Salvation Army Saturdays in Lakeshore East

By Taylor Hartz,

Published March 4, 2018

Is your closet or home feeling a little cluttered? Need to make room for a new Spring and Summer wardrobe? Combine spring cleaning with doing a good deed this season and donate to the Salvation Army.

This year, donating your used clothes, furniture and home goods won’t include trekking bags full of items to the closest store or drop center. In fact, you won’t have to go further than Lakeshore East.

Magellan Property Management has arranged for monthly Salvation Army pick ups in Lakeshore East, at Field Boulevard and South Water Street in front of the construction site for the upcoming Wanda Vista building. 

Local property managers are hoping to make donating a part of the community in the New Eastside – Aqua Apartments issued a statement on Facebook in January encouraging New Eastsiders to “make 2018 the year of generosity.”

On the first Saturday of every month, a sizable Salvation Army truck will be parked in the neighborhood from 9 a.m. to noon, accepting donations from locals.

On Saturday Feb. 3, Jimmy Smith from Salvation Army stood inside the truck, marked with the words “Donate Goods (Do Good)” as New Eastsiders lined up to pile in boxes and bags.

According to Smith, the most popular donations include clothes and furniture, but it’s not uncommon to receive things like flat screen TV’s or art work.

Rose and Paul Snopko, residents of the Buckingham., 360 E. Randolph St, stopped by on Saturday with a rolling cart piled high with donations. The couple donated 11 pairs of shoes, a twin size comforter, sweaters, pajamas, and a jewelry organizer.

Rose and Paul Snopko, residents of the Buckingham, donated several bags of clothes, shoes and home goods to Salvation Army on the morning of Feb. 3.

“We’ve done this many times before, we always donate,” said Rose Snopko.

Despite the cold temperatures, Smith said he was seeing just as much attendance as he does in the Summer months. By 11:30 a.m., the truck was nearly full, and Smith said there had been a steady stream of donations all morning.

The Salvation Army accepts most home and clothing items, with the exception of car seats and strollers that may have safety issues, items with excessive pet hair that might harm those with allergies, or overly stained mattresses or clothes.

The truck will return to Lakeshore East on March 3 and April 7 from 9 a.m. to noon.


New Eastside residents form neighborhood watch group

By Nicole VandeBoom and Taylor Hartz | Staff Writers

Published March 4, 2018

Concerns over safety and criminal activity in Chicago prompted a group of New Eastside residents to gather informally to discuss neighborhood crime on Feb. 27 at a local coffee shop.

The half-dozen attendees hailed from buildings all over the area. Residents shared personal anecdotes of crimes, uncomfortable situations, and nefarious things they had witnessed – from robberies to lax security in their own buildings to reporting other frightening things they had seen.“We have quite the variety of shenanigans ranging from nuisance to actual crime,” said resident Tom Besore.

Another attendee, Cate Hickey, outlined the 1st District police boundaries, noting the size of the area that extends south of the Chicago River to 31st street, and from Lake Michigan west to the Kennedy Expressway.

The group agreed that as residents, they had to take matters into their own hands and advocate for themselves. Some of the strategies discussed included advocating for improved lighting in darkened areas, adding security cameras, locking gates and spreading the word about community involvement in the fledgeling neighborhood watch group.

One participant suggested that residents call 911 for every disturbance or odd thing they notice in New Eastside in order to keep New Eastside on the police radar. Residents also discussed the idea of reporting crimes and safety concerns to the local alderman, building management, and condo board members.

At recent CAPS meetings for the local police beat, officers have encouraged residents to call 911 with every concern. Though it may seem like not every call gets answered, officers assured residents that every complaint gets addressed and cataloged.

“Taxpayers of the city of Chicago, stop calling 311,” said Nicole Bryson at a CAPS meeting in Novemeber. “You pay for 911, use your city services.”

She also discouraged residents from calling 311 with ongoing or immediate
complaints. Plans are in the works for a larger neighborhood watch meeting in the spring.

