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That's been there for quite some time, no?

— On the business license D & D SPA
9:03 a.m.

I still believe it's solidly in the 11th Ward. The connection here is Patrick Daley Thompson: He's the 11th Ward alderman, and companies and businesses connected to him have benefited from what's been going on with this property.

4:19 p.m.

Nope. The factory is in the 11th Ward. Here's the official map (reflecting the fairly recent ward changes. You'll see that 35th and Ashland is right on the border of the 11th.

7:13 a.m.

The building itself is in the 11th Ward, which is Patrick Daley Thompson's ward. The current border between the 11th and 12th Wards is Ashland Avenue. Ward boundaries were recently changed a couple years ago.

8:41 a.m.

I just found this out, and the event page on the McKinley Park News has been updated accordingly.

3:04 p.m.

I agree with you, Greene Grad, and I hope to continue to ramp up coverage of local crime issues. Note that the site's map page at includes some links to neighborhood maps, including the Chicago Police Department's ClearMap, where you can look up all of the reported crimes in specific areas over specific dates.

11:20 a.m.

That is a very tall order, Greene Grad! However, the change is going to allow the McKinley Park News to publish even more information for the neighborhood. One thing being developed is a membership login which will let residents more easily and quickly submit event information and neighborhood news.

If you have any feedback about areas where you think attention or reporting should be directed, or other ideas about the publication, please share it here or send a message in via Thanks much for the feedback!

2:54 p.m.

Depending on how the lease is written, I would imagine it's still completely valid, Angelique, especially if the landlord is still cashing your rent checks and you have no other written agreement. Upkeep of core facilities like sinks and drains is the landlord's responsibility, as is dealing with property problems like mold, although most would expect the tenant to inform the landlord if there's a problem.

One tip: Do all communication in writing, and keep a copy of everything.

— On the neighbor message Landlord disclosed keeping security deposit
9:47 a.m.

Thanks so much! For any questions or ideas, send email to

— On the neighbor message Changes announced at
10:55 a.m.

For the life of me, I'm trying to figure out where the "proposal" exists. It doesn't seem to be linked up on the Center for Neighborhood Technology website, although an article from last fall is here:

10:39 p.m.

Why does everyone attack the teachers pensions (and the teachers themselves), but no one attacks the equivalent police pension system?

10:15 a.m.

Western Boulevard -- indeed the entire boulevard network -- would be an ideal place to put protected bike lanes in the north-south direction.

2:21 p.m.

Another Northsder who's never ventured south of Roosevelt (other than maybe the expressways).

8:49 a.m.

Mah is far and away the better candidate than Acevedo: She's experienced and has received endorsements from many federal and state congressmen and congresswomen, as well as both the Sun-Times and the Tribune. Acevedo has no elected political experience or demonstrated any community commitment: He's just trying to get his dad's job as an exercise in far-too-common nepotism. Mah is a much better choice for the Illinois second district.

— On the neighbor message Local legislative candidate on WBBM radio
11:47 a.m.

There unfortunately isn't a good choice for committeeman in the 12th Ward: It's a question of voting for who's less harmful. The argument I heard for Munoz over Cardenas is that by making Cardenas the committeeman in addition to his current position as alderman, it concentrates too much power with a politician who has been shown to be suspect.

— On the neighbor message Election Dirty Tricks? 12th Ward Committeeman
11:45 a.m.

If no one has checked it out, there's awesome homemade Mexican food at La Placita, 1840 W. 35th: It's a little restaurant area in the front of a Mexican grocery store. Very plain atmosphere, but excellent, made-to-order, affordable Mexican food.

12:30 p.m.

I will note that this location is in the McKinley Park neighborhood, not Bridgeport.


Fair enough, NFord: There are undoubtedly honorable officers who uphold the law no matter what. However, you look at nearly every police organization or group that speaks on behalf of the police (from local FOPs to national associations), they nearly all are against common-sense reform on the above-outlined issues.

Chicago is an especially bad case, because the corruption runs so deep. I question how all of the rampant criminality and problems are not noticed and reported by the supposedly "good" officers. Do we have a Serpico-style situation here? (e.g. a Chicago cop who wants to be honorable must play the game, or he/her will be put in danger's way). I can't believe that something like the Special Operations Section wouldn't have been known about across the department, yet it was allowed to persist. Or the number of dashcam recorders which conveniently and simultaneously happened to stop working at critical points of the Laquan Mcdonald shooting. Either cops knew what was going on and said nothing, or they were so incompetent they didn't know, in which case they should face some sort of accountability.

CPD needs a top-to-bottom, federally led cleansing to overhaul the department. Chicago citizens can't afford to continue to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to pay off the victims of this completely broken system. I personally would support better funding of a higher-quality police force, but the CPD's been broken for decades.

3:38 p.m.

3. End Police Militarization. If you need heavy-duty military equipment to take out some punks with street handguns, or even just conduct day-to-day operations like serving warrants to non-violent and non-dangerous offenders, you're not a real cop: You're a coward. There's no reason to turn our streets into Afghanistan just so some neanderthal macho cops can think they look cool.

4. End the CPD's "No Snitch" policy. Just look at the history: Kids and the innocent gunned down in the streets, the Chicago Police Department's "Special Operations Section" which operated with impunity as a murderous street gang, the fact that police giving false testimony in cases in Cook County is so common it's nicknamed "testilying." All Chicago cops -- even the supposedly good ones -- routinely commit perjury or do not come forward with evidence of crimes committed by their fellow officers. Their priority is to protect themselves and the "bad apples" that happen to work next to them, not to uphold or respect the rule of law.

Now if the police were interested in a better society, or less violence on the streets, or less danger to themselves, you'd think they'd support at least some common-sense reforms on the issues outlined above. But all cops and police unions fight these tooth and nail ... every time. They're more interested in protecting themselves and their power than "protecting and serving" the public and making a better society.

Unfortunately, the CPD corruption and criminal behavior runs so deep, there's no way for a normal person to tell a "good" cop from a bad cop in Chicago: Even if you're a law-abiding citizen who's done nothing wrong, you take your life into your hands with any type of interaction with the CPD.

2:29 p.m.

Here are some ideas for solutions:

1. End the War on Drugs. This colossal failure has cost trillions of dollars and done no good, only harm, to society. Successful examples of ending prohibition are everywhere, from Colorado to Portugal, with the results of fewer people in jail, more people getting treatment, less violence on the streets and organized crime taking a massive hit because they no longer have a convenient and highly profitable black market. Yet nearly every police organization (and officer I've heard) opposes common-sense reforms to make things better. The cops are pro-drugs, because it justifies their existence.

2. End For-Profit Policing. In many areas, police are no better than highway robbers shaking down law-abiding citizens so they can fund their departments (and salaries and junkets and toys). The practice of civil forfeiture is abhorrent and unamerican, yet again nearly all police organizations support this destructive policy.

3. End Secret Policing. Especially in Chicago, the CPD and their cronies (FOP, city hall, prosecutors, etc.) take immense pains to hide and conceal information about their activities which should be available to the public. They distort, conceal and destroy records, and they have no respect for their duty to be publicly accountable. This topic stretches from the FOP trying to destroy past disciplinary records to the extremely common practice of officers deliberately sabotaging their cruisers' cameras and microphones to conceal their misdeeds.

2:28 p.m.

Ugh, please. If the Chicago Police Department acted with honor and followed the rule of law, we'd have much better community relations. The CPD "protect and serve themselves," or seem to, and the proof's in the pudding: Half a BILLION dollars paid in settlements to police abuse victims over the past decade. Top-to-bottom change is needed to cleanse this rotten orchard that is the CPD. No one forces you into a career in law enforcement, so either find a different occupation, or move to a department that isn't utterly corrupt.

12:42 p.m.

I just love it how the NRA supports putting guns in the hands of the mentally ill and suspected terrorists. (For example, the NRA opposes gun restrictions for people on the no-fly list.) The NRA isn't protecting people: They're enabling gun ownership for dangerous nutbags.

10:31 a.m.

The real "no snitch" policy is the one in effect at the Chicago Police Department. Perjury by officers is so common in Cook County, when an officer takes the stand, it's called "testilying."

7:26 a.m.

Just tell the cops that you saw some Occupy Chicago or Black Lives Matter activists getting together at that location. Your neighborhood will be swarmed with SWAT and federal authorities as they swoop down to extinguish this horrific and perilous threat.

— On the neighbor message I got a question?
9:27 a.m.

Whenever anyone says "no snitch" in Chicago, I assume it refers to the Chicago Police Department's policy of covering up the criminal activities of Chicago police officers.

— On the neighbor message 9th District Police Anti-Violence March
8:48 a.m.

And yes, I think McKinley Park will eventually be "up and coming." We purchased here after looking in both Pilsen and Bridgeport. But both of these neighborhoods are kinda "over," real-estate wise, if you're looking to get a decent amount of property for your money. I look at the development that seems to be sweeping south from Pilsen and west from Bridgeport, and have started to see some small shoots of better development in McKinley Park. The location is certainly primed for it: We're as centrally located as it gets, with El public transportation, lots of buses, close to the expressways, etc.

My wife and I have played "spot the hipster" in the neighborhood over the past several years: At first, there were none, but every year we see a little more. (Nothing like 18th Street in Pilsen, though, which is rapidly turning into North/Milwaukee/Damen.)

10:40 a.m.

We moved to McKinley Park in 2008 and have really enjoyed the neighborhood. It's quiet and relatively safe (especially when compared to Pilsen or Bridgeport). It's also less dense, as there is a higher percentage of single-family homes in McKinley Park, and the corner apartment buildings tend to be 4 to 8 units, versus 12 to 16 units.

10:18 a.m.

it'll be like Big Star in Wicker Park, with the drinking on the patio in the summertime.

9:50 a.m.

Drugs are a lot different than guns in terms of usage, purpose, production and distribution. Apples and oranges.

8:01 a.m.

This is great! However, note that this should also be followed by tree planting services this coming spring and summer to replace the trees that have been removed.

— On the neighbor message 12th ward Tree Trimming Blitz
8:38 a.m.

He's actually a protester with Architecture First!, documenting the desecration of Soldier Field by Daley's giant toilet bowl. Boy, am I glad the Bears suck, have sucked and continue to suck for their economic blackmail over this stadium. They should've moved to the suburbs: GARY BEARS!

— On the neighbor message Terrorist Suspect Filming Soldiers Field Area
9:22 a.m.

Did you know that Lindy's is actually a franchise operation, and that the current (and previous) owners are franchisees renting the property?

9:19 a.m.

Rahm is a horrific plutocrat who has continued the process of draining money from most neighborhoods via TIF funds and rewarding hundreds of millions to connected contractors and cronies for already well-off neighborhoods. He's taken $50 million from our coffers to help a private university build a private stadium. He's given blanket support to a deeply corrupt police department. (And don't tell me about those "bad apples" -- all of the supposedly "good" cops turn a blind eye to the crimes of their comrades thanks to the Chicago Police Department's Don't Snitch policy.) He's covered up the murder of a Chicago teenager in order to help his political campaign. And the list goes on and on ...

— On the media mention Rahm's (one of) the Worst
10:09 a.m.

Dibs are for selfish scumbags who cling to "their" spots illegally by dumping garbage in the public street. Sorry, but shoveling doesn't grant you a lease to a public parking space: If that's so important to you, spend your money and rent a spot. These pro-dibs jagoffs want to keep their spaces private until July: Hasn't everyone see exactly this behavior, with dibs in-place well after the snow is gone? And these jerks will happily vandalize the cars of anyone who takes "their" spot. I say again that the only way these selfish fools will learn is by giving them a little something extra in their spots, whether nails, or an extra-big load of garbage dumped on top of their own trash pile for them to clean up.

12:48 a.m.

Rich did a nice job with the initial overhaul, and I'm looking forward to what the new owners have done. What to get a beer in McKinley Park? IT'S THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN.

6:29 p.m.

See dibs? Salt the earth with 10-penny nails..

6:46 p.m.

Sorry; meant to post this in Bridgeport

— On the neighbor message "South Loop" Chamber of Commerce
8:35 p.m.

The best way to stop the killing is to end the incredibly expensive, completely ineffective "War on Drugs." You don't see liquor store owners gunning it out in the street over their Corona-selling turf.

— On the neighbor message why?
8:37 a.m.

This looks like the type of thing you might be able to pick up at Maxwell St. Market or Swap-O-Rama, if you're lucky.

— On the neighbor message Religuous item
7:56 a.m.

Just call the cops and say that Occupy Chicago protesters are living there and planning more legal protests. You'll have a legion of SWAT supported by undercover operatives swarm the neighborhood.

— On the neighbor message How can I report an Illegal apartment?
7:55 a.m.

Places like Bubbly Dynamics and the new Bridgeport Makerspace may prove you wrong, Owen.

9:07 a.m.

In that regard, Josh Michael, you're right, and I'm an idiot. But the dateline shows "BRIDGEPORT," while the article's primary focus is the new McKinley Park location, including first listed address and the leading photo. Yes, this is quibbling on my part: I'm overly sensitive because I see this factual error repeated by online news and community info outlets. (I'm also looking at you, Everyblock.)

1:42 p.m.

A couple points:

-- The area in question is absolutely in McKinley Park and not in Bridgeport, as defined by the official community area maps from the City of Chicago (see The boundaries have always been like this.

-- DNAInfo repeats this factual inaccuracy in much of their reporting: As a "journalistic" organization, this means they're either incompetent or purposely deciding to misrepresent the facts. So yes, they're idiots.

-- Things like this do matter, because they affect how the public and business marketplace perceives any given neighborhood.

To be fair, I didn't know the exact boundaries between McKinley Park and Bridgeport until I looked them up several years ago. But I expect a news outlet to get things correct. If they fail in this in one area, what's to say that the rest of their info is legit? Sloppy idiots. Or they're representing real estate interests ala how the western borders of "Wicker Park" kept magically sliding west over the years.

The ever-expanding borders of Bridgeport seem to be a common delusion: Notice the "Welcome to Canaryville" sign on Halsted south of Pershing, which seemed to be spurred by fluid perceptions of Bridgeport's southern border.

1:12 p.m.

Dear DNA Info Idiots: This location is in McKinley Park, not Bridgeport. The border is Bubbly Creek.

9:24 a.m.

Pretty ignorant statements considering that all recent studies find that children learn best through play.

— On the classroom fundraiser Help Make Our New House Into a Loving Home!
8:32 p.m.

Reports of burglaries in the neighborhood show that many times the burglars will strike in the morning after the household has gone off to work and school.

7:06 p.m.

The "sensible" regulation I'd like to see primarily focuses on the gun industry itself. Let's be honest: The $12 billion+ in annual profit they enjoy relies in part on guns which end up in the hands of criminals and the mentally unstable. And the gun industry and NRA has resisted doing sensible things like not selling weaponry which is really only meant for killing a lot of people, resisting "smart gun" technology, etc. They make LOTS of money flooding the very slippery gun market with LOTS of cheap and deadly guns.

LB, I hear what you're saying about the intent of an armed populace being able to resist government tyranny. But in this day and age, the "lone infantryman" and effective militias standing against the government is laughable. If the government wants to, they will hand you your derriere. (And not just with firepower: They'll use every legal and quasi-legal means to deprive you and yours of property, money, privacy and sanity.) If you're concerned about these things, start organizing against the unconstitutional and illegal surveillance of law-abiding American citizens by government agencies ranging from the NSA to the Chicago Police Department. That will do a lot more good than training in the woods to be Rambo.

Let's remove all these cheap and deadly guns from the profit-oriented pipelines of the gun industry and keep firearms in the hands of properly trained and vetted individuals who use them for sport and collecting.

9:43 a.m.

A couple points, LB: I fully support responsible gun ownership and the Second Amendment. But our current laws let the mentally unstable have access to dangerous firearms, and the gun industry is unregulated to the point where the country is flooded with illegal guns.

I personally don't own a gun because I don't want to live in fear. I think having a gun makes one more paranoid and fearful by assuming that the worst will happen. (The statistics also bear out that you're much more likely to be shot if you own a gun.) I'd rather not have a gun and never need it, and so far, that's worked out just fine.

8:01 p.m.

Thanks, everyone. Note the original message was from a year ago: We've found a sitter!

7:53 p.m.

Funny how so many people think the solution to the gun problem is more guns.

8:48 a.m.

Puff piece that looks like it was pasted-and-copied straight from a Noble schools press release. DNAInfo usually has crappy neighborhood coverage and mediocre writing at best; this is the first "advertorial" I've seen from them, however.

7:35 a.m.

Or, RealityCheck, sensible gun control measures would keep the guns out of the hands of the bad guys in the first place.

— On the neighbor message 32nd and wells
10:46 a.m.

Keep in mind, too, that there's lots of food variety within "Chinese" restaurants: Cantonese, Schezwan, Hunan, Beijing-style, etc. ... and that doesn't even include the whole Southeast Asia area (Vietnamese, Thai, etc.). Of course, if you only order Americanized menu items like General Tso's chicken, you won't experience the variety.

For instance, Northern City has some amazing fried pancake-type appetizers (almost like Indian roti) that you won't see at any Cantonese joint. Likewise, Ed's Potsticker House has their long dumplings. (I haven't been in a while since service was bad the last time we went.) Han 202 presents Asian-inspired cuisine in an innovative fine dining direction. And that's just Bridgeport: Chinatown has tons of variety.

9:33 a.m.

Chinatown is much bigger than Chinatown these days. There are so many Chinese folks in this part of town, which I don't think is necessarily a bad thing. Here in McKinley Park, those of Chinese heritage are as numerous as whites (with both about half as numerous as Hispanics).

You do have to admit that Chinese restauranteurship in this part of town has improved dramatically: 15 or 20 years ago, each Chinese restaurant was exactly the same as every other: drop ceilings, overhead florescent lights, round tables with white tablecloths and a lazy susan, and zero alcohol service. In fact, you'd often get the stink eye for BYO'ing, and no one else in the restaurant would be drinking. Now, there's more ambience, full beverage service, better service and more variety across the board ... at least in Chinatown proper. I find this trend to be hugely refreshing.

Unfortunately, this trend hasn't spread much yet to Bridgeport and McKinley Chinese restaurants, although you do see some different scenes at places like Han 202 and the new(er) sushi place on Halsted. Also, Northern City at 31st and Halsted is beyond delicious, even though it suffers from old school Chinatown decor.

8:36 a.m.

Lying prosecutor actually gets caught:

The thing is, the prosecutor would have gotten away with his lies had the suspect not been recording the interview.

9:29 p.m.

Yes, Lou, that is what I meant. The fact that cops can stop law-abiding citizens and then shake them down for their cash is nothing more than robbery. This money is then used to send cops on fancy junkets and to buy unneeded military equipment used to terrorize the local populace. How are cops different from criminals here?

8:43 a.m.

The proof's in the pudding, folks: Half a BILLION dollars paid out in settlements for Chicago Police Department misconduct over the past decade. Rahm's now announcing a monstrous property tax hike to cover a $500 million hole in police and fireman pension funds, money we'd have if the CPD weren't crooked. Every Chicago taxpayer is getting screwed over by the corruption, criminality and lack of professionalism in the Chicago Police Department.

8:50 a.m.

Here's an interesting article from The Guardian on police shooting into vehicles, despite the unanimous disapproval of this policing method:

I see this as another example of the systemic problems within police departments from the top brass on down. Why do the people who are supposed to protect and serve us do such a poor job of it?

9:08 a.m.

Because, Jaye, none of the conduct you describe is illegal. And it's not like cops apply this idea universally: They just use it as an excuse to target specific ethnic and socioeconomic groups.

Truly applying your idea, Jaye, would mean that cops should view all the three piece suit-wearing banker douchebags exiting the mercantile exchange as likely criminals: This class of people has stolen way more money and done much more social harm than some kids on the street. But it's so much easier to pick on the powerless, isn't it?

Another example: You don't see cops treating all the gun nut jagoffs carrying around heavy weaponry as criminals ... because they're white. if some law-abiding folks from the hood tried this type of legal action, they'd be treated as terrorists.

9:08 a.m.

You want to know the easiest and fastest way to eliminate gang violence? End the War on Drugs and enact sensible reform. You don't see gang members shooting it out in the street over their beer-selling territory.

But too many police officers and nearly every police organization fights this common-sense move. Why? It endangers their livelihoods: They'd rather keep the violence in society in order to justify their existence.

You see this in officials' calls for more police, more weapons, harsher sentencing and more militarization of public servants against citizens, when the overall social goal should be reducing crime. And the reasoning behind this is nearly always "because of drugs."

Yes, many former officers and even some current ones are speaking out against these ineffective and socially destructive policies, but the default stance of police organizations and many is to keep the War on Drugs going strong. It puts money in their pockets.

11:56 a.m.

Here's an idea: Pass a law that requires all legal settlements for CPD police misconduct to be paid out of the police pension fund.

Chicago taxpayers have footed over half a BILLION dollars in police misconduct lawsuit settlements in the past decade, money that is desperately needed for our schools, roads and civic services. Think of what this money could have accomplished instead of being used as payoffs to cover the actions of dirty cops.

This is something that would hit every police officer in their retirement pocketbooks, from top brass to beat cop. Maybe then the CPD would start to care about misconduct and begin to change their culture.

8:09 a.m.

Ward, clearly the training is not effective when police are gunning down unarmed citizens, including little kids: They're not being taught enough how to protect and serve (and things like de-escalation tactics) instead of just improving marksmanship or how to operate the latest military hardware against the citizenry.

This is a systemic problem in CPD law enforcement culture that stretches from the top brass and prosecutors down to the beat cop on the street. When the police view our streets as a "war zone," we all become enemy combatants, rather than the citizens they're supposed to serve.

7:49 a.m.

"'Mike Brown deserved it,' the Chicago cop answers as he walks toward the police car at the end of the video. 'He got what he had coming.'"

COMPLIANCE OR DEATH: That's the unfortunate perspective of too many police officers.

7:24 a.m.

Jaye, I think you're getting the police mixed up with the fashion police. It's not a crime to wear a specific type of clothing, to freely associate with other citizens, and to sleep in late and stay out late. One could just as easily add "don't be black" to your list ...

5:26 p.m.

Well, at least the city has $50 million to give to a private university to pay for their unwanted basketball arena. RAHM'S CHICAGO.

— On the neighbor message VENT
10:11 a.m.

We like Brighton Park Animal Hospital a lot, and it's near Bridgeport on Archer, just west of Western.

— On the neighbor message Looking for a caring and reasonable vet
10:09 a.m.

Apologists for police brutality and corruption are nothing but pro-criminal scumbags. "Too tough a job"? Please. No one forced these individuals into a career in law enforcement. The rank and file culture in the Chicago Police Department is one of us vs. them, protected by a blanket policy of "no snitching" on your fellow officers --and police brass (and prosecutors) that care more about their careers than protecting and serving.

10:08 a.m.

It's also interesting to note that police departments (and police unions) across the U.S. have vigorously resisted any kind of oversight or recording of the number of people they kill in the line of duty. Kind of sounds like they have something to hide, doesn't it? The Guardian newspaper is stepping up with "The Counted" -- their own tally and accountings of police-related killings:

9:31 a.m.

Check out the Chicago Police Department list for not getting shot by them:

7:59 a.m.

We did tuckpointing through Redstone Builders / Howard Rothstein. They're good; you could probably find less expensive options were you to look.

— On the neighbor message brick repair
3:29 p.m.

Of interest:
FBI Says Racist Organizations Have Been Infiltrating Police Departments for Years

9:08 a.m.

JJ: Doctors, lawyers and journalists are not public servants armed and set among the population with the legal permission to use deadly force and detain others.

Unfortunately, I view the Chicago Police Department as deeply corrupt, given all of the scandals (that we know about), continual perjury to protect fellow officers or advance careers (so common it's known in Cook County as "testilying") and a city/police culture extremely hostile to any oversight or accountability.

What about the supposedly good cops -- not to mention the CPD administration? How could they not have known about all of the problems caused by officers who assault, kill, rob and lie in court? The real "no snitch" policy is in effect top to bottom at the Chicago Police Department.

10:19 a.m.

Half a billion dollars. That's the amount the City of Chicago has paid out over the past decade in settlements due to police brutality. Wish we had money for schools/roads/parks/transporation/etc.? Wish we had enough money to manage our pension obligations? Think of what we could do if the City didn't always roll over itself to shelter and shield criminal cops.

8:40 p.m.

I'd second Victor Hall: was in the building for an art opening on the second floor and checked out the first: Very very nice.

— On the neighbor message Event Space/Rental Southwest Side of Chicago
9:31 a.m.

Maria, I assume you're talking about recycled engine oil? Please don't dump this into the ground: It will pollute the groundwater. And the same gases that drive rats away will also probably sicken your family.

— On the neighbor message Rats: So Big, So Many
9:29 a.m.

El Rey Ballroom at 35th and Western

— On the neighbor message Event Space/Rental Southwest Side of Chicago
10:03 p.m.

Don't feed the troll.

— On the neighbor message Deceased Pet Removal or pet cemetery...
9:20 a.m.

When you call the cops, just say you saw some Occupy Chicago protest signs. The police will swarm the area with militarized SWAT and helicopters.

— On the neighbor message Fireworks
7:20 a.m.

Stay classy, Bridgeport.

— On the neighbor message Gas Meters
9:09 a.m.

Ugh. You know that the bums around that area all rely on the cheap package liquor from the convenience mart, right around the corner from the park, right? Ever thought of protesting the sale of this alcohol?

— On the neighbor message Medical Marijuana Clinic
3:29 p.m.

So much ignorance about the utterly failed War on Drugs (which is really just a war on all of us). Prohibition simply doesn't work, and legalization is the future. Those who claim an increase in crime have zero idea what they're talking about and ignore the facts that 1) a safe, legal outlet for substances completely undercuts the street gangs who normally would sell them, reducing crime dramatically, and 2) all of the data coming from legalization -- from Colorado to Portugal -- show massive public benefits of legalization like reduction in crime, lowered use of drugs by teens, and a huge tax benefit.

3:27 p.m.

