WBEZ | Bucktown http://www.wbez.org/tags/bucktown Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The simplicity of Danny's http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-04/simplicity-dannys-106607 <p><div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/46162458_ef203b7e20_z.jpg" title="(Flickr/Tim Brown)" /></div></div><div>Close to where I rest every night, I did not realize that a little house would instead feel more like a home. Chicago is a unique environment in that some of the most interesting venues for traditional nightlife culture &ndash; the dance floor, the dive bar, the music venue &ndash; are located on desolate streets and residential blocks. In the case of Danny&rsquo;s (1951 W Dickens Ave.), a still-thriving bar that turns into something of a club on the weekends, the nondescript storefront is located right off of Damen and on a block full of family homes.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>I first went to Danny&rsquo;s for a friend&rsquo;s birthday a couple of years ago. She had been especially excited to go to the venue as it was her first time in the space. However, after only an hour or two, she left underwhelmed. But my experiences were markedly different. Despite the fact that it was a cloudy, rainy evening, a line formed outside. Since then, I&rsquo;ve noticed that this is one of the greatest signifiers of the space. And inside, the bar was beyond packed.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>I can never really recall what music is being played at Danny&rsquo;s. Danny&rsquo;s is not a venue for national and international touring DJs and performers. It is not a Smart Bar or a Primary. This is not a bad thing, though. Not everyone can appreciate what those venues give Chicago ears. And those places exist for a different reason than Danny&rsquo;s. For my friends who want to dance, but do not want to experience the River North culture and are not familiar with more experimental lineups, Danny&rsquo;s is their respite.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Danny&rsquo;s popularity endures because it is democratic about who comes into and what can be heard in the space. The music found at Danny&rsquo;s is some of the best in the city, further cementing Chicago&rsquo;s status as a music hub. It is selective about the music, but not so much that its core audience would be turned off and new customers would not have a good time. More often than not, local DJs host theme nights (such as <a href="https://www.facebook.com/Night999Moves" target="_blank">Night Moves</a> or Loose Joints) ranging in genre from 80s new wave to mutant disco to 90s rap and r&amp;b to reggae and everything in between. In many ways, it is (most) anything goes, making it a welcome venue for all walks of life. It is accessible, both in price, customer base and space. It is not too cool, but rather, like many of Chicago&rsquo;s dive bars, a place that does not take itself too seriously.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/4811699746_ce169a6c0b_z.jpg" title="(Flickr/Andrew Zahn)" /></div></div><div>Danny&rsquo;s is not only about the dancing. I have begun and ended my evening there by going to the bar for different purposes. At the beginning, Danny&rsquo;s has that perfect combination of a calm evening out: low lighting, a comfortable bar, cheap drinks, and a smart beer list.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Danny&rsquo;s gets packed later, perhaps too much so, but that only highlights its appeal. It is popular for the non-dance club fan. Not everyone is comfortable enough to go into such spaces, especially if they are unfamiliar with the music. No cover means that anyone can try it out (if they get there quickly enough).&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Calling it a neighborhood bar, I feel, doesn&#39;t do it justice,&rdquo; began Sarah Chandler. &ldquo;Yes, it is in a neighborhood, but once you walk in, it almost feels like you went back in time.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>We were discussing the appeal of the venue, why it continues to translate for different age groups and different crowds. Sarah and I are friends, but we don&rsquo;t regularly get together outside of work. But when thinking about what makes Danny&rsquo;s so great, I realized that she had probably been there.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;One of the things I enjoy most is the diverse crowd. Anyone and everyone can feel comfortable there,&rdquo; she continued.