New Eastside News moves into Carr Workplaces

By Jesse Wright | Staff Writer

New Eastside News has new offices at Carr Workplaces.

Carr Workplaces, a national coworking office space provider, rents flexible workspaces at 25 locations across the US. The Chicago location at the Aon Center, 200 E. Randolph St., was a good fit for the New Eastside paper.

“As we grow our brand and expand our coverage downtown, it made sense for us to move into a central space, and I wanted that to be in New Eastside, where the original paper was founded,” New Eastside News publisher Elaine Hyde said.

Hyde found the professional environment and flexible plans appealing. “We can pay for the space as we use it or choose to rent a dedicated office or meeting room as needed,” she said.

Jamie Janata, general manager of Carr Workplaces at the Aon Center, said those are common reasons people pick Carr.

“We appeal to the sharp, entrepreneurial professional that knows service has a value all of its own,” Janata said. “Our client base are leaders in sectors such as law, financial services, technology, marketing and media.”

The Workplaces’ affordability is a boon to businesspeople. “Our idea is that a professional workspace should be accessible to everyone,” Janata said. Pricing packages come with a lot of flexibility.

Coworking spaces, office suites and meeting rooms can be reserved for an hour, a day or rented on longer leases. Pricing begins at $35 for three hours in a shared space in the Cafe. Clients get internet access, printers, coffee, tea and water. Possible add-ons include mailboxes and phone lines with answering service. Carr provides perks such as fresh-baked cookies every Friday, access to office concierge services and a dedicated support team. The facility also provides an opportunity to network with other professionals.

Hyde explained that the move made sense for her team. “We depend on freelancers and writers who need to touch down throughout the day. I am pleased that we can now provide them with a quiet work spot. It makes it easier for us to cover local news and for our readers and advertisers to reach us.”

Janata pointed out that no matter who uses the spaces, her office concierge team is on hand to assist them with anything they may need.

“Carr Workplaces delivers the same level of concierge service you expect from a luxury hotel in a coworking setting,” Janata said. “Our clients tell us that it’s Carr Workplaces’ five-star hospitality that separates us from the competition. My team and I are really driven by a passion to deliver for our clients and to be the extension of their business.”

To find out more about Carr Workplaces, visit carrworkplaces.com or call 312-577-7600.

Send mail to New Eastside News, 200 E. Randolph St., Suite 5100, Chicago, IL 60601.

[Carr team members Vanessa Campos (left), General Manager, Jamie Janata and Giovanny Avila. Photo by Elizabeth Czapski]

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[Carr Workplaces offer a variety of spaces, including open office setups, private meeting rooms and boardroom facilities. Photo courtesy Carr Workplaces.] (use the board room photo).

New Eastside Doorperson of the Month: Reginald Turner

By Elizabeth Czapski | Staff Writer

When Park Millennium doorperson Reginald Turner was a boy, he was in foster care.

“I was a foster kid for a long time,” he said. “Coming from foster homes, it was a struggle.”

He grew up and out of the foster care system and, as an adult, found himself working alone at a desk all day, studying numbers. He was an accountant for 24 years before he was laid off.

From there he worked security. In 2010 Turner got a job as a doorperson at 2700 N. Hampden Court. By 2016, ready for a change, he started at Park Millennium. That’s also when he started really interacting with people.

“The people keep my energy up,” he said. “It’s just fun meeting different people every day.”

Turner works in the afternoon and evening. A normal day consists of getting packages—a lot of packages—and greeting people. He loves making residents smile when they come in for the day.

“It’s not really a job. It’s just like greeting your friend coming in every day through the door,” he said. “This is one of the best buildings I’ve been at.”

Turner said he loves when everyone comes home from work during rush hour and he likes hearing what’s new with the kids who live in the building.

He also enjoys working with his colleagues and said he learns something new from them every day. The most important is to “be friendly, be present [and] make sure you acknowledge everybody who comes through the door,” Turner said.

Emergency situations, he said, keep him on his toes. When someone got stuck in an elevator, he had to call the fire department— a new experience for him.

Besides being a doorman, Turner is an artist and a musician. He said he has a talent for drawing, and he’s been learning the guitar for about five years.

But he really, really likes his job.

“I never really had a family so, you know, I make the people part of my family,” Turner said. “So that’s why I enjoy this building.”

