Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Register To Vote Today At Crew

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From Crew (4804 North Broadway):

The November elections are less than three months away, and we at Crew want YOU to participate! We will be registering voters all day long Wednesday, August 31st, and those who register will have a chance to win fantastic prizes provided by Vintage Wines and Crew Bar + Grill! All that is needed to register is a drivers licence/state ID number or a Social Security number. Make your voice heard!

"Super TIF" Proposed to Fund Red Line Modernization Project

Areas in white would be included in the proposed Super TIF area to rebuild the Red and Purple Lines

As we've been posting for years, the CTA has big plans to modernize the North Side's Red and Purple Lines. After more than a century of use, the tracks and stations are "approaching the end of their useful life" and are 40 years past their expected lifespan. In addition to being the most heavily traveled train lines in the CTA system, they also have the fastest-growing ridership numbers. CTA plans to completely rebuild the viaducts, tracks, stations, and embankments by 2040.

map of the entire proposed Super TIF
area. Click to enlarge.
This will directly affect Uptown in a couple of ways:
  • Phase 1 will rebuild four stations/tracks (Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr) and create a Red-Purple bypass to improve service.
  • The cost of Phase 1 is a staggering $2.3 billion. The federal government has earmarked a cool billion for the project, but there's a catch (isn't there always?) To get that money, CTA must come up with matching funds. And that leads to the possibility of a "Super TIF" -- which the state legislators authorized last June in a rare bipartisan vote. (See the Tribune for more details on the funding.)
TIFs have been hot topics in Uptown for years. In a TIF district, property taxes remain the same, but instead of going for the usual things that property taxes go for, a certain percentage goes toward a particular project -- in this case, the rebuilding of the CTA Red Line and other CTA projects. Uptown already has four existing TIF Districts: Wilson Yard, Clark/Montrose, Montrose/Clarendon, and Lawrence/Broadway.

So what makes the proposed CTA Super TIF so "super"?
  • The life of the TIF would extend for up to 35 years, not the usual 23 years.
  • It would not take money away from Chicago Public Schools, as TIFs usually do. The schools would receive exactly the same amount from your property taxes that they would if the TIF were not in place.
  • And here's the biggie. The proposed Super TIF would include in its area all properties within a half mile on either side of the Red Line tracks, between Devon and Division. That means that virtually all of Uptown would be part of this TIF. (Of course, properties that are already in one of Uptown's four existing TIF Districts would not be included.) Check out the map for details.
There will be a public hearing where you can learn more about the Super TIF and what it would mean for the CTA's Red Line and you. It will be held on Tuesday, September 13th, at 6pm at the DePaul Sullivan Center, located at 2323 N Sheffield. They are also looking for organizations and companies who are willing to provide letters of support for the project. You can contact for more information.

The CTA has a lot of information on its website about the Red Purple Modernization project. Check it out here and here.

This is the mailing the CTA sent out to affected residents.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Bobby Kraft - Can You Help Identify His Murderer?

image from GoFundMe
Nykea Aldridge was killed Friday afternoon in gang crossfire on the South Side. She was an innocent victim of the insane belief that it's appropriate behavior to fire guns on crowded city streets. We all know her name now. She has become the subject of Donald Trump's tweets and a topic on Sunday morning talk shows. Her death is a tragedy, made newsworthy because her cousin is the Bulls' Dwyane Wade, who has worked to stop Chicago's gang violence.

A few hours after Ms. Aldridge was shot and killed, a terrible and similar scenario took place on the 900 block of Wilson. The 55-year-old man who was murdered Friday by an errant bullet, like Ms. Aldridge, didn't have anything to do with gangs. He was shot and killed because someone decided it was appropriate behavior to open fire on a busy street. We don't know the shooter's motivation. Maybe someone gave him a nasty look. Maybe someone said something mean about him on social media.

Robert "Bobby" Kraft didn't have celebrity relatives. According to his former wife, who now lives in Florida, he didn't have "any relatives to speak of." Annie Kraft didn't want to see his body go unclaimed, so she opened a GoFundMe page to raise money so that her ex-husband could have a service, a cremation, and a small stone to be remembered. CWB Chicago has reprinted her statement.

