Saturday, May 25, 2019

Ald. Matt Martin Introduces Himself With His First Newsletter

A first newsletter from 47th Ward alderman Matt Martin:

"Dear neighbors,

On Monday morning, I was sworn in as 47th Ward Alderman alongside Mayor Lightfoot, Clerk Valencia, Treasurer Conyears-Ervin, and the rest of City Council. The remainder of this week has been a whirlwind in myriad ways, but it has also been manageable thanks to Alderman Pawar. He and his staff were beyond helpful during our transition, and I will be forever thankful for their patience and generosity. Our ward is in strong shape due in large part to their service over the past eight years.

Now, it's time for my staff and me to get to work for you! This week, a couple of my highlights include riding along with our streets and sanitation superintendent, Erick Norton, and participating in the Next Generation City Council, where high school students from across our city drafted resolutions and held a mock council meeting. In addition, our office held an open house on Monday evening and our first Ward Night on Thursday. I can’t wait for week 2 to begin!

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve this dynamic community. I’m excited about what we can accomplish together over the next four years with a bold vision and a commitment to our shared values.


Ward Office Updates

Ward service office: We will remain at former Ald. Pawar's office at 4243 N. Lincoln Ave.We are open 9am-5pm Monday-Friday, with extended hours to 7pm on Wednesday evenings.

Memorial Day: The ward service office will be CLOSED on Monday, May 27.

Contact us: The ward office number is the same at 773-868-4747. You can email us at Our website will be up shortly.

Join a community council! We're looking for residents to lend their time and talents for several councils, including Green, Senior, Youth, Zoning, Transportation and more. Sign up here.

Meet the 47th Ward staff
  • Laura Reimers, chief of staff
  • Josh Mark, director of zoning & infrastructure
  • Michael Sewall, director of constituent services & community outreach
  • Andi Aguilar, constituent services advocate
  • Bindu Poorori, arts and culture advocate
  • Erick Norton, streets and sanitation superintendent"

If you'd like to receive Ald. Martin's newsletter, you can sign up here. You will not be signed up automatically if you received Ald. Pawar's weekly newsletter.

Man Charged With Felony Home Invasion, Shot By Homeowner

Shortly after midnight on Friday, a man was shot by the homeowner as he allegedly entered a home on the 800 block of West Lakeside through a rear sliding glass door.

According to a statement by CPD, Christopher L. Johnson, age 41, of the 1400 block of West Arthur in Rogers Park, has been charged with one felony count of Home Invasion/Dangerous Weapon. He will appear in bond court at 26th & California Saturday.

The homeowner had a valid FOID card and has not been charged.

Mr. Johnson, according to reports, sustained a gunshot wound in his rear end, and was taken to Illinois Masonic for treatment.

No mug shot was made available by the police.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Bike The Drive Is Sunday Morning

Reader Bill Andres sent this to us back in 2008

Sunday morning is the one time a year that motor vehicles are nowhere in sight, and it's all pedal power on Lake Shore Drive, for the 18th annual "Bike The Drive."

The ride begins at 5:30am, with riders encouraged to join in by 7am at the latest. The route is bookended by Hollywood Avenue to the north and the Museum of Science and Industry at 57th Street to the south, with riders choosing to do as little or as much of the route as they want.

The Drive will be closed to motor vehicles beginning around 4:30am and will completely reopen between 10:30am and 11am.

If you want to participate, registration (benefiting the Active Transportation Alliance) is still open. To register, and for more information, check out the Bike The Drive website.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Ald. Cappleman To Serve As Vice-Chair Of Health & Human Services Committee

Ald. Cappleman will be switching from the city's Zoning Committee Chair to something that will likely have a great impact on Uptown: the vice-chair of Health & Human Services.  
Ald. Tom Tunney will take over as Zoning Committee Chair. Both aldermen have a good working relationship and Alderman Tunney backed Alderman Cappleman in the recent election.  We expect both Aldermen to continue to work together to develop Uptown's unused and underused spaces.

From Ald. Cappleman's latest email:
"Mayor Lori Lightfoot has asked Ald. Cappleman to serve as the vice-chair of the City's Health & Human Services Committee. As a former social worker who worked for more than two decades in the not-for-profit sector, Ald. Cappleman looks forward to working with the committee chair, Ald. Rod Sawyer, to advocate for Chicago's residents."

Monday, May 20, 2019

It's Day One (Again)

Congratulations to Mayor Lightfoot on the beginning of her term as 56th Mayor of Chicago, to aldermen Cappleman and Osterman on their reelection to third terms, and to new 47th Ward alderman Matt Martin on his first day as an elected official.