Organizers intend to start a community Facebook group dedicated to safety concerns of the New Eastside. “Things happen when somebody champions a cause,” Besore said. They all agreed to attend the next CAPS meeting on March 8 at 400 E. Randolph St., and raise the topic of the formation of the neighborhood watch group.

At the end of the meeting organizers handed out safety whistles to attendees.

For more information and to get on the email list for the group, contact Tom Besore
(312) 725-0223.

Perspective: No bronze medal for Wanda, up for sale

By Jon Cohn | Community Contributor

Published March 4, 2018

In case you haven’t heard, there have been a few twists and turns in the saga of our omnipresent Wanda Vista building, 363 E. Wacker Dr., which has now been knocked to fourth place in the “tallest building” category. To add insult to injury, the building is now up for sale which leads us to speculate…will the building be getting a new name?

Touted as being Chicago’s third tallest building—which would stand 1,191 feet at completion in 2019—we took pride in bragging that Wanda Visita would land us the bronze medal for Chicago’s tall buildings right in our own backyard. But we found out Los Angeles-based CIM group has announced plans for a 1,338- foot structure—a.k.a. monstrosity—at 201 E. Illinois St. in the parking lot behind the Tribune Tower, 435 N. Michigan Ave.

To add salt to our already wounded New Eastside ego, Wanda Vista is up for sale.

Before it is even completely built? What’s that all about?

Billionaire Wang Jianlin’s, Dallian Wanda Group, the proud creators of the Wanda Vista have apparently gone “Hasta La Vista.” According to Bloomberg News, increased scrutiny by Chinese regulators into Wanda’s overseas investments have forced the company to sell the property.

New owners are being sought as you read this (I did put a bid in, but haven’t heard
back yet). As we all hold our breath to see if the Hancock Tower will follow the Sears Tow-
er in yet another mind jarring renaming, we find ourselves wondering if Chicago’s
fourth-tallest tower will find a new name as whimsical as “Wanda Vista.”

Yet construction goes onward and up-ward. The building’s almighty and inescapable footprint is growing bigger. The early morning builder’s noise wake-up call will still be with us, and the great parade of trucks will continue on a daily basis.

Irish or not—lucky to be in Chicago for St. Paddy’s Day

By Taylor Hartz, Stephanie Racine, and Gianna Annunzio | Staff Writers

Whether or not you’ve got the “Luck of the Irish” in your blood, there’s no denying St. Patrick’s Day is a city-wide celebration in Chicago that draws crowds. With so many  visitors in town, local restaurants and bars are preparing special St. Paddy’s Day menus to celebrate the occasion.

Kicking off the week’s festivities early and in style, ETA Restaurant & Bar, 455 N. Park Dr., will host their collaboration dinner event with Revolution Brewing on Thursday, March 15 at 6 p.m. Restaurant chef Matt Lange will prepare a five-course tasting spread inspired by some of Revolution’s most popular brews. Each course will be paired with different Revolution beer.

Come March 17, if you’re committed to an authentically Irish day, you’ve got to start with Irish breakfast. A full plate of sausages and black and white pudding paired with a strong Irish coffee will certainly give you the strength to get through the day-long party.

Lizzie McNeill’s, 400 N. McClurg Ct., is opening its doors at 7 a.m. for hungry and thirsty patrons. Performances by the Shannon Rover’s Bagpipers will feature all your favorite St. Patrick’s Day songs.

“It’s pretty much a really big party all day,” said John DiPrima, general manager at the pub. “We’re right by where the river dyeing is, right near the downtown festivities, we’re really in the heart of the action.”

Emerald Loop, located at 216 N. Wabash, will start pouring its green beer at 10 a.m. Irish dancers, bagpipers and other entertainment will set the scene as guests enjoy Irish favorites like corned beef and cabbage.

Revelers can make the most of the day with an official bar crawl, or reap the benefits of staying in one place. The River North Bar Crawl gives access to ten bars in River North that are hosting St. Patrick’s Day parties. Prices range from $20-30, depending when you buy them. The crawl lasts from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The dyeing of the Chicago River is viewable from ROOF on the Wit Hotel, which is also on the crawl and is sponsoring a weekend long “St. Patrick’s Day Bash.” The official St. Patrick’s Day DJs take the stage at 2 p.m. that Saturday and ROOF has table reservations still available.

