What is Chicago missing (Niles, Lincoln: mover, costs, garden)
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Good pictures, especially the 2nd one; having those "parkways" between the sidewalk and the street certainly make the neighborhood look more spacious and liveable, in contrast to many urban neighborhoods in Eastern cities..
This neighborhood looks nice, and well maintained; looks like a combination of single-family, 2-family, condo and apartments; probably isn't all that bad on the wallet, either (compared to Lincoln Park, for example)...
Yeah, there's a good mix of housing stock here, anything from old 5000+ sqft detached homes on double- or sometimes triple-wide lots, to courtyard apartment complexes, lots of two-flats... quite a variety. And it's way cheap compared to the "hot" lakefront neighborhoods, but you do give up a lot in the way of sheer variety of amenities and energy and vibrancy and all that. But it's a great neighborhood to settle in once you've outgrown the need to be in the middle of it all. Excellent transportation options, still plenty of amenities here (they're just not lined up end-to-end and stacked on top of each other like the lakefront neighborhoods), your pick of housing types in a wide variety of price ranges, etc. I picked this neighborhood precisely for its sedate nature because i was a full-time grad student at the time who needed more quiet and fewer distractions. I'm actually surprised at how much I've come to like it here.
Downtown is dead in the winter or summer. It makes no difference. I've only been there in the summertime.
Yeah the city feels like the financial district crashed into industrial New Jersey. Seriously. Of course with a big huge McDonalds at the intersection. That sums up the general scene in Chicago. The people love their chains and local junk food joints. 5" thick pizza that's 90% bread. Hot dogs served with 2lbs of fries. All that stuff was invented as filling food for factory workers to eat on the cheap. But hey the transplants from Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana etc. think it's a real city. There are really two sides to it: the hog farmer trading types and the ultra hoity-toity types downtown who eat at fake fancy restaurants that close at 10 and give you more in attitude in 5 seconds than you would get in NYC in 5 years. There's really no middle ground here. The whole scene is a theme park for midwest types who don't know what real city should be like. Also the whole place is scattered with strip malls and parking lots. See if you find those in Manhattan, Paris, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong. No, because those are actual cities, not a theme park for corn farmers.
Sorry, I know it's harsh, but it really seems this way to me and every time I try to see the city in a positive light I just see disguised suburbia contrasted against fake "high-roller" types who think that living in DEAD River North with no decent food outside of a gyro (which are good in Chicago) past 10 on weeknights with their fancy doormen and indoor pool is the epitome of urban living. It's not. It's totally fake. A real city, like Manhattan gives you access to any number cuisines 24/7 or any kind of late night scene every day of the week within a 10 minute cab ride at most. Here it's boy's town, viagra triangle (tourist filth) and utter death on a weekday night. Even on weekends the best you can do past midnight is fast food quality pizza, Hot Dogs and beef sandwiches that get trounced by Philly Cheesesteaks every day of the week and twice on Sundays. It could only be considered a real city of you are from one of those midwest states. Nobody from an actual city from any part of the world could accept any of this.
I respect that Chicago is a great place to grow up and many of my closest friends were born and brought up here, but it is not a real city in my view. Just a great big suburban sprawl with beautiful architecture at the center and an amazing drive on the lakeshore. But apart from the attachment you would have to your "hometown" (which could be Naperville for all I know) if you had a chance to live in a major world city you would see the farce that is Chicago and 1.5 hours in every direction of aka "Chicagoland". I'm sorry I know I offended most of you, but its very difficult to deal with a place where people think they are great because they live "downtown" but I see it as the hopelessly fake existence of those who live in the financial district of NYC. Where's the East Village, Greenwich Village, West Village, SoHo, Tribeca etc? They say Old Town is modeled on SoHo - you have to be kidding. Seriously. Reeks of death on any given weeknight and on weekends is barely one little theme park style block.
I'm done here and I'll let you get on with your regular conversation. The question was asked and I answered it. I could have been more tactful, but ultimately this is just how I see it.
Eating chain food is so uncool that doing it makes you cool, know what I mean?
It's not about coolness or uncoolness, their burgers are not really good. I mean they are about one rung above Wendy's. They are nowhere near In 'N Out (which is a chain I would eat at). But sadly In 'N Out won't venture far from So. Cal due to the control they want in sourcing their raw materials. That is also the reason they are so good.
The vast majority of Chicagoans have been fed on processed food and local chains even show the customer that they use Skippy Peanut butter or Hellman's Mayo (Potbelly and Jimmy John's) they source their ingredients from Sysco and Sygma. It is what is considered normal in the midwest. I mean what east coast diner would mention that they use Ore-Ida potatoes? Even your beloved Kuma's Corner sold out and started using frozen fries. It's just midwest culture and I should know because I grew up here before I went to NYC. That doesn't fly in NYC, any place that tried would go out of business in a month (and I've seen restaurants open and shut within a month - it happens when you have at least 50 restaurants in a 5 minute walk radius from any given place). Any place that tried to sell a peanut butter sandwich (outside of the typical lunch sandwich joint for transients who work there but don't live there) would have to make their own peanut butter, people wouldn't accept less. There is too much competition for that kind of complacency. Check peanut butter company in Greenwich Village if you want an example.
That stuff doesn't fly in NYC except at places that solely exist to compete on price. Of which there are a few and many such places in the tourist districts for tourists to eat familiar food.
As an aside I think one of the best burgers in Chicago is served by a California based chain called "The Counter" (Lincoln Park). I personally think it's sad when an outside chain makes one of the best burgers here apart from a $15+ burger at some fancy downtown restaurant that draws customers simply by pricing their food outrageously. Downtown types really seem to like that kind of thing. It's not like getting a $5 burger at corner bistro at 3:30AM that tastes great and can be ordered medium rare. Yes, I will admit maxwell street house (the original) is not bad for a $3 double cheeseburger - at least its honest and has some authenticity. You're not going to get it medium rare, but that's the kind of town this is. Downright blue collar mixed with straight up tight wads in River North who think this is a real urban experience. No, living on the 38th floor in a doorman building with gym/pool dropping at least $60/person for a decent meal is not the real city experience. Finding an authentic corned beef sandwich at 4AM at 2nd ave deli or real Ukrainian homemade pierogies at 5AM at Veselka or a good Croque madame at 5:30AM at L'Express or a Doner sandwich at Bereket at 4AM or live dungeoness crab cantonese style (Black bean sauce and egg whites) in Chinatown at 3:45AM is a real urban, multicultural experience. Or you could easily get a $4 deli sandwich with reasonable quality Boar's Head meat 24/7 on almost every block. Don't even get me started on other ethnic, good, inexpensive 24/7 options in NYC. Chicago is simply dead in comparison. Just to be clear those options are 7 days a week. It's not a Thursday-Saturday "city" like here. Also just to reiterate those places don't source from Sysco like prisons and school cafeterias do.
Last edited by sxr71; 03-17-2011 at 11:44 PM..
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