I look forward to legal medical (and eventually recreational) marijuana reducing crime in our communities.

— On the neighbor message Medical Marijuana Clinic
7:58 a.m.

Don't feed the troll.

— On the media mention The 7 Best Jukeboxes In Chicago
3:14 p.m.

Hens are OK. Roosters are not. One of our neighbors had a rooster for a while ... woke up the whole neighborhood at the crack of dawn.

— On the neighbor message Lost chicken
8:58 a.m.

It's 4th of July "season." Welcome to Chicago!

— On the neighbor message BIG KABOOMS?
3:55 p.m.

I've seen some signs posted in McKinley Park between 36th and 37th in the Leavitt/Hamilton/Hoyne area. Best of luck!

— On the neighbor message "Still looking" 1st.floor apartment Needed!!
1:37 p.m.

Gotta love the Internet ...

11:25 a.m.

Magic books and imaginary friends lead to this type of thing.

8:34 a.m.

Hmmm ... that's a tough one, Brittany. If the Chicago Police Department won't help, who will? It's not like you can go to the FBI for local jurisdiction crimes. Maybe social media as an outlet and hope that your story goes viral ...

— On the neighbor message Problems with CPD
9:11 p.m.

Thanks, Jason.

— On the neighbor message More apartments in Pilsen? 19th & Sangamon
3:12 p.m.

Ah, I guess you're right: Pilsen will just never change. Forever will it remain a bastion of Czechoslovakian culture!

— On the neighbor message More apartments in Pilsen? 19th & Sangamon
12:53 p.m.

Also, check out the shiny new, popular (and quite tasty, in my experience) Chinese restaurant Tang's Garden south of 18th on Canal, just inside Pilsen's border. I believe this replaced some sort of warehouse/business and seems to be Chinatown's first beach head west of Canal. I also look at Redmoon Theater being right in that area east of the expressway, too.

— On the neighbor message More apartments in Pilsen? 19th & Sangamon
12:23 p.m.

Well, there's no official dividing line, but considering that Pilsen stretches from Canal to Western, the halfway point would be around Ashland (or maybe Laflin).

— On the neighbor message More apartments in Pilsen? 19th & Sangamon
12:17 p.m.

I have zero connections (financial or otherwise) to Pilsen real estate. In fact, when my wife and I were looking for a SFH or 2/3 flat, we considered Pilsen and toured a number of properties there. However, we found prices to be much higher than one neighborhood south, and Pilsen has a lot more density than our current neighborhood of McKinley Park.

I lived in Pilsen as a renter for seven years 2001-2008, including renting from the Pods for five of them (and the other two above the decrepit/closed "cafe" at 21st and Halsted). During that time, I saw many changes, including Pod management turning over, most artists getting kicked out of the storefront spaces around Halsted and 18th, and the construction and encroachment of University Village. I remember Chela Joe's Cafe and when the Skylark first opened. (Everyone in the neighborhood was so happy they didn't have to venture to the scumbag bar Paulie's on 18th and Union just to get a drink.) I opened my space on several occasions to participate in the annual Artists Open House and attended Ever-So-Secret Order of the Lamprey meetings and pig roasts, as well as witnessed Kenneth's "last" party where his house got trashed by hundreds of Halloween revelers. I remember watching Nighwood get built and congratulating the Garcia family on opening Del Toro. Heck, I remember when Mario first opened May St. Cafe when it still was still appointed like a fast food fry shack.

I've been out of the scene for years (a kid will do that) and don't know the neighborhood as intimately as I once did, but I follow the ongoing (and in my mind, inevitable) development that's changing east Pilsen. I need to hit one of the Second Fridays to see if any working artists still live in the area, or if it's all Columbia/SAIC kids showing off their sophomore works in a gallery space as an excuse to throw a party. All of the artists I've known (Ned Broderick, Anne Farley Gaines, Misha Shebesta, Davide Nanni, etc. etc. etc.) have moved out.

— On the neighbor message More apartments in Pilsen? 19th & Sangamon
11:30 a.m.

Well, we dropped it, Britanny, rather than humping over to 31st and Halsted to make a report in person at the 9th District police station. This is probably exactly what the CPD wanted.

— On the neighbor message Problems with CPD
10:10 a.m.

There is huge demand for rental units in Chicago, with developers now building rental towers versus condo towers and/or converting condos to rentals. Here's the latest evidence that Pilsen's hot for this type of development:

Pilsen (especially the east side) is just too close to downtown not to pop, and it's bordered by rapidly developing areas such as University Village directly to the north. The two newer buildings at 16th and Halsted are some of the first outposts south of the viaduct, and I think this will continue to spread south. I would expect that the Podmajersky land would be hugely attractive to developers, given that multiple contiguous parcels could be purchased en masse, with a footprint big enough to support some really large developments/buildings.

— On the neighbor message More apartments in Pilsen? 19th & Sangamon
10:08 a.m.

We personally encountered this is McKinley Park a handful of years ago when my wife was jogging, and a youth ran up to her and grabbed her, fondling her chest, and then ran away. She came back to our house, we called 911, and the cops wouldn't take a report.

Based on everything I've seen and read about the CPD, it seems clear that 1) they (and the Emmanuel administration) are cooking the books in terms of crime statistics to make themselves look better, and 2) they're deeply corrupt, where perjury, robbery and murder committed by Chicago police are far too common (with all the supposedly "good cops" and prosecutors looking the other way).

— On the neighbor message Problems with CPD
9:10 a.m.

That's too bad, Joe. Rental towers, here we come! I found the obituary:

— On the neighbor message More apartments in Pilsen? 19th & Sangamon
8:39 a.m.

That's great to hear, FGFM, as he was a true patron of the arts and really was responsible for the buildout of the courtyards and making the east part of Pilsen an arts district. However, I fear that with his passing may follow big changes to the neighborhood he helped build: He may be the last thing keeping that land from being sold en masse.

— On the neighbor message More apartments in Pilsen? 19th & Sangamon
4:41 p.m.

I don't believe any Pod property has landmark status (and I'll bet they'd have no interest in such a designation due to the limitations it would place on what they could do with the property). They really should, though: Some of the courtyards are amazing, decked out in artists' work. I lived in a Pod space off 19th Street 2001-2005 and witnessed the transition of ownership to the latest generation.

— On the neighbor message More apartments in Pilsen? 19th & Sangamon
3:20 p.m.

I highly doubt that the "Gringos Out of Pilsen" folks will be able to do much to stem the tide of economic development for the neighborhood: Pilsen's just too close to downtown and surrounded by booming development areas (University Village, Chinatown) not to change. When I drive through Pilsen now, I see hipsters and businesses catering to them everywhere. This second wave (the first wave was artists) is a harbinger of change, and it's coming, just like in Wicker Park/Bucktown, Logan Square, Humbolt Park, etc.

Where I do think protests can make a big difference is to ensure a degree of affordable housing is built along with the new yuppie construction.

I'm also very interested to see what happens to all that Podmajersky property in east Pilsen around 18th and Halsted: As soon as John Podmajersky III decides to sell, he'll be able to sell entire contiguous city blocks: Hello high-rise residential towers! It will be like Greektown west of the Kennedy.

— On the neighbor message More apartments in Pilsen? 19th & Sangamon
10:33 a.m.

Starbucks in Pilsen in 3, 2, 1 ...

— On the neighbor message More apartments in Pilsen? 19th & Sangamon
5:15 p.m.

Suggested donation? Does the Co-Prosperity Sphere have a Public Place of Amusement license?

7:36 a.m.

You have a lot of complaints, but suggest no real solutions, Barbara. If you don't like stray cats, perhaps steps should be taken for their populations to be reduced. Just saying "people should do a better job with their pets" doesn't do anything.

8:14 a.m.

Pilsen right now is Wicker Park circa 1993.

9:49 a.m.

So which restaurant was it? The 3700 block of Archer isn't even in McKinley Park. Did Tio Luis get robbed?

9:32 a.m.

From what I understand, it's nearly impossible to get a new "tavern" license in Chicago; it's much more common for a place to have an incidental license, even if the place primarily functions as a bar (e.g. Simone's in Pilsen). However, you then have to serve food during open hours, I believe.

— On the neighbor message restaurants in the 'hood
3 p.m.

Welcome to the neighborhood, Dayna! I, too, am excited about Zaytune's appearance in McKinley Park. Thanks for sharing about Vida: I'll have to check it out! If you're in the mood for a greasy burger, order the "Big Baby" at Nicky's, which is right across Western from Zaytune and actually has a great view of the boulevard from the booths inside. Other neighborhood stalwarts include Lindy's (half bar, half restaurant/ice cream parlor), LaPalapa (outdoor BYO drinking and dining on Mexican seafood) and not one but two 24/7 diners: Huck Finn Donuts and The New Archview (which has a full bar).

Unfortunately, our neighborhood has a dearth of cute places, or contemporary drinking-and-dining establishments that are a little more specific and upscale: I'm thinking of something like Nana's, the Duck Inn or Polo in Bridgeport, or any of the newer places in Pilsen like Dusek's, Del Toro, Nightwood, etc. There used to be a nice little spot called the 35th Street Cafe, but they shut down a year or two ago. I'd love to see something like the 3600 Club at 36th and Damen reopen as a restaurant/bar ... I also think that Lindy's needs to turn part of that parking lot into a summertime beer garden!

— On the neighbor message restaurants in the 'hood
8:29 a.m.

Thanks for the info, everyone! Its grilling time! Here's my tip: butterflied chicken drumsticks from the Cermak Produce on Halsted and 30th. I've never before seen drumsticks butchered in half like this; they work especially well on the grill, as you can get them to cook more evenly than a full-thickness drumstick.

7:46 a.m.

Here you go:

They're local, family-owned and a longtime resident of the neighborhood. They did a great job with our wood-and-metal fence.

— On the neighbor message Recommendations for Wrought Iron Repair
8:01 a.m.

What I don't understand -- if the U of C owns so many unused acres -- why aren't they building the presidential library on that instead of taking away parkland?

10:23 a.m.

I like many places in Bridgeport, including Pleasant House, Zaytune, Nana, Tacos Erendiras, Bridgeport Pasty and Polo. I actually think Panchos Pistolas is OK for Americanized Mexican food, plus they have drinks and that nice sidewalk patio. Oliver's on 31st street was/is very good, but I'm not sure if they're still open.

7:10 a.m.

We've used Trejo's Fence & Welding Inc, at 3701 S Ashland Ave., for a combined metal-and-wood privacy fence for our backyard. They're locally owned, reasonably priced, and (in our experience) do good work.

— On the neighbor message Fence installation?
8:37 a.m.

Yes, that's all you have to do, Duane. However, many festivals in my experience have walled off access to the public street, forcing attendees through a gantlet of gates and admission-takers, not making it obvious that attendance is free. I've even heard gatekeepers arguing with festival-goers that they needed to pay because it's a "mandatory donation."

Unfortunately, the proceeds from "donations" often go to local business associations already well-supported by their for-profit clients. The money rarely seems to go to local schools, or to save the whales, or other more worthy causes. Also, the companies hired to run these events are often skeezy, take the lion's share of revenue, and primarily get the job via crooked political connections.

10:37 a.m.

Don't forget that it's against the law for any street festival to charge admission to access a public street! Many of these try to make you feel as if it's mandatory, but it's absolutely not.

9 a.m.

I've seen several signs in windows here in McKinley Park over the past couple days. Your friend may want to consider looking over here, as his/her dollar may go farther than in Bridgeport or Pilsen.

— On the neighbor message Seeking apartment $850 max
8:35 a.m.

Try the free web browser extension called "Ghostery." Another is "Ad Blocker."

— On the neighbor message Annoying Thompson Ads on Computer
10:02 p.m.

I think Brighton Park Animal Hospital handles reptiles.

— On the neighbor message Vet for exotics
10 p.m.

Here's a great article on Rahm's fundamental corruption:

9:02 a.m.

Payola from The Machine

8:42 a.m.

Chuy all the way!

8:41 a.m.

The wealthy don't pay their fair share.

8:40 a.m.

Fortunately, Cermak Produce at 30th and Halsted is awesome.

8:39 a.m.

Roosevelt and 47th? Hey, you're going east on Ashland!

— On the neighbor message Development at 35th / Ashland
8:43 a.m.


— On the neighbor message Development at 35th / Ashland
10:15 p.m.


10:05 p.m.

Another dollar store!

— On the neighbor message Bed Store on 35th Going Going Gone
8:47 p.m.

They're building a 1:1 scale replica of the Old Bus Barn to honor CTA busing.

Actually, I hear that a Planet Fitness and maybe some other retail is planned to move in there ...

— On the neighbor message Corrected original post
2:40 p.m.

Sarah, you're right: sorry! Voting is set for Tuesday, Feb. 24. For some reason, I was thinking that today was Monday ...

— On the neighbor message El Rey Valet Parking Again
11:51 a.m.

FYI, here's the Chicago valet ordinance: Maybe you can discover ways in which they're not compliant.

As for Cardenas, this is business as usual, one of the reasons why I've been supporting Pete DeMay ( as a write-in candidate for the 12th Ward. Election Day is tomorrow!

— On the neighbor message El Rey Valet Parking Again
10:22 a.m.

Ah, but did they also save the secret chili recipe?

— On the neighbor message New Sullivan video on Saving The Ramova Grill
11:38 a.m.

Have you checked in at your local library? I know the McKinley Park library hosts regular seniors events, including a computer class geared toward seniors.

— On the neighbor message seniors groups
4:08 p.m.

My wife and I LOVE the A & B Salon on Ashland at 34th Street. Their mens haircuts are $20 and include two rounds of shampooing and a full styling; they consistently do a great job! The salon also offers legit/legal massages, and they are a full barber, so you can get a great shave, too. The owner is Chinese (from Hong Kong), and his English is passable enough to get across what type of cut you're seeking. They're also open seven days a week with lengthy hours: Can't recommend them highly enough.

12:26 p.m.

Yes, the only reason Cardenas is unopposed is because DeMay was thrown off the ballot due to downtown machine manipulations. He had over 2,100 people signing for him to be on the ballot (needing only 437 to get on the ballot), but somehow, all of these local people were disenfranchised by the corrupt bureaucrats protecting Rahm's local henchmen, which includes Cardenas.

— On the media mention Cardenas unopposed in 12th
2:05 p.m.

LMD, I think the best spot for a music venue would be a renovated Ramova Theater. Just imagine if a venue comparable to The Vic or other northside theaters were sited there: The neighborhood would really go gangbusters.

— On the neighbor message Development at 35th / Ashland
2:02 p.m.

Try using the city's website to report instances of graffiti, as this may leave a better paper trail than calling 311.

— On the neighbor message graffiti
1:59 p.m.

I'm surprised all those junk trucks that cruise the alleys don't take advantage of grabbing the dibs, especially the metal chairs ripe for recycling cash-in.

— On the neighbor message dibs
1:58 p.m.

It would be awesome to see part of this area developed for nascent/innovative light manufacturing or a business incubation center. Let's bring more jobs into the neighborhood! (Also, to complain once again, it's in the McKinley Park neighborhood, not Bridgeport as Everyblock incorrectly labels it.)

— On the neighbor message Development at 35th / Ashland
2:37 p.m.

Sun-Times just endorsed him. Figures.

9:38 a.m.

For those interested, the "hot" Bridgeport restaurant they're referring to is The Duck Inn.

11:57 a.m.

Cardenas is a career bureaucrat who is out of touch with his constituency and who marches in lockstep with whatever the Rahm Emanuel administration wants to push down Chicagoans' throats, including regressive taxes and extra fees like those that come from the red-light cameras. (Cardenas wholly supported the red light cameras.) His office has numerous problems, including using public dollars/employees to conduct his personal electoral work; his family is connected the scandal-plagued and corrupt UNO schools organization; and his office has been under investigation by the FBI.

If you want a business-as-usual, corrupt bureaucrat who's only involved to further his own interests, support Cardenas. He is a scaredy-cat COBARDE for 1) not being able to face a fair election and keep another choice on the ballot and 2) ducking and hiding from the alderman debate to be held in Brighton Park tomorrow.

— On the neighbor message Cardenas is
2:17 p.m.

Unfortunately, the media is biased against Pete DeMay, talking about the shock and horror that these tickets caused: What a joke! Only Telemundo is giving the issue a fair shake. I agree that Pete DeMay is a much better choice for 12th Ward alderman over Cardenas, a career bureaucrat with many unsavory connections and an FBI investigation against his office.

— On the neighbor message Cardenas is
5:32 p.m.

For fun and amusement, switch all the dibs around on your block.

— On the neighbor message Parking
7:38 p.m.

There, on the horizon, is your promised land, West Loop Realist: It's called Bolingbrook.

— On the neighbor message South loop skate park noise
4:21 p.m.

Denise, those people sound like they are dumber than a bag of hammers.

— On the neighbor message New person running for Alderman Pete Mc May
9:03 a.m.

Indeed, hodeho! Few know of the horrors lying beneath Bubbly Creek:Some say it was the 100 years of blood running off from the slaughterhouses that gave birth to the abomination, but others say it was there all the time, and just awakened upon man's intrusion. Fewer still know of the Daley family's place within the Cthulhu cult: the source of their power (and the curse that runs through all their bloodlines).

8:32 a.m.

Nikki, you'll get the best bang for your buck from used-but-working equipment. If all you're doing is Internet and office suite applications, you don't need the latest and greatest machine at all! In addition, today's new machines rapidly lose their value as they become outdated within a single shopping season.

— On the neighbor message Does anybody know if a Mac or Dell is better?
12:27 p.m.

This thread makes me glad McKinley Park is no longer in the 11th Ward.

— On the neighbor message Important
12:25 p.m.

I recommend Ubuntu Linux for anyone who's willing to try it out: It runs on commodity (PC) hardware, is 100% free and open, and is as easy to use as Windows or MacOS. It's also a lot more secure than Windows, and seemingly more secure than Mac (as it can be hardened better and isn't as much of a target). Linux is a little geeky, but getting better all the time. You'll save lots of $$$$$$$ over a Mac, and you'll save some money over a Windows PC. The biggest drawbacks are if you need professional software like the Adobe suite (although this is moving to the cloud, so OS won't matter), and definitely gaming. If you want gaming, get a Windows PC.

— On the neighbor message Does anybody know if a Mac or Dell is better?
8:34 a.m.

I am so ready for the Duck Inn. Went there a couple times when it was the Gem Bar.

8:45 p.m.

Cthulhu cultists. They'll pack up once the Solstice is over.

8:43 p.m.

Looks like the Daleys and their Machine cronies have hired BS astroturfing marketing companies to blanket social media and online forums. Your crappy efforts and newly created accounts give you away.

9:14 a.m.

Isn't this going to be an LA Fitness, or a similar type of fitness center?

— On the neighbor message New Plaza on Archer and Pershing?
9:54 a.m.

That's a major environmental crime, and you should report it to 311 and your alderman (currently Cardenas).

— On the neighbor message Chinese Restaurant on 38th and Archer
8:57 a.m.

Thanks, Jorge: I will definitely check out Vida. You know, there's such a huge gap between the Latino folks and the white folks in this neighborhood: I never hear about any of these great local places.

— On the neighbor message Restaurant recommendations
8:50 a.m.

You may want to network with the folks at the McKinley Park Community Garden Also, there's some very interesting urban farming initiatives nearby.

— On the neighbor message Garden clubs?
8:49 a.m.

Grammar isn't as important as the opportunity to indoctrinate children in religious dogma, Janet.

— On the neighbor message After School Homework/Tutoring Program
11:15 a.m.

I have yet to eat at Los Comales and will now check it out, based on Tony's review. Do they have a bar?

— On the neighbor message Restaurant recommendations
11:21 a.m.

Hey, Rahm and the cops need to keep their numbers down so it looks like they're doing their job. Protect and serve? Fuggetaboutit!

— On the neighbor message Attempting kidnapping-CPD does not care
10:18 a.m.

Re: community groups, you have:

-- McKinley Park Advisory Council (MPAC): Currently trying to bring a dog park to McKinely Park

-- Hoyne Park Advisory Council (HPAC): Organized, committed and growing group of volunteers that is turning around Hoyne Park and nearby environs.

-- McKinley Park Civic Association: The old-school organization in the neighborhood, helmed by lifetime residents and responsible for many local civic initiatives over the years.

There is also a growing group of progressives that are coalescing around quality candidates for local office, including Pete DeMay for alderman. This "Progressive Alliance" has a strong nucleus in McKinley Park and is connecting with other progressives in the southwest side to form a larger coalition to take back Chicago from the corrupt, moneyed interests who only serve the 1 percent.

Look to Facebook to connect to the "McKinley Park Progressive Alliance," run by Bill Drew, and you can also find some active "McKinley Park" neighborhood groups where there's a decent amount of talk about the neighborhood and local participation.

Finally, you can check for event listings and some other resources. (I'm the webmaster and hope to improve the site and add more capabilities and info this winter.)

— On the neighbor message Restaurant recommendations
9:45 a.m.

Don't forget that McKinley Park is home to TWO 24/7/365 diners: Huck Finn at Damen and Archer, and the Archview one block southwest down Archer. Maybe it's not gourmet food, but it's very nice to have multiple all-night go-tos right in the neighborhood whenever you need it. And the Archview has a bar!

I'm also a very big fan of Zaytune and have already eaten take out from there multiple times: It's on 35th and Western, is one of the very few places that serves Mediterranean food on this side of town, and it is very good. Highly recommended.

Ino's Tacos on 35th just east of Wolcott has good burritos, and they're gigantic. Open late.

No one has mentioned La Palapa, right north of Huck Finn, which is a Mexican fish place that is a lot of fun in the summer when you can sit outside. Also, it's BYOB, and lots of folks bring coolers of beer and bottles of tequila to enjoy. (La Palapa finally started charging a corkage fee so that people wouldn't just sit there literally all day and drink.)

— On the neighbor message Restaurant recommendations
9:36 a.m.

When googling the 35th Street/McKinley Park massage parlor bust this past summer, I found a website that lists illicit massage parlors, which is useful for determining where these businesses are located in your neighborhood. Based on what's listed on this site (rubmaps dot com; enter at your own risk), I think Bridgeport's Archer Avenue has turned into the biggest red light district in Chicago!

— On the neighbor message What happened at Xindy's Oriental Massage?
2:04 p.m.

I have met Pete and am fully behind him for alderman: He's a longtime McKinley Park resident and represents a better choice than Cardenas, who is little more than a loyal rubber-stamp for whatever the Daley/Rahm administration wants to do.

12:58 p.m.

I understand that Garcia is a longtime community activist and worker: I know there's a Facebook page for him with more information. I signed the petition to get him on the ballot: Can't stand our current Mayor One Percent.

— On the neighbor message Why Jesus Garcia?
9:39 a.m.

Traditionally, they have been toadies of the mayor, receiving gifts and assistance with their incumbency if they toe the line and do what the mayor says, and punishment from the mayor (including getting thrown out of office) if they try to be independent. It's been this way under the Daleys and continues under Rahm. Fortunately, there are some other candidates like Pete May for the 12th Ward who really seem to be breaking this mold.

— On the neighbor message Aldermen - Lazy & Coasting?
9:37 a.m.

Supposedly, now that Karen Lewis has bowed out of the race, Rahm is using his mayoral war chest to punish aldermen who vote independently. It's easy to see how the corrupt Democratic machine in Chicago (and Illinois) really works against the interests of its constituency. (I think Republicans are much worse -- blatantly corrupt and malevolent, in fact -- but the Democrats still have some work to do.)

— On the neighbor message Alderman Cardenas: A rubber-stamp for Rahm
8:46 a.m.

John, I would be surprised if this would not have been done as part of the planning for the new intersection, no? Is this not part of contemporary traffic management and construction practices? I have hopes that Pershing and Ashland turns out to be 1) a more efficient intersection, and 2) less of an eyesore.

— On the neighbor message New person running for Alderman Pete Mc May
5:56 p.m.

I don't know if it could be worse than the crumbling overpass above Pershing. I could see how this would make traffic more efficient, but it was falling apart and would have taken millions to repair; flyovers like this are also a big eyesore.

— On the neighbor message New person running for Alderman Pete Mc May
10:51 a.m.

I think the best thing to do about Archer and Ashland would be to implement "traffic calming" measures which naturally get drivers to slow down. That area is a giant swath of asphalt that just looks and feels like a 45 m.p.h. road. Anyone else remember the hideous overpass that used to be there?

— On the neighbor message New person running for Alderman Pete Mc May
8:55 p.m.

I like what I hear about Pete, much moreso than Cardenas. (Actually, I had a Cardenas ward captain stop by my house the other week, soliciting signatures for the ballot, and talking him up as a candidate.) This is the first time I've found Pete's website ... you may want to spread the word a bit more. Also, a Spanish-language version would go a long ways toward attracting the critical Hispanic vote for this ward. Finally, it would be great to pull together some activities to connect Little Village with McKinley Park, given that the ward borders are new, and there's currently very little connection between the two areas. (I've been reading how Bill has started some events et al.)

— On the neighbor message New person running for Alderman Pete Mc May
9:55 a.m.

Wasting time trying to convince retarded bigots that their selfish and sick worldview is wrong is something I no longer do. These are folks who have no appreciation of reason, facts, history or demonstrated ways in which we can solve the problems of our city/state/country. Conservatives just complain, throw stones and nurture their hatred of others, spurned on by the media clowns and wealthy politicians who are more than happy to exploit the idiocy of these knuckle-draggers to get them to act against their own (and society's) best interests. These half-wits are set in their ways and have closed their minds to considering any change: Better instead to just mock these deluded simpletons for their lack of reason, their disgusting selfishness, their fear and hatred of others, and the fact they never actually offer real solutions to problems. I say mock them and marginalize them: Don't waste your time in discussion or debate with conservatives, as it offers nothing in return.

10:17 a.m.

Ignorance of economic policy and its effects on society: Check. Spouting meaningless diatribes using words you don't understand: Check. A lack of empathy and desire to help others: Check. Blindness to the hypocrisy of your own statements: Check. Ladies and gentlemen: the American "conservative."

9:02 a.m.

