March news

GEMS World Academy announces new head of school

Kim Wargo, a 20-year veteran of the independent school world who has led private institutions in Dallas, San Francisco, and New Orleans, will assume the helm of GEMS’ Academy’s Chicago campuses in July, the school announced this month.

Before joining the independent, international educational organization that boasts two Chicago campuses, Ms. Wargo served as Eugene McDermott Headmistress of The Hockaday School, a PK-12 boarding school in Dallas, TX.

According to a press release, she will transition into her new post this month by holding “the first of what is expected to be a series of meetings with GEMS families and teachers.”

She replaces Geoff Jones, GEMS Academy’s founding Head of School, who is retiring. Mr. Jones is credited with being among the visionaries who helped to shape GEMS’ respected reputation.

The GEMS organization educates children aged kindergarten through 12th grade in 83 schools spanning 14 countries.

Lucas Museum may not be built in Chicago

The George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, after announcing plans to locate in Chicago next year, may not be coming to the Windy City after all.

The Friends of the Park — a not-for-profit citizens’ organization with a mission to “preserve, protect, improve and promote the use of parks and open spaces throughout Chicago” — sued the museum last year on grounds that its Chicago intentions do not represent the public interest.

The museum almost immediately filed a motion to dismiss, but it was denied by Chicago U.S. District Judge John last month.

According to some reports, the city of Oakland, located much closer to Lucas’ hometown and production company, is currently preparing a bid for the alleged $700 million dollar institution.

IMG_9165gNeighborhood maintenance

S&J Construction replaced the pin and links that connect the large sections of Upper Wacker Drive north of Columbus Dr. The process required workers to remove the old bolts by melting them with a welding torch.

Early Voting

From now through March 12, residents can participate in early voting for the upcoming March 15 primary in two nearby locations:

· Museum of Broadcast Communications, 360 N. State Street

· Board of Elections, 69 W. Washington Street

March CAPS beat meeting

The next monthly meeting to cover issues within police beats in and around Chicago’s 1st District will take place on March 10 from 7 to 8 p.m. at 400 E. Randolph. The 1st District extends from the Chicago River to 31st Street, and from Lake Michigan to Des Plaines. There are eleven beats within the area including the 14th, which is dedicated to the New Eastside.

Chicago Public Schools cuts jobs

Citing an $85 million budget cut, CPS Chief Executive Officer Forrest Claypool on February 29 announced that 62 employees, including 17 teachers, were to be laid off.

Although he referred to the move as “painful,” he said it was necessary “to secure fair funding for our students, bring Illinois up from last in the country for education funding and work with Springfield to start treating students in poverty fairly, so our students get the education they deserve.”

— Daniel Patton | Staff Writer

February News

By Daniel Patton | Staff Writer

GEMS Academy preschool program

GEMS World Academy will launch an Early Childhood unit for 3-year-olds beginning next Fall. The full-day, five-days-a-week program will educate young students in the Lower School, where the existing pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes are located. Enrollment is open to children who will turn 3 by December 31, 2016. For more information, contact GEMS admissions office at (312) 809-8910.


2016 Halloween Parade announced

The Chicago Cultural Mile will host this year’s creative and family-friendly Halloween celebration on October 22, 2016. The event will begin as an afternoon festival from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Sir George Solti Garden in Millennium Park and then transmogrify into a spectacle parade along Columbus Dr. from Balbo St. to Monroe St. The occasion is designed to thrill both kids and adults by celebrating Halloween as an “artist’s holiday” that will include “craft and dance workshops, live performances and a kids’ costume procession.” Participating institutions include the Field Museum and The Art Institute of Chicago; artists and organizations include Louder Than a Bomb and Silent Theatre Company. Visit for more information.


1st District issues theft / robbery alert

The Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) issued on January 28 an alert notifying taxicab and uber drivers in the 1st Central District that an increased amount of theft and robbery has been reported during the month of January. The incidents frequently involve perpetrators working in groups, the report notes, on both sides of the vehicle. While a “ruse” distracts the driver (such as someone “handing out flyers”), accomplices on the opposite side of the car “open the front passenger door and take the driver’s phone.” Citizens who wish to report additional information should call the Bureau of Detectives at (312) 747-8384.


Commissioner of Streets & Sanitation addresses concerns

Charles L. Williams, Commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Streets & Sanitation, toured the New Eastside with resident David Sudler to investigate the neighborhood’s infrastructure on Wednesday, January 28.

“David is an extremely knowledgeable individual,” said the Commissioner, who also reviewed several of Sudler’s photographs of “drainpipes on Wacker Drive that are supposed to be transporting water away from the streets.”

Although he discovered that many of the issues fall under the responsibility of other departments like CDOT, the Commissioner told New Eastside News that “We’re going to connect him to the right department and get the job done.” He also may contact building owners to initiate additional repairs for which they are responsible.

“We try very hard in the city of Chicago to be proactive,” he explained. “But if a citizen sees something, he or she is welcome encourage he or she to reach out to 311.”

Sudler, the neighborhood’s unofficial gardener and builder of the Wacker Drive igloo that created a sensation in January, enthusiastically reported that CDOT had begun repairing some of the drainage pipes within two days.

“They were true to their word,” he said.



The January CAPS meeting concluded with residents expressing concerns about drag racing on Lower Wacker Drive and marijuana use within high-rise condominiums. Below is a summary of their comments:

  1. · The sound of “cars doing donuts” still emanates from the lower streets despite city efforts to deter the illegal automobile activity;
  2. · The affects of marijuana smoke that seeps into residential hallways is not only illegal but also a health risk.

