Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Chicago housing crisis...

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Recently DNA Info did a story about living alone in Chicago. You can refer to this link to see where you can afford to live in apartments of varying amenities in this city. So is this city getting more and more expensive to live each year.

There for it leads me to this Chicagoist post which talks about a new development in the Cabrini Green area. You have to afford to live there now and especially at that proposed development. The final paragraph:
With Chicago in the midst of a housing crisis we can't help but see the promises of these luxury developments coinciding with the displacement of Chicago's working class and the hastening demise of its affordability for anyone making less than $72,000 a year (that's how much you'd have to make to reasonably afford a studio apartment at $1,825 a month, based on this popular rental formula).
Now it makes me wonder where are rents in this part of the city range. For those who want something affordable in a safe and good community would it still be out of reach for those looking for a place to live?

Monday, January 11, 2016

111th & State mid 1980s

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Funny thing is I remember this White Castle. In fact probably used to patronize this place with my family back in the day and then one day it closed down and building itself is not another vacant lot.

As a matter of fact the YMCA is no long in the building you see beyond White Castle. The building itself is still there, but YMCA no longer is there. Someone wrote a comment on our page as we shared this photo from Forgotten Chicago noting how clean it was.

Things must change from the mid-80s unfortunately. Here's a Google Streetview of this same location

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Pullman is the Curbed Cup 2015 winner

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We had to wait a few days for the official call, but thanks primarily to a strong effort in the comments and voting my Pullman residents and supporters they did it. Pullman is the 2015 neighborhood of the year for Curbed Chicago. Here's hoping for a great 2016 for that historic and architecturally significant community on the far south side of town.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Curbed Cup final Loop vs. Pullman

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Hotel Florence Pullman
Crossposted to The Sixth Ward where as of this posting I see that Pullman has edged out the Loop for the 2015 Curbed Cup. Unfortunately due to the holiday we probably won't see a formal announcement until Monday hopefully. Happy new years to you all!

Pullman advances and you have until tomorrow night on New Year's even to cast your vote for the neighborhood of the year over at CurbedChicago. Hopefully you're vote will be for the Pullman neighborhood which has had quite a year in 2015.
the Pullman neighborhood on the city's far south side has had a huge year. Its historic district has become the first national monument in Chicago and there's even growing support for a full blown national park campus. Pullman also welcomed the first new factory to open on Chicago's south side in three decades. The colorful factory is not only generating much needed revenue for the neighborhood, but it has also set a very high bar for other companies when it comes to being environmentally friendly.
To be sure I like the loop but home for me is the South Side and it's a no brainer that this part of town would get my vote. Hopefully Pullman is back again for the Curbed Cup in 2016.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Pullman in Curbed Cup Final Four!!!

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Via The Chicago Neighborhoods
 It's the end of the year and Curbed Chicago has their annual Curbed Cup. In the final four and the neighborhoods of Pullman, Uptown, Lakeview, and the Loop.

Unfortunately I missed the start of this neighborhood competition that pits up-and-coming neighborhoods of Chicago against each other. This is how Pullman is described:
The Pullman neighborhood on the far South Side had a very big year. The area, which is known and named for its connection to the Pullman Palace Car company, was designated as a National Monument by President Obama in February. Then in April, the soap maker Method opened its $30 million eco-conscious factory in the neighborhood. Pullman gained a lot of momentum this year, and the neighborhood doesn't appear to letting down anytime soon. When we called for Curbed Cup nominations, Pullman residents came out in droves to make sure that their voice was heard.
So far Pullman has edged out Bridgeport and the West Loop neighborhoods can they edge out the north side community of Uptown?

Vote here now and hopefully by tomorrow we'll know whether or not Pullman moves onto the final and hopefully a wonderful 2016 for that historic far south side community.

BTW, I wonder if our friends up there at Uptown Update are following this -  and they are.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Star Trek Beyond trailer

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[VIDEO] The main event people are going out to see right now during the holiday season is the new JJ Abrams production Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Then recently a new trailer for next year's Star Trek Beyond comes out and there seems to be mixed opinions on the trailer.