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>And when I began asking friends old and new, ones I only spoke to online and ones I saw everyday, a common thread of understanding and appreciation filtered through our discussions. They had been there and they liked it, plain and simple. It is perhaps not the bar they always turn to because they don&rsquo;t live in the neighborhood or because they have a regular spot, but it is one that can turn to, again and again, and have a good time. It is reliable and true.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Danny&rsquo;s is a gathering point, at least on a small scale. I have friends who listen and participate in different activities. But we can come together in this small place, if only for a few hours. My idea of the city growing up was one that served as the coming together of people and places and ideas. But the longer I&rsquo;ve been here, the less certain I am of that ideal. Danny&rsquo;s does not represent the entirety of the city. It is mostly young, for one. But it does represent a certain mindset that feels entirely Chicago. It is unpretentious and accepting. We come back because the stakes are low. It takes very little to foster a good time and Danny&rsquo;s adheres to this mindset, reminding us that the best nights out are often ones that require little effort.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Britt Julious blogs about culture in and outside of Chicago. Follow Britt&#39;s essays for&nbsp;<a href="http://wbez.tumblr.com/">WBEZ&#39;s Tumblr</a>&nbsp;or on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/britticisms">@britticisms</a>.</em></div></p> Thu, 11 Apr 2013 12:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-04/simplicity-dannys-106607 Rental market in hip neighborhoods tightens up, causing potential tenants to scramble http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/rental-market-hip-neighborhoods-tightens-causing-potential-tenants-scramble-101487 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Zol87 apartrment.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px; " title="Chicago Apartment Finders on Belmont is a common service used by needy renters. (Flickr/Zol87)" /></div><p>The end of summer is always one of the busiest times for the Chicago rental market.&nbsp;Tenants looking to move in September 1st usually start their apartment search around now. But as WBEZ found out, this year those renters might be too late.</p><p>A recent apartment showing in Ukranian Village is a prime example. There wasn&#39;t much to see in the two bedroom apartment; it was basically empty, except for some boxes and an old dust-covered stove that stood in the to-be living room. There weren&#39;t any light fixtures, countertops or cabinets, either.&nbsp;</p><p>And yet the property manager showing the unit &mdash; Mike Shenouda&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;seems totally confident that this unit will go, and fast.</p><p>&quot;People usually, we usually post an apartment, give it a day, show up that night and usually someone rents it,&quot; he said. And that goes for unfinished apartments like this one.&nbsp;<br /><br />In just under an hour, Shenouda shows a dozen people around the 1100-square-foot apartment. He says business has really picked up over the last year, and monthly rents have skyrocketed. This unit, for example, would have gone for a grand five years ago. Now Shenouda&rsquo;s asking $1500. Fewer people are buying houses, he says, and that means more renters.<br /><br />Which is exactly what Megan Russell, one of the potential tenants, is afraid of.<br /><br />&quot;I&rsquo;ve been looking for September first and I&rsquo;ve been looking for two to three weeks. I&rsquo;ve been on Craigslist non-stop, walking on the streets and calling, and places have been going faster than I could even see them,&quot; Russell said.&nbsp;<br /><br />Russell has lived in Chicago for four years. This time she&rsquo;s moving in with her boyfriend.<br /><br />&quot;A couple years ago you could see a place and think about it; now it&rsquo;s like, if you don&rsquo;t sign the lease when you see it, you&rsquo;re screwed,&quot; she said.<br /><br />And Russell&rsquo;s not alone &mdash;&nbsp;other renters WBEZ talked to said the apartment search has consumed their lives.&nbsp;They&rsquo;re constantly checking Craigslist at work, working all the angles, and even when they rush over to see a place, someone else got there moments before and it&rsquo;s already gone.