Thursday, March 23, 2017

Buena Park Neighbors Meeting Set For Monday, March 27

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click to enlarge
A good change to get up to date on all the good stuff taking place in Buena Park. Join your Buena Park Neighbors on March 27, 7PM,  at the Imperial Towers Hospitality Room at 4250 N. Marine Drive.

Welcome, Satellite Cafe!

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Please greet the Satellite Cafe on its opening day! An off-shoot of Eats & Sweets, it opens Thursday morning at 6:30 at 942 West Montrose, immediately west of Ross Dress For Less.

photo from Eats & Sweets Facebook page
We don't know the full menu, but they've been passing out complimentary coffee and baked goods the past couple weekends, and they were awfully tasty.

We guess the fabled Polish Yachting Association of North America has officially moved on, and Ziggy Stardust has moved in.


End of the Line For Track Four

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A portion of the old fourth track over Wilson, dating from 1907, was cut down and removed today as part of the Red Line rehab. Thank you to reader Colin Williams for posting these photos on Uptown Update's Facebook page.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Tour The Uptown Theater Fundraiser


Would you like to see Uptown Theater beyond an occasional peek inside when the lobby doors are open? Or in the occasional movie or video?

You can, for a political donation. There will be a tour of the largest freestanding theater in the country on May 17th. Details are here.The proceeds will go to the political war chest of Ald. Cappleman. (Please note that no photos are allowed.)

We rarely promote political fundraisers on this page. We feel that this is an occasion worthy of breaking that policy, given the high public interest in the Uptown Theater and the very limited access to it. We've been inside, twice. It smells dank, like an very old church. It is dark and cold. And it is magnificent. We hope to see it restored and want to see it in better circumstances. But seeing it, being inside, are experiences we are delighted to have had.

"We Are Hopeful That The State Will Fulfill Its Funding Commitment"

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The At Issue show on WBBM 780 interviewed CDOT commissioner Rebecca Scheinfeld on March 12 about the structurally deficient viaducts at Wilson and Lawrence, among other issues.

She said that both Lawrence and Wilson are scheduled to be overhauled this year, but she also cast doubt about whether or not the State is willing to come up with its share of the money for the repairs. In Commissioner Scheinfeld's words, "these dollars are there" and have already been earmarked for the viaducts, but given the financial stalemate in Springfield, there is doubt the money will be distributed.

Looking at it purely from a financial aspect, if there is a wrongful death or injury caused by the chunks of concrete that regularly fall from the bridges, the city and state will both have legal liability. The settlement payments will undoubtedly cost taxpayers more than the price of fixing the bridges. And the bridges will be still have to be fixed after that.

On all levels -- compassionate, financial, civic responsibility -- allowing these bridges to remain in their structurally deficient condition is a very short-sighted decision.

If you'd like to listen, the discussion of the bridges starts at about the 5:30 mark.

Monday, March 20, 2017

James Waller Mansion At Clarendon & Buena Has A Buyer

photo courtesy of Baird & Warner
800 West Buena, the 1917 mansion put up for sale a couple years ago by The Menomonee Club, has found a buyer. The nearly-15,000sf building, sitting on seven standard city lots, is under contract.

If the sale goes through (the asking price was a nifty $2,379,000), we are eager to see how it will be used.  With nine bedrooms and eight bathrooms, it could fit many needs. For most of its existence, it was home to The Day School, and the Smart Love Pre-School after that.

We'll let you know when we get more information. You can see photos of the interior and exterior of the home here.

Clean-Up Day For The Sunnyside Mall On Saturday

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Sunnyside Mall Spring Clean-Up!
Saturday, March 25th

We will be Cleaning Up & Greening Up the Sunnyside Mall on Saturday, March 25th from 1pm-3pm!

Please join us and bring a shovel, broom, rake and yourself to join in on the fun preparing our neighborhood for a great summer. If you don't have any equipment, we will have some tools to share - just come!

We will meet in the center of Sunnyside Mall at Malden.

The Facebook Event Page is here.

