself to deal with the aftermath of another Rogers Park shooting.

Howard and Paulina is the last intersection in this part of Chicago proper. And it is one of its most dangerous. This is loitering central. The past few days gang bangers have taken up their usual posts at the currency exchange. In fact during this crime scene investigation there were three kids out past their curfew taking it all in @ the northwest corner of Paulina and Howard.

You can remake a street (streetscape), you can post no loitering signs all over and you can patrol the hell out of it. But it will take more than that to stop the violence.

Update #1 4/8/14 6:30 am - Darnall Gordon died shortly after from a GSW to his chest. Two others 25, 27 were treated for less serious gun shot wounds at St Francis.

Update #2 4/8/14 9:30 am - According to last night at 7:40 pm the gunman opened fire on the three victims inside of  Aim Food Mart and Tobacco  (@ 1652 w Howard Street) shattering a store window. This store has opened since the last Google Maps photo.

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Bug Formica Cabinet Shop

This ghost store? at 2133 w Howard Street used to have a motorcycle in its storefront. When you Google Pipersburgh furniture you get Bug Formica Cabinet Shop. There is a voicemail when you call their number (773)-274-3817. If the info below is true this super low profile store is doing some serious business. Has anyone ever checked this place out?

Bug Formica Cabinet Shop
A privately held company in Chicago, IL. Is this your business? Claim This Profile

More Details for Bug Formica Cabinet Shop
Categorized under Wholesale Industrial Equipment and Supplies. Our records show it was established in 1993 and incorporated in Illinois. Current estimates show this company has an annual revenue of $2.5 to 5 million and employs a staff of approximately 1 to 4.

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Marshfield Avenue - Boulevard Of Broken Dreams

This tiny stretch of Marshfield Avenue just south of the new garden space on the old Lerner site is one of the dirtiest in Rogers Park. Bottles, cans and their contents leach through the bottom of the chain link fence onto the street. CTA workers routinely use this little park to walk up to the Red Line. Sometimes they forget to lock the gate.

The litter in this little park has been growing to epic proportions. When was the last time it was picked up? Maybe a decade ago? Took about twenty minutes to pick up this trash saturated street. Even after all the litter was picked up two or three bottles worth of broken glass will have to be swept up later. Not taking care of your street will eventually lead to a flat tire. This street isn't on the street sweeping map. It has been hand picked up the past few years. Will let Ward 49 know about the situation later this week.

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New Listing - Rebuilt Duplex On Farwell

Fire destroyed 1444 w Farwell rose from the ashes this year went on the market one week ago. Strangely the fence hasn't been repaired and sadly the dog on duty gate is missing (hopefully soon to be fixed). Even more bizarre is the sorry state of the front yard and parkway.

Ran out of energy today to pick up the parkway or yard. You can lead by example but that doesn't mean others will follow. The other resident of the salvaged duplex and the duplex to the north and neighbors east, south, west and north have not pitched in to help keep this troubled corner of Rogers Park looking good. More importantly why isn't the owner taking care of his property?

Picking up litter is the fastest way to get to know your neighbors. They will assume you own whatever building wherever you happen to be picking up.

This is the same corner where Bang Da Hitta filmed part of his infamous violent rap video. Rogers Park is not one of those neighborhoods where you can draw an invisible line in your head and not pick up litter past your property line and not take care of your corner. Trouble is attracted to uncared for parkways and streets. But there is still hope. An upstanding responsible citizen may yet inhabit this restored duplex.

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Equipped Restaurant For Rent

"Do you know your pharmacist?"

In the past few weeks Devon Morseview shut its doors for the last time. Prescription records have been forwarded to CVS @ 6510 N Sheridan Rd (773)-338-4384. The space is now up for lease. Posted on the front door, " NO BILLS Please go to 2955 w Devon to pay your bill".

The neighborhood pharmacy is the modern day general store. Devon Morseview drugs offered many services unusual for a drugstore. Keys copied, papers copied, utility bill payment center, send or receive faxes, laminate important cards, play lotto, ATM, sugar free candy department (great candy great prices nothing over 1.99), prepaid phone cards, and free delivery for meds.  A neighborhood fax center was a brilliant idea, the number was prominently displayed, 773-743-3057. Nothing on Yelp.

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Billboard 004257 Circa 2073

The net has been offline six months. Electricity is becoming more and more scarce. This entry was written on a dwindling laptop and saved to a flashdrive. Writing for posterity without promise of a future reader.

Few days ago part of the group was ambushed by the railroad gang. Lost a few in the ensuing firefight. At the end one of the dying marauders had a change of heart and gave up valuable intel. We found their hidden cache of weapons and ammo soon after.

Phil decided enough was enough. Using the dead men's uniforms as camouflage him and four of our bravest infiltrated their headquarters at the old S and C. The rest of the team outflanked the scoundrels. They didn't stand a chance.

