the lowdown on uptown

**disclaimer: I’m flattered and bewildered by the fact that this post made it to reddit chicago, but it’s clear the intent of this post and its content have reached audiences far beyond I’d ever expected. just want to clarify that my typical target audience is family/friends and usually get no more than 10 hits/day, this blog is intended to be like a journal. so my thoughts are typically random ramblings, not researched in depth and void of real social commentary (i.e. not “deep” or profound). obviously, once in the grand blogosphere, it’s fair game for criticism, and I thank those who took the time to read/comment. that being said, the title, “the lowdown on uptown” is misleading as i wasn’t trying to provide any grand public insights into uptown overall, just my personal thoughts on moving on.


oh, uptown. a wonderful and yet terrifying place to live. the neighborhood embodiment of the word dichotomy. diverse and interesting, violent and horrifying. we could walk to the beach 4 blocks away, and wake up to gunshots that same night, only to hear about the gang-related murder the next morning. yuppies with kids and dogs, the mentally ill loitering the corner, homeless waiting for the night ministries, hipsters lining up to see shows at the riv and aragon. local businesses that harbor gangs out of fear, and new start up mom’n’pop local shops trying to bring some positive energy into the neighborhood.

when we first bought our condo here almost 5 years ago, we were newly married and excited about the opportunity to live in a neighborhood that surely was on the up and up. right? but that was 2007 and unbeknownst to us, the housing bubble was about to burst. and it completely exploded and left goo all over our faces. we’re situated right between wrigleyville and andersonville – surely uptown would turn around.

fast forward through the last 5 years, and we found ourselves awaking from a never-ending hangover that included suing a developer who mishandled our building’s finances and forever filled us with empty promises (which went so far as to have a warrant out for his arrest), living among some of the oddest company also known as neighbors (part of community living, i know, but seriously, the crazy quotient was astronomical), having a storm rip off the building’s roof rendering us and many of said neighbors out-of-home x 10 months (which also included, among other things, a phantom-contractor who disappeared at the end of the project from some crazy legal situation involving his mother, unpaid subcontractors threatening the building with liens, i could go on), another storm flooding the building rendering basement neighbors out-of-home another several months…anything else? it’s hard to keep it all straight. oh, and i believe i forgot to mention that i was the condo’s board president throughout this entire ordeal. a curse i wish upon no friend of mine. oh yeah, and we had a kid somewhere in the middle of that.

BUT, the point of all my rambling is that, after all of this headache, we are finally OUT. OF. HERE. our place is currently worth <;$100k what we owe back, and after a long road, we are finally able to let it all go. at the end of the month, we are moving the family to a nice, quiet neighborhood street in lincoln park. i know, selling out to the yuppie crowd, but i drive an SUV, push a stroller, and walk a dog so i think i officially qualify. might as well embrace it. we will have a YARD. green space, yo. a basement. storage, ya hear? a smaller place, but a nice little rental only 3 blocks from the nugget's school. and if we end up needing to stay in chicago for any time, the local public school is pretty good.

with all that said, there are some local treasures here in uptown i will miss, highlighted here…

MonDog Beach – nothing like having a dog-friendly beach just blocks from home to let the pooch stretch her legs. and if seeing dogs run free at the lakefront doesn’t bring you a sense of joy, i don’t know what else can…

La Ciudad – authentic Mexican, just down the street. the service is friendly and always warm, the tacos are phenomenal. i’ll miss you, chorizo and pastor tacos


Tweet – one of our non-crazy neighbors gave us the tip on this place, and brunches here don’t disappoint. super kid-friendly without feeling like you’re in chuck-e-cheese, and you get a little tea-cake when you first sit down.


Target – it’s such a nice target! and it’s just down the street! now i will be banished to the horrendous stupor that is the elston/logan target experience

Pho 777 – we live just down from little saigon, vietnamese noodle soup abound! it will be hard to not have this fall-winter staple in our diet as frequently as the convenience here would otherwise allow


BaLe Sandwich Shop – along similar lines, vietnamese banh mi sandwiches are sooooooo good here


The Riviera – i love the riv. so many great shows here, many of which i saw before we even lived in uptown. i really hope the mayor is serious about making uptown one of chicago’s entertainment districts. just keep the acts small and cozy.


the Aragon Ballroom – ahhhh, the brawl-room. i’m not much of a fightin’ gal, so the whole fight scene passes me, but aside from men punching each other bloody in the face, the ole aragon also puts up some great shows. and the president’s birthday soiree, too. saw the yeah yeah yeahs here when i was 6 mo pregnant and vowed to never try to go to a show that pregnant again – not because of the noise but because my stinkin back was KILLING. ME. i was asked shortly thereafter if i was going to go to lollapalooza that year (would have made me 8 mo. pregnant), to which i wisely said HELL. NO. this is a pic from the show i attended (taken by someone far more talented than me):


the Green Mill – though i’ve never been to the green mill, you have to give it props for its historical context. i mean, capone used to hang out there. and the jazz history. seriously.


well, uptown, it’s been real. a real pain in the rear. but we’ll always have our memories. afterall, we were living here when the nugget was born, and at least life was never boring. i’m a little sad to be moving on…well, ok, not that sad, but i know someday i’ll look back on our days here and wonder what all the fuss was about.


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