St. Patrick’s Day revelries in Chicago go beyond the dyeing of the river and bar hopping. For a more educational experi ence, dive in to the city’s rich Irish history. The Chicago History Museum is hosting a St. Patrick’s history happy hour on Tuesday March 20. Admission is $15, $10 for museum members and includes two complimentary drinks. The event incorporates fifteen-minute tours that focus on the history of Chicago’s Irish communities. Music and themed activities will also be featured.

Hidden charm, extended hours and a Pedway queen

By B. David Zarley | Staff Writer

A nonplussed pair rounded the corner of the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park lobby and approached concierge Sheryl Novak to ask a question she’s answered countless time —“how do we find the Pedway?”

Though Novak pointed them in the right direction, they missed the grand tour. Had they come through the lobby a little later that day, they could have found their way with the help of Margaret Hicks, who offers Pedway tours through her tour company, Chicago Elevated. Hicks, wearing a red Chicago Elevated ball cap and an enthusiasm for the Pedway that could not be feigned, meets her tour group—a pretty rambunctious 10—for this Saturday morning sojourn a few feet away from Novak, and already has them in stitches.

Recognizing a power vacuum when she sees it, Hicks explains to the group that there is no overarching Pedway authority; no city vice president of the Pedway, no governing
body, no “Friends of …” organization.

“I consider myself the mayor,” Hicks laughs, but her tour group quickly dubs her the Queen.

It may not be a royal charter, but when the BBC did an article on Chicago’s Pedway, it was Hicks who guided them.

A Chicagoland native, Hicks has lived in the city for 20 years, working as an admin in the Loop before founding Chicago Elevated in 2010. She was 35 when she finally learned about the Pedway, and has adored it ever since.

“I love it so much,” Hicks said. She considers the Pedway a neighborhood like any other, filled with amenities, history, odd charm, cultural and commercial spaces and its own denizens. She’s made friends through her regular travels of the underground pathway, people who will stop, say hello, banter. The oddity of the Pedway—what makes it most vexing and intimidating for visitors—is her favorite part.

“That’s what I think is so neat and weird about it,” Hicks said. “It’s not this consistent, sterile, spotless floor and white walls. Each section is different from the section that you passed through, different from the section that’s coming up next. How much  fun is that?”

The Pedway, Hicks pointed out, is not really made for tourists; it is a glimpse into the inner workings of the city. “This is Chicago moving and working and living, without any pretensions,” Hicks said.

Hicks’ Saturday morning tour wound through the Pedway, over Lower Wacker traffic and faux cobblestones, up stairs and down elevators. Weekend accessibility to the Pedway has been spotty as of late, but the “Closed on Sunday” sign has since been removed.

Observant residents now notice that the Pedway under the Aqua building is accessible Sundays as well.

Beginning in the Fairmont lobby, she leads her wards under Aqua, through the multiple mini malls of the Illinois Center and past the Spa di la Fronza, where the proprietor comes out to pantomime kissing the Queen’s hand. “She’s the best” he tells the tour.

From there, it is across the Metra platform to Millennium Station, where she tells the group how proud she was of the Pedway for its screen presence in the Batman movie The Dark Knight. From there she takes them into Macy’s, past glistening candy and the luxurious lighting of the makeup department to end with the Louis Comfort Tiffany mosaic and the
airy atrium.

Hicks’ tour left the group with pictures, a bar recommendation and roundly satisfied with their unusual tour offering. “No one comes away saying anything but ‘wow, I’m glad I went,’” said Novak, the Fairmont concierge.

The Pedway is many things. Confusing and convenient, aesthetically unhinged, filled with grime, Dunkin’ Donuts locations and art. Its inscrutable map and lack of landmarks makes going into the warren the best way to understand it, and Hicks loves nothing more than sharing the Pedway’s charms. To her, it deserves to be explored, considered and appreciated as one of Chicago’s neighborhoods.