<br /><br />And they all say the same thing: Renting in neighborhoods like Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village or Bucktown is so much harder than then thought it would be. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>According to <em>Chicago</em> Magazine real estate expert Dennis Rodkin, the boost in renters has a lot to do with the decline in young home buyers.&nbsp;<br /><br />&quot;A lot of people were buying who now realize it&rsquo;s not quite the best idea,&quot; Rodkin said. &quot;It used to be great if you were a young adult, it was easy to buy so people moved into the home ownership market sooner. Fewer of them are doing it. And there&rsquo;s also an inflow of people who were owners, who can&rsquo;t afford to own anymore, they&rsquo;ve been foreclosed, sold at a huge loss, and they&rsquo;ve converted to renting.&quot;<br /><br />And it&#39;s not just the hip, northwest neighborhoods that are experiencing the squeeze. According to Appraisal Research Counselors,&nbsp;95 percent of apartments downtown and in surrounding neighborhoods were occupied for the first quarter of 2012.&nbsp;Ten years ago, that number was under 90 percent.<br /><br />According to Rodkin, the competitive rental market in these &ldquo;zones of hipness&rdquo; as he calls them, will eventually iron itself out. He says the real problem is the city is short more than 100,000 affordable rental units in low-income areas.</p><p>&quot;One thing to keep in mind you&rsquo;re talking about problems in middle and upper income North Side neighborhoods,&quot; Rodkin said. &quot;More apartments are being built for upper middle income and wealthy people all the time. And that&rsquo;s going to lead to a problem &mdash;&nbsp;we have a surplus but we have an enormous deficit, a massive deficit of rental apartments for people who have low income.&quot;<br /><br />But for those who still want to move to neighborhoods like Ukranian Village, Rodkin says move fast.&nbsp;Remember that unit Shenouda is showing? That little two bedroom under construction?<br /><br />It rented just two days after he posted it.<br /><br />He showed another apartment that night just a couple blocks down the street&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;a two bedroom, two bathroom unit going for $1600 a month.<br /><br />It became available last minute because the original renter didn&rsquo;t have good enough credit. That&rsquo;s great news for Stephanie Sybrandt and Matt Wintz, who are the first to see it.<br /><br />The couple is getting married soon and nailing down their first apartment hasn&rsquo;t been much fun. &nbsp;<br /><br />&quot;It&rsquo;s a little frustrating because you get used to picturing yourself inside a place and it used to, a couple years ago, be a lot easier,&quot; Wintz said.&nbsp;<br /><br />As they walk around this place, there&rsquo;s barely a discussion.&nbsp;In the past, they might have slept on it for a few days. Instead they signed an application just minutes later.<br /><br />But of course, there&rsquo;s no guarantee.&nbsp;As they walk out the door, there are four more potential tenants waiting to see the place, too.</p></p> Mon, 06 Aug 2012 07:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/rental-market-hip-neighborhoods-tightens-causing-potential-tenants-scramble-101487 Bakery owner apologizes for ‘Humboldt Crack’ http://www.wbez.org/story/bakery-owner-apologizes-%E2%80%98humboldt-crack%E2%80%99-96679 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-February/2012-02-23/Tipsycake.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="Protest" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-23/Tipsycake.JPG" style="margin: 9px 18px 6px 1px; float: left; width: 346px; height: 306px;" title="A protest hits the bakery’s Humboldt Park facility Thursday afternoon. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)">Facing a boycott backed by two Chicago aldermen, a Northwest Side bakery owner on Thursday afternoon apologized for comments some Puerto Ricans had called racist.</p><p>TipsyCake proprietor Naomi Levine posted the <a href="http://www.facebook.com/TipsyCakeChicago/posts/10150671283345845">apology on Facebook</a>, calling the comments “insensitive” and acknowledging she “never took any time to develop a real understanding of the very community and the history of the people that I have had the fortune of living among for the past six years.”