Sunday, April 26, 2015

Broadway is Open!

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CTA finished the demolition of the concrete overpass nearly a full day early, despite less than perfect weather conditions, and Broadway and Leland are once again open to vehicular traffic.  Here are some photos a reader took over the weekend and shared:




Friday, April 24, 2015

Enjoy A "Best Picture" Nominee Saturday At The Bezazian

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CTA Reroute Information For Wilson Next Week

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The next seven days are going to see the demolition of unused train overpasses at both ends of the Wilson station.
Click on the links above for the CTA's notices about each project. We have just received info about the rerouting of the buses next week:
Buses are running normally, but the re-routes will be: 
#36 Broadway. Effective: Monday April 24, 2015 until Friday April 27, 2015, 2100 hours until 0400 hour: 
  • Southbound.  Will operate regular route to Broadway / Lawrence, (turn left) East on Lawrence to Sheridan (turn right) South on Sheridan to Wilson, (turn right) West on Wilson to Broadway (turn left) over regular route. 
  • Northbound.  Reverse of the Southbound Reroute. 
#78 Montrose. Effective: Monday April 27, 2015 - 0900 hours until Friday May 01, 2015 - 1600 hours: 
  • Eastbound.  Operate regular route to Clark/Wilson, (cont.) North on Clark to Lawrence, (turn right) East on Lawrence to Broadway, (turn right) South on Broadway to Wilson, (turn left) East on Wilson over the regular route. ​
  • Westbound.  Operate regular route to Broadway/Wilson, continue North on Broadway to Lawrence (turn left), West on Lawrence to Clark (turn left), South on Clark to Wilson over to regular route. 

Clean Up Green Up Date Change

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Due to predicted wild weather, the Clean Up Green Up has been postponed a week.  See you on May 2nd!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Uptown Pantry Calls It A Day

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S-L Pantry, aka U-T Pantry, aka Uptown Pantry, at Lawrence & Sheridan, is going out of business. The shelves are close to depleted, but everything that's left is half-price.  The entire building is now under the supervision of a court-appointed receiver, who told the owners of the convenience store that their lease would not be renewed.  And so they're closing up shop.

The entire intersection is undergoing a transformation, with the long-empty corner space in the ICA Building soon to be the new home of Lawrence House Pharmacy, and the drug dealers gone from the Weiss Plaza parking lot.


We'll be curious to see what happens to the entire building on the southeast corner as it continues to be in receivership.  It's a still-handsome vintage building that could be a great spot for the right business. We remember when it was the original home of Pasteur Restaurant in the 1980s and 1990s, before a fire closed it while the family who owned it was preparing for Taste of Chicago.

We wish the owners of the Pantry good luck in their next endeavor, and wait eagerly to see what happens next to that storefront.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Farewell Party For "Forget Me Knodt" On Thursday

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Many readers already know that Janessa will be closing her wonderful flower shop, Forget Me Knodt, on April 30th.  Not because it wasn't successful, but because it was.  She discovered that her bliss lies with working with flowers, not being an administrator and owner.  You can read her blog entry about it here.

If you'd like to say good-bye and good luck to her, there's a farewell party on Thursday, April 23rd. This is what her neighbor, David, has to say:
"I'm David from Practice Daily, a design project I started. I live in Uptown, right down the street from Forget me Knodt floral shop. I'd like to invite you the shop's closing party on Thursday, April 23rd. Janessa Ambrosio started Forget me Knodt about 3 years ago. If you're in Uptown much, you know what a refreshing addition she and her staff have been to the area.

We're also treating the night as a Practice Daily "Hey, Neighbor!" event. Businesses like Forget Me Knodt collaborate with me, choosing a word that best describes a feeling or value of theirs. I design a piece around that word and once it's screen printed (by Screwball Press), we sell a limited amount of them at the event hosted at the brick and mortar with some food and drinks.

I love Uptown and its businesses, partly because of their neighborly relationships with each other. So, please feel free to join Janessa and myself on April 23rd at her shop on 1313 Wilson Ave. from 5-9pm. I know she'd love to see you if you can make it to wish her well on her next endeavor (helping out at Fleur in Logan Square.) That goes for me, too. Also, it's free!