After defeating the mob the tracks were ours. The last functioning Metra engine is fueled up and ready to go. Why stay in Rogers Park? Think its time to head north and look for brighter horizons in this world with an uncertain future (when was it otherwise?). Have to look for supplies for the big trip. The battery's beeping. Two more minutes and this computer is history.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

For Sale Only

Surprise, surprise 6900 N Sheridan is being sold as condos. The huge bonus you get by buying a condo (Condominium derived from Latin con with, dominus - lord, ium - the place where. Illinois law regarding condos was written in 1963. According to Condopedia a distant relative of Mitt Romney, Keith Romney a lawyer was responsible for the first condo in Utah.) in a smaller vintage building the HOA fee is low (100 bucks in this case) and you are dealing with above average construction. That's assuming that the condo conversion was a quality job. It looks to be in this case.
Whoever wrote the listing for Redfin didn't use spell check and had a lead foot on the caps button. 6900 N Sheridan isn't a few blocks from Northwestern. How speedy is it to take a bus downtown from Farwell and Sheridan?

In the @properties listing  when the building was up for sale a couple of years ago one window was boarded up. At some point last year the owners were advertising these apartments for rent. Back then the units looked plain jane. It was upgraded in the mean time. 4 parking spots in back.

Overall the unit on Redfin is pretty modern. Only gripe is the narrow hallway. Why the narrow hallways in new and converted condos?. Those horribly narrow hallways make it hard to move furniture in and cause claustrophobia.

Update 4/8/14 9:50 am - Here is the article, units start at 499 k.

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Dont Forget To Stop @ Rogers & Ashland

Called in the missing stop sign this morning (311). Most motorists would slow down and check before making a right or left onto Rogers anyways. But you never know. The stop sign is still absent tonight. Stop signs are usually replaced pretty fast, like same day. Its the weekend though.

Stuff like this can happen and go unreported or unnoticed in an area mostly comprised of renters or transients. (Or if homeowners aren't proactive and vigilante.) Building managers and owners have to pick up the slack. (That is if they actually care about their building or neighborhood.)

Friday, March 28, 2014

What Does This Mean?

Besides the frequent shootings (another one today at Morse & Greenview just after noon) one sign that its springtime in Rogers Park, shoes on a wire. Scenes like this let you know that you're back in the hood. Regardless of the numerous theories or possible reasons they are usually found in troubled neighborhoods.

The Broken Heart and RP in 1000 words talked about this phenomenon in 2007. RP in 1000 words referred to the dangling gym shoes as "crack tennies". One pair was located at Touhy and Glenwood and the other in the alley behind Parkway Grill.

?Advertising for dealing, prank, boredom, gang activity, rite of passage, shoefiti, performance art, urban decay, lawlessness, memento?  Mystery Of Flying Kicks explores this urban occurrence via a compilation of different callers' stories, videos and pictures from around the world.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Good News For Jarvis And Ashland

Warmer weather brings gun toters out of the woodwork. On March 25th this past Tuesday night at approx 830 pm someone was shot in the leg near the Jarvis Ashland intersection.  Cops have been patrolling the Ashland corridor north and south of Jarvis the past few nights.

The shooting has neighbors on edge in this sector of Jargowood. One neighbor with the monicker Modern Gypsie emailed to Chevanston, "Phil, Do you know anything about the shooting in front of V-Tone last night? Too many, too close to homeAnswer - nope.

Modern Gypsie "as the temperature starts to warm up - I'm sure the trouble spots will pick up.  Been a frustrating year - last 4th of July with the shooting on Paulina - later the one on Greenview - and now this one on Ashland in front of V-Tone. " Answer - agreed, hope this is a better summer.

But the warm weather is also when long over due projects begin. This alley-less house has sat vacant for several years.  A dumpster was dropped into place sometime in the past 24 hours. It looks as though someone is going to fix up this century year old stucco home. Now people really can't be blocking the driveway.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Cobbler's Shoe Repair

This shoe repair store did a lot more than repair shoes.

Shoe shining, shoe cleaning, soles and heels repaired, dying and refinishing, waterproofing, orthopedic work, shoe and boot stretching, luggage repair, heel lifts, zipper repairs, purses repaired, rips repaired, straps repaired, leather coats and jackets repaired.

In other words a full service shoe repair store. In business since 1921 the future is uncertain for this neighborhood fixture since the proprietor became ill and had to close shop some time last year.

Vintage shoes and purses were also sold here.

Inside a picture of uniformed men marching down the street; underneath  it reads "Chicago Police Honor Guard Dress Shoes Converted to Marching Shoes." wrote a great article just last year about Mr Geroulis.