When Uptown Update's Facebook page ran a link to Annie's GoFundMe page Sunday afternoon, it had raised about $1200 of the then-$5000 goal. As of 2:30pm on Monday, $4570 has been raised.

This doesn't surprise us. For all our differences, Uptowners are a generous and compassionate lot. We want to help. Nearly 100 people so far have given what they can to help bury a man most of them didn't know.

Bobby Kraft will have a decent burial, thanks to Annie Kraft and kind-hearted donors, past and future.

But it's a comment on our blog that deserves attention. Burying an innocent victim of street savagery shouldn't be the end goal. Annie Kraft's fiance writes from Florida:
We are the ones who received the call from CPD, informing us of his murder. We ask that anybody that sees this "black man in red hoodie," who apparently, "is always walking around [the] area," to immediately call the authorities! Nobody is going to know who "dimed" him out! This punk needs to be brought to justice, and must pay for what he has done! The longer he, and his other gangbanger, dirtbag friends remain at large, who knows how many more innocent, peaceful citizens, will be gunned down?

The Mayor, never had any balls! Those of us who do, would, and should, help put a stop to this crap NOW!

Please help Chicago stop the cycle of murders! It's never too late!!!
If you can help the police solve this murder, please do. If you are afraid of retribution, use the TXT2TIP program to anonymously report what you know.

We can, and are helping to, bury Bobby Kraft, an innocent victim of street violence. But someone out there, maybe multiple someones, know who murdered him. If you have information, please help identify his killer before someone else is murdered. Remember, this is the second innocent bystander who has died this month in Uptown due to men who don't mind if they kill the wrong person.

And the beat went on. Two people were shot on the North Side over the weekend, a woman riding in a car in West Ridge on Friday night, and a man on Sunday evening who was parking his car in West Rogers Park.

The link to Bobby's GoFundMe is here. The link to TXT2TIP is here.

Court Advocacy Training For 19th & 20th District Residents

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Sunday, August 28, 2016

GoFundMe Set Up For Funeral Of Man Murdered In Gang Crossfire

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The police haven't released his name yet, but the man who was killed in gang crossfire last Friday is Robert Kraft. It is a tragedy that his life was ended so quickly and so needlessly. People who loved him have set up a fundraising effort to give him a funeral and burial. On a GoFundMe page entitled, "Bobby's Funeral," it says:
It is with a heavy heart, that I'm asking for donations to give my ex husband a proper burial. He does not have any relatives to speak of, and I feel that I owe this to him, and out of respect, as a person who genuinely cared about him. On Friday evening, August 26th, Bobby Kraft was murdered, caught in the crossfire, in Uptown Chicago. To think that he would become a statistic of Chicago's murder rate, is truly unthinkable and heart wrenching! So, if you can find it in your heart, please give, and we are humbled that you would do so. Thank you and God Bless. 
You can make a donation here. At the time of this post, $1,770 of the $5000 goal has been reached.

Update: Crime in Wrigleyville and Boystown has more information in its post, Ex-Wife Vows To Give Uptown Victim A Proper Burial; "We're going to do this for you...I promise."

Friday, August 26, 2016

Person Shot and Killed At Wilson/Hazel Friday Evening (Updated 4x)

Posted by a reader to UU's Facebook page
We've been getting reports of shots fired and a person hit at 909 West Wilson (EZRA). This took place around 6:15pm. First responders are on the scene and Wilson has been blocked off to traffic. More details as they come in.

Update: The victim was shot under the arm and is on the way to Illinois Masonic, the closest trauma center. The shooter is described as a black male wearing a red hoodie.

Update: The victim is in critical condition, according to a tweet from Ald. Cappleman. "Male shot early this evening and in critical condition. Police in area just before shooting. Ongoing investigation."

Update: According to media reports, the man who was shot is 55 years old.

Update: The shooting victim has died, the police confirm. He was shot at 921 West Wilson and made it to 909 West Wilson, where he collapsed. Many are saying he was not the intended victim. Tragic. Our thoughts are with his loved ones.