Conservatives have no interest in supporting society or their fellow man, despite the well-demonstrated ways in which it helps us all (including themselves) live in a better city/state/country. Part of their delusion -- reinforced by the lies of their witch doctors and political high priests -- is the idea that the poor take up all the money, ignoring the massively larger giveaways awarded to corporations and the wealthy, who simply take the money and do not reinvest in their communities or the U.S.A. Unpatriotic, idiotic mouth-breathers who would rather kick a fellow American when they're down than lend a helping hand.

7:57 a.m.

Englewood has some excellent architecture and housing stock. And waaay back in the day, it was a thriving part of the city with one of the largest commercial districts in all of the U.S.

— On the neighbor message Hello, Neighbours
9:44 a.m.

He's part of the old-world, corrupt political machine that profiteers from the control and money resulting from the War on Drugs.

9:11 p.m.

Neighbors robbing neighbors in Bridgeport ...

9:02 a.m.

Ah! You ate at Lao Hunan, which I recently tried and really enjoyed their food. (Food from the Hunan province is hot like Schezwan, but drier, and not as soupy.) One favorite thing about this place is their wall painting, which reads "We serve people." I always tell my wife that I'm going to order the soylent green special the next time we go!

— On the neighbor message Bronzeville and Chinatown
8:35 a.m.

One of the biggest issues is that the "advertisements" that are paid for do not appear as advertisements. Instead, they are presented on the front page as though they were editorial content, reported objectively by journalists: They're presented as news, and not labeled as being paid advertisements (which is still common for publications that allow advertising to be visually presented as news).

All of this appears as editorial-looking content under the masthead of "Bridgeport News." Perhaps the title should be changed to the "Bridgeport Weekly Advertising Circular" ... or maybe the "Bridgeport Whorepaper."

— On the neighbor message Sullivan and Kolzar where are you?
7:49 a.m.

Thanks, Tad. I thought Daley Thompson was greasy. Now I know for sure.

— On the neighbor message Thompson now taking photos instead of Balcer
8:05 a.m.

Kind of a crummy newspaper, and no real journalism. This is just a vehicle to make money by printing legally mandated notices in the classifieds: I wouldn't be surprised if there's some sort of back-room agreement to funnel a bunch of city legal ads (and the resultant cash) to this particular newspaper operator ... who quite likely is paying back the favors he's received by promoting Machine politicians.

— On the neighbor message Thompson now taking photos instead of Balcer
9:04 a.m.

The southeast corner of McKinley Park in between where Damen spits is an underutilized area of the park and would be a fantastic spot for a dog run. I think that one of the larger expenses involved in developing it may be running a water line to the site, as none currently exists. It would be great to have this for dog owners, instead of having them let dogs off-lease on the fields or in the tennis courts.

— On the neighbor message Dog Park at McKinley Park
7:52 p.m.

I had heard at a community meeting that Pershing was a weird case ... due to funding issues, I believe. Something like no agency had clear jurisdiction over it: on the border between two wards, maybe there was some sort of federal or railroad ownership issue as well ... From what I understand, because of this confusion, there's no clear jurisdiction, or more precisely, who should pay for improvements. So they never get done. (Sorry I don't know any details.)

7:50 p.m.

Yes, Josh, tons of new development (and higher-end stuff) coming to the areas of Bridgeport south of 35th.

— On the neighbor message info on bridgeport
1:23 p.m.

On a related topic, perhaps you have heard of a sport called "paintball." It uses paintball guns/markers to shoot balls filled with gloopy paint. I also have noticed how some of the enterprising graffiti artists use super-soakers loaded with paint that's able to shoot it quite high and accurately. Also, I'd note the existence of a substance called "naval jelly," which etches glass and is available at any hardware store. Now, I would never participate in or advocate destruction of city property -- even if that property has been tasked to work against the citizens it's supposed to serve -- but were anyone inclined to do so, it would be trivial to disable a speed camera for at least a little while.

— On the neighbor message Speed camera
5:51 p.m.

Yeah, I hear ya, Bill. How about a nice friendly clown, with a huge bunch of balloons, who happens to be standing just a little ahead of the speed camera, with the balloons maaaaybe 12-15 feet or so centered off the ground ... A little civil disobediance from clowny would save beaucoux bucks for the regular folks passing through.

In general, I wouldn't be against traffic-calming measures installed at Archer and Ashland: The place is a freakin' highway that looks like it's been designed to go fast. But a speed camera like this is not about safety: It's about revenue, taking even more money from those who can't afford it to fund Rahm's corrupt administration.

— On the neighbor message Speed camera
5:38 p.m.

Both are corporate-owned, and will ultimately fall to the profit-centric interests of the shareholders of their respective corporations. Real "community" doesn't have much of a place on a balance sheet: When you participate in commercial online communities like Everyblock and Nextdoor (and Facebook etc.), you're not the customer: You are the product being sold.

— On the neighbor message Everyblock vs Nextdoor in Bridgeport
5:25 p.m.

Funny how the northsider is an expert on the gang activity in McKinley Park ...

There are some gangs here, with related problems, but our experience is that it's much mellower and safer than west Bridgeport, south Canaryville and definitely Pilsen. There is supposedly a chapter of the Latin Counts here, plus their farm-league team, the "Three Fives," or 35. Supposedly some Satans Disciples were in the neighborhood, too. All that being said, the neighborhood is pretty mellow; just about all the kids you see hanging out in McKinley Park are just playing outside and have nothing to do with gangs. I think the changing dynamic of the neighborhood, with more professionals and Chinese moving in, has diluted the Hispanic dominance and related gang activity.

— On the neighbor message info on bridgeport
9:14 p.m.

I think the best way to protest this is to organize "car cruzin'" nights every Friday at 5 p.m. where we get hundreds of cars to cruse at 5 m.p.h. from Halsted to Western on Archer.

— On the neighbor message Speed camera
8:45 a.m.

Note that in terms of the boulevard system and connected parks, McKinley Park is very similar to Logan Square, as Western Boulevard and the actual park in McKinley Park were built as part of the same system as Logan Blvd. et al. And the best part: NO HIPSTERS. (At least not very many yet; my wife and I play "spot the hipster" as a way of gauging neighborhood gentrification.)

— On the neighbor message info on bridgeport
8:44 a.m.

Halsted is kind of a dividing line for Bridgeport: East of Halsted, you'll find bigger houses, more established professionals, better-cared-for properties, etc. You'll even see some honkin' huge mansions squeezed into a city lot if you cruise around the areas near Sox Park. West of Halsted the neighborhood is a bit grittier, with (still) some gang activity, seemingly centered in the Mogan and 33rd/34th street areas. But there's tons of new construction in west Bridgeport as well, including the de-luxe wealthy housing adjacent to Bubbly Creek, and all of the new townhomes and construction going in near 35th street and a little further south. Things continue to develop in this part of town ...

The cultural nexus in Bridgeport is 31st and Morgan streets, fueled to a great degree by the pioneering activities of the Marzewski family (Edmar and bro), including Maria's bar, the art freaks at the Co-Prosperity Sphere, and many cultural events that these guys help produce. This area is also home to a burgeoning nexus of new restaurants (Zaytune, Bridgeport Pasty, Pleasant House Bakery) and service businesses. Oh, and there's neighborhood stalwarts, too, including Bridgeport Coffee and especially Polo. Don't forget the Zhou brothers -- artists -- who own big chunks of Morgan St. property that they've fixed up, plus they have that huge warehouse on 35th transformed into an event venue and artists lofts. And there's the big arts warehouse on 35th and Racine, plus all of the small little gallery spaces ...

If I were to buy in Bridgeport, I'd skew west. We've actually settled west of Bridgeport in the McKinley Park neighborhood, where the real estate scene did not endure as much speculation and things tend to be quieter (and safer) than the more-congested Bridgeport. You may want to expand your search radius to include McKinley Park and Canaryville, as they're quite nice, and your housing dollar will go a lot further than it does in Bridgeport.

— On the neighbor message info on bridgeport
9:35 a.m.

Balcer's such a turd for opposing a Starbucks at that location. It's like he's actively against development in the neighborhood. Drop in a Starbucks location (retail, not attached to Target or a grocery store), and instantly the neighborhood seems like it's on an upward track for economic development. My wife certainly says things like "but there's no Starbucks in our neighborhood" ... (although I still personally prefer the indie places like Bridgeport Coffee and Jackalope).

— On the neighbor message Dunkin Donuts 31st and Halsted what happened?
10:09 a.m.

Well, I'd rather have weed smoke than cigarette smoke any day of the week. However, excessive late-night noise when partying is really lame ... especially when you don't invite your neighbors to the party!

— On the neighbor message Tenant to tenant issue
12:02 a.m.

I rode the bike by this evening with the kid: That's a very high-traffic location that will hopefully be good for their business (and the neighborhood). Now, how about a decent coffee house around here?

— On the neighbor message New Zaytune location?
11:57 p.m.

Are they still cleaning out all the lube and condoms from ChaChas?

7:42 a.m.

That would be AWESOME

— On the neighbor message New Zaytune location?
7:34 a.m.

I always thought those looooong viaducts would be a perfect setting for a horror story. Someone needs to dress up as Slenderman and just stand barely out of the shadows, only fleetingly visible as cars motor by.

— On the neighbor message Support Viaduct Sanitation Safety Initative
2:56 p.m.

Thanks, everyone! Gina, I'm shooting a message to Kasandra this afternoon.

2:40 p.m.

JL, when you can't spell or use words properly (like mixing up adjectives with nouns), it really hurts your case. I also think you need to know that there is such a thing as a "democratic republic." Check out this article: Lots of good information:

— On the neighbor message Speed camera
6:06 p.m.

Thanks for filling me in, Erik: You're certainly more well-versed in the history of theology and philosophy in general. I still don't see how monotheistic mythologies by definition could promote anything other than an unequal power relationship (or, best case, indifference). However, I haven't wandered very far down these philosophical byways.

If this event is indeed a scholarly look at these issues in the context of the overall history of the development of theology, it could be a very interesting presentation. But much less so if it's just preaching of Christian apologist topics disguised in academic language, Here's hoping for the former.

— On the neighborhood event Theology: What's The Point?
1:10 p.m.

In Rahm's Chicago, the city stops south of Roosevelt.

— On the neighbor message Rush Hour Traffic on Archer
8:31 a.m.

I struggle to think of a monotheistic mythology that doesn't lay out this primary relationship. Buddhism? There are Buddhist hells ... as well as mandated behaviors that lead to reward or punishment based on metaphysical beliefs. Taoism? That seems more philosophy than religion. Which mythology am I overlooking?

— On the neighborhood event Theology: What's The Point?
5:35 p.m.

This post needs to be translated into Chinese.

— On the neighbor message Biking on the sidewalk
2:46 p.m.

Thanks, Joseph. I also like Christopher Hitchens' take: that monotheism is the essence of an immoral, sadomasochistic, master/slave relationship, where you're forced to both love and fear what dominates you. However, I doubt this discussion of theology will consider anything beyond a baseline blind acceptance of whatever magic book and/or imaginary friends this church happens to deem sacred.

— On the neighborhood event Theology: What's The Point?
2:45 p.m.

It is nice to see some real candidates, versus just the standard, corrupt toadies like Balcer and Daley.

— On the neighbor message I think John Kozlar just won this election
8:01 a.m.

If you want to talk about a need for more background on a candidate, perhaps Mr. Daley needs to speak up. The latest today on the Sun-Times is that he's just another Daley crony cutting to the front of the line because of this powerful family. I'd rather have someone who'e navigated legal personal bankruptcy than one with seemingly shady connections.

7:49 a.m.

You also overlook the obvious possibility: The Ninth District Chicago police don't bust the drug house because the drug dealers have paid off the cops.

— On the neighbor message Neighbors dealing drugs.... Ugh.
8:26 a.m.

Call the cops and say you think the house is being used as a headquarters for Occupy protesters. Quietly place a couple V for Vendetta mask stickers on flagpoles on your block. You'll have elite police SWAT and illegal NSA surveillance squads all over that house.

— On the neighbor message Neighbors dealing drugs.... Ugh.
8:25 a.m.

I like her because she wants to save the Ramova. Imagine what Bridgeport could become with a decent-sized music/performance venue on Halsted ala Metro, The Vic, etc.

8:21 a.m.

Smells like a Daley astroturfing operation in here!

9:46 p.m.

For the fence and gate, you may want to try Trejo's Welding, which is on S. Ashland Ave. at around 38th. They're local, family-owned and do great work: They built our backyard fence in a combination of painted iron and wood.

— On the neighbor message Concrete contractor needed
8:16 a.m.

There's a huge demand for Archer Ave., and we're finally starting our kid there next month. Stay on the waiting list, and keep checking in: This helps.

— On the neighbor message Quality Daycare References
1:10 p.m.

I shudder at the thought of another greasy Daley.

11:03 p.m.

We've been going to a great home daycare (fully accredited, inspected, insured, etc.) on 38th near Wood for our nearly three-year-old. Jessica and her caregivers are great, the cost is affordable, and their schedules are very flexible. I believe the address is 1743 W. 38th street: Drive by and look for the sign and phone number posted in the window.

— On the neighbor message Quality Daycare References
8:57 a.m.

Don't forget that the charter school on Pershing is being run by an organization currently under investigation by the FBI. ( They're quite possibly a criminal organization run by shady religious extremists from Turkey pushing the "Gulen" movement and philosophy as their real mission in the states. Part of the reason why I dislike charter schools is that so many of them are corrupt and just vehicles to take money out of public education and put it into the pockets of the already wealthy. I'd love to see Greene or another public school get those robotics resources ...

— On the neighbor message School review
7:46 a.m.

If you'e looking for hipster value, and if you don't mind putting up with some minor gang-banging thuggery, look in the area near 31st and Morgan. There's a small but growing set of restaurants, bars, etc. in the environs, not to mention all of the art freaks of the Co-Prosperity Sphere.

— On the neighbor message Moving to Bridgeport (January-July 2015)
2:30 p.m.

It's because the mural is a subliminal ad for Axe body spray.

— On the neighbor message LA CATRINA Coffee house
10:39 a.m.

Try this in Wicker Park, and you'll have a ticket on your window within 5 minutes.

9:01 a.m.

Or, for an even bigger and immediate effect: End the ineffective War On Drugs that takes money away from all of us and harms communities way more than the drugs ever could.

— On the neighbor message Deliverance
7:50 a.m.

If you want to talk about killing the future, look to Wall Street. Those guys are doing way more damage than a thousand thugs with automatic weapons ever could.

— On the neighbor message Deliverance
7:48 a.m.

Note that there are many smartphone apps which function as decibel meters: I'm not sure how the police would treat it, but perhaps you can show a record of violations. Or just blast the Carpenters back at them.

— On the neighbor message Loud Music
10:52 a.m.

The cost of Chicago's crooked cops since 2004 is 1/2 BILLION dollars and rising. We wouldn't have closed schools, closed community health clinics, or a such a pension crisis if the Chicago PD weren't crooked. And all the supposedly "good" cops never say a word about the crimes of their brethren due to the police's "don't snitch" policy.

— On the neighbor message Respect
8:57 a.m.

Bee populations across the world have been killed off by use of neonicotinoid pesticides, provided by Monsanto corp. and others. Now imagine your backyard pollination problems extended to the whole food chain. Thanks, Monsanto!

— On the neighbor message Gardning?
5:32 p.m.

What's galling is that you use the same surfaces to prepare raw meat and then the raw vegetable toppings for the tacos, according to the inspection report. This is the basics of safety, and if your workers still do this when a food inspector is present, well, I don't have any confidence in any other part of your operation. I see no concern for customers or food safety here.

8:42 a.m.

When a restaurant uses the same, unwashed cutting board to cut raw meat and also vegetables (that are then used as uncooked toppings), getting raw meat all over the vegetables, there's zero concern for food safety or customer safety going on here. Nuevo Leon on 18th Street: Never again.

— On the neighbor message Nuevo Leon Restaurant closed?
8:40 a.m.

Here's a highlight from the July 24 failed inspection: ": we observed food employee using same prep table and cutting board to process raw ground beef,steak and chopping ready to eat head lettuce that is used for condiment for tacos at the same time also,we observed visible raw pieces of beef on lettuce and in box of tomatoes near the condiment prep line. " YUCK

— On the food inspection Nuevo Leon Restaurant failed inspection
10:24 a.m.

Don't play opera! The Carpenters all the way ... turn it to 11!

— On the neighbor message Stealing Plants is Rude
5:29 p.m.

Two-Sixes? Cullerton Deuces? Or another gang?

— On the neighbor message 1900 S Racine area
2:26 p.m.

So were they gang bangers, hipsters or teens from the suburbs?

— On the neighbor message 1900 S Racine area
9:18 a.m.

Also, thanks, Casey, for taking a look at this and reporting back.

9:17 a.m.

I based my original post on the linked-up blog post that said the promoters were going to hold their next event at a bar across from McKinley Park. It would be great if a decent place moved in to replace the ultra skankiness and flesh trade criminality that was Cha Chas. However, I don't think the owners of the property have changed, or have they? I think it's going to take new ownership -- not just a new name -- to change the nature of this place. A couple years ago, I did some serious googling and discovered all kinds of nastiness about what was going on, including potential licensing chicanery by the owners.

9:16 a.m.

It looks to be at the regularly troubled bar/restaurant/strip club/whatever it is at the southwest corner of Western Avenue and Pershing. Perhaps it's changed from the days of no gringos allowed, watered down drinks and bikini-clad waitresses as part of a thriving prostitution business run out the back. I'm not holding my breath.

8:54 a.m.

I've just seen it several times before here in McKinley Park. Maybe it's the same old Chinese lady.

— On the neighbor message Stealing Plants is Rude
11:04 a.m.

No one is pointing out the policy change that would have the biggest positive effect: END THE WAR ON DRUGS. It's a social disaster, an utter failure, and the biggest gun pointed at the African-American community. Replace outdated, bigoted laws with reasonable legalization for adults and a focus on treatment, rather than interdiction, for harder drugs. Portugal and other countries are seeing fantastic benefits from their changed stances, and places like Colorado are rolling in the tax revenue. For those who say this would make things worse, I say that prohibition simply doesn't work: The U.S. tried this with alcohol, and it ended up spawning the modern mafia. You don't see liquor store owners shooting it out in the streets over their Tecate selling territory ...

— On the neighbor message 13 Killed, 58 Wounded
11:46 p.m.

Can you guys do a zero-energy (or near zero-energy) home ala ?

— On the neighbor message Cozy homes in McKinley Park
10:44 a.m.

My hope is that it's a "Dungeons & Dragons" spa.

— On the business license D & D SPA
5:27 p.m.

Tell the Chicago cops that Occupy protesters are assembling sparkler bombs. You'll have Anita Alvarez on the scene with a battalion of militarized police shock troops.

9:58 a.m.

Gangbangers? Just thieves? Anyone on everyblock have more info? You don't see many 39-year-olds setting fires just for fun.

9:57 a.m.

Once bitten, twice shy. What's to say that the current corporate owners won't shut things down as soon as this website falls on the wrong side of a balance sheet (or corporate refocus, or merger, etc.), just as the previous corporate owners did?

— On the neighbor message Getting Bad Vibes about Everyblock
7:42 p.m.

The next big snow, I'm going to drive my truck through Bridgeport and remove all the dibs I see. Who's with me?

— On the neighbor message Dibs on the streets of Bridgeport
8 a.m.

One time in the 90s I circled for aeons until finally deciding "screw it" and moved a box of garbage out of a spot so I could park. When I returned, the trash dibs was upended over my car. That's why ya drive in beater in Chicago ...

— On the neighbor message Dibs on the streets of Bridgeport
11:16 p.m.

Dibs are an abomination. Every good citizen of Chicago should take it upon themselves to remove dibs from the street (placing it on the parkway) wherever they are found.

— On the neighbor message Dibs on the streets of Bridgeport
3:44 p.m.

Dibs is a foul plague on the streets of Chicago, in addition to being illegal, unsafe and greedy. Whenever I see a dibs, if I get a chance, I move it out of the parking space and onto the parkway.

— On the neighbor message Chair parking spot saving
10:28 a.m.

Don't you know, John? Income derived from illegal activities goes untaxed: one of the many compelling reasons to end the senseless, useless and incredibly harmful "War on Drugs" and prohibition-based policies. We could be receiving BILLIONS in tax revenues from this to support our schools, cops and public services (not to mention the BILLIONS we'd save by ending interdiction costs and getting non-violent drug offenders out of prison).

I'd hardly call Jose a "wealthy taxpayer," and I'd be surprised if it was his money or his cocaine: I'm sure a stash of this size belongs to "the gang" or a higher-up mobster. The real question is where does the money go once the police seize it? Is it going toward putting more cops on the streets, or is it going to Rahm and Anita Alvarez' funding of the defense of corrupt, criminal cops? (Chicago is spending tens of millions on legal fees and settlements to defend scumbag criminal cops like John Burge and Anthonly Abbatte.) Or maybe Rahm needs a new office makeover?

Another question for the neighborhood: Which gang was Jose (and cohorts) affiliated with? Was it the Latin Counts, who still have a foothold in McKinley Park? Or was it the "Three-Fives," the annoying little high school scrubs who mark up the neighborhood with their graffiti and jump-attack people? Or was it the Satans Disciples, who no longer seem to have much of a presence in their old stomping grounds of 35th and Wood?

9:24 a.m.

Militarization of our streets is not a good idea. We'll turn from neighborhoods into an occupied zone. I say ask the wealthy and corporations to pay their fair share of taxes so that the services we all enjoy are adequately funded.

3:03 p.m.

So ... there's no following up on the crimes, and the criminals will know this ... It includes: "vehicle theft, theft, garage burglaries, criminal damage to property, the passing of bad checks, lewd or obscene phone calls, threatening phone calls that don’t pose an immediate danger and animal bites." It's a good day to be an alarm systems salesman.

— On the neighbor message Carpenter St. kids taking bats to cars
2:59 p.m.

Marshall, you'll be able to get the shirts at upcoming McKinley Park Advisory Council meetings. There's an events list that includes the next meeting on the MPAC home page at

3:21 p.m.

No, it should have completely finished operating by this point, part of a deal brokered by Midwest Generation with the government. Too bad the executives of Midwest and their parent companies can't be held responsible for the disease and death their antiquated poison-belching smokestacks have inflicted upon Chicago.

— On the neighbor message Fisk Generating Station: Still running?
9:20 a.m.

Number 6: Gun Range!

3:43 p.m.

Number 7: New cultural experimentation zone for the Lumpen: The No-Prosperity Sphere

3:01 p.m.

Number 8: Chicago Fire Department training ground

2:58 p.m.

Number 10: "Hunting Humans" arena for the Daley Family.

2:31 p.m.

Number 9: New and Improved location for Swap-O-Rama.

2:30 p.m.

Yes, Paul, yes! Bridgeport ends at Bubbly Creek. Let's end the land grab!

— On the neighbor message Fire at Pershing and Ashland
12:02 p.m.

Just makin' way for the new Wal-Mart folks. Nothing to see here ... move along.

— On the neighbor message Fire at Pershing and Ashland
10:50 p.m.

Al, there are many private, commercial companies who are tracking all of this stuff and selling it in data brokerages with basically no accountability or oversight. I agree that elements of Paul's approach are not things I'd do myself, and this is how the post could potentially be considered defamation of character or raise other issues. But in terms of license plate tracking and posting those photos or doing whatever you want with it, it's all fair game. As I said, there's a big and growing commercial industry which is already doing all this stuff.

11:03 p.m.

Yes, this will be tons of fun, and a great way to meet your neighbors. There are many excellent people in McKinley Park, but few venues for folks to get to know each other. The McKinley Park Advisory Council and other local organizations are working to change that.

— On the neighborhood event McKinley Park Skate and Greet
4:57 p.m.

I'm intrigued by the way that people react differently to perceived violations of privacy. The alley is indeed a public place, with no reasonable expectation of privacy, and Paul's not violating any laws by posting this stuff. However, no one is pointing out the fact that everyone's being tracked all the time anyway through closed-circuit video surveillance, license plate recognition, and, most importantly, cell phone location tracking. Heck, if the various powers-that-be were inclined to do so, they could probably review data and footage against DMV and other databases to figure out the exact identity of the driver of the red truck with the wooden tailgate. Chicago is the most surveilled city in the nation, and internationally, second only to London.

Of course, if the technology ever gets leveraged in this direction, it might raise all sorts of other uncomfortable questions. Like why couldn't we use this technology to get rid of corrupt cops? Or corrupt politicians? I always wonder why the cops say that their surveillance footage is never available to the public, "because it's not saved" or other such nonsense. And why you never, ever hear any information about how it's used.

Sorry for the rant. It's Saturday!

4:56 p.m.

I think there's a bad tendency here to equate being poor with being a criminal. I'm certain that Pacific Garden wouldn't knowingly want criminals to walk through their doors. And if someone's down on their luck, I'd rather they scrape together some coin by collecting recyclables than through robbery or burglary.

H.S., you'd certainly be welcome to interrogate anyone in your alley, just as they'd be perfectly free to ignore you. But crossing the line into vigilantism ("detain"/"subdue") goes too far. The answer is to call the cops.

— On the neighbor message Garage break in
2:35 p.m.

This place is sketch city ... but I've always been curious about going in.

— On the food inspection Cha Cha's Restaurant failed inspection
12:28 p.m.

This place rules. I can heartily recommend it. Also, the Jackalope Steak is delicious.

8:35 a.m.

Do you know where a bunch of that money is going? To pay high-priced lawyers to defend Chicago's criminal cops. Check out the following link:

We are throwing good money after bad by allowing our politicians and prosecutors to support the ongoing cover-ups of Chicago police misconduct: millions of dollars spent on attorney's fees and settlements. This is money that could be going to putting more cops on the streets.

I fully support the overall mission of the CPD and acknowledge the difficulties our current officers face. However, a big part of the problem is all this dead, corrupt wood that infects the rest of the department and costs the citizens of Chicago big bucks. Rahm and Anita Alvarez need to stop trying to cover their asses/prevent embarassment and instead focus on making the CPD a more professional, fully staffed police force.

