By Gianna Annunzio | Staff Writer
Over the course of a decade, members of the Viviano family have moved across the country and settled in Chicago. Today, four generations of relatives, with ages ranging from 2 months to 88-years-old, call the New Eastside neighborhood home. With most members occupying an apartment in the Park Millennium building, 222 N. Columbus Dr., making a trip to visit family is as easy as pushing an elevator button.
Al and Joanna Viviano developed a love for Chicago while visiting their daughter, Davina Viviano (now Davina Simon) when she began college at DePaul University. After spending years living in Philadelphia and Louisville, the couple purchased an apartment in Park Millennium in 2010.
The area provided the Vivianos with the feeling of “a friendly neighborhood,” within the urban excitement of downtown Chicago—or in their words, “the best of both worlds.”
Al and Joanna now permanently live in the New Eastside’s Park Millennium along with Joanna’s mother, Rose Cirincioni. Davina Simon and her husband Chad also live in the building with their two-month-old twin boys, Luke and Jacob. The couple’s son, Dante Viviano, lives in the South Loop with his wife Francesca.
As a tight-knit family with Italian roots, having all members in one city completed their transition to Chicago living. “It’s been such a joy and a convenience for us,” said Joanna Viviano, who takes care of the twins three days a week. “Our children grew up in the suburbs, but I see times have changed. People don’t feel that need any more to move to the suburbs with children.”
Since their move, the Vivianos have experienced nothing but satisfaction while assimilating into to the New Eastside neighborhood. Joanna now works at the Mon Ami Jewelry store on Wabash, selling a variety of fine jewelry. Al, who used to make a career out of selling pasta to national restaurant chains, is now retired. In his spare time, he creates children’s
With four generations to socialize with, and twin grandsons to entertain, Al and Joanna appreciate New Eastside’s central location to child-friendly urban activities.
“We’re going to be taking [the twins] to the park and Navy Pier,” Joanna said. “There’s also a Baskin Robbins, and the Aon Plaza where they can play around the fountain,”
“We have it all planned out.” “I’m already developing Pedway games,” Al added. “There are a lot of things you can do in the Pedway, so I hope other kids join us.”
When the family first moved into Park Millennium, Joanna said there were very few families with children occupying units.
Today, the area has significantly developed into a family destination.
“The area has become so child-friendly with Maggie Daley Park, the Cultural Cen-
ter and the Pedway,” Joanna said. “I often tell my friends that this area, with the New
Eastside and the Loop, has become like a Disney World for children.”
As couples with families continue to move in, Davina Simon has also begun
joining in on the community culture.
“There are so many babies on [her] floor, and they have a group already formed,”
Joanna said. “They go down to where the swimming pool is in our building and they
congregate with their children, like a little mother’s club.”
As a couple, Al and Joanna enjoy going to the movies, grocery shopping together at Mariano’s, and taking advantage of the restaurants close by. “We always say going
to the grocery store is a ‘walk in the park,’” Joanna said. “[Al] and I have a secret bench
at Aqua Park, and we enjoy it so much. Whenever we go we sit on this particular bench—we claim it and we just love it. We’ve been married 40 years and it’s still romantic for us.”