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Wicker Park Bucktown Insider's Guide

Wicker Park Photog Ron Seymour Is Selling 1,000s of Photographs

Michael Hamrick - Friday, November 14, 2014

Nelson Algren outside of what is now Trencherman, circa 1970


Wicker Park photographer, Ron Seymour, is packing up and leaving his home and studio at 1625 N. Milwaukee Avenue after 26 years. According to a report published earlier by DNAInfo, Seymour is tired of some of the recent changes in the neighborhood.

And he should know, he owns a visual catalog of what those changes look like over a 25+ period. His photos include everything from Maxwell Street circa 1950's to Nelson Algren in 1970's and Wicker Park throughout the 1990's. 


Currently Starbucks and City Soles, North & Damen Avenue, Wicker Park


His massive print sale, which will include thousands of photographs, begins today November 14th from 4pm - 10pm and will continue through Saturday November 15, 10am -8pm. His studio is located at 1625 N. Milwaukee Avenue.

Don't miss your opportunity to own some of these incredible moments in time


All photos courtesy of Ron Seymour via Facebook.  Visit his website at ronseymour.com

Wicker Park's Hottest New Taco Spot - Kokopelli - Opens Thursday

Michael Hamrick - Tuesday, October 28, 2014


image courtesy of Kokopelli via Facebook


Updated October 28, 2014: And more tacos arrive in the neighborhood. Announced earlier today via Facebook, Kokopelli will be opening their doors this Thursday in Wicker Park in the former location of Between Peruvian Cafe at 1324 N. Milwaukee Avenue. Originally planned for late September their official date is October 30, 2014. See you there.


Published August 13, 2014 - As we were announcing the news that Authentaco had officially opened their doors at 1141 N. Ashland, Chicago Magazine was reporting, yet another, taqueria was in the works for Wicker Park.

Kokopelli will be opening in the location formerly Between Peruvian Cafe & Lounge at 1324 N. Milwaukee Avenue. Inspired by a trip to Tijuana, owner and native Chicagoan Gerardo Santiago, will focus on seafood and vegetable tacos. A typical taco will be the Kraken: grilled octopus in a cilantro marinade with avocado and cheese. Pork tacos are not at the top of the list. 

Tacos can be paired with a number of salsas. Three guacamoles, tostadas and ceviche will also be featured on the menu. 

Look for Kokopelli to open at 1324 N. Milwaukee Avenue in the middle of September.  

Kokopelli: A Wicker Park Taqueria Born On A Truck in Tijuana [Chicago Magazine]




Construction Dust Can Be More Than A Nuisance. It Can Be Dangerous

Thyra DeCicco - Monday, October 20, 2014

Open scaffolding with no tarps in place containing the dust.


With the influx of construction happening throughout Wicker Park, Bucktown and the surrounding neighborhoods it seems an important time to share this story about irresponsible contractors working in our neighborhood. In the middle of September of this year, masons arrived at a property next door to my Wicker Park single family home. The adjacent property was over 100 years old and painted. The architect wanted to add 2 new large windows which required sawing and chiseling through 3-4 layers of old brick. For three days the masons sawed and chiseled through this turn-of-the-century building.

And dust filled the air. The dust covered my property, my home, the parkway, sidewalk, street and parked cars. The masons did nothing to contain the dust sans the attempt to use a pepsi bottle filled with water dribbled along the wall. The dust was everywhere.

White dust covers my property.


Upon arriving home to find my property covered in brick debris and dust, I contacted the General Contractor. He never came by. I contacted the 1st Ward Alderman's Office at 2058 N. Western Avenue multiple times via phone and email. Although they said it sounded like what the masons were doing was "illegal" they took no action. I called 311. A city Environment Inspector came by a couple of days later but it was too late. The masons had finished and left. He did, however, take pictures of dust he witnessed first-hand.

Because the dust was so irritating physically to myself and other neighbors, I took a sample to an environmental laboratory to make sure there wasn't anything toxic in it. Mind you, my home/yard/parkway and our street had been covered in this stuff.