"Un-American" -- JASC Presents Talk on the Incarceration of Japanese Americans During WWII

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The JASC Legacy Center Presents A “Memories of Now” Seminar Series Presentation

UN-AMERICAN: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During WWII

Exactly 75 years ago, the United States government rounded up more than 109,000 residents of Japanese ancestry and sent them to far-flung prisons for the duration of World War II in the name of security. Many were forced to abandon their land. Many gave up their personal property. Each lost a part of their lives. It is a shame of America.

Amazingly, the government hired a crew of photographers to document the entire process—from the final weeks of freedom to the desolate years in camps. Famed photographers Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, and others showed the human toll of the incarceration. Their photographs give an emotional, unflinching portrait of a nation concerned more about security than human rights. These photographs are more important than ever.

Authors Richard Cahan and Michael Williams—noted photo historians—took a careful look at the archive of images as they put together a powerful history of one of America’s defining moments. Now, for the first time, many of the people photographed have been located and interviewed to create a remarkable visual history with explicit pictures and unexpected stories.

The result is the most comprehensive look at the incarceration of Japanese Americans. The story is told with brilliant pictures that help us better understand this important chapter in U.S. history.

This event is co-sponsored by the Chicago Japanese American Historical Society (CJAHS) and the Japanese American Citizens League – Chicago Chapter (JACL – Chicago)

Event and parking are free. RSVP to Ryan Yokota by calling or emailing at: 773-275-0097 ext. 222 or at

The site of the talk will be JASC - Japanese American Service Committee, 4427 N Clark.

Going, Going... GONE (Maryville's Second Building Is Demo'd)

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Sunday, March 12th

Wednesday, March 15th. The reader who sent this said,
"Should be finished soon."

Sunday, March 19th
The east building at the former Maryville Academy/Cuneo Hospital has been demolished, following the complete demo of the west building, just six weeks ago. Across the street, the foundation has been dug and stabilizing stakes are being driven into the ground.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Macaron/Patisserie Shop Coming To Argyle


We've been posting for nearly three years about Ba Le's plans to open a dessert and drinks place at its original location at 5018 North Broadway, just across the parking lot from the current sandwich shop. They've done a beautiful rehab of the building, but it hasn't exactly been going at breakneck speed.

Thank you to reader MH for taking this photo of the new awning, proclaiming that T'oui Macaron and Patisserie is planned for the storefront. Based on how good Ba Le's desserts are, we're sure it will be worth the wait.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Bye, Felicia

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We've been waiting for this! The final set of train tracks are coming down on Broadway. Thank you to reader JF for capturing today's action. The tracks were built in 1907 and 1908, and their support pillars have obstructed the traffic flow on Broadway ever since.

To put it in perspective, the tracks were built during the only two years the Cubs ever won the World Series prior to last year. The tracks pre-date Wrigley Field by several years -- it wasn't built until 1914.

The tracks gave Uptown long and distinguished service, but their job is done. Buh-bye!

New Restaurant & Retail Coming to Wilson Avenue

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Two storefronts on Wilson between Dover & Beacon slated for a restaurant & retail (Google)

We've admired this nice, vintage storefront that was home to Nigerian Kitchen for years. The space then went vacant, was rehabbed, and then put on the market last August when we shared the listing. Butcher paper has been up in the windows for quite a while now and according to building permits issued yesterday, we now have an idea of what to expect:


Think back to Wilson Avenue 10 years ago and look at all of the retail and changes that have taken place since then. It is an exciting time be in Uptown for sure!

Once we have more info on the new restaurant and retail coming to this spot, we will pass it along.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Chicago Plan Commission Approves Broadway & Wilson TOD


The Broadway and Wilson transit oriented development went before the Chicago Plan Commission this morning and was approved UNANIMOUSLY. Two more steps remain for total approval.

Ald. Cappleman just tweeted:

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Evolution of Gigio's Continues

A patron enjoys lunch in the spruced up interior of Gigio's, 4643 N. Broadway
You almost have to see it to believe it.

