WBEZ | Albany Park http://www.wbez.org/tags/albany-park Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Albany Park, past and present http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-10/albany-park-past-and-present-103119 <p><p>Take a ride out to the far end of the Brown Line. You pass Western Avenue, cross the river, and now the train is running on the ground, in an alley behind two-flats and large apartment buildings. You&rsquo;re in Community Area #14, Albany Park.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/10-22-1--1974.jpg" title="Ravenswood 'L' in Albany Park, 1974" /></div><p>The&nbsp;first permanent settlers arrived here in the 1840s. They were mostly German and Swedish farmers. William Spikings was among them. He&nbsp;built a brick farm house with his own hands and lived in it for over 70 years, watching the city grow out to him.</p><p>These early settlements were part of the Town of Jefferson. After Chicago annexed the town in 1889, the&nbsp;developers moved in.&nbsp; One of them&nbsp;called his subdivision&nbsp;Albany Park, after his native city in New York&nbsp;state. The name stuck.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/10-22--2-map.jpg" style="height: 260px; width: 350px;" title="" /></div><p>Electric streetcars ran on Lawrence Avenue as early as 1896. The real breakthrough came with the arrival of&nbsp;the &quot;L&quot; line &mdash; then known as the Ravenswood branch &mdash; in 1907. And now Albany Park took off.</p><p>The&nbsp;&quot;L&quot; terminal was located at Kimball and&nbsp;Lawrence. Soon the surrounding blocks were filled in with massive apartment buildings&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;only the lakefront had a denser concentration of dwelling units. Lawrence Avenue became a ribbon commercial street. Stores also sprouted up along&nbsp;Kedzie and Montrose.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/10-22-3-apartment%20palanx.jpg" title="Apartment phalanx in central Albany Park" /></div><p>Away from the terminal, the apartments thinned out. East of Kedzie, where the river turned, a charming bungalow enclave called Ravenswood Manor developed. The section west of Crawford&nbsp;(Pulaski) also became a bungalow belt. This area was part of an older settlement known as Mayfair.</p><p>Raw numbers tell some of the story. The 1910 Census counted about 7,000 people living in Albany Park. Ten years later the figure had grown to 27,000. Another ten years, and the population was over 55,000.</p><p>Haugan School was expanded several times until it stretched over an entire city block, becoming Chicago&rsquo;s largest elementary school. Roosevelt High School grew so crowded that the nearby Von Steuben School was converted into another high school. The city widened Kimball Avenue, and the street got its own bus line.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/10-22-4-Lawrence%20Kedzie.jpg" title="An empty Sunday morning at Lawrence and Kedzie" /></div><p>Most of the new people&nbsp;were Eastern European Jews. They came from West Town, Lawndale and the Maxwell Street area. With temples, schools, community centers, theaters, and all manner of businesses, Albany Park became the center of Jewish life in Chicago.</p><p>The community remained stable into the 1960s. But the city was evolving, movement to the suburbs accelerating. More people were driving cars, and didn&rsquo;t depend on public transit. If you didn&rsquo;t need the &quot;L&quot;, why bother to live in a congested area of apartment hulks?</p><p>By the 1970s Albany Park was in trouble. Much of the Jewish population had dispersed. Crime rose, property values fell, storefronts became vacant. The&nbsp;neighborhood was on its way to becoming a slum.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/10-22-5-Ethic%20Diversity%20on%20Lawrence.JPG" title="Along the sidewalk on Lawrence Avenue" /></div><p>New vigor&nbsp;came in&nbsp;with a new wave of immigrants from Eastern Europe, Asia and Spanish-speaking countries. The population decline was halted. Albany Park became one of the city&rsquo;s most ethnically-diverse communities.&nbsp;</p><p>The 2010 census reported that 52,000 people were living in the Albany Park. About half of the population was Hispanic. Non-Hispanic Whites numbered 29 percent, and Asians &mdash; mostly Koreans&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;were 14 percent. African-Americans were counted at 4 percent.</p><p>So this is the Oz you&#39;ll find at the end of the Brown Line. Through all the changes, Albany Park has endured. You can&rsquo;t really call it a typical Chicago community &mdash;&nbsp;a &ldquo;representative&rdquo; community might be a better way to put it. Some of it is pretty, some of it is gritty. But Albany Park is never boring.