UU Note: Gangs in Uptown are notoriously quick to retaliate after a shooting. If you see anything that looks like it's about to be trouble, call 9-1-1. There will be extra police out due to the violence. Call 9-1-1 if you see gang loitering or anything that looks like it has the potential to develop into a violent situation.

PEACEBOOK Performs In Clarendon Park Friday and Saturday

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Today and tomorrow, PEACEBOOK will hold a live theater performance event at Clarendon Park (Clarendon and Sunnyside).

The mission statement of the Collaboraction Theatre Company, which is the driving force behind PEACEBOOK, is to "create original theatrical experiences that push artistic boundaries in order to explore critical social issues with a diverse community of Chicagoans."  PEACEBOOK features FREE food, FREE performances, Peace Fairs, Peace Panels, and our famous Dome of Dance, all celebrating community and the power of art to cultivate a more peaceful Chicago.

It all happens Friday and Saturday. The line-up is:
  • BAG AND TAG devised by Sophia Pietrowski. There are over 20,000 homeless youth in the city of Chicago. What happens to the things that are most important to us after displacement? This devised piece aims to bring awareness to a Bag and Tag service that will keep our homeless youth in possession of their most important belongings.
  • BEATBOX SYMPHONY by Chicago Beatbox LTD, directed by Yuri Lane. This piece will feature amazing beatboxers from around the Chicago area, including an interactive beatbox symphony conducted by Yuri Lane, also known as the Human Beatbox.
  • CO.EX.IST devised by Danielle Littman and Diana Raiselis. Littman and Raiselis are interviewing Uptown residents, business owners and workers with a central question: What does it mean for Uptown residents to coexist? The answers will be shaped into a hyper-local performance piece that touches on not only the neighborhood's concerns, but also its gifts, strengths and joys.
  • EVERYBODY LOVES BIG E written by Reginald Edmund, directed by Melanie Flores. A narrative from a 12-year-old bootlegger brings attention to the difficulty of making a living in a difficult neighborhood, and how police bias and brutality lead to unjust actions against people just trying to survive and find peace.
  • YOU'RE MEAN, WORK ON THAT devised by Kasey Foster. Peace is a good thing, and this city of marches and protests is hungry for it. A dance piece about Chicago’s fight for unity and love.
  • FOLKS ALONG THE WAY by Still Acting Up, directed by Genevieve Fowler. Still Acting Up is an audition-based senior citizens theatre troupe who hopes to debunk the myth of what it means to be a senior involved in the arts and wants to inspire audiences to action.
  • WHEN THE LIGHTS TURN OFF by Jenny Lynn Christoffersen, directed by Spencer Diedrick. A spoken word ensemble piece about ignorance and privilege that shows how everyone must do their part to open their eyes and help fix the world’s problems even though they may not be directly affected by some of them.
For more about PEACEBOOK, click here for the website. To reserve your free seats, click here.

Concerned About Gang Loitering On Wilson? Join Positive Loitering Tonight

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From Uptown Chicago Commission:

"Positive Loitering will take place this evening between 6PM and 7PM. The location will again be Wilson and Racine. Please join your neighbors in front of Jimmy John's. There was a definite change on the block when neighbors and police officers showed up last week.

Stop by for a few minutes or stay for the full hour. Bring a friend, bring a new neighbor, stop by on a dog walk, just come out! We have dog treats for your furry friends.

As always, the 19th District Police are aware of our presence and encourage participation."

Red Line Northbound Closures and Reroutes This Weekend

It seems like CTA is getting down to the business of dealing with the remaining century-old Red Line tracks on the 4600 block of Broadway. There will be closures this weekend due to "destressing rail."
  • Northbound Red Line service will run express between Sheridan and Howard. This begins at 11pm Friday and will continue through 2am on Monday. There will be no northbound stops at the Wilson, Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn, Bryn Mawr, Thorndale, Granville, Loyola, Morse or Jarvis stations. Additionally, CTA says, "At Wilson station, the temporary entrances on the north and south sides of Wilson Ave that lead directly to the 95th-bound platform will be temporarily closed. Please use the main entrance on Broadway north of Wilson Ave, or the auxiliary entrance on the south side of Wilson Ave."