We've been tracking the progress of Gigio's Pizza in the 4600 block of Broadway for a while now. The exterior was recently upgraded, complete with tile and new windows replacing the yellow awning and painted windows we all knew for years. The result is a much more welcoming storefront, where you can now sit at stools and watch the world go by through new windows.

The interior was upgraded in phases and it has now entered the final phase. Gone is '70s-era tile that covered the walls from floor to ceiling. New wood grain tile runs vertically to the ceiling with varied shapes inlaid in wood, as you can see from the photo above. The bathrooms are also in the process of being upgraded.

Nothing about the food or great employees has changed, though. It's definitely worth a stop if you are craving a big slice of pizza.

Mind The Gap

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The fourth and final original track serving the Wilson train station is coming down. The workers have begun to dismantle it as part of the new phase of construction that started this week.

You can see that the section over Leland (at Broadway) has already been removed. During this phase of the rehab, the pillars that are in the traffic lanes on the 4600 block of Broadway will be removed... at last. We've been waiting for this!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Working At The Car Wash, Yeah

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National Car Wash has been in remodeling its car wash for months now. We can tell work is underway, but the finish date keeps changing. We were originally told it would open on September 1st. Then there were signs posted saying the re-opening would be take place January 1st, then February 1st, March 1st, and now it's April 15. Don't bet on when, but we will be very happy to see the car wash open again. In the meantime, enjoy some of the lowest gas prices in town.

It's Going Down

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Maryville's east building continues to undergo demolition. This photo was taken last Wednesday, and even more of the top dome has disappeared in the last couple days. The window glass on this side of the building is completely gone, as compared to two weeks ago. We're guessing that the entire building will have disappeared by the end of the month.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

"Stand Up & Dance" To Support RefugeeOne

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RefugeeOne, the agency that helps and advocates for those with nowhere to go, is based right here in Uptown.

On April 8, it is holding its annual gala, followed by a fun after-party, Stand Up & Dance. The goal of the after-party is to raise $8000, "the cost to co-sponsor one refugee family who is looking for safe haven in America and a new lease on life in Chicago."

The price to attend is $50, going up to $75 after March 18. For that, you get live music, an open bar, desserts, raffles, and performances by CircEsteem Refugee Youth.

The Facebook page, with more information about it, is here. You can purchase tickets here.

"My Place" Marquee Goes Up On Convenience Store


There's a new name, a new sign, and open window space at the convenience store* located in the strip mall at Wilson and Magnolia. The cluttered windows and the hand-painted sign are gone. New owners? (Update: commenters on UU's Facebook page say that it is under new ownership, and "I've been inside recently---it is completely different and is much nicer than before. The wood floors give the space a warm feel and the service was friendly.")

The strip mall seems to be having a bit of a rebirth. The Subway has been rehabbed and remodeled. There is a relatively new dry cleaner there (recommended!), and we hear that the new laundromat in the corner space will be opening in the next week or so. Let's hope this former chronic trouble spot is changing for the better.

*In 2015, Top Choice Grocery was permanently suspended from the SNAP program for committing fraud. This was after it failed a building inspection in 2013 and was closed by the city until it got up to code.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Weekend Closures As CTA Finishes This Phase Of Construction

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From the CTA:

"We will have a full weekend of work as we place the 3rd of four new CTA tracks into service this weekend. This should be the last weekend & night work for a little while.
  • Dates: 3/10/17 – 3/13/17
  • Work Hours: 8PM on 3/10 to 4AM on 3/13
  • Work Activity: Track Installation
  • Impact to Community: The contractor will have Wilson Avenue, Broadway Avenue & Leland Avenue closed for safety reasons as they perform the final installation of the 3rd new track. There will be noise, dust and lights as a result of this work.
  • Limits of operation: 
  • Wilson Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic from approximately Broadway to Clifton.
  • Leland Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic from approximately Broadway to Winthrop
  • The alley that is just east of the tracks, North of Leland, will be partially blocked with equipment.
At least one sidewalk will always remain open on all of these streets, signage will be provided to direct pedestrians."