This is what Uptown Update posted on the inauguration day of three freshly-minted aldermen eight years ago. A lot has changed, and Alds. Pawar, Osterman, and Cappleman have all put their stamps on Uptown. (And the "diaper" on top of the Riv is long gone! We look forward to being able to say the same about the Uptown Theatre long before Inauguration 2023.)

Our sentiments remain the same: Let's build an even better Uptown, and all work together to that end.

From May 16, 2011:

"An Open Letter To Alds. Cappleman, Pawar and Osterman


Your terms started five whole minutes ago and there are still potholes!  Gang graffiti!  Are our schools better yet?  Wow, I bet we'll even hear shots fired before June rolls around.  You guys said you would make things better!  What's holding you up?  Better do it quick or we'll vote you out!

Okay, we jest.  But, newly minted Aldermen, you're going to be hearing a lot of that.  You promised changes and you've made great plans for your respective wards.  People are eager to see what you can do.  So here's what we, as Uptowners, would like to say to you:
  • We'll try to be patient.  But it won't be easy.  It feels like we've been waiting for this moment for years, as you and about 20 others vied for our votes in the last campaign.  You three came out on top : via a landslide, a Cinderella squeaker, and an emotionally heated run-off.  We know, intellectually, that nothing can change overnight.  But we're so eager to see what you can do that we may come across as a bit demanding and zealous.  Sorry if we give you a short honeymoon period.
  • Please figure out why the gangs are concentrated here... and fix it.  Five or ten years ago, on the rare occasions when we heard gunshots, people talked about it all summer.  Now it's the OK Corral at least a couple times a week.  We're sad that we're getting used to it.  When elderly neighbors who've lived in Uptown their entire lives tell us, "I dread summer coming," it's a terrible thing.  Make crime your issue.
  • Convince us that Uptown can change.  We've seen Lakeview go from seedy to thriving; we've seen Southport go from scary to inviting; we've seen the Clybourn Corridor go from empty factory buildings to teeming with retail.  But we've heard too many times, from too many people:  "Uptown will never change."  Convince us that it can.
  • But don't lose the flavor that makes us, us.  We don't want to see the pancake house turn into a gastropub, nor the Chinese restaurant become a Chico's.  (But if a gastropub or a Chico's wants to come here, we've got plenty of empty storefronts where they can set up shop.)  We moved to or stayed in Uptown for a reason, and we don't want to see our neighborhood lose what's good and unique.
  • Cmdr. Boehmer says that it's just a few people who are creating most of Uptown's crime problems.  We'll support you in whatever you can do to get those individuals out of here.  We'll go to court with the court advocates, we'll attend CAPS, we'll call 911 even more than we are now.  Tell us how we can help you.  Specifically and clearly.
  • Perhaps related to the above item:  Please make the public housing safer.  We know the people who live there are terrorized by the bad guys, perhaps more than anyone else.  When a community has to hire armed guards and put up surveillance cameras in housing that was built to give people a safe and affordable place to live, there's a problem.
  • Please do something about the Uptown Theater.  We'd love to see it restored.  We want more than a quick peek into the front lobby when the caretaker steps out for a smoke.  The 4700 block of Broadway is a showplace for grand buildings that have been lovingly restored, rebuilt and/or rehabbed:  the Bridgeview Bank building, the Uptown Broadway Building, the entire block where Borders was, and the building where Bank of America is.  Restoring the Uptown Theatre as the crown jewel would complete the picture and make Uptown a destination spot for all of Chicago.  (And while you're at it, can you get the diaper taken off the top of the Riviera Theater?)
  • But don't build for the sake of building.  Instituting a half-baked plan for development is worse than keeping a space empty until a good plan comes along.  We'd rather live with the status quo and the possibility of something great happening in a few years than live with bad development, just for the sake of getting something done.
  • Listen to the people you represent.  We hired you because we liked your ideas for the ward.  But we've got some opinions and ideas, too.  You'll never make everyone happy, but let us know that you at least hear and understand what we want for our community.
  • Oh, gawd, the el.  We don't even need to elaborate what all needs to be done, but let us just say that a community with as many elderly and disabled residents as Uptown has needs to have accessible el stations.  It's criminal that the people who need the subways most can't access them in Uptown.
Good luck, Aldermen.  We want you to succeed and we'll do what we can to help you.  We want a better and safer Uptown.  Help us get there.

Consider this a virtual hearty slap on the back, and a firm handshake of congratulations.  Now, let's get to work."