All are welcome. Cheers!"

Final Vote Count In For Runoff Election

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The final numbers are in from the aldermanic runoff, with provisional and absentee votes counted. 118 additional votes were counted in the 46th Ward, but the percentages remain the same:
  • JAMES CAPPLEMAN - 7,035 votes - 53.70%
  • AMY CRAWFORD - 6,065 votes - 46.30%
  • Total votes counted: 13,100
The candidates' quarterly accountings of campaign expenditures and donations (D-2s) as of March 31, 2015 are now online for your perusal. There will be more revealed about the final run-off numbers (April 7, 2015) when the next set of D-2s is filed on July 15th.

Cedar Street Purchases 5050 N. Broadway For $16.1M, Plans $150M Project

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Cedar Street, the parent company of FLATS, has purchased the former Combined Insurance Building at 5050 N. Broadway for $16.1 million and plans to construct a new mid-rise tower with a gym and retail, incorporating the new project with the existing structures. Cedar Street plans to spend about a year working with neighborhood groups and the city to gain approval.

Continue reading at Crain's Chicago Business (log-in might be required):

Broadway Closed This Weekend Between Wilson & Leland As Track Demolition Kicks Into High Gear

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The CTA will be working on the demolition of the Leland/Broadway concrete train overpass this weekend - all weekend - so the 4600 block of Broadway will be closed to vehicular traffic, as will Leland between Winthrop and Broadway. Sidewalks will be open.

Can't wait to see what it looks like on Monday. Remember: The businesses on Broadway will be open and will need your patronage more than ever! Please support our local shops during this construction phase.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Infamous 60640 Post Office Still Not Doing Its Job Very Well

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There's some discontent brewing over on UU's Facebook page.

A reader named Kate wrote in to detail the serious delivery problems she's been having and the serious attitude problems she experienced when she went to the 60640 post office to tell the manager about it.

"I have not received mail from the Uptown P.O. since April 9th. Items that I haven't received so far have been a check, 7 Netflix DVDs (I had asked for replacements after not receiving them), a magazine sub, dental health insurance cards, and other pieces of mail. I went to the P.O. on Saturday, waited for 25 minutes and then told to wait in another line to talk to the Supervisor who treated me like I was an idiot and, said our carrier for the route I'm on just stopped coming in two weeks ago, and even though they have substitutes, 'there is nothing they can do once they give these carriers the mail.' He says once the mail gone from the post office. it's in their hands. 

I asked if I could fill out a complaint form and he gave me something generic and then blew me off, saying other people were waiting. Today I called the Inspector General's office while at work and they told me to call the Consumer Affairs division which I will now do during my lunchtime tomorrow. I believe my belongings have been stolen and I am filing a theft report AGAINST this local post office for stealing my mail. I'm so upset I'm ready to scream. Is anyone else having this problem? My whole building is going through this, not just me."

Unsurprisingly, many readers chimed in with their own tales of woe about the post office, including stories of mail and packages found dumped in the snowbanks; standing outside their home and seeing the package notification change from "undelivered" to "delivered" even though they never received anything; receiving greeting cards that had been opened, presumably to see if any money had been enclosed; multiple stories of packages that were never received; and postal carriers who just stopped delivering the mail, for a myriad of reasons/excuses.

Other readers gave advice, the most common being to contact Rep. Jan Schakowsky's office, since the U.S. House of Representatives has authority over the USPS.  Then investigative reporter Pam Zekman's producer asked the complainants to contact him to see if CBS can do a story about it.

Will things at the notorious post office change?  It was a long-time item on the agenda of former alderman Mary Ann Smith to see the longstanding "culture of incompetence" (check out this article dating from 1992!) at 60640 get remedied. Stay tuned, we'll stay on top of this and hope for some better results.

Welcome Spring With Your WFCW Neighbors (Update: Please Note Date Change)

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Note: Date has been changed due to predicted bad weather.