Send nominations for Doorperson of the month to info@neweastsidecommunity.com

[Doorperson Reginald Turner loves his work family at the Park Millenium residencies. Photo by Elizabeth Czapski]

Where to go in New Eastside for Restaurant Week 2019

By Stephanie Racine, Staff Writer

Restaurant week began Jan. 25 and continues through Feb. 7. Participating restaurants offer a prix fixe menu at set prices. Lunch or brunch is $24 and dinner is priced at $36 and $48. New Eastside locations participating in this year’s Restaurant Week are:

·      About Last Knife: Lunch, Dinner

·      American Craft Kitchen (inside Hyatt Regency): Lunch

·      Columbus Tap: Dinner

·      Free Rein: Lunch, Dinner

·      III Forks: Dinner

·      LH on 21: Dinner

·      Mezcalina: Lunch, Dinner

·      The Mid-America Club: Dinner

·      The Palm: Lunch, Dinner

·      Tavern at the Park: Dinner

For more information on Restaurant Week and the restaurants involved, visit choosechicago.com

Old is OK in Skyline Village Chicago

By Elizabeth Czapski, Staff Writer

At 76, Phyllis Mitzen is — in her words — an old woman. Others might use words such as elderly or mature but Mitzen does not.

Old is OK, she says, and so is aging, provided people have the right resources and this is where Skyline Village Chicago comes in.

As president of Skyline Village Chicago, an organization for older adults, Mitzen spends a lot of time thinking about aging. According to Village to Village Network, the concept of a “Virtual Village” is simple—an organization for older adults that provides access to services, fosters community relationships and does “anything [its] members need to age safely and successfully in their own homes.”

The Village model began in Boston over 15 years ago and has been spreading since. These organizations not only connect to other villages, but also connect members to each other.

Skyline Village Chicago is open to residents of Streeterville, the Gold Coast, River North and New Eastside. Mitzen said other villages in the Chicago area focus on providing access to services and transportation, the neighborhoods that Skyline Village covers tend to be “resource-rich,” meaning they have resources for the elderly.

Because of this, the Village focuses on socialization, so neighbors can get to know each other, Mitzen said. Through Skyline Village’s newsletter, residents find out about local news, event dates and life updates from members.

Mitzen’s favorite village event is the Women’s Salon, which meets monthly to talk about “what it means to grow old in our society.” She said it’s not a therapy group, but a place to share information, talk about ageism and come to an “active understanding of our aging selves.”

The village also has an advocacy group, Mitzen said, which advocates for senior issues. For instance, the group is working with the park district to discuss installing equipment for all ages in the city’s playgrounds, Mitzen said.

She added that “owning old” is something that comes up often in the Women’s Salon and something she tries to do every day.

“There are frailties, and people do become disabled when they grow older, but it shouldn’t mean that their voices aren’t as strong,” she said. “I’m happy to be able to do what I’m doing at age 76, and if I can’t do it when I’m age 80, I’ll still be an old woman who deserves respect.”

The top Chicago openings for 2019

By Jesse Wright, Staff Writer

The New Year will bring new developments to the city. Here are the top new developments residents can look forward to this year.

Hotels

1.     Actor and New York developer Robert DeNiro is coming to Chicago. DeNiro’s development team is opening the Nobu Hotel in December 2019 along Restaurant Row. In addition to luxury hotel rooms, the property will boast a street level Japanese restaurant and a rooftop lounge.

2.     The Hotel Essex has been working on its Michigan Avenue property for a while now, and it’s expected to open in May of 2019. Located at 800 S. Michigan Ave., across from Grant Park, the hotel will be in the heart of the city and offer 254 rooms.

4.     The Hilton brand will open another Homewood Suites in downtown Chicago in May. This one will be across from Grant Park at 1101 S. Wabash Ave., within easy walking distance to the Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium.

Restaurants

1.     Some of the top names in Korean food are coming to the city. Dave Park and Jennifer Tran operated Hanbun in Westmont until early 2018, and now they’re looking to open Jeong at 1460 W. Chicago Ave. Park offers a modern take on Korean food in a fine-dining space, and Jeong will hold about 40 people.

2. James Beard Award-winning chef Zach Engel’s Israeli restaurant Galit is nothing if not ambitious. Engel will serve up the usual pita and hummus, but he will also feature Midwestern produce to combine the familiar with the foreign against a formal dining background. Galit will open in Lincoln Park at 2429 N. Lincoln Ave.

Residencies

1.   New for the New Eastside, the Vista Tower project is expected to wrap up this year. At 1,191 feet, the tower has 101 floors and at floor 47, there is an outdoor pool, a reservable kitchen and a wine-tasting room.