— On the neighbor message I've had it, thats IT, I'm fed up ....
1:25 p.m.

Yes, Tony, this is the case. I have the address as 3625 S. Hoyne Ave. I believe that you have to walk between the buildings to get to the hall entrance.

— On the neighbor message McKinley Park CAPS (Beat 912) Meeting Times
5:47 p.m.


— On the neighbor message McKinley Park CAPS (Beat 912) Meeting Times
1:13 p.m.

Here's my wish list:
-- Trader Joe's or Pete's Fresh Market or Whole Foods (wishful thinking)
-- Jo-Ann Fabrics
-- MicroCenter or Fry's Electronics (this part of town needs a good computer store)
-- Pita Inn (how freakin awesome would that be?)
-- Carbon (they're trying to franchise)
-- A books/music/media store
-- Another location for Bridgeport Coffee (their roastery is almost across the street)
-- Some type of semi-nasty chain like TGIF/Applebees/Chilis/etc. for when I want to suck down some food science-optimized glop and a beer.

I also think it would be great if space could be found to support all of the nearby neighborhoods' small manufacturing and production businesses: a "retail incubator," if you will. There are many nearby, innovative new businesses, from the small manufacturing scene at Bubbly Dynamics to the new Bridgeport Fashion Incubator to the South Side's new vertical/urban farms. It would be nice to have easier access to their products, and supporting local businesses goes a long way toward supporting the neighborhood.

What would you like to see in this location?

— On the neighbor message property sold
4:15 p.m.

Thanks, Cathyo: That's the first time I've seen this map. Talk about a change for that part of the neighborhood! Maybe we'll even get a standalone corporate coffee shack: My wife says the $tarbucks at Dominick's and Target don't count.

@Willis/Biamonte, I think that being in "Bridgeport" would discourage too many potential retail clothing tenants, as the heavy presence of Satin Disciples in Bridgeport means too much on-street display of unfashionable styles: Satin is so 90s.

— On the neighbor message property sold
1:28 p.m.

Rumor has it that it's big box retail. I recall there is a story floating around -- from the Southtown Gazette, maybe? -- about the development company that purchased the land, but no word of which retailers were interested. Wal-Mart?

Also, please note that this stretch of land is in the McKinley Park neighborhood, not Bridgeport.

— On the neighbor message property sold
6:54 p.m.

Everyone should be aware that my earlier comments referred to messages in this thread which have since been deleted by Everyblock.

— On the neighbor message 33 rd st by Armour
6:56 p.m.

Hey, no problem with the original alert or nearly all of the comments here. However, when someone wishes for the good old days of Bridgeport when it was OK to take a bat to the "negroes," I have to speak up. That ain't nothin but bigoted sociopathy, folks.

— On the neighbor message 33 rd st by Armour
12:05 a.m.

I have nothing but bad things to say to racists, Hello. They deserve neither respect nor regard. Google "Lenard Clark" to learn more about the "good old days" of Bridgeport that some here are pining for.

— On the neighbor message 33 rd st by Armour
11:08 p.m.

Ah, yes, the "good old days" of Bridgeport, when a bigot could be a bigot and violently attack minorities without fear of reprisals or repercussions. I'm so happy that the racist old guard of Bridgeport is dying out, even through some of these low-intellect mouth breathers still linger in the shadows, desperately trying to nurture and spread their hatred and fear. Bridgeport won't be able to move on and become a real neighborhood of Chicago until after these final few decrepit scum have perished or descended into senility: something which will hopefully happen soon since this racism seems to come solely from nasty old people who are desperately clinging onto their bigoted beliefs.

— On the neighbor message 33 rd st by Armour
9:33 p.m.

Joanne, the civic and other costs of biking is minuscule compared to that required to accommodate automobiles. Getting people out of cars and onto bikes brings massive benefits to a community, and it's socially much less expensive, too. Do you even have any idea how much the bike lanes cost? Or how this compares against maintaining roads for cars? Or are you just talking to fairies?

10:08 a.m.

Hi Cindee. Even when there's snow, it's still possible to commute on a bike (although doing this safely and comfortably requires the right bike equipment and clothes). We don't have too much bike commuting on the South Side yet, but if you ever travel through the Milwaukee corridor during rush hour, you'll see TONS of bikers going to/from work, even when there's snow on the ground. I'm lucky enough to work from home now, but I've done the bike commuting thing year-round before, and it's great exercise.

1:49 p.m.

The bike lanes are here to stay, and lots more are coming across Chicago. I'm fully in support of the protected bike lanes, because they reduce congestion (getting more people out of cars and onto bikes), reduce pollution, encourage healthy activity and give Chicagoans another choice for commuting. I'd much rather have our streets full of bikes than our streets full of cars. Come to think of it, this makes it easier for car owners, too, as parking spaces get freed up by people ditching their cars for bikes instead.

11:08 a.m.

We looked at Brinks and ADT, and as soon as it became clear that you don't own the equipment they install, it was a no-go for me. Talk about vendor lock-in!

— On the neighbor message Security System/Company Recommendations
12:45 p.m.

The Number One thing we could do to stop most crime like this is to end the idiotic, useless, horribly expensive and socially harmful "War on Drugs." It's time to end prohibition, folks: It didn't work for alcohol, and it doesn't work for other drugs either. All we're doing is enabling criminals to make tons of money, and encouraging crime like Hank reports. You don't see liquor store owners having shootouts in the streets over their Corona-selling turf.

— On the neighbor message these cops are a joke
2:30 p.m.

AT&T has been terrible for me in McKinley Park. I recently switched to Verizon, and it is much better.

— On the neighbor message Verizon & AT&T 4G coverage
7:12 a.m.

Just say that you think you saw Occupy Chicago protesters there: The cops will probably send a full squadron of SWAT with helicopter support et al.

— On the neighbor message Drug dealers and gangsters
10:44 a.m.

Places like this are so much better than Home Depot when you have a question or need advice.

8:45 a.m.

Thanks, Jim! I've been looking for a resource who could fabricate some tempered glass shelves and a glass desk top to custom specifications. I will keep them in mind for these spring projects ...

— On the neighbor message Chicago Glass Company
8:43 a.m.

Johnny, welcome to Chicago! We're glad to have you here. Here are some hints for you to help find chill and fun folks on the Southwest Side:

-- Hit the Second Fridays gallery crawls in East Pilsen. There are still a number of resident artists and a decent scene (despite Podmajersky III's purging of much of this in the mid-aughties). Talk to the exhibiting artists to find out what's going on.

-- If you can find the Ever-So-Secret Order of the Lamprey, they are a great crew of people, and still slithering around Pilsen.

-- Check out the entire Lumpen freak show in nearby Bridgeport at 31st and Morgan ... (dive in at They do all different types of art shows and (kinda) underground parties at the Co-Prosperity Sphere. Another HQ is Maria's Community Bar.

-- I don't know of any good gay options on this part of town, unfortunately. (Curiously enough, the now overridden-with-hipsters Skylark used to be a popular bar with gay black men waaaaay back in the day.)

— On the neighbor message Hey there!
10:20 p.m.

humanstructions, sorry I overlooked your Burge comment. There will still be deluded individuals who stand behind this criminal, torturing scumbag: See the comments of this thread. It's depressing.

No one said being a cop was easy (even though many other professions have higher rates of suicide, alcoholism and divorce; just Google it). But why should that give cops a free pass to break or bend the law? If anything, law enforcement needs to be held to a higher standard than regular civilians.

— On the neighbor message Chief McCarthey and Commander Gorman
8 p.m.

Sorry, humanstructions, but when people say cops are above the law and that's OK, I'm going to speak up. Are you a fan of John Burge too?

— On the neighbor message Chief McCarthey and Commander Gorman
2:47 p.m.

I consider the CPD code of silence to be "corruption." True, Abate was off-duty when he brutally attacked that female bartender, but the cops and other police officials who tried to cover up his crime sure weren't. (Abate also leveraged his status as a cop before, during and after the attack.) This is just one example: That Daley nephew who killed a guy at the Gold Coast nightclub and then had his crime hushed up by the cops/prosecutors is another. The list goes on and on ...

It's not "focusing on the negative" to talk about this stuff: It's obvious there are major problems in the Chicago Police Department, including endemic misconduct and some amounts of outright crime. How many more successful lawsuits will it take until the city starts taking police misconduct seriously? (The "code of silence" verdict is supposedly about to open the litigation floodgates.)

Ungrateful dog? That's better than being an apologist for criminal behavior.

— On the neighbor message Chief McCarthey and Commander Gorman
12:11 p.m.

I don't consider a police officer to be a "good, hardworking cop" if he/she knows of other police misconduct or criminal behavior and fails to report it: This makes this "good cop" just another criminal scumbag protecting their own. Most of the Chicago Police Department (and prosecutors) follow this "code of silence" as a matter of course: The latest expensive lawsuit against the city/CPD highlighted this as an endemic problem in the department. (Of course, instead of admitting fault and seeking to correct the problem, Cook Co. Prosecutor Anita Alvarez is instead digging her heels in.)

Corruption like this destroys the public's confidence in the police if they know that cops are more likely to protect their own than follow the law, or to wonder every time they encounter a Chicago police officer: "Is this one of the 'good' cops, or is this one of the bad ones who might harm me, my family or my property and then get away with lying about it?"

Being a cop is "a thankless job"? Give me a break: You can find just as many other people and professions who don't like their jobs. No one forces these folks to become cops, and there are MANY alternative career paths in criminal justice. In fact, police usually enjoy a degree of job security and benefits not enjoyed by most (especially when considering pensions).

Should we support the police? 100 percent yes! Should we support corrupt, criminal cops and the culture of silence and denial which allows them to continue their misdeeds and crime? No! Chicago's criminal cops and the fellow officers and prosecutors who protect them are costing the city tens of millions of dollars in fully justified lawsuits and settlements. How many good officers could we get on the streets with this money instead of paying for the crimes of the bad ones?

— On the neighbor message Chief McCarthey and Commander Gorman
10:25 a.m.

If the cops don't have to follow the law, then why should anyone? There's a big difference between police misconduct and political disagreements about policy, John. The City of Chicago Police seems to have many corrupt and unprofessional cops, and the "code of silence" that protects this corruption just proves the apple is rotting. (Cook County Prosecutor Anita Alvarez is such a scumbag for her actions protecting police misconduct, refusing to release innocents, and letting the guilty go free.) The problem is that there is a "code of silence" that protects bad officers, and all of the "good" officers, police brass, prosecutors and the city seem happy to continue this corruption.

You guys realize what you're saying, right? "It's OK if the cop has a bad day." "It's difficult being a police officer." Yeesh. No one forced anyone to be a cop, and if they don't like it, they don't have to be an officer. No one said it would be easy to be a cop. Although, Michael, they will get to enjoy a nice pension upon retirement. (You forgot about that type of "government support.")

My take is that Chicago needs a world-class, professional police force. Salaries and benefits should be much higher, as should requirements: We need to attract the best of the best and get rid of the dead, rotten wood. There should be much greater citizen oversight over police misconduct, and the city needs to take a top-down approach to getting rid of the rot. There should be a zero-tolerance policy toward corruption, and cops should feel free to report other police corruption, instead of protecting their own like they do as a matter of practice in Chicago.

Don't believe me? Watch the lawsuits. Police misconduct is costing Chicago tens -- if not hundreds -- of millions of dollars. That's a very expensive police force ...

— On the neighbor message Chief McCarthey and Commander Gorman
8:04 a.m.

If it's a righteous, proper and legal arrest, then no judge -- liberal or conservative -- will throw it out. Why shouldn't the cops have to follow the law when all of the rest of us are expected to do so?

— On the neighbor message Chief McCarthey and Commander Gorman
8:03 p.m.

PJ, this is just another recipe for a successful lawsuit against the CPD and the City of Chicago. Abusive and illegal police actions are taking away millions of dollars from the city ... and it's because the police aren't following the law and acting extremely unprofessional.

— On the neighbor message another broken car window
2:33 p.m.

It's pretty funny that no one has caught onto the fact that it's not "Satan Worshipers" that is a street gang. The street gang is "Satans Disciples." Of course, Bridgeport may still be a hotbed of Satan worship; there certainly is enough Christ worship and other artifacts of humanity's superstitious past.

— On the neighbor message I want to move here
2:11 p.m.

Burge is a torturing scumbag criminal cop who has cost the City of Chicago hundreds of thousands of dollars due to his illegal and abusive conduct. Fans of John Burge are pro-crime and pro-criminal.

— On the neighbor message Chief McCarthey and Commander Gorman
10:42 a.m.

Those cameras don't do jack to stop crime or discourage crime. They're a huge waste of money and a payout to yet another politically connected company, just like the traffic cameras. The money would be much better spent getting personnel on the streets.

Also, I disagree that the "footage is erased" after a period of time. There's no technical or cost reason why everything wouldn't/couldn't be stored. There's no official policy or laws surrounding this surveillance, and the CPD has never given a definitive answer of their policies regarding this surveillance. I have every reason to believe that everything is getting stored. However, if you don't have the power/connections to get that footage, you're out of luck.

— On the neighbor message another broken car window
12:16 p.m.

I agree, Scott. The true enemy is obvious: It's the North Side!!!!! ;-)

However, when someone starts talking smack about the neighborhood, presenting "facts" that are really just biased opinions, I have to speak up. I already have to deal with enough of this crap from my wife's North Side friends who think that any trip south of Roosevelt risks carjacking, gang rape, vivisection, etc.

— On the neighbor message Move to McKinley Park Area
12:04 p.m.

Quick solution: Mace the unleashed dog. An unleashed dog running toward you could very well be a threat, and pepper spray or gel in the dog's face would be an entirely appropriate response.

— On the neighbor message off-leash dogs at 1340 N Greenview Ave
8:31 a.m.

Thanks for the info, Stephanie. I found the URL at

Let's see the totals for Nov. 4 - Dec. 4:

-- 10 violent crimes
-- 39 property crimes
-- 24 quality-of-life crimes

McKinley Park:
-- 5 violent crimes
-- 24 property crimes
-- 9 quality-of-life crimes

Here's the past year's breakdown:

Violent Crime/Robbery: 46
Violent Crime/Battery: 29
Violent Crime/Assault: 28
Violent Crime/Homicide: 4
Violent Crime/Sexual Assault: 8
Property Crime/Theft: 483
Property Crime/Burglary: 191
Property Crime/Car Theft: 133
Property Crime/Arson: 0
Quality of Life Crime/Criminal Damage: 383
Quality of Life Crime/Narcotics: 72
Quality of Life Crime/Prostitution: 3

McKinley Park:
Violent Crime/Robbery: 27
Violent Crime/Battery: 29
Violent Crime/Assault: 19
Violent Crime/Homicide: 2
Violent Crime/Sexual Assault: 6
Property Crime/Theft: 362
Property Crime/Burglary: 82
Property Crime/Car Theft: 115
Property Crime/Arson: 4
Quality of Life Crime/Criminal Damage: 192
Quality of Life Crime/Narcotics: 79
Quality of Life Crime/Prostitution: 0

So as you can see, in nearly every category, Bridgeport has higher reported crime than McKinley Park, double the rate in some categories. (McKinley Park has more arson and narcotics arrests, and is tied for battery over the past year.)

So, Cynthia, before talking about "what you know," or "your feelings," or "what your co-workers say," perhaps you should back it up with some empirical data, rather than wallowing in innuendo and anti-Hispanic race baiting.

— On the neighbor message Move to McKinley Park Area
9:55 a.m.

35th Street definitely needs some more action! So many nice spaces, and too many of them empty. I say let local artists do some pop-up exhibitions or events at these spaces: Didn't Rahmbo talk about liberalizing Chicago's draconian anti-party ordinance?

My wife and I play "Spot the Hipster" in the McKinley Park neighborhood, which is fun: Because there are so few hipsters here, they're hard to find. Still, though, we've seen a slow but steady drip drip drip increase in the 4-1/2 years we've lived here.

Actually, McKinley Park is the perfect neighborhood for hipsters: They can say there were here before all of the other hipsters.

— On the neighbor message Move to McKinley Park Area
5:11 p.m.

Cynthia, where are you comparing McKinley park to? Have you lived in this neighborhood? It sounds like you're from Bridgeport: Crime is higher in Bridgeport.

— On the neighbor message Move to McKinley Park Area
7:53 p.m.

I agree that crime in Bridgeport seems to be a lot higher, possibly because it's also a lot more commercial and well-traveled. As a matter of fact, this makes sense for Lincoln Park, too. (I think packs of wilding teens would find McKinley Park to be pretty boring.)

— On the neighbor message Move to McKinley Park Area
12:39 p.m.

I, too, am interested in getting feedback about Namaste and Nathan Hale elementary. Anyone else have information to kick in?

— On the neighbor message Brighton park, Namaste, Uno, Gonzales
6:43 a.m.

In any part of a large urban area like Chicago, you need to be aware of your surroundings, especially at night. That being said, I believe that McKinley Park is a relatively safe neighborhood for walking around at night. Some areas might be a little rougher than others, but in my (and my wife's) experience, it's been safe for walking to/from the El.

— On the neighbor message Move to McKinley Park Area
11:39 p.m.

One thing to know about Pilsen is the historically massive pollution which has plagued this neighborhood. Fortunately, that's changing thanks to local environmental groups like PERRO: Both of the nasty coal-fired power plants are closing down, and the Kramer metal smelting business has been cited and has to clean up.

— On the neighbor message Hello Pilsen
8:13 a.m.

Interesting to know. I wonder if this is due to the big upswing in crime around these parts? David M. Jarmusz always struck me as more of a career man than an on-the-streets officer. (I met him at a CAPS meeting, where he answered one of my questions.)

— On the neighbor message New commander at 9th District
8:29 a.m.

I've been thinking about moving all of my e-mail services to Gmail, but then I hear the U.S. Justice Department's position that you don't own or have any rights to anything you have in the cloud (Megaupload case). I'm on a business-class DSL, with 10 down and 1 up, but performance has been dropping ever since Megapath took over Covad. I'm considering switching to cable Internet to save $30/month or so. ISPs in this area do seem to be extremely limited. Digital divide!

— On the neighbor message Linux
10:56 a.m.

I wonder if this is a car break-in attempt, or an attempt to get revenge on the SUV owner. These guys don't sound like professional car thieves ...

10:23 p.m.

Does Bridgeport have its own Chamber of Commerce?

— On the neighbor message New places in Bridgeport?
8:55 p.m.

The Montresori-based Learning Center (or Annex?) on Archer Ave. and Leavitt takes younger kids, and I hear this is an excellent child care facility. However, there's a line. (We're in it.)

— On the neighbor message Infant Daycare Recommendations?
8:53 p.m.

All of this talk of welfare fraud ignores the fact that it's a drop in the bucket compared to corporate fraud. Why not hold the richest, and most corrupt, entities accountable and get massively more amounts of money than trying to "right" our welfare system? Oh, yeah: Poor people are easy to pick on.

12:28 p.m.

But, DennisBport, this will end up with things like community regulations that say that veterans can't fly American flags in front of their homes. (This happens all the time in HOAs in Florida.) The only way you can do this is on private land. If you think there are too many lawyers and lawsuits now ...


Kimball Paul is one of the top Tai Chi masters in Chicago, and he's located in Bridgeport.

— On the neighbor message Tai Chi Chuan
11:51 a.m.

Open source all the way! Proprietary OSes are for suckers and are typically full of security holes. I have abandoned Apple products after all the latest asshattery, however, I'm still running a Windows 7 box because I need to support Adobe.

I'm primarily an Ubuntu user, however, I have been looking at OpenBSD (yes, technically not Linux) for a locked-down home server. Never used Gentoo before. I take it you've been using it a while?

— On the neighbor message Linux
12:36 p.m.

Check the building's construction methods and/or requirements for soundproofing when it was built. Many condo buildings (with rentals available) require owners to meet soundproofing criteria when making any changes. Also, it's been my experience that old construction tends to be much more soundproof than many more contemporary buildings, especially many of those split-face cinderblock two- and three-flats built in the early 2000s ... you get more soundproofing out of a crackerjack box.

Many friends of mine have been hosed by this, including the clickety clack of high heels from the uninsulated floor of the loft above to a friend actually having to sell her condo (in a rehabbed three flat in Humbolt Park) because the noise control was so poor. You literally had to whisper/talk softly in her living room because the neighbors could hear everything.

To really test, bring a boom box along to your apartment visit, set it at a reasonable volume level, then place it in various locations, while listing from other locations.

— On the neighbor message Do sound proof apartments exist in Chicago?
12:56 p.m.

My understanding is that parging can cause issues with the masonry: The concrete traps moisture, and I've heard that the concrete can actually be harder than the bricks and mortar, so if there's any building movement, the concrete holds while the bricks and mortar crumble.

We had to get tuckpointing and parapet wall work done on our place; after reading about my friend Marcus' experiences on his blog, I insisted that our masons not use parging and also get mortar that matches the "softness" of the original. (Marcus' blog is at ... you can use the Search box to find his thoughts on this issue.)

10:20 a.m.

You should cover the burgeoning arts activity along Morgan, between 31st and 35th.

— On the neighbor message Positive Events?
8:29 p.m.

This is so solid; can't wait to go. Glad to see a place like this get established a little more toward the middle of Pilsen (versus East PIlsen/Halsted).

— On the neighbor message Plzen gastropub now open
8:18 a.m.

This past summer it took weeks to get GraffitiBlasters out to my place in McKinley Park (near-southwest side). Rahm Emanuel restructured the GraffitiBlasters teams so they spread out across the city; if your timing is bad, you could be waiting a while. I have invested in several large cans of GoofOff and a bunch of paper towels. I hear oven cleaner will also work on garage doors.

— On the neighbor message Tagged at Kimball/Armitage
7:15 p.m.

Yup. As Chomsky said, there's really just one political party in the U.S.: The Business Party. Voting for Romney is laughable, but I can't bring myself to vote for Obama due to profound disagreement I have with some of his actions, his broken campaign promises, and the fact that he's really quite conservative. Still, though, I'm going to vote, but for a third-party candidate. I also want to get my vote in for other races, the state electricity initiative, and to try to throw out some of those bum judges.

— On the media mention Vote for someone who can't vote
7:09 p.m.

Jim, those locations are only 5-10 minutes away if you're living in the northeast corner of Bridgeport (or other nearby environs). 35th and Ashland is a decent distance from there and services nearby McKinley Park, New City and Back of the Yards, in addition to southwest Bridgeport. There's always lots of traffic and commerce a short distance north on Ashland (Dominick's et al), and the Target at Damen and 33rd always seems to be pretty busy. In fact, I think something new is going in on the other side of Damen and 33rd ... anyone know what it's going to be? I wouldn't count out the 35th and Ashland location just yet.

Hey, I know what it will be: The north expansion of Swap-O-Rama!!!! Whooo!!!!

Or maybe it will be the new Chicago casino. They will float the riverboat on Bubbly Creek.

6:50 p.m.

I don't know for sure about composting, but the upcoming McKinley Park Community Garden (spring 2013; may eventually accept compost. As for recycling, I use the City of Chicago drop-off point at 1359 W. Pershing (a little east of Ashland); I believe there is also a recycling drop-off at around 1720 S. Clark St., right north of 18th Street on the west side of Clark.

I think that in a year or two, recycling will finally get out to all Chicago wards, including ours on the Southwest Side.

— On the neighbor message Compost and/or recycling spot?
4:50 p.m.

The Target on Damen does a brisk business, as does the Dominick's up the street. Big spaces like this are at a premium in the city, especially a fairly close-in spot like 35th and Ashland.

8:09 p.m.

If a bunch of black kids did this in Lincoln Park, the cops would be all over it. Sounds like these "good Catholic kids" are the self-entitled brat children of the old-school Bridgeport brigade. I wouldn't be surprised if they're the sons of city workers and cops who conveniently look the other way.

— On the neighbor message Armour Park
11:03 a.m.

Folks, don't forget the potential of conducting information warfare on these gang members. Were they identified and profiled, complete with full names, addresses, arrest and criminal records, automobiles and license plate numbers, aliases, etc. -- plus any user-uploaded photos of street activity or other user-contributed information -- gang members could be effectively harassed out of a community. Use this information against them with their landlords, employers (and potential employers), police, schools and service providers. Make everything search-engine-optimized so that any future searches on their name (or aliases) provides a result that exposes their criminality. Use a community reporting system to track their whereabouts and send out community alerts. Make everything anonymous and hosted offshore (or in the cloud) so that crime reporters can be assured of no blowback for their participation.

A system like this doesn't exist yet, but I could see its usefulness.

Of course, we could also just ditch the completely and utterly failed War on Drugs, which would probably do more to clean up the streets (and do it faster) than any other measure.

— On the neighbor message Armed robbery at 32nd Street at Carpenter
10:39 a.m.

My take is that the No. 1 thing we can do to reduce street violence and effectively cut the gangs off at their knees is to overhaul the utterly failed "War on Drugs." Prohibition clearly doesn't work, and it only enriches and empowers the criminal class. Marijuana should be legalized, regulated and taxed like alcohol, and harder drug addiction should be treated as a medical issue.

Take these steps, and remove much of these gangs' reason for existence. Yes, there will still be "gangs," but they won't be competing for drug sales or turf, which gets lots of violence off the streets.

— On the neighbor message crime
11:32 a.m.

Back in the day (mid-1990s), I lived at Erie and Leavitt, and it was a war zone for a couple years. It was right on the border between the Latin Kings and the C-Notes (the local "white kids" gang). One Sunday evening, while watching The Simpsons, we saw a figure through the glass block windows go to the corner, stop, and empty an entire handgun, shooting down the street. This was followed by a bunch of running sounds; of course we called the cops. That's as bad as it got for us.

By the time I moved out in 1998, the gentrification push was well underway, and the crime had dropped considerably.

— On the neighbor message Gun fire. Heavy
11:24 a.m.

Didn't hear it, but you should call it in.

— On the neighbor message gunshots
10:58 a.m.

When someone asks "What time is it," your answer should be "It's time to get a watch!"