Test results indicated there was a significant level of lead in this dust which had been released into the air and down our Wicker Park block for three days. Our block is filled with young children and many pets. There was also a high level of silica; also dangerous to breathe. So anyone walking through this dust inhaled silica particles including sand, mortar and cement among other things. In researching how and why something like this could happen, I learned that many Chicago Municipal Codes exist for proper construction and demolition dust containment. There are also many US Environmental Protection Agency regulations that mandate testing and containment of dust. It appears contractor and EPA regulations were simply violated.

Proper containment/use of water at Wood and Division Street October 2014. A mason is inside working but he's not even visible. No dust is being released at this site.


So my message to fellow Wicker Park, Bucktown and Chicago residents is this: If construction or demolition of any type is happening near your home, please know that dust must not be released into the air. It's not only a nuisance; it's potentially dangerous to you, your family, pets and the environment. There are very specific laws in Chicago and the United States that prohibit this. If you see this happening, call 311 and report this to the Department of Public Health/Environment. Demand that someone be sent immediately. If need be call 911. Get these contractors shut down. And with any luck they'll be issued a citation and fined.

This US Environmental Protection Agency takes this matter very seriously. First time offenders can receive fines of as much as $36,000 per day.  

Damen El Stop Renovation Starts Monday - How You'll Be Affected

Michael Hamrick - Friday, October 17, 2014

Starting Monday October 20th the Damen Blue Line El Station at 1588 N. Damen Avenue will be closed. It will be closed for 63 days, through December 22, 2014 for Your New Blue Construction. 

The Blue Line El will run as usual bypassing the Damen Avenue station. 

Acording to information published by the CTA:

The Damen station will temporarily close for 63 days. Blue Line train service is available at the adjacent stations at Western and Division.

#56 Milwaukee buses are also available as alternate service to reach Western or Division stations, downtown, or other destinations along the Blue Line. Additional #56 service will be added between Damen and downtown during weekday rush periods, southbound in the morning and northbound in the evening.

Overnight bus service will be provided on the new #N56 Damen Station Owl route during the closure, to link to the closest stations in either direction of the closed Damen station.


In addition to the Blue Line El Station closing, North Avenue and Damen Avenue will be closed overnight through the construction period. 

Prasino Space Has New Chef - Proprietor

Michael Hamrick - Friday, September 19, 2014

Wicker Wire: After a parting of the ways between business partners last month, Wicker Park's Prasino quickly closed their doors- and that 100 person patio - at 1846 W. Division Street.

So what's next for the space? Chef Michael Taus, formerly of Zealous and Duchamp, has set his sights on Wicker Park. First reported by Chicago Magazine, Taus toured the Prasino space when it closed in mid-August and immediately felt at home. His vision is to create a more casual space where people can order across the menu's variety of price points. Unlike Zealous, the focus will be less on a special occasion fine-dining experience and will be a restaurant people will come to 100 times.

The name and menu are still to be determined but Taus is hoping to have the new space open by December/January.


Michael Taus Has Something Cooking in Wicker Park [Chicago Magazine]

Blue Line Bus Shuttles This Weekend From Wicker Park to Logan Square

Michael Hamrick - Saturday, August 23, 2014

Construction continues on the CTA Blue Line this weekend for Your New Blue, the $492 million dollar project dedicated to station improvements and improved speed on the CTA's O'Hare Blue Line. This weekend, the Blue Line will be not be running from the Damen Avenue Station (1588 N. Damen Avenue) in Wicker Park to the Logan Station (2634 N. Milwaukee Avenue) in Logan Square beginning at 10:00pm on Friday August 22, 2014.

Free bus shuttles will be available between the Logan and Damen stations this weekend. The Blue Line is expected to reopen between these 2 stations on Monday August 25, 2014 at 4:00am.

If it's anything like it was earlier this month, expect delays on Milwaukee, North and Western Avenue. Not only were delays encountered between stops due to the bus shuttles but traffic was slowed at North-Damen-Milwaukee and on Western Avenue due to road closures. We will update this information with road closures when they become available.