The trend lately has been that these previews seem to give most of the movie away. Not a whole lot given away in this trailer but by some it gives an impression of films such as Guardians of the Galaxy or The Fast and Furious franchise. Either way this is another film to look for next year.

BTW, would you believe 2016 will mark 50 years for the Star Trek franchise. It's been close to 20 years since as a 6th grader at Shedd School I started watching Star Trek: The Next Generation and then following all things Trek ever since. I will be looking forward to this film soon.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

#LaQuanMcDonald

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Crossposted last week at The Sixth Ward wanted to run this here as well

Unfortunately, I was asleep when the whole LaQuan McDonald story came out. Kudos to the person(s) who were able to bring this to light. There are a lot questions worth asking about what happened last year when he was killed by a police office. We now see photographic evidence for what it was worth of what happened that night.

We see a lot of people are passionate about what happened with Mr. McDonald and it's ramifications. Alderman Roderick Sawyer of the 6th Ward has been on top of this story in his capacity as chairman of the city council Black Caucus.

So the question is what now? Well there have been demonstrations around downtown Chicago, some shenanigans took place such as ripping Christmas decorations off of the tree in Millennium Park. Perhaps some issues in the South Loop on the first day of demonstrations. And then the Black Friday demonstration where protesters block entrances to the many stores on Michigan Avenue to impact sales.

Thankfully no serious unrest and hopefully it stays that way. In the meanwhile, now it's time for the hard questions between the city's authorities regarding not only the McDonald case. Also regarding the relationship between police and the city's "minority" communities.

I've attempted to keep up with the various aspects of this story. For example the Capitol Fax has covered this story in it's various facets which also includes the firing of police chief Garry McCarthy

BTW, if you haven't seen the unfortunate dash cam video of the police action against McDonald click on video in brackets [VIDEO]. I have no plans to watch it but I know so many have been all over it. At the same time I have little interest in seeing a man get killed in real time.

ALSO, yesterday we learned that the state Attorney General is going to ask the Federal government to conduct a civil rights probe on the Chicago Police. So if the feds do take a look at this then there will more heat on local police in light of what happened to McDonald and perhaps other cases that can be uncovered.

Below is what was posted to our ig account an example of the Black Friday protests on North Michigan Avenue.
A video posted by The Sixth Ward (@thesixthward) on

Monday, December 7, 2015

Konkol: Roseland's Only Steak House Survives Tough Times Down At 'The Ranch'

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Yolanda Pierce at right and two of her workers - Photo by Mark Konkol
All the times I passed this place on Michigan Ave and never been inside. It seems to be one of the few consistent businesses on this stretch. It survived a long time and apparently still does although times and demographics have changed since this business opened in 1969.
On a morning stroll, I hiked west from Pullman and under the 113th Street viaduct that leads to the wrong side of the tracks.

I walked past Palmer Park, where the faint scent of marijuana hung in the cool, humid air, and headed up the hill toward Michigan Avenue — Roseland’s once-vibrant shopping strip now populated by hustlers, pimps and dealers who openly cater to the vices of the addicted, the desperate and the damned — on my way to “The Ranch.”

That’s what locals call the neighborhood’s only surviving steak joint, where you can get a T-bone, charbroiled just the way you like it, with a baked potato and salad for less than 20 bucks. And they serve tasty breakfast — two eggs with hash browns and toast for under $5 — all day long.

The late John Kapsaskis opened The Ranch Steak House at 11147 S. Michigan Ave. in 1969. Back then, Roseland was home to mostly blue-collar white families who later fled to the suburbs when black folks moved in and good-paying steel mill jobs dried up. His son, Dino — “The Greek Cowboy,” as one photo behind the counter calls him — kept the family steakhouse going even as the neighborhood’s population changed and its economy slumped.