— On the neighbor message Be careful when traveling alone
1:51 p.m.

Collars and tags are what keep your cats alive if they go outside at all or there's a chance of them slipping out. "Slave collars"? Uhhhhh ... doesn't make sense to me, just like the lady who is trying to feed carnivorous animals with fruit and vegetables. You're just going to make those animals sick, lady.

— On the neighbor message Please Find Morton
9:18 a.m.

When reporting graffiti to 311, you have to provide an address. I was in a similar situation where multiple properties had been tagged, but I only had one address. I gave them the address anyway, and graffiti blasters cleaned up all of the graffiti on multiple properties.

— On the neighbor message Graffiti on 37th & Lowe
12:45 p.m.

I think there's a difference between offering WiFi as a facility service (or "for free" as Bridgeport Coffee does it) versus getting paid a monthly fee for the service. Not that you'd get caught, but I've seen this in ISP agreements before ...

— On the neighbor message Share WiFi
5:06 p.m.

Post information on the make and model of the saxophone, if you have it. Also, what type of saxophone it is (alto, tenor, baritone, etc.)

— On the neighbor message Just moved in
2:27 p.m.

It is absolutely NOT ILLEGAL to share your WiFi connection or even make it publicly accessible. This is something that telecom providers are lobbying to make illegal, so they can further limit the market and prevent more consumer choice and competition.

However, most Internet Service Providers do mandate that you cannot resell the Internet service they provide to you: It's a common part of their service contracts.

— On the neighbor message Share WiFi
2:24 p.m.

I'm glad to see a comics store in this part of town! For those who say this isn't a "legitimate" business, pull your heads out of the sand! Comics/games is a huge industry that crosses over into lots of other areas. ("The Walking Dead" was a comic long before it became a TV show.) Between this and Monster Island Toys, this stretch of Halsted is starting to get pretty fun ...

— On the neighbor message kinda cool-something new
9:34 a.m.

The intense congestion and high prices of the North Side are what make me a South Sider.

— On the neighbor message Parking Restrictions on Albion?
11:23 a.m.

Just wait until the drones are watching over us all.

— On the neighbor message Police Helicopter?
9:47 a.m.

Kathy, I have yet to hear of one of those cameras being used to solve an actual crime. Surveillance sounds great, but it really doesn't work for the normal people of Chicago. I'd love to see some responsible usage of all this surveillance, specifically, using it to stomp out corruption in city services, including the Chicago Police Department.

— On the neighbor message Another Bridgeport homicide
5:17 p.m.

I agree! This sounds so cool. I wish my kid was three years older ...

12:22 p.m.

It's lame that they're spending taxpayer dollars to protect their personal property (not public property or the police station itself), instead of doing their jobs. The more I hear about the 9th District, the worse it seems to get.

9:07 a.m.

I think Kristoffer's Cafe (across from Express Grill) led the effort to oppose the Grill.

Does anyone remember the old Maxwell Street, before UIC tore everything up? There was an Express Grill (I think) at Maxwell and Halsted that was hopping at all hours of the day. I believe this Express Grill moved over to Union, where it still attracts a huge crowd of loiters and panhandlers.

— On the neighbor message Pilsen dog park needed
8:57 a.m.

Actually, Dennis, Chicago does have designated (and official) "community areas" which are specifically named and mapped out. However, some of these community areas include multiple smaller neighborhoods: For example, West Town contains Ukranian Village, East Village, Wicker Park, etc. In certain cases, the official community area matches up with the neighborhood name (like in my own, McKinley Park); in others, it doesn't.

11:49 a.m.

I've had great experiences with Vera's Auto Repair at 21st and Carpenter in Pilsen. They were very fair, fast and seemed to do good work. Their phone number is 312-666-7299

— On the neighbor message Car Repair
4:53 p.m.

Oh, that's right: Chicago Marathon versus Pilsen Art Walk. This should be interesting ...

4:42 p.m.

lweir, you're on the side of the killers. Those coal plants killed way more people than they employed. They polluted huge swaths of Chicago and beyond with lead, mercury, other heavy metals and immense amounts of carbon dioxide. These are well-established facts confirmed by formal studies and things like the EPA monitoring station at Walsh Elementary School getting coated in lead and other heinous and dangerous chemicals.

The points you raise sound like they come straight from the Republican National Committee's talking points about the environment. The science is extremely clear: These are non-renewable resources that are causing immense, obvious changes in the earth's environment (for example, no more sea ice in the Arctic during summer). Right here in the U.S., we've been encountering extreme weather events that have cost our economy billions of dollars (for example, right now, Illinois is experiencing its worst drought in history).

Could there be corruption in the green building industry? Sure! Just like there's corruption in just about every industry. (Why aren't you complaining about the bankers, BTW?) But the long-term outlook is we either start addressing these issues and moving toward renewable energy resources, or we condemn ourselves to reliance on dirty and harmful energy sources that will someday run out.

— On the neighbor message Community Choice
11:50 a.m.

One of the most effective deterrents, hands down, is a barking dog. Of course, then you have to walk and feed poochie, and pick up his poo. I've heard of people hooking up a recording of barking dogs that plays when someone rings the doorbell, and then turning on this functionality when they leave home.

We have invested in Medeco locksets, professionally installed. These provide a higher degree of protection from picking, bumping and key copy attacks. (However, looking online at the lockpick/security geeks forums, everything is exploitable.)

I think lots of burglars look for easy targets and robberies of opportunity: Stay aware of your environment and add "layers" of apparent security to your home (good locks + alarm company sticker + real or fake cameras + yapping dog = more hassle than most burglars want to undertake). However, if you're targeted by professional thieves who are very intent on robbing YOU, there's very little that can be done to stop them.

I'd also like to remind everyone that garages are a huge target for thieves: You need to either keep valuable stuff out of your garage, or have methods to lock it down and keep it secure.

— On the neighbor message Attempted Break-In
11:34 a.m.

It's a nice spot; would be great for a cafe or a new bakery.

— On the neighbor message Anyone know what's coming to 35th & Seeley
6:25 p.m.

All of the rumors point toward big-box retail, but no specifics have been announced.

2:23 p.m.

With all of the surveillance cameras popping up everywhere (as well as the massive surveillance dragnet our government conducts), you'd think it would be pretty elementary to solve these heinous crimes.

If the killings are gang-related, the easiest way to bring peace to the streets is to end the broken, ineffective and expensive War on Drugs.

— On the neighbor message The firing line is no longer clear
11:57 a.m.

Wait for the unleashed dogs to approach you, then ... BEAR MACE.

— On the neighbor message Neighbor lets his dogs run around unleashed
3:25 p.m.

This is quite nice, Matthew! Good job! Do you/can you offer an RSS feed for your updates? This would be something I'd like to pull into and present on

— On the neighbor message
8:54 a.m.

I'm sorry to hear that you were victimized, Lisa. It's surprising that the thief uses a crowbar instead of just smashing a window and unlocking the door. When living in Pilsen, I was broken into a couple times: Both times, I had left some small items visible in the car: things of little value that I thought would be of little interest to a thief (like CDs and an oil filter). I think they look for any items left out which might lead to a guess that others might have been left in the trunk.

— On the neighbor message Break in by Crobar!!!
11:40 a.m.

How about this: End the ridiculous and ineffective War on Drugs, legalize the substances (in a responsible manner, the way alcohol is managed now), and tax the heck out of it. You'd save immense amounts of money spent on police interdiction and not needing to keep street gangs under control (as violent street gangs will disappear once they don't have anything to sell); you'd also reap tons of tax revenue from the substances. Win-win.

— On the neighbor message TAXED 2 DEATH
8:31 p.m.

My take is that it's Christian terrorists. After all, Oklahoma City was one of the worst terrorist attacks in the U.S. (committed by a born-again Christian), and rural areas are full of those survialist/Christian nutbags. We should keep a close eye on churches, especially Catholic, Baptist, and Presbyterian ... oh, and those Methodists, too. Anyone affiliated with such a vicious bronze-age religion (exhibiting a 2,000+ year history of violence) should be viewed with suspicion.

It's not paranoia to view these believers in "magic" as a potential threat: After all, they're all anticipating the end of the world (Armageddon), and what better way to get started than 2,000 gallons of gasoline?

— On the neighbor message Strange robbery
10:07 a.m.

Hi Sierra! Thanks much for your assistance and information. I'm indeed involved in the MPAC (helping out with all the Web site stuff). Did we meet at the last meeting?

I don't think there's a way to send you a direct message via Everyblock; if you could, shoot me an e-mail through the public address so I can contact you. Thanks again!

— On the neighbor message Need recommendations on child care
10:20 a.m.

I've actually been seriously researching a blasting kit. One of the best ways to remove the paint is blasting with baking soda: It's non-toxic and really works well. However, this requires a more specialized (and expensive) blaster setup. I'm instead looking at using non-toxic natural media like crushed walnut shells. Does anyone have any experience with what works best?

— On the neighbor message Graffiti Removal
10:42 a.m.

Get ready to wait: My experience has been that it takes weeks to get graffiti removed nowadays. I'm just about ready to buy an air compressor and blasting kit.

— On the neighbor message Graffiti Removal
1:54 p.m.

Clearly, any Cubs fans are to be viewed with suspicion, if not outright revulsion. Hopefully, the Department of Homeland Security will soon classify Cubs fandom as one of their markers for potential terrorist tendencies.

— On the neighbor message Purse snatcher in McKinley Park
1:54 p.m.

Any description? Modus operandi?

— On the neighbor message Purse snatcher in McKinley Park
9:50 a.m.

There shouldn't be a charge ... or does the Bridgeport Art Center now have a Public Place of Amusement license?

9 a.m.

They should take all of the tax giveaway money handed out to fat cats like the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and other "employment blackmailers" and give it to Chicago Public Schools (but every cent designated for the classrooms).

— On the neighbor message CTU Strike
8:58 a.m.

The War on Drugs and our government's policies of prohibition have utterly failed and cause much more harm than providing benefits, while costing us all an incredible amount of wasted money. Regulate and tax this stuff just like tobacco and alcohol (which are both much more harmful and addictive than pot). Yes, there may be problems with teenagers abusing this substance, just like teens try to get tobacco and alcohol, and we have solutions in place to discourage this type of activity.

— On the neighbor message BEWARE: In Welles Park
12:15 p.m.

Don't believe the hype. Reception and service on AT&T is terrible around here (at least for me).

— On the neighbor message AT&T Service?
2:36 p.m.

I saw that they changed out the dumpsters at the Pershing recycling center location, but I figured the materials would still be recycled. I'm very much looking forward to getting blue carts in McKinley Park!

— On the neighbor message Recycling
8:55 a.m.

Fraudulent abuse of handicapped parking spaces is taking place all over the city, and I believe the city is cracking down. Start talking to your alderman.

— On the neighbor message Street Handicap parking
8:28 a.m.

"When you embrace a culture of ignorance,violence, breeding irresponsibly, listening to destructive-devil music,disrespecting your elders, disrespecting children, direspecting your community, disrespecting themselves, and so on"

So you're talking about today's Republican party, thatblows1?

— On the neighbor message Shots Fired!!!!
8:19 a.m.

The solution is clear and has been for many years: Level Wrigley Field and replace it with a more appropriate facility, like a dog park or recycling center. Both the City of Chicago and the sport of baseball will be better for it.

6:34 p.m.

I've been to Mirror Lake a couple times; it's a pretty solid option, with some decently private primitive campsites. However, note that the lake isn't super huge for swimming. You are very close to all of the Wis. Dells madness, which can be a fun diversion from the campsite.

— On the neighbor message Good Camping near Chicago?
6:44 p.m.

Perhaps they should take crib notes on the Jumping Bean Cafe on 18th Street in Pilsen, one of the best Latino cafes around.

— On the neighbor message Jazzy Bean
12:08 p.m.

Another argument for ending prohibition. The War on Drugs has utterly failed and causes more harm that it helps. You don't see CVS thugs throwing gang signs at Walgreens employees over their liquor-selling turf. End the Drug War, and end the violence.

— On the neighbor message I just stole this post from another Community
12:25 a.m.

End prohibition and most of these issues with gang violence will go away. You don't see liquor store owners battling it out on the streets to protect their turf.

8:04 p.m.

Also, you may want to describe the abuse as "people who are starving kittens to death."

— On the neighbor message Where is the desency and compassion
10:37 a.m.

Animal abuse is a felony in Illinois. Call the cops to report "Felony animal abuse." Also call Fox news.

— On the neighbor message Where is the desency and compassion
10:31 a.m.

I have sometimes thought it would be helpful to begin to compile a database of known gang actors: names, photos, description, addresses, gang affiliations, places where they work, the cars they drive (make, model, license plates, parking locations), where they go to school, arrest/conviction records, the names of their families, online identities, and overseas connections. Then, use this information to 1) serve as an identifying tool anyone can use via the Internet (searchable and Search Engine Optimized, of course) and 2) take direct action against these individuals by working with local authorities and businesses to deny them goods and services and engage in whatever level of lawful harassment one can get away with.

Make them pariahs in the community: Have them instantly identifiable citywide as gang scum. Make sure gang members know that if they engage in this activity, it will be recorded and used to haunt them for the rest of their lives (preventing employment opportunities, education opportunities, create a lifetime of hardship for them and their families, etc.).

The U.S. (and the City of Chicago) has built a massive surveillance apparatus that's targeted toward non-criminal U.S. citizens constantly. However, one never hears of this being used for any practical purpose, whether tracking gang members (or things like rooting out corruption in City government). I doubt a public system like this could be set up due to Constitutional privacy issues. However, setting up a private system would be easy; the technology is within reach, and our privacy is routinely violated by private businesses every day.

Or we could just end the idiotic and utterly failed War on Drugs, which would instantly remove most of this type of violence from the streets and the reason for the existence of most of these gangs.

10:26 a.m.

It sounds like the city in general is too hot for you. Check the crime stats on the South Loop. Lots of muggings, smash-and-grabs, groups of youths targeting folks with IPhones, etc. Perhaps Crystal Lake or DeKalb is more your speed. Or if you want to stay in the city, maybe a hermetically sealed chamber in the heart of the Gold Coast: You could send the doorman outside for groceries, to mail packages, etc.

— On the neighbor message WTF Bridgeport?
9:14 p.m.

Also, regarding the "new business" in Bridgeport, I just came back from a big family dinner at South Kawa. Everything was quite good, and the restaurant was hopping. If you like sushi or traditional Japanese hot fare (soba noodles, yakisori, tempura, etc.), it's a sure bet.

Also interesting at South Kawa was the presence of 1) another couple of young (seemingly educated and professional) families, 2) a whole lotta dates going on of people who looked like they would be just as comfortable on the North Side, and 3) a gargantuan party of Chinese (which you won't find on the North Side).

— On the neighbor message WTF Bridgeport?
9:03 p.m.

Don't worry, CJCB, there's a place for you. It's called Gurnee.

— On the neighbor message WTF Bridgeport?
8:59 p.m.

Yes, BlueLineGirl ... you may want to look in the area sandwiched between Damen on the east, 37th Street on the south, and Archer to the north/west. This is a nice, safe area that is very close to the Orange Line El (as well as the excellent and huge McKinley Park). Note that I can't speak for the quality of the schools in the neighborhood; still researching this.

Bridgeport is traditionally "better" east of Halsted, although I've lived west of Halsted, and it's manageable.

The artsy fartsy part of Pilsen is along Halsted, running between 17th (or so) and Cermak. Go to the 2nd Fridays event to get a taste of the mayhem. All of the "Chicago Arts District" nomenclature comes straight from the Podmajerskys, a long-time east Pilsen landlord that owns gigantic tracts of land. (Well, relative to the city.)

— On the neighbor message Renting questions?
7:08 p.m.

Note that it is 100% illegal for a landlord to discriminate or refuse to rent to people with children because they have children. If you encounter this, contact the appropriate city/county/state departments. However, limitations on occupancy volume are completely appropriate.

Crime is definitely a factor in Pilsen. There are some well-entrenched gangs in the neighborhood (see for a full rundown). Even if you are a "neutron" ("neutral" in gang parlance), there's still a chance of violence affecting you, plus all of the other issues with gangs.

I think you would be much better off in a quieter neighborhood like Bridgeport or McKinley Park (or even parts of Brighton Park), where rent levels comparable to Pilsen can be found. IMO, Pilsen and Little Village are still too hot to trot for kids. (The exception may be in East Pilsen/Podmajerskyville, where things are more gentrified ... e.g. stay east of Morgan.)

— On the neighbor message Renting questions?
6:41 p.m.

Also, I have to share my Bridgeport joke again:

"Why does it take people in Bridgeport so long to count to 100?"

"Frucking one, frucking two, frucking three ..."

— On the neighbor message WTF Bridgeport?
5:40 p.m.

Bridgeport has its drawbacks. So does the South Loop (e.g. packs of wilding youths, tons of hustlers on the street, parking is a pain, etc.). I, too, have lived in the semi-gated environs of Dearnborn Park I, and it's pretty nice ... but I always felt like the South Side held more "real" neighborhoods with a better mix of people of all types.

My good friend just bought in Bridgeport (on Parnell, one of the nice, new, big single-family homes), instead of a larger space in the South Loop (a large town home at 18th and Michigan). Bridgeport was more of a neighborhood that had much more to offer to him, his wife and two kids.

I'm glad: This friend and I were roommates in the late 90s near 31st Place and Morgan (where he owned a house, sold in the early aughties). It's good to have him nearby again.

— On the neighbor message WTF Bridgeport?
5:39 p.m.

Realize that much of the east Pilsen gentrification was due to the Podmajersky family, now in its third generation of landlordship. They own huge chunks of east Pilsen, including large amounts of contiguous land ... in some cases, entire city blocks.

The old Mr. Podmajersky, who I met as a Pod renter 2001-2005, was this weird old visionary who wanted to get artists involved and/or leverage artists to bring up the neighborhood. Part of his plan seemed to be snapping up dilapidated properties at extremely low prices, renting them for next to nothing to artists et al, then letting the artists fix the spaces up themselves.

The old Mr. Podmajersky stepped aside several years ago, and the business was taken over by his son, who approached things much differently (including kicking out a lot of long-time artists and raising rents aggressively). Mr. (old) Podmajersky's wife was also heavily involved in the business.

My prediction is this: Once the old Mr. Podmajersky passes away (if he hasn't done so already), and the real estate market gets better, the young Podmajersky is going to cash out and sell this land en masse. It's incredibly valuable because so much of it consists of contiguous properties which could be combined into large developments. I hate to say it, but my expectation is that all of the artists' lofts et al will eventually get bulldozed and replaced with condo towers or other types of big development when the time is right.

— On the neighbor message What's your favorite thing about Pilsen?
12:06 p.m.

A credit/background check requirement will screen out most of the problematic people, but there's still a chance that bad tenants can get through. Two months of security deposit ensures that your tenants can have cash in hand, but this might make it tough to find tenants. A maximum occupancy statement on the lease is a great idea, and is a standard part of most leases these days.

Note that if you try to "avoid children," you may get hit with a discrimination suit, as not renting to people with kids because they have kids is illegal.

Also note that Chicago has a very strong tenants rights ordinance, which I have enjoyed having at my back as a tenant. (As a landlord, I'm glad that the only unit we're renting out is a South Loop condo.)

— On the neighbor message house purchasing
9:52 a.m.

Prepare to be disappointed with Graffiti Blasters these days: It takes weeks and weeks to get graffiti removed now; it used to take days under Daley.

— On the neighbor message Garage Tagged Yesterday
8:19 a.m.

Compared to soooo many other areas (including nearby Bridgeport), street parking in McKinley Park is a cinch. My wife and I bought here in 2008, have a baby, and intend to stay.

Right now, McKinley Park is hurting for more dining and entertainment options: It's a pretty sleepy area. Being the old fart that I am now, however, I like the quiet.

— On the neighbor message McKinley Park?
1:08 p.m.

Seriously, though, you may want to consider the following:

-- Skylark at Cermak and Halsted. Gets overrun with hipsters on weekends, but a pretty good divey bar otherwise.

-- Del Toro, right north of Skylark. Good for drinking, and great for date night.

-- Pilsen Second Fridays, where numerous galleries host openings all at once. Centered around 18th and Halsted.

-- Simone's on 18th and Morgan can be pretty fun.

— On the neighbor message Tips for an area newbie
3:17 p.m.

Never, ever, go to Debonaire Social Club.

— On the neighbor message Tips for an area newbie
12:32 p.m.

I never picked up a Healthy Food shirt, although I did enjoy eating there. Too bad they're not still open: They'd clean up, what with the police station next door.

9:24 a.m.

Also, does anyone have the info for the Aug. CAPS meeting?

— On the neighbor message McKinley Park Community Picnic on Sunday
11:27 a.m.

Hi Kara: I have added the PAC meeting to the home page as a featured event. I'd definitely like to be on the listserv, however, I don't want to give out my e-mail address publicly. Perhaps you could shoot a message to, and we can take it from there ...

— On the neighbor message McKinley Park Community Picnic on Sunday
11:26 a.m.

Sorry to have missed this: Please provide more notice next time. Also, do feel free to submit any McKinley Park event listings to .

— On the neighbor message McKinley Park Community Picnic on Sunday
11:03 a.m.

Yes, I always thought the same, Geri. I think this was aided and abetted by the "Where the Hell is Bridgeport" T-shirts that the Ace hardware on Ashland used to sell.

12:28 a.m.

Ah, silly Bridgeporters. West of Bubbly Creek is McKinley Park! It's on the official City of Chicago community map, which defines the city's official community areas. See for more info. This is a common misconception.

8:31 a.m.

Also, folks, let's take the opportunity to remember to speak of this as a McKinley Park development: I've seen some in the press call this area Bridgeport, but it's west of Bubbly Creek and definitely in the McKinley Park neighborhood.

11:27 a.m.

I agree that Wal-Mart is not ideal, but anything is better than a gigantic shuttered space. How about a South Side Whole Foods? (Ha!) Even with a less-than-ideal big box from a multiconglomerate, there will still be a positive spill-over effect into the surrounding areas. Speaking of which, is that Italian ice stand on the west side of south Ashland still for sale? That's going to be a hot property once the retail across the street goes in.

11:24 a.m.

At last! This area has been shuttered for far too long. Wal-Mart, anyone?

2:09 p.m.

I'm researching home security and automation as well. I have decided not to go with one of the big, standard vendors, as they don't really sell you the equipment: It's a lease agreement. Plus, they don't provide full access to the codes that run the equipment, so if you ever want to expand your system, you're locked into working with that vendor.

What I've been searching for is a whole-house operating system that can tie a sensor network into scripts that then fire off events under certain conditions (e.g. send an e-mail if the garage door is open longer than 20 minutes). I definitely would prefer an open-source solution, but they seem to still be maturing (versus proprietary systems like HomeSeer, etc.).

I'm also finding problems tying video surveillance into a home OS: Most setups seem to have the cameras/DVR as an independent system that doesn't communicate with an outside system. It would be great to script alerts that take video motion sensing into account.

If anyone has thoughts or suggestions, I'm all ears.

— On the neighbor message Home security?
11:52 a.m.

I wonder if they still have the Eggs Benedicto on the menu: served with silver candlesticks and a silver-framed portrait of the pope to watch over you. Also, the Creme Brulee French Toast was awesome.

— On the neighbor message Groupon in the neighborhood
10:19 p.m.

A Streets and San garbage truck went up my street today, picking up all the branches.

— On the neighbor message Tree limbs everywhere
5:59 p.m.

I'm glad you'll try to stay Vincent. R. correctly named the small business incubator: There's also the Iron Street Urban Farm at 3333 S. Iron Street. It sucks that Lure closed! Chinatown is probably the only neighborhood in the city where a bar won't do well. It's great to hear about a new coffee place coming to Halsted ... man, it's starting to get like the North Side around here!

— On the neighbor message 20 somethings scene
9:29 a.m.

More continued ...

I'm sure there's lots more. As you can see, there's tons to do, and a good party circuit: Look to the art spaces to plug into this. Now then, once you've recovered from your hangovers from all of this, here's what you should REALLY do:

Pool your money and buy this place:

Morgan Street seems to be developing nicely with all kinds of young, hip businesses. This property may be rough around the edges, but youthful elbow grease could work wonders, and I can't believe they're only asking $75K. I'll bet that if you'd be willing to put in some work and stay an owner of the property for several years, it would be cheaper than renting. And nothing beats a big former store-front space for hosting ...

— On the neighbor message 20 somethings scene
11:07 p.m.

More continued ...

-- Your best value for impressing a date is, hands down, Han 202 on 31st Street. Set price, BYOB, awesome atmosphere, delicious food, and great service. Yields results.

-- The best cafe and coffee in Chicago is in Bridgeport, at 31st and Morgan. I have been drinking their joe ever since they opened; they also recently expanded their space. Bridgeport Coffee is a local neighborhood success story.

-- Tons of other options in the neighborhood for dining; just check out Yelp et al. (Personal faves: Pleasant House, Polo, Nana's ... and their dad's place, Tacos Erinderias ... even Panchos Pistolas has that nice outdoor patio place. Panchos is just like that Seinfeld episode where the cafe owner only hires a certain kind of waitress.)

-- A very short distance away are numerous options for revelry, especially in Pilsen. Their Second Fridays is a boozy walk down Halsted between the galleries, often leading to further parties afterward. You are probably familiar with the Skylark already; don't overlook Del Toro a couple storefronts north of there. (Del Toro is another good date night option.)

-- I'll also mention that Chinatown is also a short distance away ... did you know that they even have a bar in Chinatown now? Lure, in the north end of the newer mall space -- pretty fun and nice when I was there. Nothing beats Chinatown for tons of cheap, good food.

More ...

— On the neighbor message 20 somethings scene
11:06 p.m.

Seriously, though, here's what you should get off your whippersnapper asses and do:

-- Maria's, as you surmised, is the top modern/hip bar in Bridgeport. Their patio is eggscellent. I believe Monday night is free Korean/Polish BBQ.

