June 2007 Archives

If you're looking for a tiny bag of cocaine on the edge of Old Town, just follow the flashing blue lights to those low-rise apartments on Evergreen and Sedgwick surrounded by half-million dollar condos.

How did Goose Island get it's name?

The first person to post the correct answer wins a Sun-Times T-shirt.

Intrepid cop reporter Frank "Frankie Streets" Main reports Chicago police use video from a blue-light surveillance camera to solve a murder.

There are about 470 cameras filming high-crime corners. The first cameras were installed in 2003.

Finally, the cameras are more than just annoying flashing lights that scare away bad guys.

Because in 2005, it wasn't clear if the cameras were effective at all.

Even in a disposable society, guys like Mitch Lewczuk stay in the TV fix-it business out of sheer will.

I don't know how these guys do it. When was the last time you even considered taking your TV in to get fixed?

If you're into doll heads, puppets, costumes and voodoo love oil, whatever that is, Jojo Baby of Wicker Park is your guy.

You can find his studio at the Flat iron building, but beware it's a tiny closet of a space, and there are hundreds, maybe thousands of glass doll eyes staring at you at all times.

Below is his story.

(If you know someone in the city with a great story to tell, drop me a line.)

Avondale School classmates Paulina Juache, Delilah Torres and Destiny Kirby painted flower boxes and planted flowers outside the school as part of a Logan Square beautification project sponsored by Bank of America. "We made the neighborhood more green and more beautiful," Destiny says. "I enjoyed it very much."

How did Stony Island get its name?

I've never attended the Gay Pride Parade, but that's only because leather and feathers, freaky flamboyance and guys in underwear walking the street really isn't my idea of a party.

But if you're going to the Pride Parade Sunday — at noon between Belmont and Broadway on Halsted in Boystown — I've included below what to expect from people who know these things.

If you have a Pride Parade story of your own — share it here.

The American Firefighters Motorcycle Club, a collection of Chicago firefighters who ride Harleys, will take to the street for their 3rd annual Wreath Ride at 8:30 Sunday morning. They take off from the Quinn Fire Academy, 550 W. DeKoven. (Where the Great Chicago Fire started.)

Got a neighborhood beef?

We all know that sometimes living in Chicago is a contact sport.

And when you're getting pushed around there's nothing wrong with shoving back.

If there's an issue in your neighborhood that needs more attentiondrop me a note.

I want to know.

Mayor Daley's demand:

"I want parents all over to know where their kids are . . . at all times. It isn't up to the Chicago Police at 11 p.m. to walk around and look for your kids. . . . It's up to you to take responsibility."

"Police are gonna enforce the curfew. ... Police are gonna start cleaning the corners. Don't complain to them because, if there's a drive-by shooting, you'll complain afterwards."

That means, don't even send your 13-year-old to the gas station to get you cigarettes at midnight. It's for their own good.

Since 1985, Richard Eastline of Lake View has volunteered 3,500 hours for the Blind Service Association in Chicago. Eastline makes recordings of WFMT/98.7-FM's classical music listening guide.

Dark, mysterious paintings of pistols, bullets, liquor bottles and police tape line the walls of artist Dan Godsel's basement studio in Jefferson Park.

Wrightwood neighbors don't want to be mixed up with "those people."

What people? The ones who tote guns, sell drugs and terrorize corners.

So tell me, Who invented the 16-inch softball?

Since both the Cubs and Sox are stinking up the majors, I recommend Chicago baseball fans check out a day game in West Ridge on Friday. The Clarendon Park Cubs play the Wentworth Gardens White Sox at Thillens Stadium, 6404 N. Kedzie. The first pitch is at 2 p.m.
Go Sox.

The city says there will be170,000 graffiti incidents (including those acid etchings on store windows and cta bus shelters) in 2007, and Mayor Daley wants to crack down on the parents of vandals with fines as high as $3,000 for restitution.

The Chicago Park District is nominating the Edison Park Fieldhouse for a spot on the National Register of Historic Places on Thursday.

The building was designed by famed architect Solon Spencer Beman, the same guy who designed what is now the Pullman neighborhood.

Here's more on Beman, and the fieldhouse

Syed Hassan of Rogers Park called me to complain that his van was removed by a private towing company from a parking lot behind his place of business, Midwest Diagnostic Inc., for no reason. The towing company (who I won't name here because it's unclear if this was a mistake) has a contract to tow cars from the parking lot next door. But Hassan says they plucked his van from the wrong lot, and towed it to the South Side.
"They illegally took my car away, and they did it to my friends car too," Hassan says.

When Stella the black lab lived in Ravenswood with the brunette, we'd take her to the Hamlin Park dog park to play. She'd fetch slobber-covered tennis balls and chase random mutts in circles until she was too tired to take another step. And on a whim, we could stop at any of the other eight North Side dog parks for a change of venue, or stop in the South Loop at a tiny dog run.
On special days, Ol' Stella would go for a swim at Montrose dog beach. It's a special place. Dogs frollick in the shallow water, battle rolling waves and race after other dogs' toys.
But now that we've relocated to the South Side, there's no place for Stella to legally run unleashed with other puppies or take a dip in Lake Michigan, even though we live only a few miles from the nearest beach.
What's up with that?

Sorry I was out today. But tell me, did you miss the neighborhoods pages in the paper today?

For many immigrants flowing into Chicago, Maxwell Street was their port of entry — a place where they could score a quick job or work an honest hustle. Some people considered it the largest open air market in the country, but more than that it was Chicago's cultural melting pot. Maxwell Street as we know it closed up for good in 1994, replaced by condos and chain restaurants.

Phil Ranstrom, who lives in Evanston, put produced Cheat You Fair: The Story of Maxwell Street that premiered at the Chicago International Documentary Film Festival in April.

It's narrated by Chicago native Joe Mantegna, Cheat You Fair: And you can check out a preview here and give us your thoughts on it here.

This week, Dr. Sparki, resident mixologist at Four Moon Tavern in Roscoe Village, provides a potion for fancy pants folks.
It's called a Gin Blossom — you sip it in a champagne flute, not a pint glass.

What is it?

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It''s the 63rd Street Beach House, formerly the Jackson Park Bathing Pavilion -- a 1919 Mediterranean Revival structure and Chicago Landmark. It originally was built for $173,000 and restored for $8 million in 1999.

At work, Matt Barbera is boring. He manages retirement funds. To fit in around the office, he talks in monotone.

But when the work day's done, Barbera's a riot. I met him years ago at a tiny North Side tavern on a diagonal street, back when he spent his nights onstage doing improv comedy.

Kevin Healy says he's just a beer-drinking foreman who manhandles a jackhammer for Peoples Energy.

But folks who know the unassuming Irish guy from West Lawn describe him a different way. They call him a "saint." "An angel." "The greatest guy I've ever met."

Burn victims, cops with cancer, kids with horrible diseases, families struggling with monumental medical bills -- Healy has helped them all.

The guy has organized nearly 100 fund-raisers that have put millions of dollars into the pockets of families and charities who need it most.

Tell me about someone from your neighborhood who always seems to lend a hand to people in need?

What is the oldest bar in Chicago?

Mark Konkol

Mark Konkol covers city neighborhoods for the Chicago Sun-Times. You can e-mail him or call (312) 321-2146.

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This page is an archive of entries from June 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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