Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday Services

For those interested in attending services, here are services some local churches are offering:
  • Uptown Baptist Church -- 12:30 - 3pm -- Seven Last Words of Christ (1011 W Wilson)
  • Our Lady of Lourdes -- 3pm Stations of the Cross; 5:30pm Lord’s Passion, Veneration of the Cross and Communion (4640 N Ashland)
  • St Mary of the Lake -- 3pm Good Friday Mass (4200 N Sheridan)
  • St Thomas of Canterbury -- 7pm Stations of the Cross; 7:30pm Service of the Lord's Passion (4827 N Kenmore)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Renovations For Tracks And Stations From Lawrence To Bryn Mawr?

So here's the good news:  "The CTA will move ahead as early as 2017 with the total reconstruction of four stations and the replacement of deteriorating track and elevated structure on the Red Line north branch, at an estimated cost of $1.13 billion, transit officials announced Wednesday. The stations, part of an overall plan to renew the north Red Line and Purple Line, are at Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr. All four stations will be equipped with elevators."

Here's the bad news:  "Funding has not yet been secured for the four stations and related track work to eliminate slow zones."

Our experience of 25 years of empty promises about the Wilson Red Line station renovation means we're not about to get very excited about rapid transit projects that sound great, but have no money attached to those lovely plans.  We finally believe that there will be a new Wilson Station, with construction starting this fall.  As for the other stations, we'd love to be surprised by the CTA in 2017.

For the entire article, read the Tribune's Jon Hilkevitch's take on it.

New Construction Coming To Dover Street?

Possible rendering of 4753 Dover
The side lot next to St. John's Assyrian Church on the 4700 block of Dover is under construction as of this week. We're hearing that the owners of the lot requested a zoning change last year, which was not approved by the block club. The latest we hear is that the plans were redrawn to conform to the property's R-3 zoning. No idea what will be going in. We'll share if and when we know more.

Update: After a bit more digging, we came across this rendering of the proposed 2 dwelling residence at 4753 Dover. Hat-tip to UU reader Kieran for coming across the building permit info. We aren't sure how accurate this rendering is, as it was posted last June, though it gives us a good idea of what to expect.

LSD Closed In Both Directions Due To Mysterious Package

We're hearing a ton of helicopters and we're hearing from readers that Lake Shore Drive has been closed in both directions between Wilson and Foster.

According to the Tribune, a suspicious package was found at the Drive near Lawrence. Probably (hopefully) much ado about nothing, but better to be safe than not.  Anyone got any further info?

Update:  Sun-Times has the story with a cool photo.

Update:  Tribune's Facebook page says the "suspicious package" resembles a blue sleeping bag in a case.  Now how on earth did THAT get near the Drive and Lawrence?

Update:  As of 2:28pm, a Facebook reader says, "Roads are clear. Traffic normal again."

Update:  The updated Tribune story says, "The item is believed to have belonged to one of the homeless people who frequently sleep under the viaducts under the Lake Shore Drive in the Uptown neighborhood, according to a police source."

Vacant Lot At Lawrence & Clark Being Cleared For Future Development

View looking west along Clark
View looking north along Lawrence
NW corner of Lawrence and Clark as seen on April 15
News broke recently on Ald. Pawar's Facebook page about the long-overdue development of the lot on the NW corner of Lawrence and Clark. Pawar's office shared that the developer is Candea Developments, who have done projects around Uptown. Candea is wasting no time in clearing the lot of trash and rubble as you can see by the dumpster on the lot (above). Check out Candea's "recent projects" and "in progress" to get an idea of their development style. We are ecstatic to see more progress in this neck of Uptown. Between the Backyard Andersonville townhomes and this, things are certainly looking up along north Clark! When a rendering and site plan surface, we will be sure to share it with you. Pawar's office says the proposed building will conform to current zoning regulations on the lot. You can see what once occupied the lot below.