-- Right down the street is the Co-Prosperity Sphere, also a domain of Ed Marzewski's (aka "Edmar") and home to tons of big art freakouts all the time. Use the Lumpen Web site at as a jumping-off point into Edmarland (which includes Proximity, Version art festival, etc. etc. etc.

-- The Zhou Brothers are also on Morgan, with a big presence at the Zhou B. Art Center -- . Lots of events and great artists spaces.

-- There's another art building at 35th and Bubbly Creek (name, anyone?) I've seen them host events pretty regularly.

-- Although it's been years since I've attended (I'm an old fart with child), there were many underground parties in the lofts along Archer Avenue, between Bubbly Creek and Throop. Anyone remember the Tingle Tangle Circus? I'll bet there's still lots of fun going down ...

-- A neighborhood stalwart bar is Bernice's on Halsted. Accessible yet divey. They have some small-group live music pretty often.

-- If you're into new-generation entrepreneurship, look around some of the warehouses south of 35th, near Morgan. There is at least one building converted to a cool, small business incubator, with clients ranging from custom bike shops to green/vertical farms.

More ...

— On the neighbor message 20 somethings scene
11:05 p.m.

If you look carefully enough around 35th and Bubbly Creek, you will find the entrance to an exclusive underground Bridgeport club: The Deep Tunnel, where strange individuals revel in the worship of a Daley-Cthulhu hybrid.

— On the neighbor message 20 somethings scene
10:01 p.m.

@JeepLover -- If Chick Fil A just sold chicken, I would not have a problem with them. But they actively fund hate: This is something worth acting against that goes beyond a simple retailer-consumer relationship.

— On the neighbor message No Chick Fil A Here, Please
4:47 p.m.

If you'e saying I'm bigoted again bigots, I guess you got me there. For a business to openly support bigotry like this is unacceptable: It's a repulsive presence in the community.

I certainly don't advocate violence or actions which could harm the public (despite the fact that these fundamentalist Christian bigots happily promote violence against gays or turn a blind eye to how their dogma results in such violence). However, getting the community and politicians together to put pressure on getting these bigots out is fair game.

Hopefully, the end result would be either Chick Fil A franchisees disappearing from the region (the owners could perhaps choose to franchise with a different company instead), or the Chick Fil A board could fire the idiot bigoted executives who are doing such damage to their company.

— On the neighbor message No Chick Fil A Here, Please
4:13 p.m.

Chick-Fil-A's "opinion" is that of bigots, just like racists. The scum who lynched black people, institutionalized racism and denigrated all non-white races have an "opinion" too: Should we respect theirs as well?

Anti-gay Christians are the equivalent to racists: Disgusting, ill-informed bigots wishing for the subjugation of others. I support kicking Chick-Fil-A and their bigoted business out of Chicagoland, by any means, fair or foul. Kudos to Alderman Moreno and others for speaking out against these disgusting people.

— On the neighbor message No Chick Fil A Here, Please
3:30 p.m.

Bigots have no respect for the law.

— On the neighbor message Illegal sign
3:21 p.m.

Definitely shop around, including printers in the 'burbs. Printing is now a completely commodotized industry, so the lowest price rules. I've done a number of jobs with, which are out in the suburbs: You just specify what you want, upload your files, and your printed materials show up in the mail a few days later.

— On the neighbor message Looking for a printer
8:46 a.m.

Ding! You got me on Archer/Robinson, Humanstructions. I don't typically take I-55 south from that on-ramp, so I forgot about it. I've also been aggressively panhandled in the Dominick's lot nearby.

McKinley Park is hurting for more restaurant choices, although I consider Lindy's, Huck Finn and La Palapa to be consistently good options (for me, anyway). Where we do OK is chain retail, with Dominick's and Jewel, Walgreens, a decent CVS and one of the best Targets in Chicagoland.

I've found some hidden jewels in the neighborhood, including A&B Salon @ 3408 S. Ashland. (They speak little English, but the cuts are awesome, professionally done and a great value.) And I can't forget to mention neighborhood stalwart The Video Strip (owned by SW side lifer and aspiring politician Joe Trutin).

It would be great if there were more small retail options, especially along 35th Street: Get those empty storefronts filled in with art galleries, a used record store, a cafe (::sheds tear for 35th Street Cafe::), a hackerspace, or other kick-starter-type businesses. If the recently purchased Wrigley factory property gets turned into high-tech incubation space (one of the things I heard discussed), it would really support more nearby commerce ...

— On the neighbor message Safe-ish to move here?
3:32 p.m.

Wait ... never mind. I think I misunderstood that Mr. Arellano was shooting his own movie, not bringing a video camera into a theater.

12:51 p.m.

Whatever happened to the First Amendment? Felonies for shooting a movie?

12:49 p.m.

Yes, the homeless folks on Western do their share of sitting around and drinking. However, I've never been panhandled by anyone in the area between Western and Ashland.

Although you Bridgeporters have a larger share of neighborhood louts (IMHO), you also enjoy many more options for restaurants, bars, shopping, etc. I can only eat so many bowls of Lindy's chili ...

— On the neighbor message Safe-ish to move here?
12:48 p.m.

We live in a former corner storefront bar. Cheers!

— On the neighbor message Funky houses in Bridgeport
11:49 a.m.

No crack for me, Humanstructions. I lived in Bridgeport in the mid-90s (near 31st and Morgan), and those "Bridgeport bums" have been a fixture of the neighborhood for decades, I think. These are the white, middle-aged, un-/underemployed layabouts who you'll see congregating in the Dunkin Donuts and other cheap retailers. Back in the day, it was them all britchin' 'bout Daley and sitting around,drinking all day.

Although Bridgeport has changed a lot, the bums are still there. Even the newly revamped Maria's at 31st and Halsted keeps a supply of Mad Dog 20/20 and a Cherry Master game ready in the front for them, who do seem to pass through regularly. Or take a look at the line that queues up in front of All Star Liquors on Archer when they open every day.

Maybe we don't have as much of this in McKinley Park because we don't have a big discount liquor store on Archer ... maybe because of our location. I don't know. I have noticed homeless folks on the boulevard near Western and Archer.

— On the neighbor message Safe-ish to move here?
11:47 a.m.

These plants are killers, no doubt about it. They spew all kinds of harmful chemicals all over nearby neighborhoods (and actually a huge chunk of Chicagoland). They are Eisenhower-era plants which never upgraded any of their pollution controls despite being massively expanded over the years. Midwest Generation (the owner of the plants) is a murderous organization with blood on its hands: It never would have shut down these plants without massive community opposition over many years.

It is important that 1) Midwest Generation clean up these sites thoroughly after they shut down the plants and 2) that the sites are used constructively for benefit of the people of surrounding communities. Both Pilsen and Little Village are starved for park space: This would be one potential use. Another idea is building new, modern commercial/manufacturing/shipping centers there. A number of ideas are being kicked about; also, the Pilsen environmental justice organization is spearheading some of these ideas. (I believe the group is called PERRO.)

— On the neighbor message Crawford and Fisk power plants
11:25 a.m.

Humanstructions, just try to shop at CVS on 31st and Halsted. Need some crack?

— On the neighbor message Safe-ish to move here?
10:58 a.m.

Cubs fans: The most disgusting gang in the city.

— On the neighbor message Possible Gang Activity?
10:33 a.m.

Archer and Damen is in McKinley Park, not Bridgeport. Did you mean Halsted and Archer?

— On the neighbor message Funky houses in Bridgeport
10:30 a.m.

Compared to so many other parts of the city, street parking is typically a cinch in McKinley Park. I think it's due to the higher number of single-family homes and two-flats versus large apartment blocks. McKinley Park is quite a bit less dense than many other nearby areas. It's like the suburbs in the city!

— On the neighbor message Safe-ish to move here?
10:26 a.m.

Move on in, Sarah. I don't think you'll regret the decision. I consider McKinley Park to be a "sleeper" neighborhood for Chicago, as many folks (especially those on the north side) don't know it's there. Part of the reason why it's safer, I think, is because it's quieter: No big clubs or bars to draw in the riff-raff, and it's just enough off the beaten path to make it out of scope for targeting by criminals and panhandlers. (Bridgeport is much, much worse for panhandlers and ne'er do wells/drunks lounging about.)

I also think the geography of the neighborhood keeps it in its own pocket and fairly self-contained. We're bordered by manufacturing/industrial/commercial/the river on the north, east and south, and the western border is comprised of the big physical divide of Western Avenue and Western Boulevard (with the much more crime-prone Brighton Park on the other side).

Another plus for the neighborhood is the fairly large population of folks who participate in CAPS meetings and groups like the McKinley Park Civic Association: There's a lot of focus on preventing crime in these groups.

Of course, there is some gang activity, but it's much mellower than surrounding neighborhoods, including Bridgeport. There is supposedly a pocket of Latin Counts around 37th and Wood, as well as some presence of Satans Disciples (historically speaking). The most recent action involves the "Three Fives" and their rivals, the "Five Threes." These are groups of tagger kids/party crews that have recently started to get more violent (but only targeting each others' groups); I don't think they're yet considered to be a full-fledged street gang.

— On the neighbor message Safe-ish to move here?
5:14 p.m.

Welcome to the neighborhood, Sarah! I believe you'll find that McKinley Park is a pretty safe neighborhood for the city of Chicago. Of course, you'll have to observe all of the common-sense rules of being in a city (stay aware of your surroundings, don't place yourself in a very vulnerable situation, etc.), but I find McKinley Park to have much lower crime -- both visible and reported -- than nearby neighborhoods like Pilsen and Bridgeport. (I've lived for years in both.) McKinley Park also has MUCH lower crime than nearby neighborhoods like Brighton Park, Back of the Yards and Canaryville.

My wife and I bought here in 2008, and we plan to stay: We have a 10-month-old, and I think this is a great neighborhood for kids.

— On the neighbor message Safe-ish to move here?
11:10 a.m.

Exactly, Kelly. I found myself wondering about their position on the classic Christian canards of anti-homosexuality, subjugation of women, mandatory beards or not, etcetera.

— On the neighbor message New Life Community Church - Bridegport
9:12 a.m.

Indicative of the lack of professionalism amongst Chicago's police. Of course, they're severely understaffed ...

11:51 a.m.

Steve, Facebook is not a private, non-corporate site. The same issues may apply.

— On the neighbor message Witnessed spare tire theft in broad daylight
11:44 a.m.

It's so dry, I can't imagine that the sanitary sewer is having capacity issues ... perhaps there's construction in your area? No problems near 38th and Wolcott.

— On the neighbor message Sewer Back-up anyone???
11:04 a.m.

"Here's your free state ID, citizen. Please note that it's only available at a location 40 miles away from you during regular 9 to 5 business hours. What's that? Don't have a car? Can't take a day off work to get your ID? Hmmm ... not my problem. I guess you won't get to vote this time!"

Republicans have a very long and storied history of using voter ID and other tactics to disenfranchise massive swaths of the U.S. electorate and prevent them from voting. It's part of their standard operating procedure: This isn't about fair elections.

— On the neighbor message Registering to vote - deadline?
8:24 p.m.

Everyblock is an MSNBC-owned, for-profit, corporate-driven site. If they have to choose between opening themselves up to potential legal liability due to the posting of a photo like this, and posting it because it will help the community, they'll inevitably choose the action that represents the least risk to the corporation.

This is the Achilles heel of corporate-owned online communities: They're too risk-adverse to truly host open discussions.

— On the neighbor message Witnessed spare tire theft in broad daylight
6:34 p.m.

Voter ID bills are an unconstitutional poll tax that are designed by Republicans to disenfranchise poor people and people of color. There's no voter fraud involved: This is Republicans trying to keep poor folks from voting.

Now, if you want to talk about fraud, talk about election fraud: How all of the electronic voting machines are not auditable, have had many problems, have no public oversight, etc. Right-wing wingnuts don't concern themselves with these questions because they're not interested: They just want to suppress the votes from poor people.

— On the neighbor message Registering to vote - deadline?
6:29 p.m.

I just returned from an afternoon at the 31st Street Beach. It's an outstanding makeover!

— On the neighbor message Bronzeville 2012: Life's a beach & more
5:39 p.m.

END THE WAR ON DRUGS! These problems will go away. You don't see liquor store owners battling it out on the streets over Corona-selling turf. With an end to drug prohibition and this idiotic drug war (that hasn't worked for the past 30 years), gangs will lose a huge source of their funding, and much of this violence will go away.

8:55 a.m.

Funny. Everyone talks about how to get rid of the homeless. Few talk about how to end homelessness.

8:57 a.m.

Here's an idea: Get the word out that these aren't gang members, they're *terrorists*. That will provide a guaranteed police response, even if the individuals are guilt of nothing.

— On the neighbor message Gang Update..
10:26 a.m.

Graffiti Blasters has failed me: I wrote another post about it here . Weeks and weeks with no response!

8:53 a.m.

If I hire one of those crews from Indiana, will they launch bottle rockets from their butts ala DarkAngel's video?

— On the neighbor message (Illegal) Fireworks For Hire!
8:50 a.m.

I believe it's the Kelsey Grammar vehicle "Boss."

— On the neighbor message Movie at Cermak & Halsted
3:35 p.m.

I wonder if providing tenancy to an established felon and nuisance to the the community would open the owner/management company to civil liability ...

— On the neighbor message Gang Update..
9:23 a.m.

Another idea:

— On the neighbor message After the SmokeOut....
3:37 p.m.

I've often wondered if today's surveillance apparatus could be directed toward gang-banging ne'er-do-wells. In other words, photograph/videotape the gang members, then publish this online. Allow for cross-linking the visual imagery with meta data of real names and addresses (and eventually schools and employers) of the gang members. Publish everything publicly on the Internet and let other users add to (and qualify) the data. Conduct Search Engine Optimization on the site, and these individuals now have a permanent black mark on their record: In the future, anyone looking up one of these gang-banging individual's names will find their unsavory past activities.

I'm on the fence about building a site like this; one one hand, I do think it would be an effective way to target gang activity. On the other hand, it might make it tough for any kid who wants to get out of the gang and go straight to do so. Thoughts?

— On the neighbor message After the SmokeOut....
11:53 a.m.

Nice tip on the car wax: Sounds cheaper than the nano-particle "graffiti abatement systems"

— On the neighbor message Graffiti Blasters: Where have you gone?
1:43 a.m.

My wife is going bonkers over the new Costco. We haven't been yet, but it looks like we will!

— On the neighbor message New Costco on Ashland
11:12 a.m.

Folks, read your Bible! Bigotry is baked right in; it doesn't matter your denomination. From the slavery-supporting Old Testament to the women-hating New Testament (e.g. Timothy 2:12), you can't be "Christian" and be tolerant. At least, not if you profess to follow the Bible. (That being said, most American "Christians" have never read the Bible, nor do they bother to ponder the theosophical underpinnings of what they profess to believe.) Anyone who doesn't believe and obey is going to suffer eternal torture beyond imagining: That's Christianity for you.

Now, I fully tolerate people wanting to have their own crazy beliefs, getting together to hoot and holler, etcetera. But evangelical Christianity in America has demonstrated a professed, aggressive agenda to force their specific belief system down everyone else's throats, and in areas that have nothing to do with religion.

It is highly disturbing that so many churches have adopted an explicitly political agenda (even though this technically calls their non-profit status into account; they thumb their noses at this requirement). The same holds true for creationists who want to push the introduction of "magic" into all of our children's science classes. Another example are the "Christian" legislators who oppose anti-bullying laws because it might prevent continued harassment of gay kids.

The list goes on and on ... so many of these evangelical Christians have an explicit, society-changing agenda that has nothing to do with tolerance. And that's something worth speaking out against.

Finally, on a purely practical, neighborhood level, a potentially negative impact this church will have is reduced property tax revenues.

1:27 p.m.

Paul, if you're thinking of leaving the neighborhood due to gang problems, I think you're off-base. McKinley Park does suffer from the nuisance crimes of graffiti and some other urban issues, but it's nowhere near the level of criminal activity in other parts of town that offer commercial/industrial spaces (like Pilsen, Little Village, Stockyards/Back of the Yards, etc.). McKinley Park benefits from its location as the geographic center of Chicago, close to all the Interstates, shipping canal, rail yards, business support services and Midway Airport, with the Loop only 10 minutes away. Good public transportation and a ready base of workers are additional business advantages.

Unfortunately, graffiti is part of the cost of living in the city: I anticipate this as a resident, and I would imagine many businesses also include graffiti mitigation and cleanup in their maintenance operating budgets. Planning for it should help to minimize costs. I believe the benefits of McKinley Park vastly outweigh any disadvantages, and I encourage you to stay.

— On the neighbor message Graffiti Blasters: Where have you gone?
10:55 a.m.

There should be security cameras all over that intersection, right?

— On the neighbor message Biker hit and run archer and halsted.
8:24 a.m.

My question is: Why weren't these perps arrested and prosecuted? You have victims, witnesses, perpetrators and police. Do they just refuse to do their jobs?!?!?!

— On the neighbor message Gang Issues
7:50 p.m.

Thanks, InCognito. After poking around teh Internets a bit, I discovered all kinds of interesting stuff about anti-graffiti coatings; here's a jumping-off link:
Wikipedia also breaks down some of the science:

Looks like I have more research to do ...

— On the neighbor message Graffiti Blasters: Where have you gone?
11:18 p.m.

Hi Cindy! To you and all the other Radio Arte homework assignees: Head over to Halsted and 18th and start cruising up and down the Podmajersky wonder-strip. You should be able to find something there -- especially if you go on a Second Fridays ( Anne Farley Gaines is a longtime Pilsen textile artist who still has connections in the 'hood, I believe. Her Web site is at .

— On the neighbor message Potential Community Weavers
9:47 p.m.

Thanks for the suggestions and information. Hey, can anyone recommend an anti-graffiti coating product? We're getting the garage overhauled, and I want to slather everything in a substance that allows for easy clean-up. I've heard tell of coatings that allow for soap-and-water graffiti removal, but I'm looking for a local source ... please post any recommendations here. Thanks!

— On the neighbor message Graffiti Blasters: Where have you gone?
9:36 p.m.

Hey Danyelle, you may be interested in talking to Nuco at Studio One Chicago tattoo parlor at 1010 W. 18th St. It's a colorful spot, and he's an interesting local guy. Their Web site is

— On the neighbor message help needed for my profile
10:17 a.m.

I wonder if any of these kids are into sports ... a community basketball league (or whatever) might pull some of the wanna-bes on the cusp away from falling into gang life.

On the more offensive front, a broken vial of butyric acid at the spot where they loiter may prove a powerful deterrent.

— On the neighbor message Gang Issues
10:15 a.m.

Well, I did call Balcer's office about the pot ticketing proposal, and spoke to a lady on the phone, leaving my message and name and phone number. Balcer actually did call me back ... I was pretty surprised.
There's no real difference between Republicans and Democrats: In this country, we actually have a single-party system: The Business Party.

— On the neighbor message Big Deal
10:04 a.m.

Anastasia, the vast majority of gang-related violence is connected to gangs that are engaged in sales of illicit narcotics. One way to vastly cut down on gang-related violence is to end the ridiculous War on Drugs, which enriches and enables a criminal class at the expense of us all. I encourage you to begin researching and advocating for an end to prohibition to end all (or most) of this gang violence.

— On the neighbor message Gang Issues
5:04 p.m.

11th Ward Alderman Balcer may still be on the fence, apparently. I encourage others in Bridgeport and surrounding areas to give his office a call at 773-254-6677 and let him know your feelings on the issue.

— On the neighbor message Quinn looks like he has a pretty good buzz
9:20 a.m.

Thanks, Rene. I just called Balcer's office and voiced my opinion that he should support the mayor's push for decriminalization of possession of small amounts of pot. I encourage others to do the same!

1:45 p.m.

Also, if we do get a new foot of topsoil, how long will it take until it's contaminated again?

— On the neighbor message Garden Soil Testing - Recommendations?
8:40 a.m.

We have a kid (currently 8 months) and a backyard. Should I be concerned about letting the kid play in the backyard, even if only on the grass? Should we go ahead and get a foot of all-new topsoil? (Our yard is pretty small, so this is a possibility.)

— On the neighbor message Garden Soil Testing - Recommendations?
8:35 a.m.

I second Grandmother: Archer Avenue would be a great spot for a protected bike lane: It's a very convenient way to get to Chinatown or most of the way downtown by bike.

8:32 a.m.

Stay classy, Albany Park.

— On the neighbor message Illegal Carpark on Front Lawn
12:26 a.m.

What's up with Graffiti Blasters? I used to call 311, and the graffiti would be cleaned up within a couple days. Service seems to be much worse now: My garage door has been covered in graffiti (tagged when we were out of town on vacation), and it's been two weeks since I called 311 and also submitted an online request through the city's Web site.
Graffiti Blasters seems to have much worse service and coverage than it did only a year or two ago.

1:13 p.m.

Ah, but Lola, they have to have some scapegoats to justify all of this expense and hassle for the Security State.

11:15 a.m.

Chicago street fests are great! Soliciting donations for a worthy cause is great! Preventing access to public streets with fences, gates and bouncers? Not good at all. Illegally barring admission to residents, their guests and business patrons unless they pony up the "mandatory donation"? Ridiculous and illegal.

3:59 p.m.

So, Alex, say you're tired and want to head to your home to relax. However, you are barred from accessing the public way until you "show your papers" to a private street festival employee?!?! Ridiculous.

11:01 a.m.

Thanks much, NOYB. Here's a very illustrative quote:
“Historically, the city expended valuable resources in supporting street festivals, the organizers of which often represented profitable businesses and professional companies who were simply not paying their fair share,” said budget spokeswoman Kathleen Strand.

1:49 p.m.

I just noticed the specific description in the notice: The company that specifically was mentioned is Star Events, here's their Web site: .

11:35 a.m.

NOYB, this makes perfect sense. I can't imagine that a local charity/street fest beneficiary would encourage or tolerate this behavior. However, if a contracted private firm is trying to extract maximum profit out of a public street fest, it makes sense that they'd resort to whatever quasi-legal (or outright illegal) behavior they think they can get away with.
So now, who are these private firms? Anyone have any names of who's been contracted to run what?

11:30 a.m.

Hey, Alex, didn't Taste of Randolph get in big trouble several years ago for manhandling and illegally detaining fest attendees?

11:09 a.m.

I don't think anyone wants to ban street festivals: My original (and still sole) objection is that these festivals will commonly treat these public spaces as their own private venues and block the way of citizens who have every right to access that public way.
I, too, have been hassled multiple times by thuggish street festival employees: They always seem to put the biggest goons by their gated entrances.
I can't stand it, so what I do is walk through/past the gates and employees like they don't exist. If they try to talk to me, I ignore them. If they block my way, I tell them that they're illegally blocking access to a public street and to immediately let me through. If they obstruct me, or touch me in any way, I call for Police and ask to file a report for assault.
The "mandatory donation" is a common tactic of street festivals: It seems to be part of their Standard Operating Procedure. Many people get hassled like this: I'm clearly not the only one who's upset by it. And if you take a look around the Web, you'll find lots of other examples (e.g. )

11:07 a.m.

1) Rent a gargantuan PA system, plug it in, and point it at their party.
2) Put on your Carpenters CDs.
3) Turn it up to 11.
4) Leave, and go enjoy a nice dinner out.

— On the neighbor message Another Unsettling Night
10:47 a.m.

Just imagine: If we didn't have the War on Drugs, these would all just be nice kids hanging in the park.

— On the neighbor message more police presence
10:43 a.m.

I thought the deal with protected bike lanes was that they didn't eat up any more street real estate, they just switched the location of the parked cars and bike lane so that the bike lane was between parked cars and the sidewalk.
So, if it's now:
Street | Bike Lane | Parking Lane | Sidewalk
It gets changed to:
Street | Parking Lane | Bike Lane | Sidewalk

— On the neighbor message Protect Historic King Drive
10:40 a.m.

I believe there needs to be two available exits from every room in order for it to be considered safe in a fire. I think this may be a principle in Chicago's fire code. There should be some options for a security grate that will open from the inside in the case of fire ...

— On the neighbor message Bars on windows
10:36 a.m.

Gunner, why should anyone have to justify their access to a public street to a private street festival employee? Access should be open by default, and citizens should not have to undergo interrogation when trying to traverse public property.

It's not the people who attend festivals on a pubic street who should feel obliged to pay: These festivals make a decision to use a public space for their event, so they should present it as being free and open to the public. I think it's great if these events can benefit worthy local organizations, but the strong-arm "mandatory donation" entrance fees have to stop.

If you really want to force an admission charge, there's a very simple solution: Rent the Congress Theater and charge whatever you want.

1:03 a.m.

My objection is that festival organizers and staff commonly misrepresent these fees as being mandatory. It's not like you show up at a festival and a nice lady explains their mission and asks for a donation: You are forced to queue up in line, go through a gate, and be individually confronted by a typically aggressive fee-taker who demands money (and who *never* explains that the entrance fee is actually an optional donation).
If you're lucky, you might see a sign explaining how the collected monies are being used; this sign might even have the words "suggested donation" on it, but it will undoubtedly be in tiny print and hardly noticeable.
I've seen festival staffers be pushy and intimidating when people try to access the public street. (Wasn't the Taste of Randolph sued a couple years ago for trying to mandate admission fees or roughing up an attendee, or something like this?)
Looking at the Do Division Web site is telling, as information about both the beneficiaries of the festival and the fact that the entrance fee is an optional donation are buried on an interior page of the site under a heading titled "Fine Print."

4:08 p.m.

I have no problem at all paying if the money goes toward a worthy cause. However, there's almost never any mention of where the money's going, who it is benefiting and how it is being used. Thuggish street fest employees and gated entrances reinforce this masquerade of the "mandatory donation."
I have already paid for access to these public streets via taxes and Chicago's endless municipal fees. If a street festival wants to mandate an admission charge, there's a simple solution: Either assume the costs of getting a proper permit, or book a private venue.

2:26 p.m.

Get with the times. Bikes are better than cars for safety, noise, pollution and commerce. I applaud Chicago's pro-bike initiatives, and the protected bike lanes are a good idea (and do work). I would see this infrastructure investment as a positive element for affected neighborhoods, not as a negative. And I don't see protected bike lanes as a heavy-duty overhaul that will affect the Drive's appearance or "history."