It Isn't St Patrick's Day Without Irish Soda Bread

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With St. Patrick's Day around the corner, Baker & Nosh is doing what they do best, creating mouth-watering delights -- specifically, Irish soda bread. Two-pound loaves filled with raisins and caraway seeds are available at the store now through March 19.

If you want to be sure to get a loaf on St. Patrick's Day itself (last year was a sell-out), you can place a pre-order beginning Saturday, March 11th. In-person orders can be taken at the store (Wilson and Magnolia), or you can give them a call at (773) 989-7393.

Loaves are $9 each.

Forgotten Chicago To Honor 60th Anniversary of Bezazian Branch Library

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Last year, when we posted about the history of the Harold A. Bezazian Branch Library, many readers were touched by its backstory. Funds for the library were given to the city by an immigrant father to create a living memorial to his son, a war hero who grew up in Uptown and loved reading and learning. (See the post about Harold Bezazian and his legacy here.)

This is the 60th anniversary of the branch, and most of its programming this year will concentrate on Uptown and the library's place in it.

Next Saturday, March 18th, the Forgotten Chicago folks will hold a talk at the library between 2pm and 4pm about the past 60 years in Uptown. The library is located at 1226 West Ainslie, at Magnolia.

March 18, 2 p.m.

Join Forgotten Chicago on Saturday, March 18 as they help celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Bezazian Branch of the Chicago Public Library with an all-new presentation! We will explore the past and present history of the Uptown community, and the curious remnants of Uptown history that are hiding in plain sight. We will also look at the incredible growth and change happening throughout the Chicago region the year the Bezazian Branch opened in 1957, including building the region’s expressway and tollway system, urban renewal, and the enormous number of new housing, retail and office construction in the region."

Daylight Saving Time Goes Into Effect Sunday

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We go back on Daylight Saving Time this weekend (2am Sunday, to be exact), so set your clocks to spring forward.

One less hour of sleep, always a lot of fun if you have a kid or pet who's firmly tied to a 24-hour schedule.  On the flip side, it means that evening light will last until at least 6:30 next week.

(Each year we run this photo with the terra cotta arch at Wilson and Broadway as an historical one. We really hope that next year at this time, we can run a new photo of the restored arch.)

(photo from the JJ Sedelmaier Productions Collection)

Want To March In The St. Patrick's Day Parade Saturday? You Can

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Ald. Osterman (or O'Sterman, as he's known this time of year) is a regular participant in Chicago' St. Patrick's Day Parade. If you'd like to join him tomorrow, just ask.

From Neighbors For Harry Osterman:

"Please join me in marching in this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, on Saturday, March 11, 2017.  Fellow marchers are meeting at 10am at the Broadway Armory Park, located at 5917 N. Broadway St. to pick up marching t-shirts and enjoy light refreshments.  At 11am, we will be boarding buses to go downtown to march in the parade and we will  return back to the Armory at approximately 2:30pm.  If you cannot join us for the trip downtown, but would still like to march, meet us at our float on the west side of Columbus Dr. between Balbo and Roosevelt by noon, we are #48.

After the parade, marchers are invited join us at  Bar 63, located at 6341 N. Broadway St. for our after Parade Party.  The party will be from 3pm to 6pm. Please join us even you cannot march in the parade.   All ages are welcome and encouraged, but please RSVP as soon as possible.

If you have any questions, or would like to RSVP, please email me at or call 847-736-1951.  I hope you can make it." You can also RSVP to

Looking For A Way To Get Involved? Join The Buttercup Park Advisory Council

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19th District Police Present City Service Fair

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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Wilson Red Line Rehab Landmark, Trains To Run On All New Tracks Starting Monday

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Final phase! The Mayor showed up for a press conference at the Wilson L today to talk about its progress. The press release from the city is below. We can't wait for the end of the year, when three-plus years of construction is completed. We especially anticipate the first ADA-compliant station in Uptown's history.