Our annual Clean-Up Green-Up is Saturday, May 2nd April 25th, 9am - 2pm, and we have a lot of great things planned for the community. Get ready to get outside and beautify your yard. Learn the ins and outs of living green in Chicago!

This FREE event is open to the public and all are welcome... so bring a friend! The day will be chock full of exhibits and demonstrations which include installing rain barrels, using essential oils for better health, vermicomposting, free bike tune-ups, planting with EarthBoxes, fun kids’ activities, homemade Kombucha demonstrations, Eco-Andersonville, and much more.

Come out to meet your neighbors and discover how you can help nurture the environment. WFCW is dedicated to greening the neighborhood. Come learn how you can help! There will be trash bags and gloves for cleaning up the litter, too. So, join us to help make our neighborhood shine!

Bring a coffee mug! Coffee is being donated by our local business neighbors at La Colombe!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Track Demolition To Close Wilson For A Week

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Looks like the CTA is doubling down on demo.  Wilson between Broadway and Clifton will be closed to vehicular traffic all next week while they take down the same unused track that's being demo'd at Leland.


Pensacola Place Sells For $66 Million

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Crain's Chicago Business is reporting what a tipster told UU back in February: the huge Pensacola Place complex on Montrose, which includes 264 units of rental housing and the Jewel-Osco, has been sold.

At the time, our reader said, "Local firm Waterton Residential has the property under contract. They see a lot of potential in Uptown and believe now is the right time to buy in the neighborhood. They've done some nice work upgrading Presidential Towers, River North Park Apartments, One East Delaware, and The Seneca Hotel."

The price tag?  Crain's reports it was a whopping $65.8 million.

According to the article, Waterton sees Uptown as a great investment because people are moving north to escape higher rents in Lincoln Park and Lakeview.
The building has a massive fourth-floor outdoor deck that the firm plans to fix up, removing an existing tennis court and adding cabanas, fire pits and other features alongside its outdoor swimming pool, he said.

The deck also includes plenty of room along its perimeter for dozens more apartments. Waterton has discussed expansion plans with Ald. James Cappleman (46th), whose ward includes the property, but hasn't decided what it will build.

“There's the potential to do it,” Stern said. “We're just not sure how many or what yet.”

Help Make Buttercup Park Even Better By Making It Shine

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Cleaning and Greening the Buttercup
Saturday, April 25, 2015 - 10am- Noon

Join the Buttercup Park Advisory Council and the McCutcheon School as we get the park and our minds ready for the upcoming season!

We will clean, mulch, rake and do whatever it takes to spruce & shine the Buttercup.

We will have a limited supply of gloves and tools.  Feel free to bring your own.

Light refreshments and water provided. Dress accordingly for the weather!

A rain or shine event…

There are many events planned this summer…
* movies * picnics * gardening/planting *
* dancing * music and more …to get you outside...
Moving and creating community!

Your time & energy will help to pay forward all the good times to come!

See you at the Buttercup on Saturday, April 25th @ 10am...

Buttercup Park is located at 4901 North Sheridan Road.

The Walls Come Tumbling Down

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The work continues on the huge reconstruction of the Wilson L station.  There's some "addition by subtraction" going on at Leland and Broadway, as workers take down the concrete bridge that supported the tracks on which the long-defunct North Shore Line trains once ran.  (The Purple Line trains used them until recently; they now share the adjacent Red Line tracks.)  We can't wait for the support pillars to come down and make Broadway easier to negotiate, as well as much brighter.  You can see in the vintage photo, at top, how dark that corner has been forever, thanks to the double set of tracks and many support pillars in and at the intersection.

The Rubloff Building, which many of us knew as "The Majestic Store" ("Live Poultry" in the vintage photo), was built in 1922, and was designed specifically to fit under those tracks. So they're taking down some very old infrastructure, indeed.  They looked good in the day, but had deteriorated badly, and we look forward to seeing what 21st century technology will look like there.

