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.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Electrical Substation - Patrol & Protected By Kates Detective Agency & Security

Kates Detective Agency has been watching over the electrical substation at Farwell and Glenwood ever since the focus turned onto its actual working parts (the inside).

Kates in addition to offering security and detective services has conceal and carry classes. The website states that the classes are only for those with security, law enforcement or military backgrounds. In order to take classes you must bring proof of your past professional experience with firearms. And you can't have been convicted of any violent crime or be a deadbeat parent.

All Instructors are Police Firearm Instructors, Certified by the Illinois State Police

Eligibility & Requirements:

Must be 21+ with valid Firearms Owner ID, Valid State ID or Drivers License
No Felonies
No Misdemeanors involving physical force or the threat of physical force to any person within the last 10 years
No Warrants in-state/ out of state
No UUW (Unlawful Use of Weapon)
No Child Support Restrictions

If you don't have a security background Kates does offer beginners and advanced security classes. Kates also does background checks, business and litigation intelligence gathering, skip traces, etcetera.

HQ @ 7810 S Claremont Chicago, Illinois.

DANGER - Stay Away From Rocks - Strong Undercurrent And Riptide - Chicago Park District

Frozen lake water coats the rocks and signpost.

Walking to the rocks now its obvious the lake is reclaiming the shore.  The ice shelf at its zenith allowed people to walk their dogs on what now would be suicide.

The sign has reverted back to its original use; a dire warning to protect passerby from certain death.

During winter the yellow deterrent served as a reminder that Lake Michigan's icy waters lurked beneath the ice and snow.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Soft Opening @ Peckish Pig

The soft opening was worth the wait. The lighting subdued, the vibe, crowd and music relaxed.

Nobody likes to be told, "Hey buddy no beer tonight. Come back Thursday" (an approximate quote). In the rush to be first heybartender@heybartenderga tweeted on March 11th a picture of a Peckish Pig beer entitled Soft Opening. Crashing an invited guest, friends and family event was slightly embarrassing.

Hit the bar near closing time Thursday night. Just enough time for a beer. One of the barmaids made the rounds soon after. Murmurs of "are you parked on the Evanston side?".... When she came to this writer's side of the bar it became apparent Evanston tows your car after midnight. Which happens to be when Peckish Pig closes.

Strange name for a bar/brewpub/restaurant. The more the names repeated however, the more it sounds like a modern incarnation of an Irish, English or Australian pub.

Not as cool a name as The Slaughtered Lamb in the West Village, but close.

Better than expected. Never dreamt of vsiting a bar with Evanston brewed beer on tap a stones throw from Chicago. Naturally the local draft beer had to be imbibed. Temperance Restless Years tasted great. Can't wait to try Peckish Pig's home brew this spring.

Last edited 3/14/14 12:37 pm

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Descent Into Darkness

The south west "emergency" exit of the Gateway Parking 7474 N Rogers lot is still unlit. You can see the cover to the fluorescent light fixture in the corner of the stairwell.

Its the light for the landing in between the first and second floor that has been out for a few months. Gateway Parking was notified a week ago about this situation. At least the door to the outside was shut. This typist spoke to management again this afternoon to remind them of the situation.

Please continue reading if you dare

Attack Of The Rap Promoters

Fourteen posters on the east side of the "L" tracks and between forty and fifty to the west. Odd that a show 33 and a half miles to the south (Markham, Illinois) decided to plaster the border of Chicago and Evanston with ads.

What if Mayne Stage decided to cover Wheaton's downtown with ads thirty five miles away? Even if the singer or band had hometown connections it would be weird.

This time the signs start at Marshfield and end almost at Ridge Road. Some of the signs have already fallen on the ground. Will DLR or Adrianna's or Yo Gotti help take down all these ads?

Last year Villa shoe store (@Gateway shopping mall) gave Howard Street the same stapled cardboard ad treatment announcing an upcoming rap show at the Congress Theatre.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

So You Think You Can Shoot?