    If you need to go north, take an express train from Sheridan (or a station south of Sheridan). Get off a Howard and take a southbound train to your stop. All stations will be open to southbound trains. CTA says, "Consider using the #22 Clark, #36 Broadway, #147 Outer Drive Express, or #151 Sheridan buses, which run parallel to the Red Line. #22 Clark buses run at all times. During this period, #151 Sheridan buses will also run overnight, northbound only, between Sheridan Red Line station and Clark/Devon, to provide alternate service."
  • Broadway will be closed between Wilson and Leland beginning at 9pm on Friday and will reopen by 5am on Monday. CTA notes that there will be continuous work and there will be noise.

Trash Movie Night Returns To Fat Cat on Wednesday -- With Dinosaurs!

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As if free Trash Movie Night from the Horror Society weren't fabulous enough, There. Will. Be. Dinosaurs!

Come to Fat Cat on Wednesday, August 31st, for a double feature of:
  • 8pm, Carnosaurus (1993). "A genetically manipulated and very hungry dinosaur escapes from a bioengineering company and reeks havoc on the local desert town." Starring Diane Ladd and Raphael Sbarge.
  • 10pm, Tammy and the T-Rex (1994). "An evil scientist implants the brain of Michael, a murdered high school student, into an Tyrannosaurus. He escapes, wreaks vengeance on his high school tormentors and is reunited with his sweetheart Tammy." Starring Denice Richards and Paul Walker.
The event is free, but for guests 21 and older. There will be drink specials, prizes, and a raffle. For more information, visit the Facebook Event page here.

Fat Cat is located at 4840 North Broadway, at the corner of Gunnison.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Mosquito Spraying Tonight

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click to enlarge
There will be mosquito abatement spraying tonight that will affect parts of the 46th, 47th, and 48th Wards. From the above map (which can be enlarged), it looks like most areas in Uptown north of Leland will be in the spray zone.

According to a mailing from Ald. Osterman, "There will be a mosquito abatement spraying in the 48th Ward this evening to protect residents from potential exposure to mosquitoes that may carry West Nile Virus. Weather permitting, the spraying will begin at dusk and continue through the night until approximately 1:00am, with licensed mosquito abatement technicians in trucks dispensing an ultra-low-volume spray.

The material being used to control the adult mosquitoes, Zenivex™, is approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and has been widely applied to control mosquitoes in outdoor residential and recreational areas across the city. The spray will be applied by licensed mosquito abatement technicians from Vector Disease Control International, a leader in the mosquito control industry. Guiding the crews through the streets will be supervisors from the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation.

While the spray is not harmful to people or pets and is routinely sprayed in residential areas across the nation, residents of targeted neighborhoods may choose to stay indoors and close their windows while spraying is underway, as an extra precaution.

In addition to the city's aggressive mosquito abatement and prevention efforts, CDPH continues to remind residents to take simple precautions to protect themselves against mosquitoes that may carry the virus, including:
  • Use insect repellent that contains DEET, Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
  • Eliminate standing water. This includes emptying water from flowerpots, gutters, pool  covers, pet water dishes and birdbaths regularly.
  • Keep grass and weeds short to eliminate hiding places for adult mosquitoes.
  • When outside between dusk and dawn, wear loose-fitting, light colored clothing including long pants, long sleeve shirts, socks and shoes.
  • Check that all screens, windows and doors are tight-fitting and free of holes and tears.
  • Check on neighbors regularly who may need additional assistance, including the elderly.
Though mosquitoes found to carry the Zika virus are not native to Chicago, CDPH has launched a recent campaign, #StopZika, to educate residents traveling to Zika-infested regions how to protect themselves. The campaign also reminds residents how the department is working to prevent mosquito-borne viruses that are endemic to Chicago, including West Nile virus.