Update: Ald. Pawar's website has been updated with the official plans from Candea.
A reminder of the height of the building that once stood on this corner

Wilson/Broadway Shooting Victim Home From Hospital

Brion Payne, who was shot at Wilson and Broadway on April 1st, has been released from the hospital. He gave an interview to CBS Chicago about his ordeal and recovery. It's still unclear just what provoked Joey Jones of Logan Square, the alleged gunman, to shoot Mr. Payne in the back of the head while they waited for Jones' father at the currency exchange. It's amazing that Mr. Payne survived the experience of having a bullet pass through his head. The video and the CBS link are here.

I'm sure we'll be hearing much, much more about this incident as time goes on.

"Benchwarmer Bandit" Suspect Caught

The suspected robber who hit six banks in a month, including one in Uptown and several in Lakeview, was taken into custody today after holding up a downtown branch of Fifth Third Bank.  No name or address on him yet, but the "Benchwarmer Bandit" was arrested on Chicago Avenue after police followed a tracking device that was inserted into the bag of money he took from the bank at 3:45 this afternoon.

He is alleged to have robbed:
  • TCF Bank, 3531 N. Broadway, 3/16/2014.
  • TCF Bank, 4355 N Sheridan, 3/21/2014.
  • TCF Bank, 2940 N Ashland, 3/24/2014.
  • Citibank, 3128 N Ashland, 3/29/2014.
  • Citibank, 111 W Jackson, 4/8/2014.
  • Fifth Third Bank, 1 South Dearborn, 4/15/2014.
The other local TCF/Jewel robber, the "Shady Lady" was charged on April 4th.

Update:  The accused is 28-year-old Jamal Genson.  No address was given, but he's lived in the 6000 block of Sheridan and the 1000 block of West Irving Park.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Green Mill Jazz Fundraiser To Provide Day Camp For Boys & Girls

Tickets begin at $60 and can be purchased here.

Court Advocate Training Available (20th District)

If you have a morning or two free each month, you might be interested in becoming a court advocate.  Training and information are available for the 20th District (north of Lawrence) on April 29th.  RSVP if interested to

Training for 19th District Court Advocates will be offered on May 29th.  More about that closer to the event.

Divvy Week Coming Up

courtesy of Real Kitchen's Facebook page
If you've been Div-curious, here's a good chance to try the program:

"In an effort to encourage more Chicagoans to try Divvy for the first time or purchase an annual membership, Mayor Emanuel declared that April 21-27 will be “Divvy Week” in Chicago.

During that week, all daily passes will be discounted to $5. Chicagoans who sign up for new annual memberships will receive Chipotle gift cards, and other prizes and promotional discounts will be made available to current Divvy members."

With any luck, there will be no snow that week.

Ameya Pawar Throws His Hat In The Ring

To absolutely no one's surprise, Ald. Pawar has declared his intention to run for a second term. You can read about it in DNAinfo.

During his initial campaign, he said he would serve for no more than two terms, and he reiterates that in his announcement.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Easter Egg Hunts A-Plenty In Uptown Next Weekend

The Bunny is a busy guy next weekend, with three separate stops in Uptown's parks. Kids can join in all the fun at Clarendon Park and Chase Park on Saturday, and at Buttercup Park on Sunday.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Ribfest Returns For Year Five

For the fifth consecutive year, Windy City Ribfest will take place in Uptown this summer, during the weekend of Friday, July 4th through Sunday, July 6th.  As usual, the 4700 block of Broadway will do the honors as the venue.

It's all very much in the planning stages now, so if you'd like to be a vendor or provide entertainment, the time to act is now! Check out Special Events Management's page for more information.

Watch "Mad Men" At Fat Cat

Mad Men Screening Party Every Sunday at 9pm
Season Premiere - Sunday, April 13th

It's the FINAL season of Mad Men! Join us every Sunday for our weekly screening, starting on Sunday, April 13th at 9pm for the SEASON PREMIERE.

Don't miss our weekly viewing party every week at 9pm. This week join us for our SEASON PREMIERE costume party. Are you a Don or a Pete? A Peggy or a Joan? Best dressed wins a $25 gift card.