From the city:

CTA to begin removing the final section of century-old tracks; completed project to deliver a modern, fully accessible station at Wilson Street

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) President Dorval R. Carter, Jr., today announced the Wilson Red Line Station Reconstruction Project is kicking off its final major phase of construction. Already more than 75 percent complete, the $203 million project is on track to deliver a modern, fully accessible station and improvements to century-old tracks by the end of this year.

“CTA stations do more than move people around, they are neighborhood centers and economic hubs,” said Mayor Emanuel. “In bringing this historic station into the 21st century, we are also bringing this historic neighborhood the jobs, businesses, and transportation it needs in the 21st century economy.”

CTA trains will for the first time operate on all brand new elevated tracks in Uptown this Monday, as demolition begins on the last of four old elevated tracks that were built more than a century ago.

The tracks that will be removed in the next phase of modernization.
This is them being built on the 4600 block of Broadway in 1907.
Photo courtesy of JJ Sedelmaier
“When this project is completed, CTA customers will have a modern, accessible station in the heart of Chicago’s Uptown that will provide better service and also help generate economic development in the historic neighborhood,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “We are pleased to see the finish line for the new Wilson station and I thank our customers and Uptown neighbors for their patience during this worthwhile project.”

“All the developers and new business owners who have come into this area in the last year have said that it was the rehab of the Wilson ‘L’ that attracted them to Uptown,” said Ald. James Cappleman. “If there ever was a case study for what the rehab of an L stop can do, the Wilson ‘L’ is it.”

The Wilson station will remain open during the remaining construction and customers will see no changes to Red and Purple Express service.

Announced by Mayor Emanuel in 2012, the project is building a brand new Wilson stationhouse with an elevator and restoring the historic Gerber Building, built in 1923 at Broadway and Wilson.

It is also replacing more than a half mile of what was more than 100-year-old elevated track structure. Once the project is completed, the station will also function as a new Red-Purple Line transfer station for customers.

To date, the CTA has completed the reconstruction of two southbound tracks that carry Red and Purple Line Express trains as well as the northbound Red Line track. Work crews have completed one of the two new, modern island platforms that replaced platforms and infrastructure that were nearly 100 years old.

Wilson is just the latest in a series of major modernization projects undertaken by Mayor Emanuel on the Red Line, the CTA’s busiest rail line that forms the backbone of Chicago. Other Red Line projects since 2011 include the Red and Purple Modernization Program, the new 95th Street Terminal, and the extension of the Red Line south to 130th Street.

  • Normal Red and Purple Line Express service at the Wilson station will continue during the next phase and the station will remain open as it has throughout the project.
  • Customers will continue to access the platform via the auxiliary entrances off of the north and south sides of Wilson Avenue, since the main stationhouse (featuring two new elevators and escalators) remains under construction.
  • The construction work will occasionally require temporary street closures and parking restrictions near the elevated structure. The CTA works to minimize impacts on commuters and the neighborhood as much as possible, and will continue to work closely with local aldermen to finalize details and provide notice of impacts to sidewalks, streets and alleys.
For more information about the Wilson project, visit

Missing Man, Matt Devendorf


Missing Man, Shane Harris, Last Seen In Uptown

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The CPD's Special Victims Unit has issued a missing persons report for Shane Harris, age 41, who was last seen on October 1st. He was seen on the 4600 block of Clifton.

He is a light-complected African-American male, and is 6'1" and weighs 165 lbs.

If you have any information on his whereabouts, please call 911 or the Area South Detective Division, and reference case  M17A3698. The number is 312-747-8274.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A More Welcoming Storefront At Sheridan & Argyle

The NW corner storefront at Sheridan & Argyle today
The former "Quick Stop" convenience store we all remember on the NW corner
The corner storefront in the vintage apartment building at Sheridan and Argyle is getting a much needed makeover.
Gone are the filled in exterior walls lined with red tile and mixed in with several small, uninviting windows. Temporary plywood is up in anticipation of more inviting storefront windows. Should be easier to lease this corner space when pedestrians can actually see in.
1930s view of the same building at Sheridan & Argyle (IDOT collection)
Maybe Walgreens will move back into the space it leased back in the 1930s as seen in this IDOT photo above. Stranger things have happened.