50 Wards in 50 Weekdays: 42nd Ward's Carol Stein loves Streeterville convenience, but doesn’t always feel safe

May 18, 2012

(WBEZ/Sam Hudzik)
Carol Stein of the 42nd Ward walks in the 47th with her 2-year-old granddaughter.

Carol Stein is an actress. She most recently appeared as "The Wife" in the Spotlight Theatre production of All Over in southwest suburban New Lenox.

“It’s a bit of a trek,” Stein says.

It's all relative, of course, and I imagine that statement is especially true for someone from Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood, where just about everything you need is within a few blocks.

“Got a lot of apartment buildings. The hospital – Northwestern, the Rehab Center, and some hotels and there’s a lot of concrete,” Stein says. “And we’ve got two huge empty lots in the neighborhood – where the old [Veterans Affairs hospital] was and the old CBS was – and it’s sort of an eyesore."

"But [Streeterville] is a great place to live. Very convenient to lots of things and a big grocery store right in my building so that makes it great.”

With that convenience comes crowds, and with crowds sometimes comes crime. Perhaps not the frequency or severity of crime in some other neighborhoods, but when you don’t feel safe, you don’t feel safe.


“I know that I no longer talk on my cell phone as I walk, because people have had cell phones in the neighborhood grabbed out of their hands while they’re walking,” Stein says. “I used to walk at night and I hesitate to do that now because that’s been a problem.”

Stein is pleased with freshman Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s reaction to reports of “gangs” on Michigan Avenue last year.

“I’m not sure that one can police every square inch of the city at all times so you just have to be careful of yourself,” says Stein.

“I think [Emanuel is] doing a great job,” she says.  “He’s got his hands in all the pots and he’s very active and I’m very happy of him as mayor.”

In addition to her acting, Stein watches her grandkids. That’s why I interview her not in Streeterville, but in Ravenswood, where she is walking with her 2-year-old granddaughter, one of three grandkids she has in the city.


“They’re in private school now but they want to go to the public high schools, and [Emanuel’s] talked about having some more good public high schools, which they’re really looking forward to,” she says.  "We need that. You know, the school system always has room for improvement - lots of improvement. And I think he’s very focused heavily on that, which is important.”

So – crime and schools are what Streeterville’s Carol Stein’s focused on. I have a hunch we’ll hear similar answers from folks down south to Hegewisch and up north to Edgebrook.