Doves Luncheonette, Columbus Curry Hiring in Wicker Park

Michael Hamrick - Friday, August 22, 2014

Looking for a job? These 2 soon-to-be-open restaurants are hiring in Wicker Park:


Dove's Luncheonette - Big Star's new sister restaurant at 1543-1545 N. Damen Avenue is hiring according to Chef/Owner Paul Kahan:


Also hiring Columbus' Curry is located at 1359 N. Milwaukee Avenue and is hiring for all positions. Send your resumes to hr@columbuscurry.com.

XOCO Wicker Park Opens August 12th

Michael Hamrick - Friday, August 01, 2014

Photo via Facebook

Updated July 31, 2014 - It looks like Rick Bayless's new restaurant in Wicker Park is getting ready to open very soon. Moving quickly into the former Salud space at 1471 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chef Bayless was hoping to open Spring 2014.But according to a report published earlier via theChicago Tribune, the Wicker Park opening is set for August 12th. They'll be serving a similar menu to that of the River North location with a few additional snacks added plus 20 local microbrews will be available. According to Bayless, the focus will definitely be on the food versus the drink. But plenty of drink options will be available.



Published April 2014 - The new XOCO will feature the same type of food as the original on Clark Street including:churros, empanadas, tortas, caldos and more. The Wicker Park space is larger, so more seating and a bar will be included in this location. You can expect table service and local beer will be served. A large patio is also in the works. 

Look for the Wicker Park XOCO location to open by the end of June 2014. 



Chicago's Most Anticipated Spring Openings of 2014 [Eater Chicago]

Puppy Stolen in Bucktown

Michael Hamrick - Friday, June 20, 2014

Photo: DNA Info

Not that long ago, 2 French Bull Dogs were stolen during a Lakeview burglary. And now it has happened in Bucktown. DNAInfo is reporting that Chanel, a rescued 9 month old pit bull puppy (pictured on the left) was stolen during a burglary in the block of 2200 W. Belden. In addition to the puppy, approximately $9,000 in personal items were also stolen.

The burglary happened at approximately 5pm on Thursday afternoon. Surveillance video shows 2 men in the area at approximately that time. That video has been turned over to police.

Please keep your eyes open for Chanel and contact Chicago Police immediately with any information.

 

Puppy Stolen in Bucktown Burglary [DNA Info]

Draft Wicker Park Traffic Report Released by Trader Joe's Says No Impact To Traffic

Michael Hamrick - Wednesday, May 21, 2014

image courtesy of DNAInfo


Wicker Park - It's no secret Trader Joe's has their eye on the former Miller lumber site at 1811 - 1825 W. Division Street. The grocer would occupy approximately 14,000 square feet at ground level and would provide 70+ parking spaces in the 3 story structure. A meeting earlier this year at the LaSalle II Magnet Elementary School between parents with children at the school and the developers was tense. The school is located directly across the street from the proposed Trader Joe's site and the school would, essentially, be directly across the street from the loading area and access to the garage.

The meeting back in early March ended with Trader Joe's being tasked with doing a traffic flow study to determine how adding a large retailer with 70+ parking spaces would affect the neighborhood.

The draft of that traffic study was released on Monday.

The draft is still pending additional input from Chicago's Transportation Department and doesn't consider the impact to cyclists and pedestrians. Yet according to the Draft Report distributed this week, with minor routing changes, the traffic would be no worse than it is now.

The Trader Joe's plan includes a number of modifications to enhance overall traffic flow including: making Honore a 2-way street between Thomas and Division Street and changing Marion Street so it becomes 1 way North to Ellen Street versus 1-way South to Division Street as it is today.

There are additional hurdles to overcome. Trader Joe's must first get 2 package liquor moratoriums lifted and address Illinois' state law prohibiting liquor sales within 100 feet of a school. 

But according to a report published earlier this week by DNAInfo, Trader Joe's has already signed a lease. 


Trader Joe's Traffic Study DRAFT (1st Ward)

Trader Joe's Wicker Park Traffic Study Leaves Some Neighbors Worried [DNAInfo]


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