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/10-22-6--Blago%27s.jpg" title="Albany Park in the news--TV crews outside the Blagojevich house, 2010" /></div></p> Mon, 22 Oct 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-10/albany-park-past-and-present-103119 Revision Street: Aaron Karmin (III) http://www.wbez.org/blog/anne-elizabeth-moore/revision-street-aaron-karmin-iii <p><p><em>Early-thirties </em><a href="http://blogs.vocalo.org/amoore/2010/08/revision-street-aaron-karmin-early-30s/34850" target="_blank"><em>Aaron Karmin</em></a><em> has a new home in Albany Park, </em><a href="http://blogs.vocalo.org/amoore/2010/08/revision-street-aaron-karmin-ii/34853" target="_blank"><em>a new wife</em></a><em>, and an incredibly upbeat attitude for someone who, in his own words, spends the whole day listening &ldquo;to peoples&rsquo; sad stories.&rdquo; </em></p> <p><em>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s called compassion fatigue,&rdquo; he adds.</em></p> <p>I work with everyone, I mean from people who are on probation because they&mdash;it&rsquo;s an anger management clinic. I get clients who come in to deal with shyness. I work with cops. We&rsquo;re on Michigan and Monroe, so it&rsquo;s right in the financial district, so we got a lot of bankers, hedge-fund guys. Fortune 500, I own a law firm and I punched a bailiff in the courtroom, versus, you know, I beat my wife and this is part of my plea agreement. The private practice is fairly diverse, and the phone counseling reality is&mdash;I mean, it&rsquo;s phone counseling, so it can be people from anywhere.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1237/1326266755_94eba1fe67.jpg"><img width="500" height="390" src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1237/1326266755_94eba1fe67.jpg" alt="" /><br /><em>Albany Park (Photo by Heather Phillips)</em><br /></a></p><div>&nbsp;</div> <!--break--><p>We get translators, they&rsquo;re born in, I don&rsquo;t know, Pakistan, and now they&rsquo;re working for the contractors and they&rsquo;re worried about retribution against their family in Pakistan and so I&rsquo;m doing phone counseling with them. Or guys from Texas who are driving the convoys and they hit a roadside bomb and the car behind them blows up and they see the person dragged out, beheaded, lit on fire, and now they&rsquo;re having flashbacks. Whether they&rsquo;re rich or poor, black or white, mental health is kind of mental health in that way. As far as my peers, my colleagues, the world of mental health is largely female. There aren&rsquo;t a lot of men just in general.</p> <p>The dark humor in the world of therapy is, a bad economy is good for business. I preface it with being dark humor because if you don&rsquo;t have humor you don&rsquo;t survive in this line of work. I worked at an in-patient psych unit at Swedish Covenant Hospital and in in-patient psych treatment you get all of these people trying to hurt themselves, kill themselves, trying to kill somebody else, you know just totally unable to care for themselves. You get a guy who&rsquo;s trying to take a swing at you and break your nose, or trying to stab you with plastic knives that he sharpened, and if you don&rsquo;t have humor about it then you&rsquo;re just gonna melt down.</p> <p>Right now, I think people feel stuck. There aren&rsquo;t a lot of options. In the world of mental health funding, cuts go down in government, state, federal levels and there are lot of counselors who are having to cling to the jobs that they&rsquo;re at. So there is definitely that lack of flexibility.</p> <p>I work with a lot of check cashing places as well. They sign up for the phone counseling service. Their employer will pay for it because a lot of times the employees become agoraphobic. They get robbed all the time, obviously they&rsquo;re check cashing places, so they become agoraphobic. In a bad economy you see those places get robbed more and more frequently or you know you talk to people, I talk to people who are in retail stores and they see a lot more robberies. Or you get a lot more people who are looking for documentation so they can get disability, worker&rsquo;s comp, things like that just because they&rsquo;re not being able to return to work.</p> <p>Then you get the flip side. You get the type-A personalities, people who, you know, I had my baby and I&rsquo;m going back to work two weeks later or a week later because they&rsquo;re so worried about losing their job. Or someone who had a death in the family so they take a day off for the funeral and now they&rsquo;re grieving in the workplace because there&rsquo;s that fear of losing their job.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s part of being a therapist. You have to look at things from as many angles as you could come up with, because somebody comes to you with a problem and they&rsquo;re looking at it this way and that&rsquo;s probably why they&rsquo;re coming to a therapist, cause they&rsquo;re stuck at looking at the problem in only one way: If I lose my job it will be terrible. Why will it be terrible? Because I&rsquo;ll be homeless, I won&rsquo;t be able to pay my mortgage, my wife will leave me, I&rsquo;ll be eating out of the dumpster like Oscar the Grouch. But really that person has siblings, parents, they have some money saved. Even Oscar the Grouch had a pet worm named Slimy. I mean come on, it wasn&rsquo;t so bad.