I live within a hundred feet of this recently gutted building about to convert to condos. I appreciate the neighborhood favorites, which include 'The Alley Guy,' among others. When I saw the above for sale sign go up at 7213 N. Rogers, I had to say something. First, it is an incredible offer until December 31, 2007. Second, this neighborhood is changing for the better. Get it while its cheap. Most of us who have lived here for the last ten years know it. Seniors are outside, Volvos are parked in driveways, and that is a good sign to us. Our property values have doubled, but we aren't selling. We have even resolved to educate the kids in CPS magnet and selective enrollment to the extent possible.
There may be a few digressions. The corner of Ridge, Rogers, and Touhy is worthy of a left turn only arrow from both east and west. However, for the first time, a restaurant has survived its third year anniversary. That Mexican entry on Touhy is worth a stop if you don't want to cook and order before nine or ten depending upon the evening. The Lamp Post is a sports bar fixture. Its tailgate party is complete with grill on the side of the building, which creates some sense of neighborhood for a mainstay traditional sports bar.
Although a few houses have been removed and replaced by upscale condos and townhomes, the blocks are integrated with an assortment of housing. At least six houses were featured in an RP Historical Society or Garden Walk on either Touhy or Ridge. Every place has its ten percent, but the regulars are as good as it gets for Chicago. This condo is within walking distance of St. Margaret Mary's and St. Scholastica. More than one neighbor has an Annual Glogg Party every January.
Without naming names, because the locals know, this is Chicago. Whether it is the Irish or the Japanese guy who regularly parks themself in the summer lawn chair to greet neighbors on the sidewalk or the guy who gardens, there is enough to justify the location. We are seeing a few twenty something dog walkers and joggers down Rogers in the summer. We have neighbors who you can trust to water your plants and watch your animals while you vacation.
This evening, I got so tired of the comments about our neighborhood, that I walked past the townhomes to Damen and Rogers at 11:30 p.m. Yes, me and my whitebread self. I started to take night photos of the former site of the Pulse Garage, which is for sale by Kritt away from the videocameras. Like its former neighbor, the Chinese Buffet, it will likely be demolished to become townhomes or condos. While en route, a neighbor in a garden level condo saw me taking photos to the left. She had to be wondering what the hell I was doing. Perhaps, my concerns were spurned by The Broken Hearted comments about the Ho a few weeks ago. I am skeptical, but it was an extreme aberration to me.
If I did not want to take the blood thinner, I would have hit the Ho at 11:38 p.m. this evening, but did not bother to walk in or see if it was open. Frankly, I never drink alone. Perhaps, CG is too lame to go over there, but I'm not because I live here. I think that it needs the business to stay in business. Recently, the Laundramat got a new coat of sky blue paint. Perhaps, the owner is getting serious about taking care of the property. I am just not experiencing the same wrath and an isolated incident or two is not going to change me or my habits.
I know that there are ignorant people. You have to treat people with respect, anywhere. However, if someone disrespects you, you need to give them space and let them think about it on their own time, not yours. Whether they are folks who criticize African Americans, Hispanics, other groups, don't know how to treat their kids, want a dollar, or talk abnormal in public, most of us don't comment or necessarily pull out that look of righteous indignation.
The rarely disrespectful visitors that I pass or pass by on the sidewalks or streets are gone in seconds, not minutes. That is when things return to significant calm, when compared to Ridge Avenue in Evanston. This proximate place that we call West Rogers Park makes life bearable. For those who live in the suburbs, I pity your commute. We live smack dab in the middle of the life of the city and suburbs. We can move from north to south by plane train, bus, or automobile. We can reach just about any restaurant, grocery store, or shop in a half an hour. We can walk to the golf course or bike to the south loop.
Where can you go from here?
Ridge, Rogers and Touhy are true crossroads! The Potawatomis' probably had a trail tree around here at one point pointing to the big city to come.