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Evanston Subway Defects To Chicago

The notice posted this past December makes more sense now. Building permit issued 12/19/13 permit number 100516658 - for work at 7549 N Paulina, description of permitted work - interior alterations for a new fast food (SUBWAY) restaurant as per plans.

We aren't getting another Subway. Its just moved to the sunnier side of the street. There are certainly places in Chicago where you can run into three or four Subways in a five minute walk. Ever gone for a stroll around the Harold Washington library?

Gateway Mall's commercial spaces are a natural fit for corporate franchises. Perhaps more mom and pop businesses will move to the Evanston side of Howard?

In any case it's about time that these long vacant storefronts were occupied with tax paying businesses.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Maddiebird Forced To Close Early Opening Day

Better luck tomorrow. The new Maddiebird bakery on Devon had to lock its doors early. Business was very brisk. Heartening to see a store come to life years in the making.

Many people walking by did a double take. A few pulled on the door not believing that it really sold out. The proprietor told everyone to come back the next day for more.

Naturally Maddiebird bakery sells Metropolis coffee. Its where the baker first sold her cupcakes. One cupcake for 3.50 or twelve for 42. Buying in bulk won't save you money but it will help you make new friends.

1445 w Devon Avenue is right across the street from the Devon Market. These pics were taken half an hour before official closing time (5:30 pm). Not sure what regular business hours will be. It was supposed to be open 11 am til 6 pm today. Guess they will have to buy more dough and hire more bakers to keep up with demand.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

All In Good Time

The Howard Streetscape is now complete with the long promised clock tower @ Howard and Greenview. Groundbreaking for the streetscape took place 7/16/2012 almost two years ago.

Every town center big or small is not complete without a nice big clock. Imagine Back To The Future without its clock tower. Hopefully this one will stay accurate. Unlike the office clock at the Howard 'L' stop.

J. Najera posted a photo earlier today (The Time Is Here) on Facebook. Neighbor consensus reveals that the clock was put into place yesterday, the first day of Spring.

Perfect for the pesky passerby asking what time is it. Now we can just point at the huge timepiece.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Litterbug Lifestyle

The corner of Fargo and Greenview has been a magnet for local litter louts for years. Seneca who manages the properties across the street has been doing a much better job lately with their parkways.

The aftermath of the winter free for all was covered by a light coat of spring snow this morning.

Clustering of multi-unit properties can lead to a critical mass of trash, apathy and crime. But it doesn't have to be that way. Owners and management companies can take pride in their work and buildings. A job well done is a job well done.

A parkway covered with leavings by passerby not picked up by either management or the property owner is nothing to be proud of. A message was left with management today. Hopefully Lifestyle Properties will be responsible and clean up their corner.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Due To Unprecented Demand Dunkin Donuts Opens Second Location On Paulina

DD dispatched an undercover researcher to study sales @ the 7545 N Paulina store last year. The numbers looked really good. But they wanted to know how to further increase profits. It just seemed to corporate that there was untapped potential.

Hidden in a CTA emblazoned vehicle the investigator studied foot traffic on 7500 North Paulina day in and day out for months. It quickly became obvious. The overwhelming majority of customers came from the southern Howard L entrance and bus stop.

People exiting the "L" closer to Howard Street found the Dunkin Donuts too far. They invariably shrugged their shoulders, scratched their heads and gave up. After the data was compiled and discussed DD decided another store was needed on Paulina.

Last edited 3/19/14 8 pm

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Grand Opening Sale @ Audio Archaeology

Question marks still surround the
future of the building across the street

Stop by Ellipsis Coffeehouse for a dine in cappuccino or a to go latte (15 percent off) and pick up this handy coupon. Its good for ten percent off purchases at Audio Archaeology at Devon and Wayne (1324 W. Devon).

This stretch of Devon Avenue's retail strip is quickly coming back to life.

Ellipsis debuted last year, Heartland Health Center across the street is replacing a shuttered funeral home and Audio Archaeology had its grand opening this past Saturday. Maddiebird bakery down the street is days away from its grand opening

You know vinyl is hot when they are selling machines that convert mp3 to vinyl.

Audio Archaeology sells vintage furniture to store your turntable and record collections. They sell records and record players too.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Shiviti Drum Circle

Al Goldberg has been involved in the local Shiviti Drum Circle scene for sometime.

Shiviti is a sign or plaque with a common religious saying. Its there to help people remember the existence of God. The Shiviti Drum Circle is part of Kabbalah aka Jewish mysticism according to One Pilgrim's Progress.

The members used to meet and play at the Lakeside Cultural Center on Sheridan just north of Glenwood.

This drum circle meets every second Sunday from 1:00 - 2:30 pm @ the new storefront Jewish Temple Beit Yichud 6932 N Glenwood Ave. Click here for more info.

Maybe one day Rogers Park proper will have a synagogue once again. Too bad the one at Pratt and Greenview has been defaced with chalk.