</p></p> Thu, 26 Aug 2010 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/anne-elizabeth-moore/revision-street-aaron-karmin-iii Revision Street: Aaron Karmin (II) http://www.wbez.org/blog/anne-elizabeth-moore/revision-street-aaron-karmin-ii <p><p><em>Aaron&rsquo;s been telling me about meeting his wife on an online dating site. Now, they live together in a house in Albany Park.</em></p> <p>I think my first email was like, Hey I like your profile. Do you wanna go run with squirrels, laugh with small children, and scare the old people? You know, just goofy banter. She picked up on it and played along. She was like, Yeah we&rsquo;ll open a Kool-Aid stand and we&rsquo;ll spike the drinks for the puppies.</p> <p>I like being with someone who&rsquo;s open-minded and has different tastes, someone who&rsquo;s independent and can take care of themselves, someone who&rsquo;s humor, even in the most frustrating moment, can still have some ridic&mdash;life is pretty ridiculous. Being a therapist, I don&rsquo;t come home and talk about my day very often because it&rsquo;s terrible. I mean, my day&rsquo;s not terrible, but I listen to peoples&rsquo; sad stories. It&rsquo;s fairly intense. You get exhausted giving out so much energy and not getting it back. It&rsquo;s called compassion fatigue. My wife works as an administrator in a hospital working with cancer patients, so we have a similar understanding about self-care and need for balance.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://farm1.static.flickr.com/106/300067763_b71dc4f57a.jpg"><img width="500" height="375" src="http://farm1.static.flickr.com/106/300067763_b71dc4f57a.jpg" alt="" /><br /><em>(Photo by Heather Phillips)</em><br /></a></p> <!--break--><p>I read a study in a journal of psychology that said if you have a good story, your relationship is more likely to endure. That speaks to me. It&rsquo;s a good story. So ultimately, Yes, I met my wife, on Match.com. Now we&rsquo;ve been together 20 months. I&rsquo;m a dork, I&rsquo;m sentimental, and I remember anniversaries. We just had our 20-month anniversary.</p><p>I got roots. I&rsquo;m an adult. . . . I chose a path. I have commitments and obligations.</p> <p>I&rsquo;m from Buffalo, New York originally, so I see a great deal of similarities, great lakes people&mdash;sweeping generalizations&mdash;but Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago, Buffalo, Green Bay. You get a lot of similar, what I always say is lack of pretension. What you see is what you get. You get guys in Buffalo who have a mullet and they beat their wives and they have no trouble being proud of those things. There&rsquo;s something almost beautifully simplistic in that. At least you don&rsquo;t have to deal all of the pretension, all of the smoke and mirrors that people put up.</p> <p>As a therapist, one of the hardest things in the world is letting people live with their own pain. I often offer this: if you&rsquo;re not selfish, if you&rsquo;re not taking care of yourself, how can you take care of others? If you&rsquo;re working harder than other people, if you&rsquo;re working harder than your client, what does that say about you as a therapist? Sometimes it&rsquo;s just a matter of just offering them some kind of assertiveness. The more you give solutions, the more you encourage dependence, the more you encourage dependence the more fatigued you become. It&rsquo;s like, somebody&rsquo;s like, <em>Pssst</em> Aaron, What&rsquo;s the answer to number four? If I give them the answer, they get the test answer right but they don&rsquo;t understand. All they learn is the next time they don&rsquo;t know the answer, go to Aaron. That&rsquo;s where compassion fatigue comes in. Clients become dependent on the therapist.</p> <p>We don&rsquo;t control many outcomes, but we control our efforts. As long as we&rsquo;re able to recognize our own efforts rather than seek approval and validation from others, we&rsquo;ll feel confident. I can be a great driver, but somebody hits my car. I check my mirrors, I put my turn signal on. My efforts are commendable, the outcome was tragedy. You could be a loving, caring person, somebody breaks your heart, doesn&rsquo;t mean that you&rsquo;re a screw up. People get fired in this economy, but doesn&rsquo;t mean that they&rsquo;re not hard working and responsible. It just means they don&rsquo;t control the bank.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 25 Aug 2010 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/anne-elizabeth-moore/revision-street-aaron-karmin-ii Revision Street: Aaron Karmin, Early 30s http://www.wbez.org/amoore/2010/08/revision-street-aaron-karmin-early-30s/34850 <p><p><em>Aaron Karmin is a mental health counselor, and he recently got married. &ldquo;</em><em>Chicago&rsquo;s been good to me,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;I can&rsquo;t complain. I always say, I&rsquo;m a Chicago ambassador I go around and I tell people, Chicago&rsquo;s a fantastic city.