Inside the front door is a far different world than the one left behind on the sidewalk. A set of bull horns hang from the ceiling. A sign welcomes customers to a dimly lit dining room decorated with carved Indian chief statues and faded photos of cowboys, those rifle-toting white men on horseback from Hollywood westerns.
Yolanda Pierce runs the ranch although the family who owns it no longer appears to be involved. Pierce's ex-fiance who's family runs the business is out taking care of his elderly mother in Greece. So now it's Pierce:
She’s the blond-haired, blue-eyed gal, a former hair stylist from Griffith, Indiana, who runs The Ranch now that Dino Kapsaskis — the owner and her ex-fiance — packed up and moved to Greece to take care of his 93-year-old mother.

Pierce’s friends tell her she should be angry that Kapsaskis left her to run The Ranch by herself, unsure if he’ll ever return.

“Even though he is my ex, this is his business. Dino could have sold this place. He always said business is business. He felt like he was doing me a favor. If I go anywhere else I’ll make minimum wage. What can I do?” Pierce said.

“We still care about each other enough to keep it going. I’m not mad at him. He did what he had to do. I’m taking care of my mother. I take care of my daughter. I do what I got to do.”
If you read the rest of the article she'll not that this place considering it's location isn't making a huge profit but she emphasizes how she helps her employees:

She doesn’t just do it for herself and her own family. The Ranch is the lifeblood that keeps a lot of people — her dishwasher, waitresses and cooks and even Kapsaskis, whom Pierce sends cash she considers “rent” — on the winning side of “the struggle.”

“They say when you eat at Outback Steakhouse or one of those chain places you’re paying for the owner's private jets and fancy houses. What we make helps everyone here. Nobody makes a lot of money. Here, you’re paying for our people to buy clothes for their kids,” Pierce said.

“I just feel like I don’t care if it’s a struggle. I’m gonna keep it going and that’s how Dino feels, too. No matter what, we’re going to try to keep The Ranch open for as long as can. Either things are going to get better or … whatever.”
I suggest you read the whole thing. This is a course on how to run a business in a difficult community to own a business. You may not agree with everything Griffith says about parking meters or minimum wage

Here's hoping The Ranch survives for any position renaissance that I expect Roseland to one day have. Especially when the CTA Red Line is finally extended further south. Plus I hope that the Pullman National Monument will have an effect on the surrounding communities as well.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Mid-century modern homes in Chatham

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8459 South Michigan - Eric Allix Rogers
In 2012, I posted about the modernist architecture legacy of Chatham over @ The Sixth Ward. The many homes that were outside of the general character of that Black middle-class community had been documented over the years. And recently was documented at New City with the photography of one Eric Allix Rogers. I'd suggest you give it a read.

The takeaway is that 60 or so years ago Blacks were finally able to move away from the then Black Belt what we call Bronzeville today. While there may still be a dearth of housing options for that generation of Blacks even in spite of the end of restrictive covenants many found a place to create the suburban lifestyle they sought but weren't able to access.

Chatham was one place many were able to not only purchase a home in a nice area, they were also able to build a home. Probably a matter of buying an empty lot or tearing down a building to custom build a home. How many places in Chicago would one be able to do this today?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Could we do this with our potholes?

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I saw this piece of art near the intersection of Michigan/Ohio in downtown Chicago. It was formerly a pothole and then recently saw that a piece of mosaic artwork has been embedded in this pothole. My comments on ig was basically in support of such activity by an artists. Surely there are other parts of the city that may not get the services it should get where someone who cares about the community can do something such as this.

 Sooner or later unfortunately the city will probably destroy this piece, the artist Jim Bachor is not sanctioned by the city to do this. It's probably a wonder that Bachor hasn't been arrested by authorities for his activities and doing such a bold thing but going to such an active part of town to fill in a pothole with his materials.

I know there are more creative people in our communities who could do this with our potholes. Knowing this can only cost money if the businesses and residents of our community was able to do this with our potholes. Our IG post on this is below