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Someone's Breaking Car Windows, and The Cops Have Issued An Alert

Photo courtesy
In several communities north of Lawrence Avenue, including Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park, Lincoln Square, and West Ridge, someone is throwing bricks or rocks through the back windows of vehicles. We're gonna take a wild guess that it's for the purpose of burglarizing them.

A few words:
  • Don't make your vehicle a target. Don't leave anything -- anything -- in plain sight in your vehicle. We've heard of windows being broken for car chargers and bottles of soda.
  • If you know anything, please call the detectives. The number is 312-744-8263.
  • If see see something suspicious, call 911. "Call 911 immediately and provide a detailed description of the offender(s) including any vehicle description and license plate information."
According to a statement released by the police, it is likely one or two persons creating all this mayhem, described as a male or males wearing a long hooded jacket, dark pants, and light colored gym shoes.

The incidents times and locations are (Uptown locations highlighted):
  • 1200 block of W. Arthur Ave. on May 01, 2019 at approximately 3:00 PM
  • 7500 block of N. Ridge Blvd. on May 03-04, 2019 between 9:00 PM - 6:00 AM
  • 4900 block of N. Marine Dr. on May 07-08, 2019 between 5:30 PM - 6:45 AM
  • 7400 block of N. Sheridan Rd. on May 09-10, 2019 between 9:45 PM - 12:00 AM
  • 1900 block of W. Lawrence Ave. on May 11-12, 2019 between 9:50 PM- 9:45 AM
  • 1100 block of W. Columbia Ave. on May 12-13, 2019 between 2:00 PM- 7:30 AM
  • 900 block of W. Carmen Ave. on May 14-15, 2019 between 6:00 PM – 7:50 AM
  • 7100 block of N. Paulina St. on May 15-16, 2019 between 10:00 PM – 8:00 AM
  • 2800 block of W. Chase Ave. on May 18, 2019 between 3:19 AM – 4:00 AM
  • 2900 block of W. Sherwin Ave. on May 18, 2019 between 3:00 AM – 4:00 AM
  • 7500 block of N. Rockwell St. on May 18, 2019 between 12:55 PM – 1:20 PM
  • 2800 block of W. Touhy Ave. on May 18, 2019 between 3:00 AM – 4:00 AM
  • 1000 block of W. Balmoral Ave. on 17-18, 2019 between 3:30 PM – 12:25 PM
  • 2900 block of W. Jerome St. on May 18, 2019 at approximately 6:30 PM

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Vintage Garage's 2019 Season Will Be In Evanston, Starting Sunday, May 19th

Go north, sellers and buyers of vintage goods!

Vintage Garage, which spent many summer seasons at 5051 Broadway, has gone suburban due to construction at the its long-time home base.

You can visit it at 1800 Maple in Evanston, between 10am and 5pm. The selling floor is the fifth floor of the garage, with free parking on Floors 1 through 4. Or, take the Purple Line to the Davis stop!

Admission is $6 (kids free) and the Garage will take place on three Sundays: May 19, July 21 and September 21st.

We hear that there's a full house on board for Sunday, so if you love vintage records, clothing, furniture, jewelry, tchotchkes, and more, you know where to find it.

Safe from wind and rain and weather conditions in general. ;-)

See the website here.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Farewell From Ald. Pawar

Ald. Pawar, who made a 2011 campaign promise that he would not seek a third term in office as 47th Ward alderman, released his final newsletter today, on his last day in office:

"This is it! This is my final newsletter as your alderman. I remember writing my first one 8 years ago and now here we are.

On Monday, Matt Martin will be our alderman – and he is going to be great. My office has provided everything he needs to get going on Monday.

As I was cleaning out my office, I found the first speech I gave as alderman. On inauguration night in 2011, I said this in front of our community and my supporters: “This will probably be the last time I get to own my story – everyone has told the version that is easiest to tell. But you deserve to hear the whole story; it is a story about personal sacrifice, shoe leather, friendship, and you.” Looking back, I was right about my story but what struck me was the part of the speech where I talked about quitting the campaign. Here it is:

“I was a full-time graduate student and working and campaigning full-time. I had a book contract to fulfill. And fifteen months into the campaign, I was working 15-18 hours a day and the campaign was running on my credit card. I was tired and felt defeated. So I quit. I was done with it. I walked away.

But being the good friends that Charna and Sam are, they got me to knock on doors one last time. It was cold and I was tired. And that is when I realized that money and resources from progressives and donors would likely not come. But, it was during that night of door knocking that there was some clarity. 