&rdquo; I don&rsquo;t know him very well&mdash;he&rsquo;s the brother of an acquaintance, so I start by telling him <a href="http://blogs.vocalo.org/amoore/2010/06/revision-street-abby-smith-45/26272" target="_blank">how many of the Revision Street: America interviews touch on September 11</a></em><em>. And right away his story fascinates.</em></p> <p>I was on the phones with people who were trying to get in touch with people in the Towers, I need you to find my cousin, my mother, my brother, my lover, my broker. Part of what I do is, I work with a counseling service, so if you work for, say, Target, you get this counseling service. Now we have JP Morgan, American Express, what have you, that were in Tower Eleven, so it wasn&rsquo;t the main Twin Towers, but Tower Eleven was one of the towers that went down. So I was actually on the phone in the NBC building downtown, so it was like: When&rsquo;s the other shoe gonna drop? You know, Chicago. Eventually, they let us go after they were gonna shut down the CTA. That&rsquo;s where I was on September 11. Being a counselor, you get different perspectives on things. So, OK, you&rsquo;re talking to people trying to find their loved ones after, and they don&rsquo;t know who to call, &lsquo;cause the lines are jammed or the power was down, so they called us . . .</p> <p>Right now I do a private practice for anger management, and I work doing the same job that I was doing on September 11. I&rsquo;m a phone counselor. I do a lot of phone counseling with contractors who are overseas in the war zone.</p> <p><em>That sounds incredibly hard.</em></p> <p>I think cab drivers do hard work or my accountant does hard work, I mean it&rsquo;s all relative. But it&rsquo;s a different skill set, that&rsquo;s how I see it, like I couldn&rsquo;t sit in a cab all day, I couldn&rsquo;t be a trucker. I do a lot of truckers because people who are on the road, they&rsquo;re remote, so phone counseling is a good option. I always marvel at my accountant. I don&rsquo;t know how he does that, I mean sit around and do numbers all day. I mean god bless, &lsquo;cause we all have different skills, so my skill set is, I listen.</p> <p>I just bought a house. I live in Albany Park, so I bought a single family house, three bedroom, one and half bath. Got a yard. It was a fixer upper, so we totally fixed her up. I&rsquo;ve been very introverted, less exploring the neighborhood. The neighborhood is good because I&rsquo;m a stone&rsquo;s throw away from the Brown Line. I&rsquo;m not a car person.</p> <p>I got married just this past March. March 13<sup>th</sup>. We got married at the Cultural Center. We actually met on Match.com. It works. We are a terrible bloody commercial, I tell you. It&rsquo;s like the Home Depot. Every time I see a Home Depot I&rsquo;m like, that&rsquo;s me, I&rsquo;m the Home Depot. They should name an aisle after me after all the money I spent there renovating.</p> <p>So yeah, Match.com. I was on for, god help me, I was on for like a year. Never mention that you&rsquo;re a therapist if you&rsquo;re gonna do online dating, &lsquo;cause you seem to meet a lot of people who are looking for free therapy. I tried to kill myself two days ago. . .</p> <p><em>No way.</em></p> <p>Yes way. This was a first date conversation. You know, the build up is: hard working, academic, does yoga and kayaking, has interests, activities, has her own place&mdash;so autonomous, independent. These are the qualities. I&rsquo;ve had a beer with many worse people than that, so hey? Why not meet for a beer? And then I was like, Whoa, that&rsquo;s just too much information. I&rsquo;m all one to show your cards, but that&mdash;that was . . . ah, <em>Check please</em>. It&rsquo;s always good for the ego to feel like there are a lot of unhealthy people out there, and when something like that happens, you&rsquo;re like, Boy I&rsquo;m a really healthy guy compared to my competition.</p> <p>There are a lot of people who have trouble working on themselves. Maybe because I&rsquo;m a therapist, I see everything through my eyes. But that&rsquo;s how we met. She was only on it for like three months. I&rsquo;m on it for a year, and I&rsquo;m like all jaded and she&rsquo;s just open-minded. At that point, I was like, It&rsquo;s gonna be terrible. But it worked out.</p></p> Tue, 24 Aug 2010 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/amoore/2010/08/revision-street-aaron-karmin-early-30s/34850 Revision Street: Eric Jones, late thirties http://www.wbez.org/blog/anne-elizabeth-moore/revision-street-eric-jones-late-thirties <p><p><em>A former punk enthusiast, Office Eric Jones was a new member of the Chicago police force when I first met him a few years ago. One of the first interviews I conducted for this project, Eric remains an intriguing character: a friend of a friend, who happened to also be a cop. He lives in Albany Park and patrols the area around Humboldt Park.