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Talk:Chicago/Far West Side

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Closed? listing[edit]

  • UnfoundArt, Ltd, 2950 W Carroll Ave, +1 312 545-9330 (). This art gallery is clearly taking advantage of the low rents in Humboldt Park. In addition to its contemporary installations, it has a rather impressive permanent collection of late 20th century art, including works by Rauschenburg, Warhol, Mapplethorpe, and Makos.  edit

I moved this here, since the contact information has failed to elicit any courtesy response to let me know whether they are still running this operation. If someone can find out otherwise, and can fill out the hours information, please put it back in the article, but under "see," not "buy." --Peter Talk 14:18, 30 November 2007 (EST)

Yeah, I tried calling them again today and the number is disconnected. Gorilla Jones 19:06, 30 November 2007 (EST)

Stay safe?[edit]

Seems like a Stay safe section might be warranted here, even if say the area's dangerous reputation is overblown. (And I've never been, so I don't know if it is.) Gorilla Jones 19:08, 30 November 2007 (EST)

Done. --Peter Talk 21:15, 30 November 2007 (EST)
Nicely so. Gorilla Jones 14:44, 1 December 2007 (EST)
Egads! "Stay safe" section on Austin and South Lawndale are way off! South Lawndale is going through some major challenges right now and crime there is comparable to North Lawndale. In others words, there's a ton of crime there. More to see than North Lawndale for sure, but lots of problems. Meanwhile Austin is one of the most crime-ridden neighborhoods in the city. The last few months in particular there has been a teriffic spike in violent crime. I wouldn't go anywhere in Austin on foot. Don't have time to update this at the moment...Meatpuff 06:04, 3 February 2009 (EST)
Might I ask where you are getting your information? I'm going off a little bit of personal experience, but mostly year-end police statistics over the past three years. South Lawndale, per police statistics, is one of the safest community areas in the city in terms of violent crime, and personally, I've never so much as felt nervous there. Austin is more complex because of its size, and I have less of a handle on it (since there's not much reason to go there). If there's been a spike in crime there recently, could you lend a source? I have no claims to be an expert, but I would presume that year-end police reports of violent crime/100,000 residents would be a pretty good objective measure (outside downtown, anyway). --Peter Talk 15:08, 3 February 2009 (EST)
Year-end police reports are a good start but quite misleading because the community area-level is a pretty coarse measurement. There's a lot of variation and some parts are block-by-block. Maybe the best example in the city right now is Logan Square. The crime statistics mean little here, whatever they are. You are quite safe walking around in Bucktown, but west of Kimball it is straight-up ghetto. Also, I don't think crime stats before last year are going to help much because things change so quickly.
I definitely overstated the case in South Lawndale. It is not half as bad as North Lawndale, but that doesn't mean it's real good. Just read the news. There is definitely strong gang/drug activity over there with the accompanying drug busts and shootings. As far as stats, West Town and South Lawndale have comparable populations but there were 15 homicides and 290 robberies in South Lawndale in the last 365 days compared to 4 and 122 in West Town (which has its own pretty rough areas west of Western). So caveats should be added to the article so people don't assume that South Lawndale is Wicker Park or something. I would feel safe walking down the main drag in Little Village during the day, but it's no place I'd walk around in the evening or down the side streets.
As for Austin, there's no question it's straight-up ghetto. It's so enormous that no doubt some parts are fine, but as a whole it's a real pit. Particularly the areas near Oak Park that a visitor would be most likely to wander into. I will leave it to you to look up your own year-end crime stats. But also there is a wave of violent crime there the last few months that is showing up in the stats as well as the news ( I am unequivocal about Austin. It is one of the more dangerous ghettos in Chicago, has persistent violent crime, and is headed in the wrong direction currently. This is probably the most interesting thing for a potential visitor to know about Austin since there's little to see there, so it should be in the article. Meatpuff 00:47, 4 February 2009 (EST)
Hmm. I'm definitely not adverse to adding more strictly cautionary statements about Austin, especially since there's so little reason to go there unless you're visiting family. Anyway, I'll try and work that in. I should also make a point of heading out there and getting to know the neighborhood a little better—one of my last frontiers in Chicago really!
But I think we're just not seeing eye to eye on South Lawndale. Basically everything that's recommended in the area is just on the 26th St strip, and if anything, I think we should be working to correct the commonly held perception that the area is unsafe. In addition to really low violent crime statistics (in the past 3 years anyway), I'm on 26th eating tacos at 3AM often, and the most uncomfortable I've ever felt was when dealing with some demasiado rapido Spanish through a scratchy drive-thru speaker. Ultimately, few travelers are going to visit the area without a car, and therefore won't spend a ton of time walking around, but I really don't think we need to warn people about walking around 26th St, even at night. I think part of the reason people have this perception of Little Village is because of the high profile drug crime reports, but everyday street muggings are really what travelers have to worry about, and for a Chicago neighborhood, those are quite low here (unlike some really touristy areas, like the Loop).
On a totally unrelated topic, are you from Oak Park? If so, mind filling out that article a bit? I still haven't gotten around to taking a tour of the place, and have been waiting for someone to add some content to that article so I can have a free guide ;) --Peter Talk 03:06, 4 February 2009 (EST)
Yeah, after further thought and reading I think your view of South Lawndale is accurate and was better than mine coming in. I think I am in the habit of evaluating an area as a place to live, which means it has to be reasonably safe walking the residential streets in the early evenings. But the standards for visiting are just that the areas that visitors would check out are safe. South Lawndale would not be safe enough for me to agree to live there. But visitors would probably just stay on 26th St., which I agree is fine into the evening.
I'm glad you agree about Austin, I'm confident that if you ask others who know the area AND read the statistics you will see that it is a pretty dangerous place.
I re-read the stay safe section, and I would write something much different, but it is mostly a matter of style. For example, you say the Humboldt Park neighborhood is generally safe, but I would say that it is generally quite unsafe. We can both agree that the eastern several blocks are safe, but the rest of that neighborhood is in bad shape. As for South Lawndale, my version of "Stay Safe" would include the areas to stick to (east of Humboldt Park or 26th St. strip) and make clear that the rest of the neighborhood is a different story. This would signal to the reader that these neighborhoods are different from a place like Lincoln Park where spending the day aimlessly wandering around is safe and a fine idea.
Maybe next week I'll just write a different version and see what you think.
Sorry, not a resident of Oak Park, but have considered moving there so I know some things. I looked at that article and yeah, it's pretty sad looking for an attractive destination! Maybe I'll see if I can help it a little. 21:12, 5 February 2009 (EST)
I gave a go at making it a bit less sanguine—I'm rather used to visiting neighborhoods that are a good deal more violent than any of these save Garfield Park & N Lawndale, so I realize my perspective may be a bit skewed. Nonetheless, the last thing I want to do is scare people away from Little Village. I love to take out of town friends there—some of them decided it was their favorite part of their trip in Chicago! Speaking of which, though, I should make a point of adding more Little Village listings, as it's kind of underserved as of now. --Peter Talk 22:07, 5 February 2009 (EST)
Thanks for your work! I have no problems any longer with the Stay Safe section. In the process of steering people towards the safer areas of these neighborhoods, it also steers them towards the areas more worth seeing. Also I think it's important because the point is that people like you who are accustomed to visiting less safe neighborhoods probably know enough about the area to be beyond consulting Wikitravel anyway. I think it is pertinent information for the audience that reads Wikitravel. Thanks again, I think we have improved the article. Meatpuff 07:13, 10 February 2009 (EST)

