Thursday, April 25, 2013

"Fingers Of Gentrification" Reach Howard Street?

GNAR - artist collective, home base is Sol Cafe's basement

             Yelp reviews are endlessly entertaining to read. The best review of late regards Sol Cafe. Taylor E. is afraid that the "charm" that drew him to Howard Street is in danger of extinction. Many people living in the area would welcome the loss of Howard's "grit". Will the "fingers of gentrification" choke Howard street as the reviewer fears? Will Howard Street once home to the WBBM radio station (We Broadcast From Broadmoor) and the A.C. Neilsen  Company of the famous Neilsen ratings rise from the ashes as business and real estate investors hope?

Two different questions from two different perspectives looking for the same answer. Howard streetscape is nearing completion this year, the sidewalks are done, the lamp posts are being installed, the finishing touches including the clock tower, benches, garbage cans etc should be completed sometime this spring.

Last edited 4/25/13 4:45 pm

Please continue reading for more picture and words

Historic Howard Theatre 1615 w Howard Street, recent site of daytime mugging
and  new "zen" "hipster" coffee shop Sol Cafe.

Taylor E.'s review from Yelp quoted below

           The fingers of gentrification have begun to wrap themselves around the throat of Howard street.  This well -designed zen meets industrial yuppie oasis shines like a beacon to hipsters on a street crowded with sneaker shops, Caribbean restaurants and working class mothers on their way to the grocery store.
           I'm happy to see this shop in the neighborhood. I do, however, fear that this is a sign Howard street may soon lose the grit, diversity and charm that drew me to the area. With the upscale cocktail bar Ward Eight also moving in a few blocks away, I hope Howard doesn't get sucked up by the yuppie vacuum of our neighbors to the North.

Loitering early in the morning just down the street from Sol Cafe

            Nature abhors a (yuppie) vacuum. So it would be weird for this major transit hub connecting the two great cities of Chicago and Evanston with the beautiful historic Howard Theatre building with top notch housing stock walking distance to the lakefront to remain perennially the pits or a ghetto (which it is still is in many people's minds).

South Evanston is itself experiencing a revival with the AMLI luxury apartments just about finished close by, the aforementioned Ward 8 bar on Howard and the Peckish One Microbrewery in the works next door.

A large courtyard building being fixed up by Chicago Flats in the North of Howard neighborhood at 7722 N Ashland. And to the south Morse Avenue is experiencing an amazing revival anchored by investments made by local billionaire Col.James Pritzker (Mayne Stage & Mayne Annex).

           Interesting perspective. To one person the revitalization of and reinvestment into Howard would mean the death of the current crime ridden, gang banger haven that North of Howard and the surrounding environs have been over the past few decades. To some people that is grit, charm and diversity. It is possible to have those three characteristics without such levels of violence however.

CNR comments are not for the faint of heart or racially sensitive
           This is in stark contrast to the commenters on Chicago News Report (recent daytime mugging on Howard) who laugh at the thought of a coffee shop on Howard and call it s$%^ out of luck cafe and think that Howard is a hellscape that will never improve. (The copy and past function has been disabled for CNR, but screenshots are still possible) Don't even ask what the commenters on Chicago News Report would say about diversity on Howard street or what the potential loss of that diversity means. Most of what is said there wouldn't pass anyone's litmus test of what isn't racist. Chicago News Report is still an informative site and provides a provocative and explosive place for anyone with the stomach for the discussion at hand. The consensus at CNR is that gentrification of Howard is impossible.

           The  fate and future of Howard street lies somewhere between these two extreme opinions and perspectives. 


Isadora MoonlightLonetree said...

OMG you posted a racist picture from a racist newspaper. Bad boy, Jeffy. Bad boy. LOLZ. Gernturd would be proud!

Hadasa Goldstein said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Philip McGregor Rogers said...

Hey HG its not up to Chevanston to police every street pole, street sign and mailbox. :)

If you don't like that sticker, then peel it off or spray some black spray paint over it.

Philip McGregor Rogers said...

HG Said "(Philip) do you really believe that Taylor E......... is "into grit, diversity and charm" or do you think it simply creates content for his human-interest articles in ............? I am surprised that you didn't write this article about the horrible, disrespectful sticker graffiti that GNAR plastered on that lightpole. Are you possibly a sympathizer of the Great Northside Artist Revolution? Many of them do wear tattoos."

Hey HG you can throw around real people's names when you use your own real name.

Philip McGregor Rogers said...

Even so HG, it just isn't done to publicly "out" someone like that and that kind of behavior will not be tolerated here.