The Rubloff Building was taken down and each exterior part was numbered. The terra cotta is being restored and will be put back when the new elevated tracks are completed.  The footprint of the Rubloff Building will hold the pillars supporting the new overhead tracks.

Here are some more photos of the demolition of the overpass, taken last week:





Saturday, April 18, 2015

New Police Commanders In Both Uptown Districts

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According to Second City Cop, there were quite a few command changes and promotions in the CPD brass announced yesterday.  Both Uptown districts and their commanders were affected:
  • In the 19th District (south of Lawrence), Commander Eli Voulgaris was transferred to Commander of the Bureau of Patrol.  Captain Robert Cesario from the Central Investigations Division was promoted to Acting Commander (the "Acting" until he is confirmed by the City Council).
  • In the 20th District (north of Lawrence), Commander Kevin Duffin was transferred to Commander of Area North.  Captain Cornelia Lott from the 18th District was promoted to Acting Commander.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Home Robberies In Buena Park

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Hey, guys, this isn't Mayberry. Even Mayberry isn't Mayberry any more. Lock your doors and windows!


Ba Le Starts Construction On "Desserts & Drinks"

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Construction work is now going on at 5018 North Broadway, empty for years

The old location of Ba Le Sandwich at 5018 N. Broadway, slated to be "Ba Le Desserts & Drinks" (via Google)
About this time last year, Ba Le took out a building permit at its original location, 5018 North Broadway, one storefront north of the current sandwich shop.  It stated that a shop called "Ba Le Desserts & Drinks" would open there.

Thanks to reader MH, we know that the groovy window stencils have come down and construction began at the site this week.  It's our understanding that the new place will serve desserts and bubble tea, and be a place to sit down and talk and relax, unlike the austere tables and stand-up counter at the sandwich shop.

We look forward to enjoying Ba Le's tasty macarons in a new comfortable setting.

Celebrate Spring's Arrival With CircEsteem! This Weekend and Next

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Peel off the winter layers and come out of hibernation as 120 kids ages 3-18 dazzle you with their feats of strength and daring!  You won't want to miss this show.

SPECIAL: (Only for advanced ticket sales) Buy 2 adult tickets get 1 child ticket free.  Tickets available at Brown Paper Tickets.

Spring Party & Barbecue Saturday

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Missio Dei is having a Spring Party at Buttercup Park...a party for everyone! Family Fun and Free BBQ as well!  For more about Missio Dei, visit their Facebook page.

Citywide Clean and Green

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Help Clean & Green The Sunnyside Mall On Saturday

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Please join  your neighbors and Sunnyside Mall Committee to spruce up the Sunnyside Mall located on Sunnyside between Magnolia and Beacon, on Saturday, April 18th, 10 AM to 1 PM.   Clean garden beds and mall, maybe even planting.

If you can’t join us on Saturday and want to help with gardening, email sunnysidemall@yahoo.com.

Thank you for taking pride in your neighborhood and lending a helping hand.

Join Truman Square Neighbors For Clean & Green on Saturday

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Murder On Wednesday Morning

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As many readers are already aware, there was a shooting that resulted in a death in the wee hours of the morning on Wednesday.  It happened at 1:50am in the 4500 block of Broadway.  A 24-year-old woman who was a passenger in a car was shot in the head.  The driver of the car took her to Illinois Masonic, where she was pronounced dead.  Readers tell us that Broadway was fully blocked off by the police doing investigations by 2:30am.

We've been waiting for more information to pass along, but there's nothing more to report. We heard a rumor that the couple was from central Illinois, not from Uptown.  Other than that, there's no further information to be had.

Was it road rage?  Was it a domestic situation?  Was it gang-related?  Was she a target or an innocent bystander?  We don't know any of those answers.

What we do know is that a family is burying a young woman and grieving her senseless death.  It's so very sad, and our hearts go out to those who loved this young woman.

Update from Ald. Cappleman's 4/17/2015 newsletter:  "At approximately 1:50AM Wednesday morning, a 24 year old woman was fatally shot in the head on the 4500 block of N. Broadway. Chicago Police Department detectives are gathering information including video footage. CPD has stated that they do not believe this was gang-related. If you have any additional information or questions, please call the 19th District CAPS office at 312-744-0064."