If you have any questions, please contact my office at (773) 784-5277 or email"

Public Safety Workshop Tonight

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From Ald. Osterman:
"Tonight, come out for a Public Safety Workshop at the Broadway Armory, co-hosted by State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, State Sen. Heather Steans, Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS), and I.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m., presentations run from 6-8 p.m. Topics covered include: street safety, victim prevention, public transportation safety, youth safety, and fire safety. "
The Broadway Armory is located at 5917 North Broadway, at Thorndale.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Bambu Desserts & Drinks Coming To Argyle & Broadway

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Another empty storefront hits the dust. Bambu Desserts & Drinks, a Vietnamese chain that started in 2008, is coming to 5010 North Broadway, a couple doors south of Ba Le.

According to its website, Bambu currently has stores in nine states and features "fresh, healthy and colorful Asian-inspired Chè, unique boba milk teas, bold Vietnamese espressos & blended coffees, and real & exotic fruit smoothies."

The signage just went up and it is due to open in the next month or so.

There are over 90 different offerings on the core menu. Franchises are able to add their own creations, and customers can specify their own personalizations as well. Coconut milk and coconut water are used in many of the drinks, with fresh coconuts being opened at each store on a daily basis.

Ba Le has been in the process of opening a dessert and drinks store of its own at 5018 North Broadway for several years, so there will be plenty of deliciousness to go around if you're in the area.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Big Chicks Announced as Inductee Into Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame

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The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame today announced this year's honored inductees, and there are some Uptowners in the group:
  • Under the category of "Organizations," congratulations to Big Chicks (5024 North Sheridan). The press release says, "For thirty years this pioneering Uptown bar has served as a diverse LGBTQ watering hole, a hub of community events and performances, and a longstanding center of LGBTQ fundraising and sponsorship."
  • Under the category of "Individuals," former Howard Brown clinic physician Dr. Thomas Klein is being honored. "Longtime openly gay physician who was on the front lines during the darkest days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. He has served on the Boards of Howard Brown as well as Horizons, is a current Board member of Heartland Health Outreach, and is a member of the Gay and Lesbian American Medical Association."
A complete list of this year's inductees, including former Gov. Pat Quinn and Hell in a Handbag's David Cerda, can be found here.

The induction ceremony will be held on Wednesday, November 9th, at the Chicago History Museum. It is free and open to the public. The reception will begin at 5:30pm, and the ceremony will take place between 6pm and 7pm.

More more about the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, visit its website here.

Back To School Bash at Missio Dei Uptown

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Missio Dei Uptown is a local church looking to offer a great experience for the neighborhood to kick off the school season!  There will be a bounce house, free food, free hair cuts, school supplies, etc. The event will take place at Missio Dei Uptown (located on the 4th floor of the Preston Bradley Center, 941 West Lawrence) on Sunday, September 4th from 2pm - 5pm.

This Season's Last Argyle Night Market Is Upon Us

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Food, music and fun to be had on Argyle (photo by Dave Suarez)
Summer is starting to wind down, and so is another successful season of the Argyle Night Market. Thursday, August 25, will be your last chance to taste the food, shop the vendors, and hear great music. Fear not, for the fun will be back again next year. Come to Sheridan and Argyle between 5pm and 9pm for all the vendors and entertainment.

Per Uptown United, "The night’s entertainment will celebrate the life of late hip-hop artist and son of Argyle Street - John 'Vietnam' Nguyen - featuring live performances by the Chinese Mutual Aid Association, Elephant Rebellion, Kuumba Lynx, and Connect Force." This continues a tradition that began with 2015's market.

More info can be found here.

Citing Labor Costs and Regulations, Cantina 1910 Closes

A sad and surprising note on the Facebook page of Cantina 1910 this morning:

"We want to thank everyone who has joined us at Cantina 1910 over the past year. Like any restaurant, we’ve had our ups and downs, but through it all our team has remained fully committed to serving sustainable, local ingredients through modern culinary techniques.

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the closing of Cantina 1910 and Café 1910 effective immediately. Despite this decision, we are extremely proud of the culinary experience we were able to deliver to those who dined with us and express our sincerest gratitude to Executive Chef Scott Shulman and Executive Pastry Chef Andrew Pingul and their teams for their tireless dedication to our mission.