— On the neighbor message Protect Historic King Drive
4:59 p.m.

Ravenswood "Patriot": What you're paying for is the ability to walk down your Ravenswood street without having to fight off gangs of uneducated, disenfranchised teens gone wilding. What you're also paying for is living in a society that has an educated work force available for industry, business, etc., not to mention all of the other benefits that good public education brings to society. If only the rich can afford a quality education, society is going to be much worse off for everyone, including private school patrons such as yourself.

— On the neighbor message Walker wins recall in a landslide!
10:34 a.m.

Ravenswood "Patriot": Review your U.S. history. This is what workers used to face before people started getting together to demand reasonable working conditions and pay. Yes, the system gets abused, but it's nowhere near the corruption that big business places into government and that's robbing us all. You're literally taking money away from teachers and working folks and giving it to rich douchebags. Congratulations.

— On the neighbor message Walker wins recall in a landslide!
9:35 a.m.

The next enemy: The Chicago Police Union. Let's bust this socialist pinko union and keep those greedy, privileged cops from living like fat cats and taking all of the money away from where it belongs. Who do these cops think they are, being in a union?!?!?! This isn't communist Russia! It should be illegal for police officers to be in a socialist organization like a union: And if they object or try to fight it, throw 'em in jail with all of the other socialism-loving liberals. I can't stand how these cops are living off the public dime, always asking for more while doing less (like demanding overtime pay for NATO work). Let's bust their union!
If you've read this far, and if you know any of my other posts, you'll know I'm being ironic. The same folks who cheer Walker's assault on the public good are the same folks who happily ignore the contradictions of their positions. If we didn't have unions, your children would be working at factories right now instead of going to school; not that you'd notice, since you're too tired from working your standard 70-hour work week. And cops would probably get even crappier pay with more dangerous work.

— On the neighbor message Walker wins recall in a landslide!
9:07 a.m.

Thanks, Kara! I have added some new elements over the weekend, including new meeting notices for CAPS and the Hoyne Park Advisory Council, the full summer swimming schedule for open swimming, and some other events.
Also, note that I have created an "Add an Event" form (at which lets anyone submit their event to be included on the site. All submissions are moderated, of course.

11:54 a.m.

There are never too many donut shops in a neighborhood.

— On the neighbor message ummm....anyone else a little...
9:13 a.m.

At this point, I don't know what to believe. The National Lawyers Guild observer lawyers said the cops executed the Bridgeport bust without a warrant, so even if the suspects were making Molotovs, won't this evidence just get thrown out?
I would like to believe the police department and prosecutors, but the past actions of some in Chicago law enforcement (astounding unprofessionalism, corruption and department politization) has unfortunately soured me to much of what I hear coming from the CPD.
Fifty percent of me thinks that once NATO is over (and media attention has moved along) the alleged perpetrators will be released for whatever reason (lack of evidence, no warrant, etc.), and this fact will be quietly mentioned on page 12 of the newspaper, versus this weekend's front-page headlines of Terrorists At NATO.
Well, perhaps these details won't make Page 1 until seven years from now when the City of Chicago agrees to yet another multi-million dollar settlement for illegal actions by its police department.
I hope this doesn't happen, but it seems to becoming an established pattern. ::sigh::

— On the neighbor message @rene....i do read
8:53 a.m.

Johnny, I would say that the protests have been remarkably peaceable so far. Protesting is a right of all Americans: If you're a little bit inconvenienced by it, that's the price of living in America. So is the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

8:33 a.m.

Mister Asterisk, you're the one who's creepy. Why should citizens be afraid of police when they're peacefully voicing their opinions? Are we all to be considered terrorists now?

— On the neighbor message ummm....anyone else a little...
8:30 a.m.

Well, Paul, if that were the case, I'd imagine that the CPD would have announced the legitimate arrests and not now be releasing some of the people they hauled off. Time will tell: Kudos to the cops if they did legitimately stop some violence.
My cause for concern comes from the official statements of observer lawyers from the National Lawyers Guild, who noted that 1) the police did all of this without a warrant, and 2) nothing illegal was taking place.
I hate to say it, but my gut reaction these days tends to go against what the cops are saying, given the enormous recent problems with unprofessional behavior in the CPD (which is costing the city/taxpayers tens of millions of dollars).
Hopefully, this is a legitimate bust and not an illegal tactic to suppress freedom of speech and assembly.

— On the neighbor message Activists 'Disappeared' by CPD?!?!?
2:38 p.m.

Let's all hope for a peaceful and insightful NATO weekend where all can air their views without violence, property damage, or undue limitations on the right to freedom of speech.

— On the neighbor message re: NATO protesters at First Trinity
12:29 p.m.

I doubt that this group will be into (or condones any) violence. The message seems more to promote in-your-face protesting than looting and pillaging.
Still, though, it's this type of messaging that turns people off. Ideally, the protesters would convince others of the validity of their message, but they seem to be talking to themselves here.
For example, I think that all protesters should wear their "Sunday best" when protesting and look as good as possible: Instead of "wear black, fight back," the message should be "wear black tie, fight back."

12:26 p.m.

Thanks much, Tony! I have added the June CAPS information to If the date or place changes, or if anyone else has any information, let me know here or via

11:42 a.m.

I would apply a higher standard to criminality within the police force than to society at large since I would expect this of a police force, and the undue power that criminal cops would wield.
Maybe we need to pay our cops a lot more (Singapore-style) and hold them to much higher degrees of professionalism.
One of the issues I take is the lack of transparency in the process: Information about these repeat offender officers only came about after a long legal fight for these public records. The CPD and everyone else fought tooth and nail to keep this under wraps.
BTW, just came across the following story about CPD officers allegedly getting ready to crack open some skulls at NATO. Caveat emptor ...

— On the neighbor message This is why we can't have nice things ...
4 p.m.

I agree: These are wussy tags. Most contemporary "taggers" are just slapping out their five-second scrawl in easy-to-reach locations. If you want to do something interesting, either do something clever ala Jean-Michel Basquiat or put up some high-quality street art like this recent tribute to MCA: .
We're redoing our garage this summer, and I plan to open up the alley side to any street artists who want to put up their stuff without any hassles. (All gang crap will get painted over immediately, of course.)
Boogie Park in Pilsen is a great spot for some fresh street art, typically. Also, the Lumpen/folks at the Co-Prosperity Sphere in Bridgeport are really into that stuff.

— On the neighbor message Tags In Bridgeport
11:40 a.m.

OK, then you tell me: Why aren't the goons being kicked out? I'm sure that most cops are good, upstanding and professional: Why don't they report the bad ones and get them kicked out? It would be one thing if this was an isolated incident, but a new scandal seems to come out every week that costs the city and taxpayers big money. Also, some of these scandals (like CPD cops running their own drug/robbery rings) go way beyond something that wouldn't be noticed by co-workers and higher-ups.

— On the neighbor message This is why we can't have nice things ...
10:27 a.m.

If you thought Venetian Night was bad for traffic, nothing will beat NATO TRAFFIC MADNESS! The cynic in me wonders how many of these closures don't relate to security, but instead are designed to limit protesters' access to getting their message across.
We were thinking of heading to the kite festival in Lincoln Park on the 19th ... not too sure if that's a good idea now. I'll have to see if my better half can work from home on the 21st, too.
Also, Becca, congrats on your pomotion!

— On the neighbor message Street closings for NATO Summit
11:59 a.m.

Actually, I see the date and time now: I'll get the update in place this weekend.

11:48 p.m.

Hey, Tony! Shoot it over, and I'll get it posted.

11:46 p.m.

@Sharon: Thanks, I didn't know I had her name wrong.
@Tony: I think we could say that Bridgeport Coffee has a strong McKinley Park connection: After all their roastery is right on Ashland in McKinley Park.
This stretch is rapidly turning into a little restaurant/nightlife row, what with Pleasant House, Zaytune, Maria's, Polo, and Bridgeport Pasty (are they open yet?).

4:13 p.m.

I don't see how you're connecting Occupy protesters with a gang of professional robbers. Quite a stretch. I also think you'll be hard-pressed to show where the harm is coming from the remarkably peaceable Occupy movement. Getting out into the streets to legally protest is anything but "hiding."

Your comment of "We need to get rid of about 1/3rd of the population" calls to mind historical pogroms, cullings, racism and genocide. Or perhaps you're thinking of population control via responsible social programs like distributing free contraception and sex education in public schools? I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you're more in the direction of the latter than the former.

— On the neighbor message Robbery
1:42 p.m.

You know, Ringo, Chicago isn't a very pro-genocide kind of town. Maybe you should move downstate.

— On the neighbor message Robbery
12:29 p.m.

@Paul Lukis: If you're worried about traffic congestion, then you should support this bus. Each bus is the equivalent to about 50 cars off the road (on average). From what I recall, this bus line will also run through McKinley Park on Archer. I encourage you to support this bus line!

11:37 a.m.

B.K. Ray: Currently illegal drugs were absolutely part of a legal-at-the-time industry prior to becoming illegal! Check out Laudanum or any number of other concoctions produced before the existence of the FDA. Also, a lot of those good old boys in the red states aren't smoking corn silk: Marijuana is Kentucky's No. 1 cash crop, is it not?
I agree that harder drugs deserve a different approach, but one focused on treating the illness of addiction, rather than heavy-handed interdiction. You should really read up on how Portugal has changed its approach, saving many lives and lots of money.

7:25 p.m.

Fully agree with Alex. Do you want gang violence to disappear across the country? Cut off their money supply by ending prohibition. You don't see liquor store owners battling it out in the streets for their Corona beer distribution territory ... The war on drugs is a failure and has caused more harm than any help it has provided.

10:15 a.m.

Although this place isn't in Bridgeport, it's right next door in Pilsen: Vera's Auto Repair at 1034 W. 21st St. I've had fantastic experiences with them working on my Toyota.

10:52 a.m.

Thanks for your feedback, Endless Nameless. I have acquired the domain and just need to get things set up and rolling. I'm a Web pro, and this is an interesting project. Once things are a little further along, I'll be sure to announce it here. The focus will be on building a non-commercial site that truly and exclusively serves the neighborhood.

11:33 a.m.

It's very interesting that an "elite" members-only club would choose to locate at 600 W. Cermak. Has anyone been to this venue? Precious little information is available online about dpettys ... sounds like a new place. Their Web site at offers some information, but all interior pics are CGI design concepts only. I don't think they'll be pulling members away from the University Club, Union League Club, etc. any time soon, but that doesn't appear to be their audience anyway.

— On the event #EGGHEAD MF Day Party
11:10 a.m.

That smell comes from the North Side: It's the smell of despair that wafts off Cubs fans at the start of every baseball season.

— On the neighbor message Whats that smell near 31st & Lituanica?
9:10 a.m.

Wait ... where did I park the car?

— On the neighbor message To Bridgeport Area I-Go Users
6:52 p.m.

LOL @ Tina. On one hand, you talk about how there's no option for poor/ex-cons, so they have no choice but to return to crime. One the other hand, you advocate eliminating programs which help keep these folks from committing further crimes. This doesn't add up. You've been watching too much Fox News, honey.

— On the neighbor message Joannies Thrift Store Robbed
9:50 a.m.

And, to be fair, the Zhou brothers have done a lot for this immediate area, too.

9:44 a.m.

I have yet to try a Bridgeport Pasty. One this opens up, Morgan Street will really be starting to turn into a "restaurant row" for the neighborhood: Pleasant House, Bridgeport Coffee, Zaytune, Polo ... I gotta give Edmar and the Lumpen hippie art freaks credit for bringing business to this neighborhood.

9:42 a.m.

As I recall, McKinley Park was divided into two beats; this looks to be a better fit for the neighborhood, and to conform to McKinley Park's official "community area" boundaries.

1:57 p.m.

Thanks for pulling this together, Joe. It looks like the beats have changed, too, or is that just me?

11:44 a.m.

I've lived in Bridgeport, and I currently live in McKinley Park, and I don't think there's a huge difference in crime levels. Both neighborhoods have their problem spots. I do think, however, that McKinley Park is a bit quieter than Bridgeport, and there aren't nearly as many panhandlers.

2:04 p.m.

I've sometimes encountered racist jagoffs at Bernice's. And the management seems to tolerate this behavior ...

— On the neighbor message Where i like to go for a good Drink!
11:39 a.m.

To be more accurate, the city sticker should show pictures of crooked poiticians' and police officers' hands reaching upward for money raining down from fat cat businessmen and gang leaders.

10:49 a.m.

FYI, I started a thread about this before I found this one. Note that Everyblock is mapping this discussion to 47th and Western, when Cha Chas is at Pershing and Western.

— On the neighbor message Cha Cha's is applying for a Liquor License
11:31 a.m.

In my opinion, it would be much better to get the old 3600 Club back and operational than to grant a tavern license to Cha Chas.

11:22 a.m.

Here's how you deal with the troubled snowballin youths: Stockpile your own set of snowballs, hide outside, wait until they throw at your window, then yell "Get 'em" and let them have it with your snowballs.

11:15 a.m.

I agree, lweir, there is actually very little difference between Democratic and Republican politicians: They're pretty much all in the pocket of the wealthy and powerful. Class warfare has been underway for the past 30 years in the U.S., and it's been perpetrated by the wealthy against the rest of us under the false rubric of trickle-down economics. If you do a little Googling, you can find lots of evidence of undercover police provocation at G8 summits. Peaceful protest and assembly is every U.S. citizen's right, and laws which inhibit this are illegal. It's too bad that Rahm doesn't respect or follow our established laws in the Bill of Rights.

— On the neighbor message Library Hours & G8 Ordinances
1:48 p.m.

I don't know if I'd say that's always the case, Josiah, and I would certainly hope not. But illegal actions by the Chicago Police Department and other law enforcement agencies (especially during other G8 summits) has definitely colored my view of police for the worse. A shame ... these are supposed to be the folks who protect us.

— On the neighbor message Library Hours & G8 Ordinances
9:16 a.m.

The thing that's really disgusting is when the police send in agent provaceteurs (undercover officers who initiate problems while pretending to be peaceful protesters) to cause violence and disruption during otherwise peaceful protests. This has happened at all the other G8 conferences. Shouldn't it be illegal when police perpetrate or inspire crime?

— On the neighbor message Library Hours & G8 Ordinances
10:01 a.m.

I'm very happy that at least some of the library cuts are being rolled back. It now looks like we'll still have most branches open six days a week; they're going to cut Monday morning hours, but keep Monday afternoons.

— On the neighbor message WiFi at the library
1:59 p.m.

For pro-dibs people, "dibs worthy" is 1/16-inch of lukewarm rain.

— On the neighbor message Chairs and garbage in the street
9:14 a.m.

Thanks, Joe. Although economic development is sorely needed in the proposed TIF district stretches (primarily in McKinley Park along 35th Street and Archer Avenue), won't most TIF district funds just end up going to well-connected developers and projects outside our neighborhood? See for some good background. I know that this shadow budget abuse was a relic of the Daley administration ... I wonder if Rahm will start distributing TIF funds more fairly.

— On the neighbor message McKinley park in 12th Ward
11:16 a.m.

Joe, where is the TIF zone? Here in McKinley Park?

— On the neighbor message McKinley park in 12th Ward
8:56 a.m.

I thought Cha Cha's already had a liquor license. However, being a gringo, I have not gone in there. It sounds like it's pretty wild.

— On the neighbor message Cha Cha's is applying for a Liquor License
5:03 p.m.

Comment posted on Web site:

WESLEY WU - grey hoodie, main kid attacking the man
EASLEY WU - big puffy jackey with fur hood, blue striped adidas pants
RAYMOND PALOMINO - white guy with no mask
TODD RAMOS - grey and black hoodie
JOHNNY LI - blue hoodie and blue snap back on
DANNY HUI - dressed in all black

Could these be the perpetrators?

— On the media mention Brutal Beating Captured on Video
8:46 a.m.

I've noted many prostitution arrests near 47th and Rockwell ... this may be one of those "hot spots." I'm currently in McKinley Park and loving it ...

— On the neighbor message Is Brighton Park a decent area?
11:10 a.m.

Dibs Prank No. 5: "Chain o' Dibs"

Look for adjacent dibs-occupied parking spaces, then take a long chain or steel cable, thread it through the dibs junk and lock off the ends with bolts or cheap padlocks.

— On the neighbor message Chairs and garbage in the street
2:22 p.m.

Dibs Prank No. 4: "The Scorched Earth Policy"

Find a set of dibs that includes semi-sturdy items (lawn furniture, plastic crates, etc.), then use strips of sheet metal and pound-in masonry anchors to permanently affix the dibs to the street.

— On the neighbor message Chairs and garbage in the street
11:56 a.m.

Protip: Many types of ice melt are toxic to dogs.

— On the neighbor message Curb your Dog!!
8:58 a.m.

Dibs Prank No. 3: "The Girly Man"

Look for the biggest, most macho truck on your block claiming dibs. Then, swap out their dibs for large crates of feminine hygiene products, adult diaper boxes, Real Doll crates, etc.

— On the neighbor message Chairs and garbage in the street
8:54 a.m.

Dibs Prank No. 2: "The Garage Sale"
Drive around your neighborhood and pick up dibs. Take them all to your garage, open the door, and put out a "Dibs for Sale" sign.

— On the neighbor message Chairs and garbage in the street
7:07 p.m.

Dibs Prank No. 1: Switch your neighbors' dibs.

— On the neighbor message Chairs and garbage in the street
12:18 p.m.

The ultimate solution to this is to end the utterly failed War on Drugs. Prohibition simply doesn't work: It didn't work in the 1920s with alcohol, and it's utterly failing us now. End the War on Drugs, and drug houses like this (and the gangs and violence associated with them) will disappear. You don't see liquor store owners gunning it out in the streets over cases of Corona ...

— On the neighbor message Pilsen Miller Street drug house activity
11:23 a.m.

I couldn't imagine how this could exactly work. I just look at the history of CPD, including the Special Operations Section and more recently, incidents like Antonio C. Martinez Jr. robbing on behalf of street gangs, and I wonder how any of this could not have been noticed by higher-ups and fellow officers. Ya gotta wonder ...

— On the neighbor message Pilsen Miller Street drug house activity
1:21 a.m.

... well, maybe not all the time, but far more often than it should.

— On the neighbor message Pilsen Miller Street drug house activity
12:58 p.m.

Maybe this is one of those cases where corrupt cops get paid by street gangs to let them conduct their business unmolested. Seems to happen in Chicago all the time ...

— On the neighbor message Pilsen Miller Street drug house activity
10:58 a.m.

Hm. It's unfortunate that some folks are feeling intimidated by criminal elements in the neighborhood. Fortunately, McKinley Park's gang problems are quite tame compared to many other hoods, but I do think it's important that folks speak up about problems.
At the November CAPS meeting, I brought up the gang issues surrounding the property at 3700 S. Wood, and it elicited a whole lot of response, including information about the absentee property owner and a number of other concerned neighbors who have been dealing with this problem for years.
If I had not spoken up, I'm certain the CAPS officers would not have inspired this type of discussion. (In fact, the Ninth District commander was present and spent quite a bit of time talking about how people should not use the Internet to communicate amongst themselves about these sort of things ... I think he got reamed at a Bridgeport CAPS meeting and was still smarting from it.)

11:11 a.m.

Pretty lame. I had a neighbor parking his truck on our parkway next to our house until I called the cops to have him ticketed. (I asked him first not to do this before making the call.)

— On the neighbor message Parking Cheaters
10:57 a.m.

How do you mean, John? Are CAPS meetings being surveilled?

9:34 a.m.

Thanks for the info, John. I've noticed that the neighborhood organizations seem to have many elderly members, some of whom may have been more active in the past. (Also, it sounded like some longtime neighborhood leaders had passed away.)

I'm trying to get personally involved via CAPS and the McKinley Park Civic Association. I've also heard tell of a Friends of McKinley Park group, as well as a Friends of the McKinley Park Public Library. In addition to local networking, I do think a neighborhood Web site could fill some informational gaps (like a community calendar of events).

9:45 p.m.

Hi Marcus! I wonder how hard it would be to sync this with Chicago's surveillance apparatus. For example, many police vehicles are now equipped with license plate cameras: Could they be set to tell if a walk hasn't been shoveled? Or all of the stationary surveillance cameras wired in all over the city and centrally controlled downtown. This could be set up to automatically poop out tickets and automated fines, mailed to the property owner. Perhaps a way to fill part of Chicago's budget hole?

— On the neighbor message Shovel your sidewalk or be fined?
11:07 a.m.

Does Bridgeport/McKinley Park have an active economic development organization? I agree that there's a lot of potential retail opportunity that's going out the door, especially on Halsted. What's the Alderman's position on all of this?

— On the neighbor message Check out Calabruzzi's on 33rd and Halsted
10:05 a.m.

It's unfortunate that this place shut down. Erica and her family were very nice, and I found the food to be quite good. I see this as part of the commercial malaise of 35th Street. This stretch has every chance of being a good retail/commercial district, but I understand that Chicago changed the zoning on 35th to that of primarily residential, which makes it hard to achieve a critical mass of commercial/retail activity.
It would be interesting, I think, to compare this stretch with the rapidly developing area in Bridgeport around 31st and Morgan. This area is burgeoning, thanks to some great anchor establishments (Bridgeport Coffee, Maria's, Pleasant House, Zaytune) and the presence of the Lumpen art group, which brings a lot of hipsters and outsiders to the neighborhood. I see all of these vacant storefronts on 35th and wonder if any could/would be used as an art exhibition space, whether short-term or long-term. Perhaps these types of activities might bring more traffic and business to the neighborhood ...

— On the neighbor message did the #5th street cafe go out of buisness?
8:34 a.m.

Thanks for the recommendations, everyone!

— On the neighbor message McKinley Park Child Care Recommendations
11:18 p.m.

Don't forget to keep Saturn in Saturnalia!

9:32 a.m.

Another "let's round up the poor people" post. You could just as easily say that the poorly performing students will now have a shot at a decent education.

9:31 a.m.

I'll also note that these kinds of attacks have taken place in Lincoln Park and Streeterville, too, from perpetrators from outside the neighborhood.

— On the neighbor message Robbery near Prairie/Indiana Ave
11:23 a.m.

It doesn't sound like there's any evidence where the perpetrators came from. (It would be one thing if folks were arrested and we knew their addresses.) @Ringo: Those poor people may want to stay in neighborhoods due to proximity to schools and jobs. What should we do: Round up all poor people and put them into camps? Sounds like 1%er bigotry to me ... Being poor is not a crime.

— On the neighbor message Robbery near Prairie/Indiana Ave
11:22 a.m.

I can't recall if these are two- or three-hour meters; I do believe that parking is free after 9 p.m., though.

— On the neighbor message parking?
3:42 p.m.

This guy looks like he might be a Lumpen (or going to/from the Co-Prosperity Sphere).

— On the neighbor message Every Wonder Why Things don't change?
10:20 a.m.

Protip for Chinatown parking (if no other space is easily available): Look east of Clark on Archer; there's often metered spaces available in front of the big condo building and in front of the school. (Usually, this is my go-to for busy days/nights in Chinatown when other parking isn't available.)

— On the neighbor message parking?
10:18 a.m.

I'm glad I called as well: The City would undoubtedly not announce which branches they plan to close, due to the uproar it will cause. As was said at the CAPS meeting: Hours are being cut, funding is being massively cut, staff is being cut, and the library is being told to schedule no meetings for 2012. Put 2+2 together, and you have the preparatory ingredients for a complete shutdown. I encourage all McKinley Park residents to still call in about this: Today is the last day!

9:06 a.m.

I'd hate to drive you away from this area, Denisha: Bridgeport is changing very rapidly, and any racism is quickly disappearing. Especially if you check out the Morgan and 31st Street area, you'll see the "new" Bridgeport coming in (with Lumpen HQ, Maria's, Pleasant House, Bridgeport Coffee, etc.). Heck, some mornings at Bridgeport Coffee, it looks more like Lincoln Park than Bridgeport.

— On the neighbor message African Americans in Bridgeport?
1:34 p.m.

Sounds like she tried to file a police report, but the cops wouldn't comply.

— On the neighbor message Attempted Rape/Kidnapping
10:10 a.m.

I don't know that the Bridgeport racism factor would be any less east of Halsted than west of Halsted ... in fact, I'd say that the racism is probably worse east of Halsted due to the larger population of longtime white residents. (Yes, general crime is worse west of Halsted.)
When I hear about recent racism incidents in Bridgeport, it's usually centered around businesses that tolerate it from staff and clientele. (In particular, I've heard of incidents at Scoops Ice Cream and Bernice's Tavern). Nothing overt: Just jagoff white jerks using the N word and talking crap.
Unfortunately, Bridgeport does have a history of violent racism, but this seems to be far in the past. There is still a small population of itinerant, ignorant, middle-aged white men in Bridgeport, most of whom are unemployed drunks. I think in this day and age, any racism in Bridgeport would only be coming from folks like these, but I would not expect more than verbal harassment from these jerks.

— On the neighbor message African Americans in Bridgeport?
10:09 a.m.

I had the most expensive (and most delicious) donut ever at Nightwood's brunch: the butterscotch-and-bacon donut. It's beyond delicious, but you're paying close to $5 for a single donut hole.
You may also want to consider Mundial Cocina Mestiza at 1640 W. 18th Street -- I've had great brunches there before. I'd advise staying away from Kristoffer's ... unless you're getting a tres leches cake to go. Also, don't forget that you're very close to Chinatown, where their take on brunch is dim sum. Finally, if you want to venture south, check out Amelia's at 43rd and Halsted: Really delicious nuevo Latino food.

— On the neighbor message Brunch?
4:50 p.m.

Another way to help eradicate gang violence in your community is to support drug decriminalization/appropriate legalization of drug usage by responsible, consenting adults. None of the extreme violence and crime would be taking place if gangs didn't have a valuable product to sell. The Drug War has clearly failed, and it's time to deal with this issue responsibly. The U.S. tried prohibition before, and it didn't work. (It did, however, fuel the growth of organized crime.) Support drug legalization/decriminalization to help end crime and violence in your community!