“Say goodbye to the sunlight and fresh air,” Hicks told her tour. “Let’s go into the Pedway!”

Crowds gather to pitch TED talk ideas in New Eastside

By Taylor Hartz

Published February 6, 2018

When you’re in need of a pep talk, there are few things more inspiring than turning up the volume on a TED Talk.

Whether you’re looking for encouragement or simply want to get the wheels turning in your brain, the short, powerful talks from the TED nonprofit are devoted to spreading all kinds of ideas. But have you ever considered being the one up on stage delivering such a talk?

Judging by the attendance at a recent event at the AON building, many New Eastsiders have and are bursting with ideas they want to share with the world.  

On Jan. 31, the Mid America Club in the AON building hosted an event called “TED Talk: Idea Pitch” where more than 80 guests registered to pitch their ideas for their own talk, or just hear what others had to say.

Organized by Viewmasters Toastmasters, with TEDx Speakers on hand to offer suggestions and explain how TED Talks work, the event offered an opportunity for future speakers to take the first step toward public speaking.

“If you have an idea that’s burning to get out but you don’t know how to get it out there, we’re here to help you,” said Shanita Akintonde, who helped organize the event for Toastmasters Viewmasters.

Lauren Michael Harris talks about taking control of your life, his idea for a TED Talk, at a TEDx pitch event at the Mid America Club in the AON building at Jan. 31.

With no winners or competition, the goal of the event was to give speakers an opportunity to summarize their ideas and build confidence. Idea pitches were two minutes or less and participants received feedback from Tedx staff and others in attendance.

Glen Neilson, a financial coach in Vernon Hills, came to the event to share his idea “Take Action, Go After Your Dreams.”

This was the first time Neilson shared this idea in a public setting, though it’s something he’s wanted to do for years.

“When I was six years old I had the idea for bottled water,” said Neilson, “If I had taken action, I’d be a multi millionaire.”

Neilson’s goal is to make sure others feel brave enough to share their ideas, no matter how crazy they may seem, without the fear of failure.

“I want to tell people not to let anybody steal your dream, and to go after it,” said Neilson.

Another speaker, Lauren Michaels Harris, talked about overcoming addiction and taking “Total Control” of your life to find happiness.

Tackling smaller, but still fascinating topics, speakers like Linda Zabors pitched an idea for exploring all the individuals who are celebrated with honorary streets in Chicago – from the well known Chicagoans like Oprah Winfrey to Swami Vivekananda who was involved in the World’s Fair. 

Linda Zabors pitches her idea for a TED talk at an event at the Mid America Club on Jan. 31. Photo by Taylor Hartz

After ideas were pitched, guests participated in a Q&A session where they could ask questions about pitches, or make suggestions for how to expand ideas.


Plans for Lakeshore East high rises halted by Alderman

By Taylor Hartz | Staff Writer

42nd Ward Ald. Brendan Reilly rejected the proposed development of three
buildings in Lakeshore East known as the “IJKL” parcels on Dec. 13 in an email to

The highrises, proposed by Lendlease and Magellan Development Group earlier this year, would have added 1,400 residences throughout three new buildings. The project would also add 3,000 construction jobs and generate an approximate $20 million in annual revenue.

The statement from Ald. Reilly’s office said that “after reviewing the neighborhood
feedback, and discussing with the City Department of Planning and Development, Reilly determined to not move forward with the project.”

The development groups first proposed their plans to the community at a meeting
on July 10, showing renderings of the sleek new buildings. The meeting lasted three hours and drew more than 1,000 residents who gathered to voice their concerns. After the meeting, Ald. Reilly said his office “received hundreds of letters, emails and calls objecting the proposal.”

After requiring the developers to host public meetings with every residential building in the neighborhood and considering the many concerns raised by
locals, Ald. Reilly formally rejected the IJKL plans as presented.

Reilly sent several suggestions to the development companies, providing a list of changes that need to be made before he will consider future plans for the site. The list included more active, usable open space, elimination of a proposed grand staircase and zigzag pedestrian path, relocation of the Harbor Drive pedestrian access point and fencing between the parcels and lower Lake Shore Dr.