CPD officers indicated that they can patrol the lower streets more strictly but encouraged residents to contact their building associations about marijuana smoke because the time and expense required to obtain proper search warrants is frequently unavailable.

January News

By Daniel Patton | Staff Writer
SPACER03-01 Neighborhood maintenance

The passageway between the southwest corner of Lake Shore Drive Bridge and the New Eastside received a makeover to increase its appearance and safety. In addition to installing handrails for pedestrians, CDOT removed graffiti and applied a fresh coat of white paint.

Catch basins, manholes, water valves and inlets on East Randolph St. from Stetson Ave. to Field Blvd. were temporarily removed and adjusted to make way for the street resurfacing project completed in December.

The traffic lights at the intersection of Randolph St. and Columbus Dr. were modified to include right-turn arrows that allow automobiles an exclusive time phase to turn southbound and westbound.

Alderman Reilly initiated the change on behalf of residents who expressed concern about the congestion caused by busy pedestrian activity combined with a “no turn on red” sign that made it impossible for any more than “two or three” vehicles to turn during a typical light change, according to Reilly’s office. At his request, CDOT conducted a study and determined that the sign should remain and the light should be modified to include turn arrows.
Skating ribbon open for the season

The Skating Ribbon in Maggie Daley Park is open every weekday from noon to 8 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Hourly closures for ice resurfacing will occur Monday through Saturday at noon, 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Skate rentals are available up to 30 minutes prior to closing time.
SPACER03-01 Christmas tree recycling in Chicago
Chicago’s Christmas Tree Recycling Program runs until January 17 and includes two drop-off corrals within proximity of the New Eastside:

  1. The intersection of Cannon Dr. and Fullerton Ave. in Lincoln Park;
    2. 900 S. Columbus Dr. in Grant Park.

The partnership between the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Department of Streets & Sanitation helped residents recycle 10,000 trees last Christmas.

Winter overnight parking ban in effect

Chicago’s winter overnight parking ban is in effect until April 1. Designed to make way for snowplows by preventing and removing automobiles from parking on 107 miles of the city’s “critical arterial streets” between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m., the ban includes a $150 towing fee, a $60 ticket and a $20 daily storage fee for owners of vehicles who violate it, according to Alderman Reilly’s office. Although an online map of priority arterial routes and overnight parking restrictions provided by the Department of Streets & Sanitation does not appear to designate any roadway within the New Eastside as “critical”, neighborhood drivers are nevertheless cautioned to read all signs posted near parking spots before leaving their vehicles.
SPACER03-01 CPS credit rating downgraded … again

The bond rating of the Chicago Public Schools was downgraded from Baa3 to B1, also known as “Junk,” by Moody’s Investment Service on December 21st. With a $5.5 billion outstanding tab compounded by a $480 million budget gap and a partisan fiscal standoff in Springfield, CPS’ creditworthiness may plunge deeper during the next three months. According to Crain’s Chicago, Moody’s cited the school system’s “precarious liquidity position” and “high credit risk” among the factors currently forcing it to remain “under review.”
SPACER03-01 Head sculpture removed from Millennium Park

Jaume Plensa’s Looking Into My Dreams, Awilda — the giant sculpture of a head that has graced Millennium Park since it was installed to honor the park’s 10th anniversary in 2014 — was removed during the first week of the New Year. Presumably, it will continue it’s international tour, but its next location has not been released.

Local neighborhood Target serves beer and wine

By Shanti Nagarkatti | Community Contributor

Filling a basket or cart with groceries and sundries is a key component of any Target run. Relaxing in the store with a glass of wine does not enter into the experience, until now, with the opening of a new, 24,000-square-foot Target Express at 401 E. Illinois Street.

The small format Target, housed in the space formerly occupied by upscale grocer Fox & Obel, features an edited selection of merchandise shoppers often seek on a quick errand run. The new location is Target’s first store to serve alcohol on site, in a Starbucks. Customers can purchase wine and beer at this Starbucks beginning at 2 p.m. on weekdays (Monday-Friday) and 12 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Alcoholic drinks must be consumed only within the café and may not be taken to any other part of the store. The “Starbucks Evenings” menu features wine and craft beers as well as a selection of small plates, with items like bacon-wrapped dates, truffle mac and cheese, flatbreads, and a cheese plate.

Although this Target is scaled down compared to traditional locations, it is a convenient addition to the neighborhood, serving tourists, workers, and condo and apartment dwellers.

A recent Sunday afternoon saw several guests seated in the café, taking in the sun coming through ample windows and enjoying an unobstructed view of the Chicago River. Exposed-brick walls and open rafter ceilings lend industrial chic character to the space and make visitors forget that they are in a shrunken big-box store.

Target’s in-store bar is part of a growing trend of traditionally “dry” retailers testing the waters of allowing their clientele to imbibe. In Chicago, Mariano’s and Whole Foods serve food and alcohol inside their stores. A Taco Bell Cantina in Wicker Park has wine, beer, and boozy freezes on the menu, while the Mag Mile Nordstrom has added to its second floor Habitant, a casual lounge featuring light fare, wine, and handcrafted cocktails. At the 101-year-old Three Arts Club building in the Gold Coast, a new, swanky Restoration Hardware flagship has set up shop, unveiling six floors of furniture and home décor. The store’s Arts Club Café, on the first-floor atrium, includes a coffee shop, wine bar, and restaurant for thirsty and hungry shoppers. These establishments and the prospect of more new entrants promise to promote an interesting local shopping and sipping scene.

Target Express, 401 East Illinois Street, (312) 894-1764, open 7 a.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday.

1 4 5 6