Unfortunately, the rapidly changing labor market for the hospitality industry has resulted in immediate, substantial increases in payroll expenses that we could not absorb through price increases. In the last two years, we have seen a 27% increase in the base minimum wage, a 60% increase in kitchen wages, and a national shortage of skilled culinary workers.

As we look down the road, we are facing a December 1 change in federal labor regulations that will nearly double required salaries for managers to qualify as exempt, a 2017 mandatory sick leave requirement and another minimum wage increase. Coupled with increasing Chicago and Cook County taxes and fees that disproportionately impact commercial properties and businesses, we are operating in an environment in which we do not see a path forward. We are unable to further raise prices in this competitive restaurant market in order to sustain the labor costs necessary to operate Cantina 1910.

Thank you again to all who supported us this past year."

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Traditional Mexican Food Coming To Former Rique's Storefront

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The former Rique's Mexican Cocina storefront won't be empty for long. After Rique's quiet closing over the July 4th weekend, a new restaurant is moving in. Thanks to reader Jason Lee Vasquez, who posted the bottom photo to Uptown Update's Facebook page, we know that a restaurant featuring traditional food from the Oaxaca region of Mexico will be opening at 5004 N Sheridan.

We stopped by to talk to the family behind the new restaurant as they were moving decorations and fixtures into the storefront. They hope to open by mid-September, although it's a flexible timeframe. They will feature weekend brunches, evening meals, and are weighing the possibility of being open at lunchtime during the week.

As longtime Uptowners know, this storefront has been a revolving door for restaurants over the past decade or so. With new residents moving into the Somerset and with Argyle getting a facelift, we certainly hope this place is successful. Remember, if you want our small businesses to succeed, you must support them, not just once, but over and over again. Best of luck to Kie-Gol-Lanee!

What A Difference A Renovation Makes


Presto Change-O! Hai Yen at 1055 Argyle has gone modern with a new exterior, thanks in part to a rebate program offered by Uptown United.

On its Facebook page, Uptown United ran the photo above and says: "We love the new signage at Hai Yen Restaurant on Argyle and were honored to help make it happen with our Curb Appeal Rebate Program! Looking to make improvements at your business? Visit our website to find out how we can help!"

They have also offered grants through the SBIF (Small Business Improvement Fund).

Here's how Hai Yen looked just a year ago:

image via Google Streetview

If you own a small business or if you know any small businesses that might be interested in taking part in either program, have them contact Uptown United.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Tonight: The Black Stallion Screens At Buttercup Cinema

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A wonderful season of movies concludes tonight at Buttercup Park with The Black Stallion, starring Mickey Rooney. This 1979 classic is described as "the story of Alec Ramsey, who is shipwrecked on a deserted island with a wild Arabian stallion whom he befriends. After being rescued, they are set on entering a race challenging two champion horses."

The movie will start around 8pm. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets, and food and drinks. The movie is free, and there are no overpriced concessions! Buttercup Park is located at Ainslie and Sheridan.

Many thanks to the people who stepped up to make this happen for the community, all summer long!

The series is curated by Victor Herrera, and is made financially possible with the support of Big Chicks/Tweet, Green Team Properties, Somerset Place Apartments, Karen Ayers of State Farm Insurance, Foremost Liquors on Argyle, and Cedar St/Flats. It's all put together by the volunteers at Buttercup Park Advisory Council.

"I Want To Believe" That David Duchovny Will Be In Uptown This Sunday

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Photo by Rebel901 on Tumblr
Author David Duchovny, who's also done some acting, will be Book Cellar's guest at a book signing this Sunday at 4pm at 935 West Wilson. He'll be promoting his latest creation, Bucky F*cking Dent.

Tickets for the event are $16.52 for general admission, and $37.22 with the book purchase included.

As the website says, "NOTE: David will sign and personalize books ONLY, NO memorabilia. Photos can be taken from the signing line ONLY without posed photos."

Event information is here, and you can purchase tickets here.