The alderman also called for tighter security. He suggested a staffed guard station on the lower level to monitor pedestrians, regular security patrols, installation of way-finding signage at the lakeshore access point and improved lighting and surveillance cameras that can tie-in to the City’s OEMC security camera network.

According to Rielly’s office, residents will be notified if the office receives an updated
proposal and a “transparent community process” will continue if the project moves

Chicago Tribune to call New Eastside home in 2018

By Taylor Hartz | Staff Writer

“It’s official: we’re moving” read a tweet from the newspaper’s Twitter account last

Prudential One, 130 E. Randolph St. will be
the new home of the Chicago Tribune. Photo
by Stephanie Racine.

November. The media giant will relocate from its home at its namesake Tribune Tower to the Prudential Plaza office complex in New Eastside. The Tribune Tower on Michigan Avenue opened its doors on July 6, 1925 and housed the newspaper for 93 years.

According to a Chicago Tribune report, the paper’s parent company Tronc, Inc. will lease over 137,000 square feet on the second, third, fourth, 40th and 41st floors of the 41-story building at 130 E. Randolph St., which overlooks Millennium Park. According to the report, the lease includes a Chicago Tribune sign that will be added to the exterior of the building.

The fleet beneath our feet

The Loop’s Streets and Sanitation office lies under New Eastside, with a fleet
that manages everything from street cleaning to snow sweeping

By B. David Zarley | Staff Writer

Part of the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation fleet hides below the New Eastside. The Loop Operations Office located at 351 E. Lower Randolp St., handles the central business district stretching roughly from 22nd Street to North Ave. and from Lake Michigan to the western boundary of Damen. During Cubs season, Loop Operations extends into Wrigleyville.

The office parking lot is stocked with cornflower blue garbage trucks, in both traditional style and split body, and white pickups outfitted with a six-yard garbage bin in the back, that can more easily navigate Loop traffic. There’s a street sweeper decked out in Cubs pinstripes hailing the 2016 Championship, a stake body truck, and a cab with a long flat bed—the workhorse that hauls Street and Sanitation department equipment.

Deputy Commissioner Cole Stallard inside an office at the Department
of Streets and Sanitation’s Operations Office. Photo by B. David Zarley

The impressive display of civic muscle provides a window into the multi-faceted operations of the Department of Streets and Sanitation’s Loop Operations Office which according to its website, handles over one million service requests per year. Everything from garbage, graffiti and snow removal to hand sweeping and special event security is managed from beneath the feet of New Eastsiders.

“This is a very multi-purpose office, and it’s unique to the city,” said Cole Stallard, deputy commissioner of the Bureau of Street Operations. According to Stallard, cleaning graffiti, hand sweeping and garbage collection are about the only constants of the job. “Every day is a new day down here, due to the fact that there’s just so much going on in Chicago,” he said.

The office takes on the task of snow removal and preparations for the major haul begin in July, requiring a team of about 100. Other preparations include snow fencing of Lake Shore Dr., coordinating supervised manual labor through the Sheriff ’s Alternative Work Program, street sweeping and cleanup of refuse left by the homeless.

Loop Operations is almost always open and staffed; Monday through Friday the office is open 24 hours, while Saturday and Sunday it is open for 16 hours each day. “The only day that this office closes is Christmas Day,” Stallard said. “And we come back Christmas night.”

Part of what makes Loop Operations unique is its role in special events like the St. Patrick’s Day parade, the Chicago Marathon and the Cubs’ and Blackhawks’ title celebrations. In addition to cleaning up after these events, Loop Operations also helps toprovide security and crowd control. Their snow plows are sometimes used as crowd barriers.

According to Stallard, the long hours and ever-changing challenges are well worth it, as Loop Operations employees take pride in keeping the most forward face of the city clean and safe. “I’m fortunate to have down here people who really care,” Stallard said.