Email Chrissy at to make your reservation for your Fondue Platter for 4 guests, $45 includes seasonal fruit, local sausage, pumpernickel, homemade pretzels & a bottle of champagne.  (We only have a limited supply for each event) or order our $2 Mad Men Canapes.

Need a drink? Order a custom old fashioned from our table side old fashioned cart, or sip on a Moscow Mule, Stoli Martini or ice cold Heineken.

Who knows where this season will take our favorite Ad-Men?   "It's all up in the air!"

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Why Not Brunch? Razon Introduces The Bottomless Mimosa

Beginning tomorrow, Sunday brunch at Razon (4250 N Marine Drive, in the Imperial Towers) gets a new twist.

Owner Tanja says, "Starting this Sunday, we are going to do an Entree and Bottomless mimosa for $20."

It's been the nicest weekend, weather-wise, in forever.  Why not start your Sunday on a festive note with brunch?  It's served between 10am and 2pm.

Razon's Facebook page is here:

Drink & Ink Beginning To Show Its True Colors

What do you get when a bunch of creative types open a bar?  Something with interesting architecture and works of art on the bar stools.

Drink & Ink, to be located next to the Tattoo Factory (4443 N Broadway) is still a few months from opening, but owner Paul Collurafici has been hard at work behind the scenes. Check out the bar stool designs and the doors and ceilings (above).

If you'd like to follow the progress of Drink & Ink and be among the first to know when opening is imminent, "like" the Facebook page at

Ald. Pawar: Empty Lots At Lawrence/Clark In Development

The two empty lots in the northwest corner of Lawrence and Clark, which have been empty since at least 2008, might have a future.

Ald. Pawar just posted on Facebook: "#‎ANewLawrence‬ is getting another addition! The empty lots @ Lawrence and Clark will soon be home to a mixed-use development. McPherson Elementary (education anchor) and Mariano's (retail anchor) helped us secure this new project."

The corner lot one used to have a turreted three-flat in it, which was demolished just in time for the real estate bubble to burst. It was also the one-time home of Gast Monuments, which supplied headstones to St. Boniface, across the street.

It will be good to see something there again. Let's hope the project Ald. Pawar is talking about becomes a reality.

Update:  Brian Bobcat requested a photo of the previous building that was there, so here one is (below).  It was taken in 1986 and the bottom floor was occupied by what appears to be a dive bar.  The last business to be there was BQ African Root Restaurant at 4802 N Clark.  From the comments in previous UU posts about that corner, those who remember say the building was pretty at one time in its history, but had become rundown, as was the case with so many of Uptown's buildings.  As the community slid into poverty, many owners just didn't have the money to maintain their properties.  The photo is from the Chicago Library's digital archives.

Good News For Sonic Watchers

The concrete trucks were on the site of the future Sonic today.  That means the ground has finally thawed.  Could we be chowing down on tater tots before Memorial Day?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Annual State of Uptown Luncheon Takes Place Next Week

Hear about what's happening in Uptown, and what's going to happen, from all three of its aldermen.

Sponsored by the Chamber, the luncheon takes place on Tuesday, April 15th, between noon and 2pm, at Furama Restaurant, 4936 N Broadway. The cost is $15 for Chamber members, and $20 for non-members. Lunch is included.

Register here to attend this annual event.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Opening Day Announced for Foster/Sheridan Mariano's

Ald. Osterman just sent out an email blast with some welcome news:

"Dear Neighbor,

I am excited to share with you that Mariano's has confirmed and announced the opening date for their new Edgewater store. The Edgewater Mariano's, located at 5201 N. Sheridan Road, will open Tuesday, April 22 at 6:00am.

We hope you will join us in welcoming Mariano's to the 48th Ward!

Harry Osterman
Alderman, 48th Ward"

Participatory Budgeting In the 46th Ward: What's Happened, What's Happening

Right before tonight's meeting about the Broadway Streetscaping (from Wilson to Gunnison) -- in the former Borders Building from 6pm to 7pm, 

StreetsBlog Chicago has an article on Chicago Participatory Budgeting, a process in which ward residents vote on what projects the alderman's $1.3 million in infrastructure "menu money" should go towards.  A handful of aldermen take part in it in Chicago (just three in 2013).