</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mmmmarshall/3673356105/"><img width="500" height="375" alt="" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//albany-park.jpg" title="albany park" class="size-full wp-image-32352" /><br /><em>(by mmmmarshall via flickr)</em><br /></a></p><div>I&rsquo;m a Chicago Police Officer. I&rsquo;ve lived in this neighborhood for three years, Albany Park. We moved here because it was affordable. We previously lived in Ukrainian Village and we were just priced out of the neighborhood. There are a lot of condos going in here, now. I mean the building right next door was a twelve-unit building, and that was Section 8 Housing, as was the building across the street from that. Those have both been emptied out and are now being all turned into condos. Like the one across the street on Leland is still under construction and this one here I think they only have one or two units left. But now I see people who I&rsquo;d normally see walkin&rsquo; around Wicker Park walking around here. Young starter couples. It&rsquo;s not particularly affluent around here. It&rsquo;s a good mix, though. If you go directly north to Lawrence Avenue there are Korean stores and Korean barbecue places and a little Korean tiki-like bar, and there are all the Nigerian cab drivers on Elston to Pulaski. It&rsquo;s just crawling with diversity.</div> <!--break--><p>I work in the 14<sup>th</sup> district, the south side of Belmont Avenue to the north side of Division, west to Central Park Avenue and then east to the river. I&rsquo;ve only been on the streets for six months.</p> <p><em>Why did you become a police officer?</em></p> <p>I hate having to go to the same building and spend my entire day inside a building all day. I like helping people. I like not knowing what I&rsquo;m going to be doing next. I guess that&rsquo;s about it. It&rsquo;s just, every day you never know what you&rsquo;re going to get into. I feel silly saying that, because I&rsquo;ve only got six months on the streets, but it&rsquo;s the truth. It&rsquo;s hard to imagine the things you see, and you get paid to see it. It&rsquo;s great.</p> <p>Like, last night we got a call from the DEA. They were chasing some guy, and he jumped out a three-story window on to a neighbor&rsquo;s roof and they had him trapped up there so we had to call the fire department, get a ladder, and bring him down. Once he got down, they brought the dogs to search for drugs and whatnot. Came up negative, but we still had to arrest him for criminal damage to property &lsquo;cause he wrecked the gutters on the house next door. So that neighbor signed complaints, and once that happens we&rsquo;re compelled to arrest that person. We <em>could have</em> arrested him for fleeing or eluding police, but he didn&rsquo;t flee or elude <em>us</em>.</p> <p>We were on location for like two hours, and then by the time you transport him to the district and then book him and all that stuff, it&rsquo;s about another hour. But typically you can do a simple arrest in about 45 minutes to an hour. [A simple arrest would be] like a simple battery, like a fight, where you arrest somebody for deckin&rsquo; somebody in the jaw or somethin&rsquo;. And that other person signs a complaint, you take them in, do all the paperwork, go through and make sure they don&rsquo;t have any weapons or drugs on &lsquo;em. Put &lsquo;em in lockup. A simple battery, you&rsquo;ll go to court for it, but that&rsquo;s it. You&rsquo;re not gonna be talking to the state&rsquo;s attorney or anything, unless it was a heinous battery, where someone poured acid on another person or somethin&rsquo;. There are cases that come along where you&rsquo;ll have to talk to the state&rsquo;s attorney real quick. Even if you go to court for a traffic ticket or something like that, sometimes you&rsquo;ll have to testify. I mean, you never really know.</p> <p>There&rsquo;s a lot of boredom involved, too, though. I mean, in between jobs there are a lot of mundane things you have to do that, they are police work, but they&rsquo;re not the exciting variety. Parking tickets. You have to do that just to unclog traffic, and people don&rsquo;t seem to understand that.&nbsp; Traffic tickets. You&rsquo;d think that pulling people over for running a red light would be boring, but that&rsquo;s where you find a lot of guns and drugs. It&rsquo;s sort of like winning the lottery.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s just a feeling kind of thing, a lot. And you get to know your local gang-bangers. When you seem &lsquo;em riding around you can tell, is this guy a Satan&rsquo;s Disciple, is this guy a Latin King, you know. What area of town is he in. Some of the cars people drive: if it&rsquo;s a totally dangerous car with no brake lights and it looks like the wheel&rsquo;s gonna fall off, you&rsquo;re gonna pull that person over and say, Do you have insurance? Do you have a license? And if they don&rsquo;t have that, then who knows where it can lead.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 03 Aug 2010 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/anne-elizabeth-moore/revision-street-eric-jones-late-thirties