2.    Nema, at 1200 S. Indiana Ave., will be completed this year. The building will offer 76 floors and 800 units and stands 887 feet tall and the luxury apartments are sure to make a mark on the South Loop.

3.    In Streeterville, the One Bennett Park building at 514 N Peshtigo Court is already open, but on the top floors of the luxury apartments, the work continues. However, the 70-story building will be completed in 2019 after the final condominiums are finished.

New Eastside doorperson of the month, Gail Rogers

By Jesse Wright, Staff Writer

Gail Rogers is the doorperson at the Park Millennium building at 222 N. Columbus Drive in the New Eastside.

But she’s more than a doorperson.

When she is not helping residents, Rogers said she enjoys bowling. “I’m a bowler and I’ve been doing it for years,” she said.

Rogers said on a good night she can get to 150 or 165, but no matter what her score, she said just being on the lanes is stress free. “I started bowling when I was 17,” Rogers said. “I liked it because I was able to do it. I could actually bowl. I had never did it before and my family said, ‘well, come on try it.’”

She’s also an avid pool player.

“I love it,” she said. “My two favorite sports are bowling and shooting pool.”

When she’s not bowling or shooting pool though, Rogers is at work. She has been at her current residency since 2005. The Park Millennium building is a high-traffic area, so much so that Rogers said it’s probably one of the busiest condos in the downtown area.

Besides liking people, Rogers said a good door person has to be patient because all those people have individual personalities and needs. “You definitely have got to be patient, and you got to like what you do,” she said. Rogers said doorpeople who don’t love the job typically leave the work because dealing with people can be tough. “You got to love people and constant interaction,” she said. “You really do. And then everyone is happy and they smile a lot.”

Not every interaction begins with a smile. Rogers said sometimes people can be in a bad mood or they can be frustrated, and those moods aren’t overcome with a smile. For that, she said, a good doorperson should use their ear. “I listen a lot. I am a very good listener,” Rogers said. “A lot of people come at you and they’re very angry and a lot of times you just have to listen. If they vent, you’re able to help them even more, but just be patient with them. Let them vent.”

Rogers is a born-and-raised Chicagoan and, while she currently lives in the suburbs, she said she has an affinity for working in the downtown area.

“This area here is so convenient,” she said. “I take the Metra (to work). And we have a pedway system, so I can go to the pedway system and get on the Metra and I don’t have to go outside. I think that’s great this time of year.”

To nominate your favorite doorperson, email info@neweastsidecommunity.com with the door person’s name and why you think they should be the doorperson of the month. Each winner will receive a $25 gift card to Mariano’s.

Streeterville activism might make Chicago a little quieter in 2019

By Jesse Wright, Staff Writer

The New Year—and every year thereafter—should be a bit quieter for Chicago residents due to a noise ordinance that goes into effect Jan. 1.

In August 2018, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law a noise ordinance allowing ambulance drivers to use their sirens only when necessary to warn pedestrians and drivers or in the case of medical emergencies. The law only applies to Illinois cities with populations greater than one million, so it applies in no other cities outside Chicago.

Before the new law went into effect, ambulances drivers were required to use sirens on the way to and from calls, regardless of traffic or pedestrians or whether it was a medical emergency. The law passed because of the efforts of Streeterville residents and Rep. Christian Mitchell (D-Chicago), who sponsored the bill.

The representative said the law is a win for residents. “This bill is a critical measure addressing quality of life and safety for downtown residents, where excessive siren noise can cause erratic driving patterns and permanent hearing loss,” Mitchell said in an email. “The new law allows first responders the discretion to turn off their sirens on occasions when the patient or situation has stabilized.”

Residents, too, are excited. Debby Gershbein, president of the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents, said the law is the result of SOAR activism. While she praised Northwestern as a world-class medical institution and for a time the only level-one trauma center in Chicago, she said the medical facility also led to a lot of noise. “The ambulance drivers were putting their sirens on even if it wasn’t an emergency and we decided we really had to do something about it,” she said. “We worked with the government and the fire department, and SOAR did surveys with other neighborhoods, and we found that the number one problem with noise for residents was sirens.”

Gershbein said the problem was near constant. “This is a quality of life issue where people were being interrupted 24 hours a day with the siren noise,” she said. “I think we’ve come to a good solution with the new law.”

Gershbein praised Mitchell as well as neighborhood aldermen Brian Hopkins and Brendan Reilly for their support. She said noise is more than a nuisance, and excessive noise can damage health.“There are physical impacts that occur when you’re exposed to loud sirens all the time. It wakes people up, and disturbed sleep is a really big health problem,” she said.

