Monday, September 1, 2008

Look, A Pretty New Sign!

Seen today in front of the "Wilson Men's Hotel" at 1124 W. Wilson.
Update: We were just told that this particular sign is no longer up. Workers were seen outside the Wilson Men's Hotel today removing it and the large wooden pieces. Why, we do not know. Stay tuned.


  1. Good grief, I walked by there today and didn't notice.
    I'm usually avoiding the mounds of pigeon poop.

    How looks like it's an attempt at a 'velvet rope' club kind of vibe.
    I wonder if the hyper-aggressive beggars will still remain.

  2. Pretty spot on Pirate......good one!

  3. In case you forget what the old sign looked like...look closely at this one and you can still see it.

  4. yes, I see it looks like a shabby paint job.
    I see the 'W' of the old sign.

    That aside, does this signal a change in the interior?

    Who exactly is the typical demographic of the 'Club'?

  5. It's kinda like putting lipstick on the Irish Pirate.

  6. I know this is a downright 'silly' comment.....but just as Mayor Jane Byrne moved into the 'projects' to prove a point, would our wonder Alderman Helen, consider moving into the Wilson Club?

    It might be one of her few good PR moments?

  7. Craigie,

    keep your twisted fantasies to yourself. You can't afford me.

  8. I have a dumb question. This property was recently purchased by somebody new, yes? Why would anybody want to buy it? Is a hole like this actually profitable?

  9. to expand on my prior comment, why doesn't Helen pitch a tent at Malden and Leland, to keep the peace, and keep tabs on her 'hood'?

  10. The building is very profitable because it has so many cages-I mean rooms.

  11. Uptown Updater,

    Apparently you believe an appropriate reason to close down comments on a post is so that you can have the last word. That's your perogative, but if you're going to take that attitude then I won't feel guilty about taking up the discussion elsewhere. As I said before, if you can't take criticism perhaps you should not allow comments at all. My criticism of you might be considered harsh, I suppose, but it was never ad hominem, as your alternate identity claimed. If you want people to play nice in the sandbox, then perhaps you should set an example.

    Also, if you choose to delete a post, you might want to leave a comment explaining your reason. It leads to fewer misunderstandings that way, and the discussion will make more sense if people can see that a comment was deleted instead of having it just disappear into thin air. These are just my recommendations to you, take them or leave them.

    So how about it? Shall we agree to play nice, and get back to our regularly scheduled thread?

    Anyway, I think the new sign look quite nice...or at least better than most.

  12. Seriously.....what if Shiller took a Jane Byrne approach, and attempted to experience what actually goes on in her ward?

  13. Hello everyone, I've lived in Uptown for 26 years and I still live here. I'm not about to tell you to leave the neighborhood if you don't like the atmosphere as that would be silly, and quite a stupid to suggest, as everyone has the right to live where they desire. That being said, I've noticed that in many of these threads there are many people, if not a large majority who speak quite negatively about the homeless population.

    Take if from me, I've seen it much worse in Uptown, and I'm sure many of you have as well, so here is my question to those of you who see the homeless as an eye blight.

    What do you suggest be done to help them improve their lives?

    Obviously there is the general opinion that the existing shelters in the area are useless and do nothing to help the homeless. I've worked at CCO for a few years, and I assure you that we are doing all we can to help the people we house. Please take into account that some of the people you see making "nests" as I have seen them referred to on here have mental handicaps, and are not capable of bettering themselves in the same ways I am or you might be.

    I'm not saying turn a blind eye to this or ignore it, I'm merely saying that there is more to this situation than meets the eye. If you seek to change the neighborhood for the better, the best way to help is to work with the source of the "problem" as you call it, learn more about those you see as undesirable and try to see things from their point of view.

    Just by looking at the comments in this thread I am disheartened by all the negativity and lack of compassion for those in need of it. Making jokes about the homeless is very immature, and to me it shows a general selfishness and arrogance that is befitting of this nations worst, most spoiled people. I know what you would have done to improve this neighborhood, and frankly I find it demeaning. Developing the neighborhood is one thing, but closing down the services that are in place to help these people SURVIVE is another.

    Ideally coming to a general understanding is the best thing in this situation, but I do not see this happening any time soon. I think rehabilitation, and helping people to become productive members of society is the ultimate goal here right? I mean I don't think anyone would disagree that having institutions in place to help people achieve what many others already have is a good thing.

