Sunday, October 13, 2013

Early Morning Loitering @ Howard & Paulina

(Chevanston stock photo of Howard/Paulina)

This morning at 9:30 am there was a crowd of youth hanging at the intersection of Howard and Paulina (just to be clear, the youth are not pictured above, that is a file photo from Chevanston's archive). Five or so were on the north east side and the same number on the south. They were yelling at each other. They weren't trying to cross the street. Just hanging on the corner (911 was called).

This is the gateway to Chicago proper from Evanston. Would you want to walk past two gangs yapping at each other ? Standing at the Howard L stop and looking down, would you want to walk down below to explore the "new Howard"? Probably not. You are at a disadvantage; outnumbered.

"Say hello to a brand new experience. Welcome to Howard Street." Howard streetscape, new fencing at Howard and Ashland, new businesses like Sol Cafe, and increased police presence has made a difference. But judging from the loitering at Howard "L" stop there are still some major obstacles to overcome before that sentiment (brand new experience) can be taken literally.


Patrol Officer B. said...

Huh? One guy in a green hoodie is a crowd of youth? Come on don't waste our time monitoring this blog.

Philip McGregor Rogers said...

POB that is a stock photo. Did you not see the subtitle? Hmmmmm. :)

mcl said...

Mr. Rogers,
Don't bother POB with details and facts. He's an apologist and avoider of the short comings of the CPD. His purpose and attitude seems to be very much like that of those who run the CAPS meetings. It's about control and PR.

Patrol Officer B. said...

More squawking and cawing from the Crow's Nest? A lot less squawk and a little more action could make a difference. It might even help sell some real estate NOH and bump up the values.

mcl said...

What would "help sell some real estate NOH and bump up the values" would be for those who are sworn to "Serve & Protect", patrol and police our neighborhood consistently and effectively.

Mary Leahy said...

Hey, Officer, whadda ya think--I ain't afraid to walk down Howard with those guys around. Should I be? Phil and mcl seem ta be.

TErvin said...

"There are still some major obstacles to overcome before that sentiment (brand new experience) can be taken literally." What does this mean to you, Mr. Chevanston? I don't want to put words in your mouth, or thoughts in your head, but let me take a stab.

If your dream of a "Brand New Experience" were to be fully realized it would mean that more businesses like SOL Cafe, Ward 8 and the Peckish Pig would move into the empty store fronts on Howard. It would mean that those black kids that you assume to be gang bangers would no longer hang out on the street because they can no longer afford to live in this neighborhood due to growing property values and skyrocketing rent. It would mean that those kids and their friends and families and social networks would be torn apart as they are displaced to the segregated ghettos of Chicago's South and West sides.Those kids and their families would be forced to move to areas where they will be subjected to even more violence and poverty. And you, Chevanston, get to stroll down Howard Street with your fancy latte without having to look at a black face or endure the antics of those pesky loitering youth.

I can see why you might think this to be an ideal scenario being the middle class white male patriarch that you are. It would be great! Your property value goes up and you get rid of the riff raff.

Unfortunately, Chevanston, you are not the only one that feels this way. The RPBA feels this way. The Alderman feels this way, and the city of Evanston feels this way (considering they are subsiding the construction of a handful of fancy new restaurants restaurants to be moving in on the north side of Howard in the coming months).

However, I'm guessing the majority of Howard Street's current residents (among them being those pesky loitering youth) do not feel this way. I'm not condoning gang activity, but I don't think the answer is to sweep our problems underneath the giant rug know as the South Side. These loitering youth and the majority of people I see walking down Howard Street on a daily basis are black, and that is not something that is a great thing to be in this country, unfortunately. This entire race of people has been systematically disadvantage for the past 500 years, and don't think that just because we have a black president means that we now live in a "post-race" society. Think for a minute about the communities in the Chicago area with the Highest property values, lowest crime, and best access to quality education. Now think about the racial make up of that community. Those communities are typically going to be something like 95% white. Now think of the communities in the Chicago area with the lowest property values, highest crime, and worst access to quality education. Those communities are typically going to be something like 95% non-white with the majority being either Black or Latino. Does anybody see any problems there?

Yes these are huge problems, but we are fortunate to live in a neighborhood that is very diverse and is one of the least segregated places in the city of Chicago. But you, Chevanston, and many of your friends want to continue this trend of racialized segregation. We definitely have some problems to overcome, but I think we need to think about ways that we can help this community that don't envolve real estate speculation and that do involve critical engagement with citizens and community building.

Philip McGregor Rogers said...


Tervin thanks for your thoughtful comments I will read them later in entirety.

The jist of what should or will happen in NOH and Rogers Park is more mixed income and less concentrated low income. Part by economic supply and demand and partly because of politics.

Current politics pays landlords more money than market rate for low income apartments. But pretty soon market rate will pay more than subsidized.

Politics is what is keeping NOH majority low income for the present time. A huge contract for low income housing will elapse probably around the year 2022.

Then there will be a huge change.

The city has to pay its bills somehow. And having this geographically desirable part of the city held back artificially and keeping the neighborhood low income doesn't serve anyone's needs.