Gershbein said the SOAR group will continue to work for quality of life improvements, such as an ongoing greening effort, to improve the health of trees in the neighborhood. “In an urban environment it’s important to make sure we have as many trees as possible,” she said.

For more information, visit the group at soarchicago.org.

Chicago in winter is hot, hot, hot for tourists

By Elizabeth Czapski, Staff Writer

Winter in Chicago means one thing—cold. Chicago might not be Miami, but Chicago gets visitors even in the depths of winter.

The reasons are as varied as the visitors. Some come for conferences and others come for vacation, but one no matter what, the city seeks to welcome all winter tourists with warm smiles and plenty to do.

“People think of the city as being very cold and unfriendly, but actually the weather in Chicago can be great in the winter time, and there are great things to do,” Erik Grazetti, director of sales and marketing at the Loews Chicago Hotel, 455 N. Park Drive.

He explained that the city has done a good job of marketing itself as a destination for people in surrounding states who want to break out of winter’s “cabin fever” by offering a variety of activities like the Chicago Auto Show, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, sporting events and concerts.

Colleen Sweitzer, marketing manager at the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park, said in addition to events for the holidays, so much of Chicago’s culture involves “great indoor fun,” including museum exhibits, theater and music.

Once visitors do get there, there will always be a personal, smiling face at the ready. No matter what the reason or the season, Choose Chicago, the official marketing organization for the city, said their Chicago Greeter program pairs volunteer city greeters with individuals who may want a local to show them around.

The service is available all year long, except on major holidays and it could come in handy for those visitors who come to the city at the last minute and don’t have a set itinerary. This sort of a visit is more common in the winter time than some might expect. “Seventy or 80 percent of our business on the [winter] weekends comes from within about a four hour drive of the hotel,” Grazetti said. Local travelers, he said, can plan a trip more last-minute than someone who wants to plan a five or six-day trip. “Those types of people tend to go to the warm-weather destinations.”

“In the Midwest, we kind of hunker down, so a trip to Chicago is a nice change of pace and a fun getaway in the winter rather than hibernating until spring,” Sweitzer said. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is based in Canada, and Sweitzer said the hotel sees many Canadian tourists in the winter as well.

“We’re warm here compared to a lot of places in Canada in the winter,” she said.

Still, fewer people are staying at Chicago hotels in the winter. Grazetti said from January to mid-March, the Loews sees a 60 percent room occupancy rate, compared to a 90 percent average during the warmer months. That’s good news for winter travelers as fewer people in the hotels means generally cheaper rooms. Grazetti added, however, that occupancy is up, even in the winter time, compared with eight or nine years ago.

Grazetti praised Choose Chicago, which has “done a really good job, particularly I’d say over the last five years or so, in really promoting Chicago as a winter destination, and we’ve definitely seen the impact of that,” he said.

Besides discounts and cabin fever, there’s something else that brings people to Chicago in the winter: conventions. Grazetti called Chicago a “conference town.”

“The hotel market in the city really kind of thrives on the convention business that is brought into McCormick place and some of the larger venues here,” he said.

Grazetti said conventions bring in about 1.2 million people per year, with about 15 percent of those people during the winter months. Despite lower hotel prices, organizations tend to avoid booking conferences in colder months when bad weather could shut down an airport, he said.

The American Student Dental Association took that risk and held its national leadership conference in Chicago in mid-November. Tatum Newbill, Matthew McLeod and Chantol Peterkin, dental students from Howard University in Washington, D.C. attended the conference.

Peterkin said she had been to Chicago during the winter and wasn’t worried about the weather. “If you have the time now, why not?” she said.

McLeod said the students discussed preparing for the weather the week before the conference. “I’m wearing layers right now,” he said. “I hear it’s nicer in the summer.”

Other winter conferences this year included the Radiological Society of North America’s (RSNA) which attracted tens of thousands of guests and the Muslim American Society’s annual national convention at the end of December, hosted about 12,000 attendees. Both conferences were set for McCormick Place.

Bob and Gretchen Montgomery, along with four travel companions, made the trek to Chicago from Dallas and Denver and were taking photos in Millennium Park on a snowy November day.


“We love Chicago,” Bob Montgomery said, adding the group had come to celebrate a birthday and an anniversary and to see Hamilton.

The weather in Chicago, they said, wasn’t much different from the weather in their home cities. “Weather shouldn’t be a hindrance to going somewhere, to have fun,” Gretchen Montgomery said.