    I have no readily made solutions for these issues, but I do my part to ensure that at a personal level I make as much a difference as possible to people in need. I hope I haven't offended anyone here as it was not my intent, but rather I think I may have vented some frustration in a way that might seem hostile.

    I hope, that with time we can all look at one another as human beings, all equal.

  14. Ok, could you erase old Dylan Peter's post or at least ask him to take a new photo? Come on Dylan who are you fooling?

    Dylan.. I have a friend who has lived in the WMH sinse 1991. He chooses to live there because the rent is cheap. It is only fair that his rent sould include passing heath inspections with minimal roaches.

  15. Dylan, there's some history here and perhaps that's why it is perceived that people are heartless. CCO has 3 shelters less than a 1/2 block away and R.E.S.T. has 2 very poorly run shelters also close by. There are 3 large nursing homes for people with mental illness within a few blocks of one another, and numerous SRO's in the area that also house the mentally ill. Right down the street is 1207 Leland which houses the mentally ill with drug addictions.

    This kind of housing at the Wilson Men's Club is more of the same catering to the same group of people. When you add on to the fact that some are in very poor condition and also poorly managed, it becomes even more frustrating.

    If you can think of another neighborhood that provides even half the amount of services that Uptown provides, please let me know.

  16. holeymoley,

    Could I please have some clarification of your last comment? Are you saying that the existence of all these services are bad or are you merely justifying your, and many other people's, criticism of the Wilson Men's Club by listing the other services in the community?

    dylan peter,
    Amen, I couldn't agree with your more that the people on this blog seem to have a lot to complain about the homeless problem in Uptown but don't seem to be doing very much work to help alleviate this problem. If you ask them what the major problems of Uptown are they will be quick to point out gangs and violence and homelessness but if you ask them what they're doing about it...crickets. Or whats worse they say that they call in their hired men (policemen) to clear out the rif-raf and lock everybody up.

  17. Irish Pirate said... "keep your twisted fantasies to yourself."

    If the darn place didn't ban the ladies, we could rent the luxury suite and invite Helen over.

  18. Dylan and Nathaniel,

    Is it really the responsibility of neighborhood residents to "cure" the homeless that flood Uptown from all over the city? Even if it were our responsibility as caring human beings, you can't help people that don't want to be helped. There are homeless people who have fallen on hard times, and typically homelessness is a temporary situation for them. But the chronically homeless (who are in Uptown in large numbers) are not our responsibility if they refuse help that's offered to them. They need to take some responsibility for their own lives, or they will repeat the same pattern until they die.

    The mentally ill are another story (and many chronically homeless people have mental illness). I realize the institution system of the first 2/3 of the 20th Century wasn't perfect, but just forcing them out onto the street is a human travesty. There needs to be a better system in place for housing and caring for the mentally ill in this country.

  19. dylan peter,

    Please stop with the "Uptown is better now argument". Let me show how silly that is.

    China is a far better place for human rights now then it ever was, therefore we should all be happy with the way China handles human rights.

    Isn't that a silly comment?

    As for these homeless that we should be understanding about, when they stop sexually harassing the women of Uptown, stop urinating in public and start making some kind of effort to be a positive influence on the community, then I will show them the respect they deserve. But, as it is, they have earned, and will receive, no respect from me. All I ask is that the homeless act like respectful human beings.

  20. I'm guessing that there must be some impoverished neighborhoods on the south and west sides of Chicago that have as many if not more homeless shelters as Uptown.

    The Wilson Club was purchased by Jay Bomberg, whom I've met and have come to admire as a man with a good social conscience when it comes to housing for the poor. He won a Good Neighbor Award from the Chicago Board of Realtors for his work with the SRO on the upper floors of the former Jane Addams building. I'm sure he has some good ideas up his sleeve for the Wilson building as well.

  21. I'm guessing that there must be some impoverished neighborhoods on the south and west sides of Chicago that have as many if not more homeless shelters as Uptown.

    No, Gayle, that's wrong. It's widely acknowledged that Uptown has the densest concentration of shelters and social services of any community in Illinois. I know you're going to ask me to provide proof, but I'm working and can't do research right now. Google it if you're curious about it; I've seen it online numerous times in urban planning studies.