</p><p>Levine moved her business into a Humboldt Park storefront, 1043 N. California Ave., in 2006. Her baking facilities remain there but last year she moved the retail shop to 1944 N. Damen Ave. The shop stands in the middle of Bucktown, a higher-rent neighborhood.</p><p>Explaining the move <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbPbeCcHs2c&amp;feature=youtu.be">on a local Internet show</a> this month, Levine laughed about Humboldt Park gunshots. “We really wanted Bucktown for a location as opposed to the Humboldt Park [shop],” she said on the show, “so that [we could have] any type of client, not feeling nervous.”</p><p>Levine also told the host about a pastry she had nicknamed “Humboldt Crack” because “the cops would knock on the door and ask to taste the crack.”</p><p>The interview went viral and sparked outrage.</p><p>“You’re making an attack on a community that I personally have worked so hard to sustain,” said Juanita García, who helps run an alternative high school in the neighborhood. “I’m choosing to raise my child in this community.”</p><p>On Thursday afternoon, Alds. Roberto Maldonado (26th Ward) and Proco Joe Moreno (1st) blasted Levine and called on community members to make their bakery purchases elsewhere.</p><p>García praised Levine for apologizing but said she couldn’t call off the boycott on her own. She said she would speak with other neighborhood activists about it.</p><p>Levine did not return calls from WBEZ.</p></p> Fri, 24 Feb 2012 00:08:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/bakery-owner-apologizes-%E2%80%98humboldt-crack%E2%80%99-96679 Revision Street: Bucktown mustaches http://www.wbez.org/amoore/2010/08/revision-street-bucktown-mustaches/35267 <p><p style="text-align: left;"><em>There was a mustache on the sidewalk in Bucktown. Please, refrain from making jokes about the neighborhood being so hip that even the sidewalks have mustaches. I genuinely believe the mustache thing, among men of a certain age (under 33), has gotten out of control.<br /></em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/amoore/2010/08/revision-street-bucktown-mustaches/35267 /img00055-20100509-1408" rel="attachment wp-att-35268"><img width="358" height="268" alt="" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//IMG00055-20100509-1408-300x225.jpg" title="IMG00055-20100509-1408" class="aligncenter size-medium wp-image-35268" /></a></p></p> Fri, 27 Aug 2010 13:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/amoore/2010/08/revision-street-bucktown-mustaches/35267 Revision Street: Bucktown http://www.wbez.org/amoore/2010/07/revision-street-bucktown/29068 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><a rel="attachment wp-att-29069" href="/amoore/2010/07/revision-street-bucktown/29068 /p6210046"><img width="497" height="662" alt="by AEM" title="Bucktown" class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-29069" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//P6210046-768x1024.jpg" /></a><br /><em>(photo by AEM)</em></p></p> Wed, 14 Jul 2010 15:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/amoore/2010/07/revision-street-bucktown/29068 Revision Street: Sladjana Vuckovic (III) http://www.wbez.org/amoore/2010/06/revision-street-sladjana-vuckovic-iii/24900 <p><p style="text-align: left;"><em>Sladjana <a href="http://blogs.vocalo.org/amoore/2010/06/revision-street-sladjana-vuckovic-41-ii/24302" target="_blank">grew up on the East Side in the mid-to-late 1970s</a>. After a couple years away for school&mdash;still in Illinois, though&mdash;she eventually moved back to Chicago. She lives in Hyde Park.</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//hydepark.jpg"><img width="495" height="343" class="size-full wp-image-25071 " title="hydepark" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//hydepark.jpg" alt="" /></a><br /><em>Hyde Park (Photo by wvallen/Flickr)</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div><p>At 96<sup>th</sup> and Avenue M there was a cool little park across the street with swings and everything. At that time it was still a very white neighborhood, blue-collar, working class. When we moved to 110<sup>th</sup> street&mdash;as we moved further south&mdash;the houses got a little nicer. Less apartment buildings and more houses.</p> <p>That was Eddie Vrdolyak&rsquo;s ward*. He was this corrupt alderman and everybody was really racist. It was a like a white, racist, working class, blue-collar neighborhood. It was right by where all the steel factories were, and those fumes from the factories were always going.