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Tragic Death At Truman College Today

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We've had several inquiries about an incident at Truman College this afternoon.

We are told that a Truman College instructor jumped or fell from one of the buildings in the back of the campus, in the area near Clifton and the back of the parking structure.

Our heartfelt sympathies to those who knew and loved him, and to the entire Truman College community.

Update:  The instructor's name was Thomas Worms and he taught Nursing.  You can read more about his life in DNAinfo.

Free On April 28th? Come Help Challenger Bark Grow

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On Tuesday, April 28th Challenger Bark will be closed for tree planting.  The hours are 9am-1pm.

Anyone wishing to volunteer to help out needs to register with Openlands at this link: http://www.openlands.org/4-28-2015.  It takes about 30 seconds.

For any questions people can email Kent at challengerbark@yahoo.com and they can also visit and like our Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Challenger-Bark-Park/212781442091544.

Help Available Appealing Property Taxes

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We've been hearing from property owners who got their property value assessments from Joe Berrios's office last week.
  • Some are upset that they're overly high ("This has to be some grossly incompetent mistake or intentional fraud because [my value going up by $110K] is absolutely laughable.  They didn’t raise our property taxes so they raised our estimate fair market value.")
  • Some are upset that their property value has dropped ("I wanted to re-fi, but this new value puts me under water.")
Luckily, there is some help available.  You can appeal your tax valuation until May 8th. "Please warn Uptown residents to watch for their love letters from Mr. Berrios.   Many of them won’t even receive them like I didn't for several years.  The tax appeal deadline is May 8, 2015 for Lakeview Township [which includes all of Uptown]."


  • We heard from Commission Bridget Gainer's office.  "From now until May 8, the Cook County Assessor’s Office is accepting property tax assessments appeals for Lakeview Township. Next Monday, April 20 from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM – staff from Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer’s office will be available at Alderman James Cappleman’s 46th Ward office (4544 N Broadway) to offer property tax assistance. Homeowners may visit Commissioner Gainer’s staff to for assistance to file an appeal and for answers to their property questions."  If you can't make that date or times, please contact Bridget Gainer's office to see if there are other opportunities.
  • Former Uptown community activist Molly Phelan is a tax lawyer, and posted on UU's Facebook page:  "For property tax appeal assistance, contact me at map@kearneyphelan.com or visit www.kearneyphelan.com."

Monday, April 13, 2015

Helen Shiller Withdraws Application As City Council Financial Analyst

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(José M. Osorio, Chicago Tribune photo / January 29, 2011)
16 months after she threw her hat in the ring for consideration as Chicago's first City Council independent financial analyst, former 46th Ward alderman Helen Shiller has withdrawn her application.

Not that she thinks she wouldn't be great, mind you.  She does.  But she says she's tired of waiting for a decision, and she's got other things to do.

It came down to a standoff between 47th Ward alderman Ameya Pawar, who didn't want a former alderman in the position, and 34th Ward alderman Carrie Austin, who was determined her former colleague should get the job.

Someone must have blinked, or someone *cough*Rahm*cough* threw some clout around.

In a statement, Ms. Shiller said:
“I felt (and frankly still feel) that I was the most qualified to work with all 50 aldermen on drilling down into this information and providing them the tools to make the tough decisions.

Now, I have moved on to other opportunities that interest me personally. ... Things change, and as time has gone by, my day-to-day priorities have changed. While I remain committed to the establishment of an office that is an effective resource for aldermen, I no longer wish to be considered for this position.”
She still has a lobbying firm and a healthy pension.  She's a smart cookie, we'll give her that, and there are probably many opportunities available for someone with her talents, political passion, and background.

You can read more of her statement in the Sun-Times.

Clean and Green Beacon Street On Saturday

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Interested neighbors are invited to join in the block clean-up of Beacon Street.  Meet at the Lawrence triangle at 11am and work south from there.