Monday, April 28, 2014

Inside Emil Bach

The original FLW window sits in the Art Institute. This window and the others at Emil Bach are reproductions. Notice how the wooden trim allows natural sunlight to hit plants down below. With FLW the devil is in the details.

Wooden night lights with the same window design sell for twenty eight bucks at the Lang House.

Frank Lloyd Wright was not a tall man at five foot nine. But his ego was huge. He designed his houses to be built on his scale. The ceilings at Emil Bach are only seven feet tall. If you are of above average height you will be hard pressed to sit at the built in kitchen table.

Update 4/29/14 9:40 am - added a couple more pictures of the backyard.

Please continue reading for more pictures and words

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Brick Paved Glenwood Peeks Through

Work on Rogers Parks' brick roads has not yet begun in earnest. Christy Webber repaired Wayne Avenue after natural gas infrastructure was upgraded.

Referring to the Ward 49 participatory budgeting update..... "Cobblestone Restoration on Glenwood, Farwell to Lunt - PENDING. Final cost far exceeded original estimate by CDOT." This project got the greenlight from voters in 2013.

Brick paved Glenwood from Greenleaf to Lunt is slowly emerging through its potholes. The visible brick road is in good shape. Just as hardwood floors wait patiently under carpet, linoleum or tile for restoration so too is brick paved Glenwood under all that asphalt.

Glenwood's brick road from Estes to Farwell should be restored.

Last edited 4/27/14 10:53 pm

Please continue reading for more pictures

When A Permit Is Not Required

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Participatory Budget Vote 2014

Nothing exciting on this years Ward 49 Participatory Budget ballot.It was so dull that hasn't bothered to write it up. One of the coldest winters ever since the last ice age has damaged many city streets. Likely most of the money will go to street, sidewalk repair and street lights.

What's on the list? Fundamental stuff we need.

Under bikes and transit 15 new bus benches. Nothing about a north-south greenway.

Under parks and environment - new water feature for Pott Park, beach path extension at Hartigan Beach, soccer field at Mary Margaret Langdon Park, fence replacement at Willye B.White park, and one indoor drinking fountain (hardly worth listing or mentioning).

Choose four from the seven. Voting started earlier today and will continue until the final election day May 3rd. Maybe the bike path will make it onto next years ballot.

Please continue reading for more pictures and words 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Chuckhole On Wayne's Brick Road Grows Larger

no parking sign extreme tilt
collateral damage from polar vortex

This unsecured Bessemer Youngstown Ohio brick has been put away for safekeeping. It was in a precarious position when last photographed a few days ago.

One homeowner took Bessemer bricks from a repaving project and used them for a pathway in their garden. Its popular when creating a walkway from old paving bricks to put them lug (engraved) side up.

Nothing beats an old brick road for charm, looks, sound and durability. Better this brick be put back to good use. As it has been these past hundred years. An essential part of Wayne Avenue and Rogers Park.

These potholes will probably be filled in with blacktop. Recent participatory budget money has been set aside for the restoration of Glenwood Ave from Lunt to Farwell. With luck there will be extra money to restore 6900 N Wayne Avenue.

Please continue reading for more pictures

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Chicago Upholstery & Drapery Co.

New fully equipped upholstery shop popped up at this long vacant space recently. Farmer's Market a bodega that tried to make a go of it last year in this same spot. But it didn't last long.

7101 N Ridge Boulevard Chicago, Illinois. Phone number 773-663-3261. Call to set up an appointment.

Please continue reading for more pictures

Emil Bach Prepares For Sunday

Tiny tulips are just beginning to pop out of the ground. If all goes well the lawn should be in full bloom just in time for Emil Bach's free open house this Sunday. The blue-tooth man  (in charge of renovations?) invited this writer to stop by on the 27th. Workers this morning were finishing a last minute project out back.

According to Crain's Chicago it will set you back seven hundred and fifty bucks to spend a night at this Frank Lloyd Wright. The house as old as Wrigley Field turns one hundred this year. Its evident that this crib still needs work. The brown lintel for the small front west facing window is missing.