</p> <p>I grew up there, so that was home, but I do remember being offended even as a child. They were building the East Side mall and Eddie Vrdolyak had a petition going around saying, Sign this petition to not build a mall because then black people are going to come here. It bothered me. Kids I think can instantly see inequities and injustice.</p> <p>I also remember all the black kids getting bussed to my school. I remember in fifth grade I brought my friend Christine Nichols home for lunch and I remember the neighbors&mdash;you know, it&rsquo;s all these little bungalow houses with picture windows&mdash;and I remember neighbors looking out at us. We were kids! I could tell they were bothered there was a black person walking down the street.</p> <p>Now, all those factories have shut down, and it&rsquo;s really become a pretty neighborhood&mdash;prettier than it was back then, because of all the pollution and smog. I&rsquo;m so happy my family is holding it down. They didn&rsquo;t leave but all the white people left and it&rsquo;s all Hispanic now! I&rsquo;m so proud. The East Side is still my home neighborhood.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s still an extremely racist city. Very segregated. I live in Hyde Park now, one of the few areas that is well integrated, and not just racially but class-wise. But even to this day, it&rsquo;s only white people that ask me, Why do you live in Hyde Park? Black people never ask me why I live in Hyde Park. They know why I live in Hyde Park: it&rsquo;s a great neighborhood. And then when I go with my friend Bruce, who&rsquo;s black, to a coffeeshop on the North Side he feels&mdash;and I feel, too&mdash;that the North Side is so white. There&rsquo;s pockets, of course, that aren&rsquo;t. But I don&rsquo;t think Chicago has changed very much. White kids from college, they would never think, Oh, I&rsquo;ll live on the South Side. They live in all these white neighborhoods. It <em>bugs</em> me. [<em>Laughs</em>.] Bucktown. Or, Bruce and I were at a coffeeshop&mdash;at Fritz&rsquo;s, where they have vegan donuts. It&rsquo;s on Southport and Ashland, which isn&rsquo;t really a totally white neighborhood, but still, he gets looks from people. He&rsquo;s black and I&rsquo;m white, like&mdash;what are we doing together? I think it&rsquo;s still an extremely racist city. It&rsquo;s a racist country.</p> <p>Maybe aldermen are not so open about it. I think they&rsquo;re more sensitive to being called racist now, but I don&rsquo;t think very much has changed. In a way, the whole idea of, &ldquo;Obama&rsquo;s going to be great because he&rsquo;s black.&rdquo;&mdash;I mean, that&rsquo;s racist. And what is he doing? His policies? I think it&rsquo;s really set the progressive movement back, because people are thinking everything&rsquo;s OK because we got a black president, but some of his policies are worse than Bush! It&rsquo;s really scary.</p> <p>Obama really knows how to talk the talk, but he doesn&rsquo;t know how to walk the walk. His rhetoric is good. He&rsquo;s so charming and so intelligent. And everyone&rsquo;s just so happy to have <em>that</em>. But it&rsquo;s insidious.</p> <p><em>* &ldquo;Fast Eddie&rdquo; Vrdolyak, so named for his proficiency at back-room deals, was 10</em><sup><em>th</em></sup><em> Ward Alderman from 1971 until 1986, and the former head of the Cook County Democratic Party. He led the city council opposition to Mayor Washington during his first term, speaking for a primarily white group of 29 alderpeople against Washington&rsquo;s supporters&mdash;16 black and 5 white councilmembers. After leaving city council and the Cook County Democratic Party, he made an unsuccessful run for mayor as the Solidarity Party nominee against Washington, and then ran against Richard M. Daley as a write-in Republican in 1989. His loss, with only 4% of the vote, ended his political career and he returned to his law practice. In 2008 Vrdolyak was charged with bribery, mail fraud, and wire fraud in a federal grand jury, pled guilty to reduced charges, and was sentenced to probation, community service and a fine the following year. This sentence was overturned in a federal appeals court in January, and Vrdolyak awaits resentencing.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 07 Jun 2010 08:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/amoore/2010/06/revision-street-sladjana-vuckovic-iii/24900