Photographs that is. Rogers Park has more than its fair share of amateur photographers. Many of them above average. Stiff competition. Post your photos anyways.

The Photo Show at the Artists of the Wall Facebook page was created March 6th.

Not surprising most of the photos are of  Rogers Park's greatest asset, Lake Michigan. And a majority of those show off how cool the lake looked frozen this year.

Don Gordon suggests that contestants submit photos related to each other, themed.

More details to be posted @ PSAAOTW Facebook page as they become available.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Thou Shall Not Kill Van

This van was spotted this morning near where the Thou Shall Not Kill Limo is usually parked.

The driver of the limo Darby Tillis was on Death Row for nine years before he was set free.

He is a street preacher. Spreading the gospel of nonviolence to those that will listen.

George Ryan did at least one good deed by pardoning Mr Tillis in 2000.

Many people have dubbed the limo the Peace Limo. He has taken the limo on tour. The White House, East Coast and the South.

No mention of the van anywhere though. Looks like he's added another vehicle to his ministry on wheels.

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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bulkhead Canada

Last month this unlikely import from Thunder Bay, Ontario had its grand opening in Rogers Park. And its been getting nothing but rave reviews.

Bulkhead Canada opened its first outpost in the harbor of Thunder Bay back in 2011. The proprietor Daniel Gagnon built the first restaurant out of steel plates from old ships. Before that he ran a poutine stand out of an abandoned boat he had towed onto his front yard.

Hailing from Trois Rivieres, Quebec Daniel wanted to share his mother's recipe for poutine with the world. Poutine is french fries and cheese curds covered in a thin brown gravy. Its sold in all the major fast food chains in Canada, like McDonalds and Burger King. Mr Gagnon's restaurant however delivers the real deal.

The restaurant's most popular special is the "No Moosesh!t special". For six bucks you get a salmon jerky taco, a shot of rye whiskey and a bottle of Kokanee beer.

For appetizers butter tarts, perogy, and ketchup chips.

For his Rogers Park restaurant (at 1406 W. Morse) he imported a small Canadian battleship. It was hoisted onto the roof of the former dollar store in early January during the polar vortex. "This type of weather really makes me feel at home.", Daniel Gagnon told reporters at the big event.

Canadian sports and road signs make local and visiting Canucks feel less homesick.

Daniel Gagnon has also branched out into French-Canadian cuisine. Toutieres (meat pie), pate chinois (similar to sheperd pie), baked beans, pea soup are just a sample. For desert maple syrup dumplings and St Catherine's taffy.

The food and drink is reasonably priced, but it is cash only.

Bulkhead Canada was named best new restaurant in 2011 by enRoute magazine.

If you haven't stopped by yet you really don't know what your missing.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Stop Gerrymandering In Illinois?

This morning this concerned citizen and neighbor manned a petition table at Heartland Cafe. All across Illinois people are gathering signatures to get this amendment onto the ballot this fall. They need around four hundred thousand signatures.

Maybe this law would help bring balance back to Illinois politics. Today its overwhelmingly Democratic. Due in large part because the winners draw up insanely shaped districts to maintain their party's control of the state.

But who would control this new eleven member committee? No system is immune from corruption. Trying something different would shake up the current one party system in Illinois though.

Petition for Constitutional Amendent

We the undersigned registered and duly qualified electors of the State of Illinois, petition to amend Article IV of the Illinois Constitution with the language set forth on the back of this petition by placing this proposed amendment before the electors of Illinois at large by referendum at the General Election to be held on the 4th day of November 2014.

The purpose of the 2014 Illinois Independent Redistricting Amendment is to change the current system of redistricting, where legislators draw the maps of General Assembly districts after each decennial census, and provide for a restructured, independent redistricting commission to draw maps.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Lake Michigan Nears Record Ice Cover

The weather channel recaps one of the coldest winters Chicago has seen. At least since the last ice age. Four degrees below average for December, eight for January and ten for February. It just kept getting colder as the winter wore on.