— On the neighbor message crimes
4:44 p.m.

@Observer, boy, I could go on and on in replying to this ...
@Becca/Everyblock: You know, I'd like to talk about issues with my neighbors ... not just things that are explicitly local. The fact that we're locals talking about something makes it local in my book.

— On the neighbor message When will people make this THEIR country?
6:06 p.m.

Protip for Lindy's: Eat at the bar. (Although tough to do with kids.)

— On the neighbor message Lindy's just keeps getting better ...
10:35 a.m.

What Bob Citizen and The Observer overlook is that our government has been completely co-opted by the wealthy. Look at most Washington politicians: They move from elected position to highly paid lobbyist position and back again. They create and support unpopular laws that harm our country and our citizenry at the benefit of the very few at the top ... and our elected representatives are those folks at the top. It's not enough to just say "vote the bums out" when the entire voting process is corrupted, both directly by money and by those in power.
@The Observer: Yes, capitalism is supposed to fix these things, but what we have today is not capitalism: We have socialism for the wealthy and mega-corporations (through things like tax breaks and the absurdly low capital gains tax), while the rest of us assume all the risk and cost. This ain't capitalism: It's oligarchy.

— On the neighbor message When will people make this THEIR country?
10:31 a.m.

P@K is right: The costs of these social programs are a tiny drop in a bucket compared to the tax giveaways awarded to giant corporations, and the costs of our unending wars (Iraq, Afghanistan, the war on drugs). Although I do appreciate the original poster's sentiment (and many of the things people said as follow-up) the real enemy is corporate welfare. The wealthy and mega-corporations do not pay their fair share; if they did, we'd have more than enough money to pay for services for all.

— On the neighbor message When will people make this THEIR country?
9:18 p.m.

Yes, the chili is the same: All Lindy's restaurants share the same chili recipe, apparently. What's new on the menu at Archer and Western is a bunch of new sandwiches and appetizers. (And the good beer.) I'll also note that the dining room has been overhauled, with all of the fixed, fast food-style seating removed and replaced with booths and tables.

— On the neighbor message Lindy's just keeps getting better ...
11:18 a.m.

I'll post a roundup of what I discover!

4:15 p.m.

Great, Joe: Thanks for the information. I'm going to try to attend!

12:24 p.m.

Thanks, Joe: Are you a member? I've been doing some networking with local neighborhood tech pros, and we've been spitballing a Web site to support the neighborhood. We've been trying to find one or more good organizations to work with, and it sounds like the MPCA might be a great fit ... Any additional information or links you can provide would be appreciated!

11:59 a.m.

Go team! The Midwest Generation power plants (in Pilsen and Little Village) are toxin-spewing killers that have not had pollution controls upgraded since the Eisenhower era. These plants are literally responsible for dozens of deaths per year and untold asthma attacks and emergency room visits ( As far as I'm concerned, the board of directors, officers and investors of Midwest Generation have blood on their hands! Why do we allow these killers to continue to harm Chicago and its citizens? If you are a Chicagoan who cares about this issue (as all should), you need to speak up and be heard. Another way to make your voice heard is to pull all of your investments out of Edison International (EIX) stock (and/or find investment funds who do not touch EIX): If you're investing in EIX, you're harming Chicago and its citizens.

— On the neighbor message I have a right to breathe clean air!
10:24 a.m.

lweir, the 99% protesters are the real protests going on, not the corporate-backed, fake "protests" of the Tea Partiers. Things have been getting very bad for almost everyone in this country, and yes, this is powered by bad actors in our economy, in particular, large multi-national banks. The American Dream is being killed, and the 99% of the rest of us want to get it back. Look at any of the actual facts: homelessness, childhood poverty, lack of access to affordable health care, the reductions in business innovation due to monopoly control, etc. You're either on the side of the ultra-wealthy, or you're with the rest of us, lweir. And this matters in every neighborhood in the country, much less Chicago.

— On the neighbor message 99% protester
10:47 a.m.

For our place, the city put in one of those "smart" meters, replacing the old one. Our meter is under the sidewalk in front of our place, accessed via a small cover. Could yours be in front of your property, too? Protip for water savings: Use rain barrels connected to your downspouts for water for plants.

— On the neighbor message water meters?
11:25 a.m.

I think the ice cream trucks trump the DJs any day of the week. They are the true noise menace on the streets! (Just now can't get "Turkey in the Straw" out of my head ... De de deet de de deedle de de deedle de de de ...)

— On the neighbor message Bank of America Marathon/ DJ's and noise
1:53 p.m.

The best spot for a new Chicago dog park is 1060 W. Addison. It would be a massive improvement over how the space is currently used.

— On the neighbor message Armour "Dog" Park
12:54 p.m.

I just read an article (Chicago Tribune?) about how many of Chicago neighborhoods are "park poor," where kids have to use the street to play nearby. I see dog ownership as a luxury that takes second place to citizens' needs. I have little sympathy for the "plight" of dog owners, especially for those who must own a dog so large as to need lots of space to run around. This is a big city, after all, and when you make a choice to own a large dog when you live in (probably) a smaller space, you're doing a disservice to the dog, and probably your neighbors, too. Park money is much better spent on parks for people (especially in currently underserved areas).
I'd have nothing against a dog park in a converted vacant space, but it would sure be nice to have the dog owners take on some/most of the costs for support of their specific need/hobby.

— On the neighbor message Armour "Dog" Park

So many areas of Chicago are park-poor, there should be a priority on parks for people over parks for dogs. Too many dog owners let their dogs run off-leash, don't pick up after their pooches,etc. I agree that a vacant lot is a more appropriate venue for a dog park than a city park.

— On the neighbor message Armour "Dog" Park
10:32 a.m.

NEVER get an apartment in the City of Chicago without a lease. Chicago has excellent tenant's rights on the books, which provide a good degree of protection from things like this. However, if you don't have a lease, you're hosed.
I agree that the best thing to do would be to move out ASAP. You will probably not get your money back; going to small claims court may be successful, but it will take a lot of time and hassle.
To get the most out of this situation, stop paying rent and make your moving plans to get out by the end of the month. Even though you don't have a lease, it's still illegal for the land/slumlord to prevent access to your unit until you're officially out. (Just call the Sheriff and report an "illegal lockout").

— On the neighbor message Renters beware. Weigh in on this
10:22 a.m.

You should file a police report. Also, on which block do you live?

— On the neighbor message Wagon Pulling Neighborhood Plants!
10:15 a.m.

Yes, Joe, many thanks for keeping us informed. I would hope that the CPD would quickly apprehend the perpetrators, given the levels of video surveillance in this area. (Although studies have shown that all this video surveillance is pretty worthless.) I would be interested in knowing if these guys get caught.

11:55 a.m.

Yes, it is illegal to force citizenry to pay admission to a public street. The heavy-handed tactics of street festival "donations" is always a source of aggravation to me, as they present this as a mandatory thing, when in fact it is not. I never, ever pay these thuggish admission fees: If you want to charge admission, move your event to a private venue.
Of course, I'd be happy to contribute a little bit if I know where the money's going. Most of the time, funds for street festivals go straight into the local real estate association's pockets, which is then used to "market" the neighborhood -- really just code for helping this private industry.
It does sound like the Bash on Wabash donations will be put to better use. How about presenting these entry donations in a better, less heavy-handed way that doesn't defraud people into making a "mandatory donation" and instead promote the good you're doing with the funds?

8:33 a.m.

I appreciate knowing this, Stephanie, and it will affect my decision to shop at Pete's.

— On the neighbor message Our Dominick's is going downhill fast ...
9:41 a.m.

Are you sure you just didn't see some of the Lumpen Kidz? Back in the day (mid/late-90s), there was a lot of gang activity on 31st, surrounding some skeezy bodegas. These days (to me, anyway), Bridgeport is starting to look like Wicker Park.

— On the neighbor message Take Notice.............
9:40 a.m.

Couldn't we all at least agree that Bridgeport would really benefit from a performing arts center?

— On the neighbor message save the ramova
9:55 a.m.

Also, Jess, you mention older people committing crimes as a means of making a living. Aren't you referring to drug-related crime?

— On the neighbor message Gunshots 4:30 am
5:35 p.m.

From what I understand of the history of Chicago street gangs, they did indeed start as a means of protection from others (much of which was driven by racism). However, if you look at the connections between major street violence (especially gun violence) and gangs, it's all drug-related or related to protecting drug turf. Remove the profit from drugs, and you kill the most vicious and violent gang elements.
I don't think ending prohibition means total peace on the streets, but it would have a major impact, especially for the most violent of cartel-fueled gangs.

— On the neighbor message Gunshots 4:30 am
5:32 p.m.

If anyone is truly interested in stopping street violence and street gangs, the Number One thing you can do is to oppose the current, utterly failed "War on Drugs" and push the U.S. to adopt responsible policies for illicit narcotics.
You don't see liquor store owners having gun battles in the streets over a case of Corona. If the profit motive were removed from illicit narcotics, street gangs as we know them would cease to exist and gun-related urban violence would plummet.
Prohibition simply doesn't work: We know this from alcohol prohibition, which didn't do anything to reduce crime and in fact was a major reason behind the growth of organized crime.

— On the neighbor message Gunshots 4:30 am
3:43 p.m.

Also, vacant lots can cause safety issues themselves.

— On the neighbor message save the ramova
12:40 p.m.

I disagree that the Ramova should be torn down: It's a beautiful building, and an important part of Bridgeport's history and character. Yes, it will take money and determination to restore, but this effort is worth it. Old, beautiful buildings like this are light years better than today's crackerjack condo boxes. I absolutely don't think it should be torn down unless there is a financed, finalized development plan for an equivalent structure: Just making another vacant lot will result in another half-assed building project from a local contractor.

— On the neighbor message save the ramova
12:40 p.m.

This isn't really saving the Ramova: Sound more like tearing it down.

— On the neighbor message save the ramova
11:36 a.m.

Sorry: Because you posted the brand name, the price, and the retailer, the message looked like one of those sock puppet spam messages. (I've seen other similar messages here on EveryBlock.) Also because you led off with this commercial information (versus just generically talking about sound-based personal safety devices), this led me to think that the message was spam, and your account was a sock puppet.
I don't think there's anything wrong with mentioning products, but your original message really reads like a commercial advertisement, optimized for SEO. I also note that your account is new, and that you haven't posted any other messages: another trait of sock puppet accounts.

— On the neighbor message Personal Safety Device
11:35 a.m.

I, too, have noticed a decrease in turnaround time for Graffiti Blasters. Last summer, graffiti was removed within about a day of reporting. This summer, it takes a couple days.

— On the neighbor message Did Rahm cut Graffiti Blasters?
9:19 a.m.

If you go to Uncle Fun, you can get one of those "exhaust screamers" that make a heck of a racket: Just position it in the tailpipe. (It's harmless and is easily removed.) Perhaps you should also leave a note that the neighbors don't appreciate the noisy, malfunctioning alarm.

9:18 a.m.

This message sounds like spam to me.

— On the neighbor message Personal Safety Device
3:21 p.m.

Rents are going up across the board. It would be really tough to find a decently sized space below $1K per month in a halfway decent area in Chicago.
(I remember living with two girls in Whiting, Indiana, in the mid-1990s, and we were splitting a 2,000+ square foot three bedroom for $400 per month. Those were the days ...)
Speaking of which, have you considered going "over the border" to Hoosierville? There are a number of NWI neighborhoods with Metra stops that go right downtown. And Indiana is cheap! Just bring your gas masks.
Or just come over the Bubbly Creek border, to the delightful McKinley Park. (You still may need your gas mask for that.)

— On the neighbor message Apt Hunting in Bridgeport...frustrating
4:38 p.m.

Well, Gino, the difference is that these lanes aren't there for hobbyist riders: They're there to support bike commuting and transportation, which helps us all by reducing pollution and congestion.

8:10 a.m.

More hate from holier-than-thou bigots.

— On the neighbor message Photo from the demonstration
4:04 p.m.

Thanks, CM -- I've signed up and look forward to meeting you all next week!

10:53 a.m.

I'm thinking 35th Street Cafe would be the best spot for a meet-up, given their location and capacity to accommodate a variably sized group. The disadvantages of this location include few options for evenings, no beer (versus Lindy's), and no wi-fi (although I do have a mobile access point).
Perhaps meet for a weekday lunch? Or a weekday mid-afternoon?

11:43 a.m.

It sounds like we have an interesting (and interested) group of local creative and tech pros. Anyone want to have a meetup to get to know each other? 35th Street Cafe? Huck Finn? Lindy's?
As I work full-time from home, I sometimes miss the opportunities for professional collaboration and cameraderie. It would be fun to meet fellow like-minded neighbors!

9:41 a.m.

Are Dominick's and Jewel both union shops? And is Cermak Produce non-union? (I believe that Pete's Fresh Market is non-union.)

— On the neighbor message Our Dominick's is going downhill fast ...
9:22 a.m.

I think a lot of this has to do with Dominick's corporate: Groceries are a razor-thin margin business, and based on the 31st and Ashland store, Dominick's Corporate is in trouble. (Especially given the labor unrest issues at this store, items being out of stock, moldy produce, etc.) It looks like the squeezing is coming from the top down ...

— On the neighbor message Our Dominick's is going downhill fast ...
8:50 a.m.

Maybe Edmar just has to stop selling the cheap hooch at Maria's Community Bar and fully switch over to micro brews.

— On the neighbor message Public Drunkedness ... not here you don't!
8:32 a.m.

So are these guys homeless, or do they just prefer to drink outside? Someone's gotta get and post some video!

— On the neighbor message Public Drunkedness ... not here you don't!
9:51 a.m.

Your best defense is to be aware of your surroundings. Don't let yourself get surrounded by a suspicious group (if possible). For self defense, you should probably look first to a non-lethal option (taser, pepper spray, etc.) before considering anything potentially deadly. Taking a class in a "soft" martial art like Tai Chi can help a lot. I believe if you injured someone, the question is whether you had a reasonable expectation of bodily harm as to whether or not it's self-defense. But the best thing to do is avoid or get out of these situations entirely.

— On the neighbor message Flash Mobs
9:49 a.m.

You know where the big trucks never pay attention to stop lights? Canalport and Union, right at the on-ramp to I-55. Another thing that sucks about many of these big trucks is their obvious illegal levels of pollution: Some of these trucks clearly have illegally adjusted their exhaust systems for better efficiency, but heinous air pollution.

9:30 a.m.

Sounds like the cops are being unresponsive to your wish to file an assault charge. I'd go to the Police Department at 31st and Halsted and demand to speak to the watch captain or Sgt. about your wish to file an assault charge. If they won't allow you to file a charge based on a legitimate complaint, then you need to call your lawyer/Alderman/Fox News and start complaining about how Bridgeport area police are protecting a violent drunk who is assaulting community members. Sucks for the police that this might be a crappy job for them to do, but it IS their job.

— On the neighbor message Public Drunkedness ... not here you don't!
4:56 p.m.

@rene: Thanks! That's the guy I was thinking of. From Wikipedia:
"In February 2002, Pearson lost a primary election for the office of mayor of Tulsa. By then Pearson had begun to call his doctrine—a variation on universal reconciliation—the Gospel of Inclusion and many in his congregation began to leave.

"In March 2004, after hearing Pearson's argument for inclusion, the Joint College of African-American Pentecostal Bishops concluded that such teaching was heresy. Declared a heretic by his peers, Pearson rapidly began to lose his influence."

@Doug: I'm beyond trying to come to terms with the ways in which Christianity has been interpreted to the benefit of the interpreter. Many aspects of Christian theosophy are interesting, especially all of the compelling "scary" bits that imbue our culture. However, I personally consider it mythology (and history too, I guess, as Christ was an historical figure).

— On the neighbor message Event
4:46 p.m.

The Bridgeport Bums! They still live! They haven't quite been completely driven out by gentrification!

— On the neighbor message Public Drunkedness ... not here you don't!
4:28 p.m.

Sounds like contemporary Christianity today: Most Christians in the U.S. haven't actually read the bible. But the basis for it all -- original sin -- is always there as the bedrock for this belief system. Even if glossed over, the threat of hell is ever-present as a primary driver of this religion.

A year or two ago I came across an article about a Bible Belt preacher who was becoming very popular with young people as he had rejected the classic idea of hell as punishment: After all, if God loved us all so much, why would he punish most of us so terribly?

This guy was castigated up and down by the evangelical Christian religious establishment (especially the Baptists), who made a special point of renouncing this guy's ideas and reinforcing the idea that if you don't believe in Christ, you will burn.

I can't remember this guy's name or particulars. Can anyone else?

— On the neighbor message Event
9:06 a.m.

Well a message of hope for all who happen to believe in this particular branch of Christianity: According to them, the rest of us will burn in hell for eternity.

— On the neighbor message Event
8:44 a.m.

A "community portal" beyond what is offered by EveryBlock is sorely needed. We need to bring neighbors and businesses together: Community calendar, get to know your neighbor meetups, local community activism, etc. However, this may be more effective if labeled by neighborhood: Ward boundaries are so messed up due to gerrymandering, a "ward" is more of a political thing than a community thing.

— On the neighbor message
8:43 a.m.

The borders of McKinley are essentially Ashland on the east, Western on the west, Pershing on the south and the expressway on the north. Technically, Bubbly Creek is the east-most border, but there to Ashland is commonly considered still Bridgeport.

Different nooks of McKinley Park have different feels. I find the area right north of the El tracks to be a little rougher, but still within tolerances for a big city. There's a fantastic couple streets west of Damen between Archer and 36th: Walk a block south, and you're in the park; walk a block north, and you're at the El. We're closer to 38th and Honore, east of the park, where a lot of single-family homes reduce density, make it quieter, easier to park, etc.

This is a sleeper neighborhood, and I've found it to be awesome. (Of course, my going-out-and-partying-all-night days are pretty much behind me ...) My wife and I play Spot the Hipster to gauge potential gentrification. Another cool thing I've found about McKinley is its diversity: Lots of Hispanic and South Side white, but burgeoning amounts of Chinese and some African American folks too. And I see TONS of kids out playing in this neighborhood. Yes, there are a scattering of gang-esque toughs, but most of the young people around here seem to be nice kids just out having fun. My wife and I are both professionals, and we're expecting a kid in October. We plan to stay in McKinley Park as our home.

— On the neighbor message Thinking about moving to Bridgeport
10:04 a.m.

You should get good photos of those kids faces, post them on Facebook, and also send them to the Chicago Public Schools district to see if you can identify where they go to school. See if you can "tag" them accurately on Facebook as drunk loser. Go after their identities and try to screw up their futures with online propaganda. There's no expectation of privacy when getting drunk in a public alley.

— On the neighbor message Where are the parents?
8:59 a.m.

Come across Bubbly Creek ... to the magic that is McKinley Park. :-) I've lived in Bridgeport for a couple years and nearby for many. I personally like McKinley Park a little better because it offers lower urban density, a fantastic and huge park, and reasonable enough amenities. Yes, I do wish Maria's and Bridgeport Coffee Co. were closer to me (and Zaytune, and etc.), but now that we're expecting a kid, we want a quieter neighborhood. McKinley Park seems great for kids so far! (A new grammar school, several Catholic options, and Namaste Charter school.) Oh, and the 35th Street El is right there ...

— On the neighbor message Thinking about moving to Bridgeport
8:55 a.m.

Thanks for sharing, Joe: It's nice to get crime information earlier than the Chicago Police Department (and thus, Everyblock) reports it.

— On the neighbor message Attempted Child Abduction - McKinley Park
9:34 a.m.

Yes, I thought this was a 100 percent dead waterway. Funny all those million-dollar homes right alongside the stink in Bridgeport Landing.

— On the neighbor message Large fish die off bubbly creek
9:26 a.m.

Our neighborhood trees really got trashed. I had a little shingle damage on my garage roof, and the storm actually picked up and flipped over a heavy, parapet wall cap tile that was a little loose. But now, the Dept. of Water Management has their trucks outside my door, clearing the trees. Gotta love how the city takes care of the South Side (or at least certain parts of it).

9:25 a.m.

This is why I never clean out my garage.

12:23 a.m.

A couple years ago, the Illinois legislature was considering a direct mail ban in order to save the environment and prevent litter. It failed to pass, however.

— On the neighbor message Crime and trash
9:24 a.m.

Although I applaud your aplomb, humanstructions, I do hope you're not armed.

— On the neighbor message ILLEGAL VENDORS
8:10 a.m.

You know, lwier, although I applaud your initiative in getting a group together to do some good in the community, I think you're leaving a lot of people out (and pushing potential volunteers away) by making this a religious group.

— On the neighbor message excuse my rant
3:20 p.m.

There's still some racism in Bridgeport, but it's not nearly as bad as it once was. There used to be these groups of shifty, unemployed, middle-aged white men -- seemingly able-bodied, but always loafing about. They'd be at the Dunkin Donuts britching about Daley and were a definite source of racism in the neighborhood. (I believe Edmar at Maria's Community Bar calls them "mushrooms.") Remnants of these ne'er-do-wells can still be found about, including at Bernice's and the CVS/Subway/Dunkin Donuts logjam at 31st and Halsted. Sorry to hear you encountered some asshats.

Here's a Bridgeport joke to lighten your mood:

Why does it take so long for someone from Bridgeport to count to 100?

"Focking one, focking two, focking three ..."

— On the neighbor message excuse my rant
7:18 p.m.

To respond to some earlier comments, I agree that photography would be tougher to do than some other community activities. Especially since there isn't (yet) a clearinghouse for these type of photos.
Perhaps another avenue to fighting gangs is going after their residences. For example, if there is a troubled building on your block, post all relevant details about it: full address, location, photo, description of problem, landlord's name, full names of gang-banging residents, etc. This information is going to get picked up by Google et al and make it more difficult for that landlord to conduct business in the future, as they will be known for harboring gang members in their properties.
Of course calling 311 or filling out the form to report a troubled building is also an option. However, I wonder if a coordinated campaign might not be more effective (e.g. getting EveryBlock neighbors to all call in complaints around the same time). The City of Chicago Police Department has recently started using computer algorithms to preemptively predict the "hot spots" that need extra attention around the city. If we throw a bunch of relevant data at this system, we may get much more favorable results for our neighborhoods.

— On the neighbor message unsupervised children!
9:59 a.m.

In this situation, a scorched earth policy may be appropriate. Ten-penny nails are cheap. If he has to move the cone plus the nails every time he parks there, he may stop parking there.

— On the neighbor message Here we go again
3:07 p.m.

Like I said, surreptitious photography. This could range from pretending you're talking on your camera phone to longer lenses to small cameras.

— On the neighbor message unsupervised children!
9:58 p.m.

Part of living in Pilsen is that it turns into Beirut every Fourth of July (plus about a month on either side of the holiday). I've seen it so smoky from the firework gunpowder, you can't see down the street. Strap in and enjoy the ride ...

— On the neighbor message Loud explosions
9:56 p.m.

Both Kramer and Midwest Generation are vile polluters that have been demonstrated to significantly harm public health. Especially the Midwest Generation power plant: This thing is an Eisenhower-era cancer factory that hasn't ever had to conform to air pollution standards (as it's been "grandfathered" in since the 70s, despite Midwest constantly expanding the thing). Would moving the festival make much of a difference? These polluters affect a huge swath of Chicagoland. The officers, board and investors of these corporations have blood on their hands ...

— On the neighbor message Fiesta Del Sol
9:52 p.m.

One idea I had for fighting gangs was surreptitious public photography of gang members. Post them online for all to see. Many parolees have parole conditions where they are forbidden to associate with other felons. Getting pictures out there might provide ammunition for parole violation enforcement, in certain circumstances.
Of course, this would only be valid for public spaces -- like on the streets -- where such photography is legal.

— On the neighbor message unsupervised children!
9:46 p.m.

Although I do want all kids (and parents) to be safe, one of the nice things about McKinley Park is the number of children who are able to get out and play ... during the daytime, that is. I remember growing up in the Midwest where I could go out and do as I wanted, "just stay on our block." Most of the kids I see aren't doing any harm; they're just having fun and being kids. Of course, they're still being supervised; their parent may just be down the block, working in the garden or whatever.

— On the neighbor message unsupervised children!
5:28 p.m.

The answer is not to get rid of the festival, but to get rid of the cancer factory.

— On the neighbor message Fiesta Del Sol
9:52 a.m.

This is astroturf spam. And reported as such.

— On the media mention What $2,200 Rents You in Chicago
9:02 a.m.

You need to publish the link, dude! Is this it?

— On the neighbor message Better Blocks
2:40 p.m.

My guess is that it's another movie shoot at the Skylark.

— On the neighbor message Movie Filming in Pilsen..??
2:38 p.m.

Unless I'm mistaken, Bridgeport doesn't have a 24/7 diner. So come on over to McKinley Park's Huck Finn Donuts on Archer and Damen! Also in McKinley is 35th Street Cafe, which can be very good (but not 24/7).

— On the neighbor message Breakfast place
8:23 a.m.

Sorry, but this post reeks of spam. Will this be the first onslaught of commercial messages that destroys Everyblock's nascent community?
Here's why I don't like ADT and similar companies: You don't actually own the equipment you pay for. You're really leasing the hardware, so if you want to change providers down the road, much of the hardware you have installed is worthless. (As I understand it, these companies don't provide the master key for the logic console for the security system, so any service or changes down the road can only be made by ADT.)
Instead, I'm going with my own hardware and a third-party monitoring service.

— On the neighbor message ADT Home Security
10:43 a.m.

I don't know, Denise. There's a very legitimate theory that things like this are victimless crimes (other than the women who are exploited through the process of illegal prostitution). These businesses certainly don't survive by servicing criminals alone: Some "good people" from your community must be keeping them going.
Although, yes, I'd like to see them go, I think there are MUCH bigger community problems. If you want to have a real impact (and not just push these businesses to another location), start getting involved with womens rescue groups and womens shelters.

— On the neighbor message MASSAGE PARLORS.....really?????
9:47 a.m.