More closed listings[edit]

  • Black Beetle Bar and Grill, 2532 W Chicago Ave (#66 Chicago bus), +1 773 384-0701 (), [1]. M-F 11:30AM-2AM, Sa noon-3AM, Su noon-2AM. This neighborhood bar is reputed for its high-quality, healthier-than-usual, pub grub and a friendly, eclectic vibe. The weeknight crowd is cooler than the weekend crowd, by the way.  edit

Black Beetle closed for reasons unknown, and will reportedly reopen some time in the not too distant future as The Beetle—if it turns out a hit, it will be easy to fill out the details. Fortunately, I have a good one up my sleeve. --Peter Talk 00:27, 20 October 2009 (EDT)

  • The 5105 Club, 5105 W North Ave, +1 773 237-9490. Walk in here and you'll think you're in a movie. It's just not possible to pack more West Side blues culture into one bar. A true neighborhood dive, which sees nonetheless a trickle of blues lovers from all over the city to catch the likes of Tail Dragger, a bluesman who's been sweatin' all over Chicago since the days when he played with Howlin' Wolf. Showtimes are unpredictable, so you might want to call in advance, but Tail Dragger usually plays all Sunday night.  edit

Sad sad sad. The West Side's legendary blues clubs are almost all gone now... --Peter Talk 02:58, 20 October 2009 (EDT)

Just closed, sad to say. Gorilla Jones 20:40, 6 September 2010 (EDT)

  • Edna's Restaurant, 3175 W Madison St (Two blocks east of Garfield Park), +1 773 638-7079. T-Su 6AM-7PM. Edna's is renowned for having some of the best soul food in Chicago's West Side. Peerless biscuits, heavenly breakfasts, and pie to die for. Edna recently passed away, but the place is still in good hands. $3-8.  edit
  • Music for You, 3150 N Central Ave, +1 773 745-4641. M,W-Sa 10AM-8PM, Su 11AM-5PM. Not a square inch remains unused in this store — it's fully covered in hard-to-find dance music cds from Latin America and Eastern Europe, serving the two main communities of Belmont Cragin.  edit
  • Red Ginger, 3103 N Narragansett Ave (#77 Belmont bus), +1 773 622-5606, [2]. M-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su 4PM-9PM. Classy, top-notch Pan-Asian dining in (surprisingly) Belmont Cragin, focusing on Thai, Japanese, Chinese, and Caribbean foods. BYOB. $10-18.  edit

--Peter Talk 20:14, 25 September 2010 (EDT)

Closed: Eco84 05:22, 13 July 2012 (EDT)

  • Jedynka Club, 5616 W Diversey Ave (76 Diversey bus), +1 773 889-7171, [3]. W-F 8PM-2AM, Sa 8PM-3AM, Su 8PM-2AM. The premiere upscale dance club for the young Polish scene in Chicago. Sunday nights are Euro-retro, Wednesday nights are karaoke, and a regular crew of Polish DJs are on the job. Polski is the first language here, but anyone can manage. Dress nice (preferably something tight and shiny) and have a blast. Friday nights see such Polish offerings as mini-skirt & "buff chest" competitions. Free admission and sometimes free food/drinks before 10PM, otherwise cover usually $10.  edit
  • Operetta, 5653 W Fullerton Ave, +1 773 622-2613. noon-10PM daily. English menus are available, but they're the secondary option at this Czech/Bohemian restaurant in Belmont-Cragin. Goulash and bread dumplings in hearty portions are the stand-bys, with food to be accompanied by a pilsner, but the waitresses will guide you through extra options. $10-15.  edit