The silver lining is that you get breath taking vistas like the ones above. TWC states that Lake Michigan at its zenith this year is almost 92 percent covered with ice.

HTR news states that the last time the lake was this frozen was in 1977 when the lake's surface was 93 percent ice. One ice climatologist believes that the ice cover may top 95 percent in the next few days.

".... Lake levels are expected to be a foot higher this year" reports a newscaster for CBS 58 News in Milwaukee.

An ice breaker clears a path for lake traffic (salt shipments have to get through) in the Milwaukee river and the port of Milwaukee. The ice breaker for Milwaukee has been busy this year. Forty days and counting compared to six last year.

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Oldsmobile Hibernating @ Runge's

Lights Out

This "emergency" stairwell in the Gateway Parking Garage is a horror story waiting to happen. It is routinely used by commuters, visitors, motorists among others. That light on the top is the exit sign. iPhones have decent cameras but still not that great. On the 4s model you can't use the camera and the flashlight at the same time.

You can see that this door has a tendency to not shut all the way. Its chronically cracked open. There is no doorknob on it but one can grab on it from above on the outside.

ICYMI - here's the Facebook post on the foul Gateway Parking elevator now back up and running. Ann Rainey the alderman of the Evanston 8th Ward took note of how nasty it looks (and smells).

Some references (lights out) are a little too old for this writer or most readers.

Please continue reading for lights on  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sold Out!

It didn't take long.

All 180 garden beds have been spoken for (this was discussed at the Jargowood meeting yesterday). It was only about two weeks ago that the garden plots on the 43,000 square foot lot at Howard and Ashland went on sale.

It will be at least two or three years before any future development at the site.

The four foot by eight plots went for 75 bucks a pop. At least twenty of them are for scholarships. The blueprints (pro bono work) for the gazebo have just been submitted to the alderman's office.

The fence will be locked each evening. More eyes on the street will make Howard Street safer.

Hops & Grapes Or Green Guitar?

The public notices (from November 2013 and January 2014) still carry the old name Green Guitar. Probably something about applying for a liquor license where you can't change the name mid process. Sometime last fall the name of Isam's replacement was changed to Hops and Grapes.

Work is being done on the southern half of the storefront. Old beer advertisements from Isam's still cover the floor. Ciao Bella's liquor license application was posted in December 2013. For (alcohol) consumption on premises, incidental activity, outdoor patio. Hopefully this dead zone comes to life this spring and summer.

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Monday, March 3, 2014

Opening Winter 2014?

Maddiebird Bakery at 1445 w Devon Avenue still has the same old advertising from last year.

According to recent announcements on Facebook the bakery is supposed to open this month for real.

Maddiebird bakery got their start at Metropolis Coffee on Granville.

The store is a "small cake design studio & cupcake shop".

Prices reflect level of work involved and craftsmanship. The intricately designed cakes range from 3.50 for a cupcake up to two hundred or so dollars for a two tiered cake.

Maddiebird is on the Edgewater side of Devon Avenue. A snowball throw south of Rogers Park.

Drug House On Newgard?

When you stroll the neighborhood looking for info on a blog post or story sometimes you run into the unexpected. Walking down Newgard one apartment building's basement unit was a wreck. Snow covered the entire entrance. A neighbor noticed this writer's interest. He joked that maybe the inhabitant was dead, cause its been a pretty rough winter. He was curious to know if the landlord had parking for rent.

The dog walker went on about a particular unit on Newgard. Apparently 6442 N Newgard is home to some drug dealers in the basement unit. At night many cars double park and loiter nearby. He said that the cops don't do anything except tell the cars to move on. The alleged bagmen sit on the porch (in warmer weather) late at night and appear to be high on their "product".

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