In 2012-2013, the 46th Ward participated (but won't this year), and the 47th Ward did a so on an unofficial basis.

Here's an excerpt from the article:
[L]ast year’s election in the 46th Ward, largely Uptown, was a grand slam for ground-breaking transportation projects. Residents opted to fund SherMon Plaza, a project that will connect a traffic island at Sheridan/Montrose/Broadway to the sidewalk to create a new public space, and the Leland Greenway, leading from Clark to the lakefront. They also chose to bankroll crosswalks, pedestrian countdown signals and traffic calming, and to pay for building or refreshing bike lanes on several streets in the ward. The other winning proposals were for security cameras in Sheridan Park and a left-turn signal at Sheridan/Irving Park.
Read why it's not happening in the 46th this year, and learn what's happening with the projects that were voted on last year.  If you're not in the 46th Ward, but would like your alderman to consider participatory budgeting, feel free to refer him or her to the article, which is here.

Lakeside Pride Presents "British Invasion" Saturday Night

For more information, and to buy tickets, click here. The concert will take place at the historic Preston Bradley Center, 941 West Lawrence.

Glenn Kaiser Band In Concert Saturday Night

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Five Straight Days In The 60s

After a vile winter, Chicagoans know what to do when the sun is out and the temperatures hit the 60s: take to the lakefront for sailing, running and golf. Thanks to a reader for this view from her home of the park and lake. Great weather through the weekend, take advantage!

Volunteer Tutors Needed - Wednesday Afternoons

From Ald. Osterman's newsletter:

"Inspired Youth Tutoring Program, which has been operating in Uptown and Edgewater for close to 30 years, seeks volunteers to help elementary students with school homework and basic skills—reading, writing, and arithmetic. Tutors work with one or two students and are needed on Wednesday afternoons to work with 1st-4th graders from 3:30-5:00 p.m.

Sessions are held at the Bezazian Branch of the Chicago Public Library, 1226 W. Ainslie, 1 block S. of the Argyle el-stop, just west of Broadway."

Check out Inspired Youth's Facebook page here.

CAPS Beat 1914 Meeting Tonight

From Amy, Co-Facilitator of the beat meeting:

"Hi Neighbors.  Please join us Wednesday, April 9th, at 7pm for the April Beat Meeting for CAPS Beat 1914. We'll meet at the Clarendon Park Fieldhouse at Clarendon and Sunnyside.

These monthly CAPS Beat Meetings are your opportunity to talk with our community police officers, neighbors, community agency representatives, and representatives from the Alderman's office about public safety issues. We strive for constructive approaches to persistent problems that improve the quality of life for all residents."

Beat 1914 is the area bordered by Lawrence, Montrose, the lake, and Broadway.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Drive-Through At "America's Drive-In"

The most-asked question in email to UU and on our Facebook page is, "When is Sonic opening?"

Blame the cold winter for the delay of Chicago's first Sonic, at Kenmore and Wilson.  While work on the building and interior went as planned, even as the polar vortex came to visit, the frozen ground made it impossible for the parking lot and curb cuts to be installed, or post holes to be drilled.  Once the outdoor temperatures reach 50 degrees on a continuous basis (fingers crossed that's happening right now), it will take about two weeks for the ground to thaw.  Once that happens, there's about three weeks' work left on the lot.

Workers are on the site each day, preparing and finishing what they can.  The signs are up and lit at night.  We understand that Sonic's workforce is being trained inside the building.  The photo above, taken from the Kenmore side, clearly shows the outline of drive-through lanes, with the pick-up windows ready to go.

Now all we have to do is wait for warmer weather, something Chicagoans have some experience with. It may not be happening as quickly as anyone would have liked, including Sonic, but rest assured that there will be tater tots and cherry limeades available this summer.