Please continue reading for more pictures

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mystery Car At The Hillel

Abandoned vehicle, empty beer cans, paper cups, candy wrappers, not a human in sight. No this isn't the set of the Walking Dead. Its a vacant lot and former home to a synagogue.

The sign on the fence reads, "Parking for Hillel at Loyola (organization for Jewish Loyola students) Only Unauthorized cars will be towed at owner's expense." Definition of Hillel - "Hillel (HIL-el; hil-EL) One of the greatest rabbis recorded in the Talmud. His more liberal views of Jewish law are often contrasted with the stricter views of Shammai. Also: a Jewish college student organization under the auspices of B'nai Brith."

At least it has a decent fence and is free of brush. Too bad its not being used much more than a place to collect debris, dust and park the random car.

Please continue reading for more pictures

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Not Your Run Of The Mill Pothole

Have mixed feelings about calling in this pothole to 311. Certainly don't want this brick paved street to get any worse and lose more bricks. On the other hand hate to see more asphalt patches. In the short run though better to patch it before more bricks come loose.

Above left Mayne Stage with pothole. You can still read who made this brick. Its harder to read because the name is upside down; Youngstown. O. Block. O is short for Ohio from whence this brick and many a brick road was manufactured.

Right now there are at least three good size potholes at 6900 N Wayne Avenue. Last year crews from Christy Webber did a smashing job repairing the damage from People's Gas. They would be the perfect folks for this job. As opposed to M and J Asphalt Paving who last year helped make brick paved Wayne that much shorter.

Last edited 4/21/14 9:03 am

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Wild Ones

Somber depressed mood today at Morse Gyros aka "Ninos". Word on the street is that a shooting was narrowly averted last night. A great restaurant with a checkered past. Nino himself couldn't contend with the gangbangers. He felt he didn't have the support of the police.

Ever see the movie "The Wild One" with Marlon Brando? Hang out at Morse Gyros long enough and you will see gangbangers saunter in just like the motorcycle gang did in that small town. The bangers quickly take the place over. The chefs are too busy filling customer orders and cooking to deal with the trouble. The cooks are outnumbered, tired and overwhelmed. They need help.

There should also be a sign that says no cell phone charging, no loitering and no gangs. Its no secret that the Morse gang likes to come here to chill. Inevitably the rival gang comes looking for them. Are we going to have another Laurie's Pizza incident? Not sure what needs to be done but something has to change at Morse and Wayne before someone gets killed.

4/21/14 1:47 pm - Update - the discussion occurred in unmoderated Facebook. The consensus is that Morse Gyros needs more support from the police department. Violence in Chicago is so bad that the Feds have noticed and are taking action.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Get Ready Rogers Park! Your New Jewel-Osco Is Opening Soon!

Gateway Mall has been a ghost town ever since Dominick's closed this past December. Police routinely patrol the underutilized parking lot. Notices regarding Doms closing date and transfer of scripts to Walgreens are still posted. Not much activity on the property of late. It has been kept free of litter.

If memory serves this writer correct this sign must've been put up today or yesterday. Reassuring to have concrete evidence that the border region of Evanston and Chicago will not be a food desert. A Jewel Osco van was spotted outside the vacant store two weeks after it was finally announced that it was taking over the space. Neighbors breathed a huge sigh of relief as this store's fate hung in limbo for months.

When will the new grocer open its doors? According to Joe Moore's email blast it could be May. Gauging how long its taken for Mariano's to finish their new stores June or July is more realistic.

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.

Please continue reading for more pictures

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.

Please continue reading for more pictures

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

Please continue reading for more pictures

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.

Please continue reading for more pictures

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.

Please continue reading for more pictures

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.

Please continue reading for more pictures

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.

Please continue reading for more pictures

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.

Please continue reading for more pictures 

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.

Please continue reading for more pictures