Art Opening Tonight : FLATSstudio In Color

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Come to the newest FLATSstudio tonight for the opening of an exhibit described as "the work of local artists who are inspired by their heritage. The opening will be held at The Bachelor [1136 W.Wilson] on August 19th from 5-9pm. 

Featured artists Yvette Mayorga, John Dominguez, William Camargo and VDJ caliXta will be showcased with a live performance by DJ Itzi Nallah. Cocktails courtesy of Koval will be served to guests (21+).

ART(IST): Yvette Mayorga, John Dominguez, William Camargo, VDJ caliXta and Mike Rivera.

Curator: Mike Rivera x Cumbiasazo

One guest per RSVP." RSVP here or at

Come to Positive Loitering Tonight, Take In an Art Opening Too

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From Uptown Chicago Commission:

"Positive Loitering will take place this evening between 6PM and 7PM. The location will again be Wilson and Racine. Please join your neighbors in front of Jimmy John's. There was a definite change on the block when neighbors and police officers showed up last week.

Stop by for a few minutes or stay for the full hour. Bring a friend, bring a new neighbor, stop by on a dog walk, just come out! We have dog treats for your furry friends.

As always, the 19th District Police are aware of our presence and encourage participation."

UU Note:  FLATSstudio is having its art opening at 1136 West Wilson between 5pm and 9pm, so make it a two-fer! Stop by and have a few words with your neighbors at Racine and Wilson, and take in the art exhibition at Wilson and Clifton.

Bike Lawrence Saturday Morning

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Join your friends and neighbors on a three-mile bike ride from Argyle Street to Albany Park on Saturday. The ride is free, and there is a suggested admission price of $5 into the Albany Park World Fest. The more the merrier!

The ride will begin at Uptown Bikes' pop-up shop at 1124 West Argyle, and proceed down Lawrence at a leisurely pace (10mph). Helmets are required and you must sign a waiver of liability.

Here's the schedule. Visit the EventBrite page to register, see the route, see what the Albany Park World Fest is all about, and to get more details.
  • 10 - 11:15am:  Pre-Ride Bike Prep (Air & Oil), conversation, breakfast at any of Argyle Street's fine establishments
  • 11:30am - Start from Uptown Bikes Pop-Up Shop
  • Noon - ETA @ Albany Park's Bikes 'n Roses, 4747 N Sawyer (Free Bike Valet)
The Lawrence Jaunt is a series of bike rides connecting the culturally rich communities of Uptown and Albany Park. These events are made possible through a partnership between North River Commission, Albany Park Chamber of Commerce, Uptown United, Business Partners – The Chamber for Uptown, Uptown Bikes, and Bikes N' Roses.

Wrigley Field Hosts Four Concerts Next Week; Here's How It Will Affect Uptown

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Wrigley Field trades base hits for bass guitars in the upcoming week, with four concerts taking place: Pearl Jam on Saturday, August 20 and Monday, August 22; Billy Joel on Friday, August 26; and Luke Bryan on Saturday, August 27. There will be some parking restrictions and other adjustments that will affect residents of Buena Park.  In an email today, Ald. Tunney outlines all the changes involved. The entire newsletter is here, and it's lengthy, with good information if you're attending any of the shows. We're just going to highlight what may affect Uptown residents:

"Parking Restrictions on Concert Days
  • Clark – East Side Only - Waveland to Irving Park
    2pm – Midnight 
  • Irving Park – Clark to Seminary (both sides)
    2pm – Midnight 
Limo and Taxi Information.  In an effort to minimize the impact of traffic in the community around Wrigley Field, the 44th Ward, the Chicago Police Department, OEMC and the Chicago Department of Transportation have established the following pickup/outbound regulations for Taxis, limousines, and car services for the concerts:
  • Limousines and car services must stage along Irving Park Road.  All pickups must occur on Irving Park Road between Clark and Seminary (East of Clark).
What to Expect as Concert Setup/Takedown Takes Place 
  • The lights at Wrigley Field will be on throughout the week as the Concert Setup/Takedown takes place. 
  • Lights will be on OVERNIGHT August 18th, 19th, and 27th. 
  • On August 20th, 22nd, and 26th, the lights are expected to be on until approximately 2am (after Pearl Jam & Billy Joel Concerts) to facilitate cleaning and load out.
  • Sound & Lighting Checks.  Sound and lighting checks are anticipated before each concert and should be complete by 10pm. Sound checks should also be anticipated on the day of each concert.
  • Concert Day Highlights.  The Cubs Hotline will be open One Hour before until Two Hours after the concerts (1-866-427-3869).  Residents are encouraged to contact either the Night Game Hotline or 911 to report problems and issues."
The full newsletter is here.