There is nothing more pure about our political process than talking to you. It didn't matter that I had no money or that I was a renter or young or whatever trope was being used against me. What mattered was that we were all concerned about schools, services, and our city. I was back--and all-in.

It was after the debate at Coonley Elementary that we got the Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune endorsement. The rest is history.

But I never thought I would give a speech and admit that I quit. The reason I am telling you this story is because I want everyone to know how important it was to me when I got your support. And how hard it was for me when we felt alone. And most important of all, the next time someone comes to you for support, whether it be for a recommendation, a box of girl scout cookies, a lead on an internship, or even someone who is running for office, that you believe them like you believe in a 10 year old who wants to be an astronaut. 

We never tell a child to stop believing – we encourage idealism; yet as adults we often don’t support people who swing big. Public service and public engagement and real change is about supporting families, communities, and individuals who think big, who are willing to put themselves out there, and need your help. It’s not about giving big – it’s about giving something – just what you can—sometimes a signature on a petition, a $5 check, or just showing up in the cold. This is how we should be supporting one another and how we get to real change."

You allowed me to go big. To pass legislation. To organize around neighborhood high schools. To challenge the narrative that poor people are poor because they make bad decisions. To run for governor and challenge wealth worship. We accomplished a lot. I made some mistakes along the way, but you stuck with me and we stuck together.

Now let’s do the same for Matt and Lori.

One last time: thank you to Jim, Brad, Erick, Ernie, Dara, Danny, Bill, and all of our amazing volunteers. Thank you to Charna – my partner and the love of my life – for making all of this possible.

Thank you and see you around the neighborhood.

Pawar out."

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

CEDARst Plans Development Near Lawrence & Winthrop (New Meeting Date)

Cedar Street's proposal for 4750 N. Winthrop

Update: Please note that the meeting has been postponed for a week. The new meeting date is Thursday, May 30th.

Original Post:  CEDARst plans to build a 4 story development on a parking lot it purchased back in 2015. 

Truman Square Neighbors Block Club will meet with the developer to discuss plans for the development that would fill a parking lot that was formerly a residential building decades ago on Winthrop just south of Lawrence. A total of 84 residential units, with a mix of one bedrooms as well as studios are planned with 37 parking spaces on site.

The current parking lot at 4750 N. Winthrop
View the entire proposal here on Alderman Cappleman's Zoning & Development page.

UU Note: The apartment building that once stood at 4750 Winthrop (1910s postcard)

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Park Bait Shop: 61 Years, Three Generations, and Still Going Strong

Back in the 1930s, bait shops lined the Chicago lakefront, supplying people who fished to feed their families during the Great Depression. There's been a shop at the intersection of Montrose Avenue and Montrose Harbor Drive since at least that time.

Willie Greene used to be a supplier for the shop that was there then. In 1958, he bought the place and named it "Park Bait Shop." 61 years later, his daughter Stacey Greene owns it and runs the place, assisted by her son.

Meet the second and third generations of the family who make their living at one of the oldest bait shops in Chicago, right here in Uptown, thanks to Jay's Chicago on WTTW.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Six Sundays In Uptown: A Course On Jewish Prayer and Spiritual Experience

From Chabad of Uptown:

With All My Heart: The Jewish Art of Prayer and Spiritual Experience
6 Sunday mornings in Uptown

Whether you’re seeking relief from stress; you’re hoping for focus, clarity, and connection to a raw and vulnerable place deep within you; or you just want to start each day from a positive, humble, and grateful frame of mind, this course is for you.

Jewish wisdom teaches profound techniques to give wings to our emotions and words to our yearnings, allowing us to make contact and communicate with something larger than ourselves and feel comfort and shelter within a reality that’s more whole, more intense, more real, and more beautiful.

Join us for the remarkable course on six Sunday mornings, starting May 12th 11:00am - 12:30pm, RSVP today at

The Facebook Event Page is here

Montrose Beach Clean-Up This Saturday, Volunteers Welcome

The Alliance for the Great Lakes will be holding a clean-up of Montrose Dog Beach as part of its Adopt-A-Beach program on Saturday, May 11th, between 9am and 11am, in conjunction with event sponsor Alitzer Paloucek Group with CrossCountry Mortgage, Inc. Meet-up is at the restrooms.

Everyone is invited to join in. All cleanup materials will be provided, but please feel free to bring your own gloves, bucket and reusable cup. Supplies, light snacks, refreshments and tunes provided by the Altizer Palouceck Group.

If you're not sure where the dog beach is, here's a map.