  22. Isn't that the spot across from the Wilson Red where the convicted sex offenders live? What a lovely new sign. Too bad they didn't think to paint away the previous one.

  23. That pretty new sign makes it all better now. I feel much safer. Thanks Mr Jay Bomberg. Thanks for kissing Uptown's "boo boo."

  24. As I'm sure many here know - Uptown has one of the highest concentration rates in the city for sex offenders.

    If you look at the Illinois sex offender website, you can see that many are concentrated around this Wilson area. I counted 10 sex offenders living in the Wilson Mens Hotel. That is certainly a large demographic of the building. But, hey...they sure got a pretty new sign.

  25. I'm no fan of the Wilson hotel, but Mr. Bomberg has been improving it. I've attended housing court cases in the past, and when a landlord's not trying very hard to make the court-ordered improvements or is in contempt, the judge has no problem levying a substantial fine or sending more building inspectors on an accelerate schedule.

    The fact that the most recent housing court appearance regarding the hotel gave him another few months to bring the place into substantial compliance tells me the court is satisfied with the progress made so far.

    Also, remember that Bomberg Properties has installed several cameras along that strip of Wilson and has no problem appearing in court to prevent cases from being thrown out because no one's there as complainant.

    I have absolutely no affiliation with Jay Bomberg (I've only seen him once, at a meeting), but I was in attendance the day his representative came to court to press charges against the guy who splashed red paint all over Wilson Avenue. She had a DVD with her that showed him on several different security cameras, and she asked for DOUBLE the sentence the State's Attorney suggested! I liked her. ;-)

    It seems that Mr. Bomberg, unlike so many other Uptown Powers That Be (such as the one occupying space at 4554 Broadway) has shown a willingness to work with the community rather than against it. I will remain cautiously optimistic until he gives me a reason not to be.

  26. Hi everyone. As I only know about this hotel what I have read on here I have a question...

    ..are there any photo's that show what the interior is like? I keep hearing about 'cages', etc, but is there anything to show folks like me who are a bit clueless on this to show us exactly what you are talking about?

  27. I've never seen the inside of this place, so I don't know. I certainly have a vision in my mind, one that I get from similar structures that were torn down in the 60s in Minneapolis. Those were practically cages. Lots of plywood and chicken wire holding things together, and they looked really bad.

    I don't mean to necessarily paint this place with that brush (yet), though. I would like to know more.

  28. Craig,

    your 8:20 am comment is just W R O N G.

    I prefer Craigslist for that sort of thing. Anyway what self respecting hooker would want to be compared to a member of the city council. I think they are still pissed at former Alderbeast and now convicted felon Troutman.

  29. dylan, if you've lived in Uptown for 26 years and you also have invested a part of your life assisting those in need, haven't you ever stopped to ponder if the approach you've been utilizing is successful or not? The one, and mostly the only, complaint I've ever had about Helen Schiller and *some* of the Uptown organizations is their lack of compassion and understanding regarding those that are less fortunate than others. They are quite content at proceeding as they've been doing for years while the status quo is maintained. Yes, I care about the homeless and I care about those that are financially struggling. I care so much that I want them out of their situation, not kept in it year after year to support someone's political ambitions.

  30. chain like this are why things don't get done around here. arguments about perspective and accusations of agendas and ignorance. Distractions.

    One of the many reasons I moved to this neighborhood, albeit just a few years ago, was because of the sense of community. When things go bad here people don't move, they form block clubs and rally together. This neighborhood is concerned about those that need a little help. And yes, there are people who aren't able or willing to take it. But I love the heart in this place. I love seeing it get better...and it is. Progress is slow, but it is better than it was. Patience. And activity.

    It's neighbors like you all that keep their eyes on trouble that make Uptown a progressive neighborhood.

    I hate to sound Shiller-like. But if you want a better neighborhood get off the blog and make it happen or find another one that suits you better.

  31. Uptown Superhero: A little Googling got me these images from an SRO in the South Loop. That particular place had been closed down for two years before the picture were taken, so it's probably in even more disrepair. I don't know how similar these places are to each other, but it definitely shows the kind of layout I've always assumed was inside.

  32. Amazing photos. While I'm sure some of the wreckage was from its last couple days, it's obvious that the residents were living in complete squalor.

    I don't know if I'd have had the cojones to walk through that place at night.

  33. I still hope we can get some interior photos of this hotel...