DUI Strike Force Out in 19th District Tonight

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It's never wise to get behind the wheel when you're not completely sober, but this Friday night and Saturday morning are exceptionally bad times to do so, because the CPD's DUI Strike Force will be patrolling the 19th District. The District's boundaries are Lawrence to Fullerton between the river and the lake.

The special patrols will begin at 7pm on Friday and continue until 3am Saturday. The press release mentions that "The purpose of this program is to saturate a pre-designated area with roving police officers that continually monitor vehicular traffic for signs of impaired driving. Patrols also place emphasis on speed, alcohol-related and safety belt violations."

Last weekend, the DUI Strike Force was in the 10th District and issued 96 citations in nine hours, for violations ranging from DUIs to unsafe vehicle violations to insurance violations.

Pro tip: Lyft, Uber and taxis are a lot cheaper than fighting a DUI charge.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Pop-Up Book Sale At Bezazian Branch Library On Saturday

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Enjoy the last pop-up book sale of the season. Friends of Bezazian will be selling books in front of the library (1126 West Ainslie). You can't beat the prices: a buck for a hardcover, 50 cents for a paperback. Children's books, classics, romances, fiction, etc.

Restaurateurs Inquire Within

High-traffic and high visibility location for a restaurant at Broadway & Racine
We had some potential good luck when we shared the listing for the restaurant space at 1325 W. Wilson recently, so we decided to do the same with this space, right in the heart of the Uptown Historical District.

First Ascent Climbing Gym moved into the top floor of the former "Borders" building at Broadway and Racine but the street-level space is in need of a restaurant tenant. This would be the ideal location for a restaurant since an outdoor plaza will be right outside once the Broadway streetscaping begins. Our personal wish is for a brewery/pub. If you know any restaurateur looking for a space to spread their wings, please share this far and wide!

The listing agents are Andrew Becker and Paul Bryant at Mid America Group.

Ch-Ch-Changes On Wilson Avenue

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"All the work to help transform Wilson Avenue is paying off. The $203M rehab of the Wilson L station was a catalyst and all of our hard work promoting Uptown has encouraged many developers to pay attention to the many advantages this neighborhood has to offer. As one of the co-sponsors for the Transit Oriented Development Ordinance, I made sure there would be more development along this retail corridor, which has spurred a lot of economic activity, including a 10-story proposal for the NE corner of Broadway & Wilson and another 7-story proposal at 1050 W. Wilson, situated directly west of Sonic. The former Stewart School will soon be converted into condominiums in 2017.

As economic development begins to increase, a community can expect more retailers to follow suit. Many people moving into the area are now opting to go without a car because the mass transit options are so good with easy access to Chicago's downtown area. This increase in density that we're already seeing in this area is what has caused retailers to become excited about Wilson Avenue. Uptown United's SSA#34 recently added new planters in Sheridan Park, which has really changed the look of this street.

Back in 2000, area residents were very excited when Starbucks made the decision to move into their location at Magnolia & Wilson, making it the only coffee shop in the area. Today, Starbucks was pushed out by 3 other independent coffee shops that have come in within the last 5 years, with a fourth one, Emerald City Coffee, opening up in a few weeks. Click here to view a recent DNA Info article that highlights what's happening on Wilson.

The changes we are seeing have come directly from our overall vision created from the 46th Ward Master Plan, which many of you helped produce. It has taken time and a lot of work, but it is nice to finally reap the rewards of the past five years."