To find out more about the Chicago Greeter program, call (312) 945-4231 or visit their website at www.chicagogreeter.com or visit the Choose Chicago website at www.choosechicago.com

Fashion design classes offer creative fun for kids

By Angela Gagnon, Staff Writer

Children in downtown Chicago have an opportunity to channel their artistic, creative energy while learning from a fashion professional.

New Eastside resident Michelle Kim, a fashion designer, has been offering design classes to kids since July 2018. Kim is the founder of Mizel Jewelry and holds a masters degree in fashion design from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Parents said the classes encourage their kids to be creative and to develop ideas, while Kim said the classes inspire her, too. “Teaching these classes is very inspirational for me because I am a designer myself, and the kids often think of things adults don’t, like a unique color combination or pattern,” Kim said.

The classes, geared toward children as young as first grade, are held every other weekend in the New Eastside and typically follow a seasonal theme. Kim has introduced embroidery, fabric embellishment, collaging, beading, sewing and knitting since she began teaching the classes.

Her students have worked on hair accessories, backpacks, shoes, jewelry, clothing and lunch boxes and used various kid-friendly materials to create unique and personalized designs.

Kim will lead a winter class focused on cold weather items such as berets and sweatshirts. Students will work with material like faux fur and pom-poms along with fabric paints, felt, sequins and fake gems.

New Eastside mom Michelle Johnston said her 6-year-old daughter, Dilly, has gone to seven or eight ofand the design classes, and her daughter loves getting creative. “Dilly was so proud of her creations and Michelle was always so encouraging and complimented them on their designs,.” Johnston said.

Kim stresses that “perfect is not creative” and that the kids should “relax and have fun.” Once the drawing is complete, they embellish or decorate it with the materials to make their image come alive. “Dilly loved having access to all these wonderful tools, ribbons, jewels, fabrics at her fingertips,” Johnston said. “She learned a new skill each week and it was wearable art… shoes, t-shirt, hat, backpack and was personalized.”

Kim also puts together themed events for adults around holidays or special occasions. Plans are in the works for a Valentine’s Day “Moms’ Night Out” in which neighborhood moms can work with Kim to make something for their kids.

For more information about themes and price, visit https://www.mizelkids.com.

[Designer Michelle Kim teaches neighborhood kids the finer points of fashion at one of her design courses for kids. Photo by Angela Gagnon]

Stellar astronomical events in 2019


By Stephanie Racine, Staff Writer

Look, up in the sky—it’s a bird, it’s a plane it’s … something you might never see again!

And it’s coming this year to a night sky near you.

Michelle Nichols, Director of Public Observing at the Adler Planetarium, offered some insight on what astronomical events to be on the lookout for in 2019. Here are the astronomical events that have significant importance to earthlings.

·      Dec. 31–January: New Horizons Spacecraft flyby of Ultima Thule, a Kuiper Belt object. Pictures will be visible from NASA.

·      Jan. 3: China’s Chang’e 4 lander/rover lands on the far side of the moon to study its surface and subsurface.

·      Jan. 3–4: Quadrantid Meteor Shower, visible without moonlight interference. Head to a dark place to view.

·      Jan. 17: SpaceX uncrewed test of its future commercial crewed Dragon spacecraft.

·      Jan. 20: Lunar eclipse, visible from 9:30 p.m.-1 a.m.

·      Jan. 20–26: Venus and Jupiter are close together and visible. Observable right before sunrise in the east. Jupiter is slightly less dim.

·      Feb. 17–19: Venus and Saturn are close together and visible. Observable right before sunrise in the east. Saturn is slightly less dim.

·      March: Boeing uncrewed test for the future crewed Starliner spacecraft.

·      May 6–7: Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower, visible with little moon interference. Head to a dark place to view.

·      June: SpaceX crewed test of Dragon spacecraft.

·      August: Boeing crewed test flight of Starliner spacecraft.

·      Aug. 12–13: Perseid Meteor Shower, the light from the moon will interfere, but could still be visible in a dark place.

·      Nov. 11: Transit of Mercury between the earth and the sun. For safe viewing, head to the Adler to view on telescopes with sun filters.

·      Dec. 13–14: Geminid Meteor Shower, the light from the moon will interfere, but could still be visible in a dark place.

·      Throughout 2019: Parker Solar Probe will pass the sun a couple times and send information back to Earth about the sun’s atmosphere.

·      Throughout 2019: Juno Spacecraft orbits around Jupiter and sends information back to Earth.  

For more information about these or other astronomical events, visit the Adler Planetarium at 1300 Lake Shore Drive or their website, www.adlerplanetarium.org.

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