Live holiday entertainment warms New Eastside

By Gianna Annunzio | Staff Writer and Ben Kowalski | Copy Editor

November 16, 2017

New Eastsiders searching for live entertainment this holiday season may find just what they’re looking for, without going too far from home. Options range from jazz music to improv comedy and include high-quality offerings at hotels.

November marks the first anniversary of Winter’s Jazz Club, 465 McClurg Ct., where cartoon classics come to life.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving will be performed a day before Thanksgiving on November 22. Additionally, A Charlie Brown Christmas will be performed on December 5 and 14. Winter’s owner Scott Stegman said the Charlie Brown Christmas show, for audiences aged 12 and above, was so popular last year that the club decided to add a second performance this year. “We recreate the exact [soundtrack] album with a three-person choir, so it’s really a charming little evening,” Stegman said.

Local hotels are also a convenient and high-quality option. This season, enjoy Latin

(Top) Winter’s Jazz Club. Photo courtesy Winter’s Jazz Club

Rhythms and pop grooves with acoustic artist Joey Edwin. This November, Edwin, whose musical career includes performances on MTV and at the House of Blues, showcases his talent at THE BAR in Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park hotel, 200 N. Columbus Dr.

Colleen Sweitzer, the Fairmont Chicago’s marketing manager, said Edwin’s music has a great rhythm, but isn’t overpowering. “He’s the perfect mix of great background music that you can also sit and enjoy it like it’s the center of your attention,” she said. “For those who are looking for something a little different, he’s great.”

While Winter’s Jazz Club and the Fairmont Chicago hotel combine live music in a comfortable atmosphere, Second City’s Up Comedy Club, 230 W. North Ave., pairs improv comedy with theater and audience participation.

Joe Ruffner, producer of Second City’s touring company, said the holiday show, titled Holidazed & Confused: Mandatory Merriment, is an annual production.

“It’s a fresh take on the holidays,” he said. “Parental advisory is recommended—it’s not your kid’s holiday show.”

Laughs can also be had closer to home at Seven Bar & Restaurant, 400 E. Randolph St., where Chicago’s best local comedians have been rounded up with Backyard Besties performing varying acts on the third Friday of every month.

Maya Epstein, a New Eastside local, helps produce another comedy show at Seven titled “Bad People, Good Comedy.” Erica Nicole Clark of Comedy Central will headline their next show on November 3, alongside comedians St. James Jackson, Chris Higgins, Tessa Orzech and Sabeen Sadiq.

“We get a mix of people from the building, comedy lovers and Lakeshore East neighbors,” Epstein said. “Entertainment options are few and far between. Seven is great because it’s this unexpected bar in the middle of a condo building. You’d never know it was there, which makes for a fun surprise for the people who come to our shows. It’s pretty amazing to see such a great line-up in an intimate space.”

Seven’s owner Mohammed Rafiq said attendees enjoy the performances Seven puts on, because there is no other club like it in the area. “We get a very good turn out with the show. If you’ve ever come to a show of ours, it’s very well produced and very overdone,” he said. “We have lights, music, a very good sound system, and very good microphones.”

If New Eastsiders are searching for a solid meal with nightly jazz performances, Bandera restaurant and bar on 535 N. Michigan Avenue is the location they’ve been waiting for. Offering American cuisine with a southwestern flair, Bandera provides great views of Michigan Ave. and live music every night from 6–11 p.m. Rebecca Schwartz, Bandera’s general manager, said nightly jazz performances have always been part of the restaurant’s feng shui. “We have three different trios that rotate each day of the week,” she said.“The Dave Williams Trio, the Paul Martin trio and the Jo Ann Daugherty Trio.”

Musical-enthusiasts young and old can also enjoy the Chicago Cultural Center’s (78 E. Washington) performance of The Nutcracker while participating in their free holiday event, “Dance-Along Nutcracker” on December 3.

Ballet Chicago performers at the 2015 Dance-Along Nutcraker performance.Photo by Elizabeth Johnston.

Members of Ballet Chicago will teach basic movements at an optional lesson at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Then, at noon and 3 p.m., participants are invited to join the dancers of Ballet Chicago for a Nutcracker performance. The Lakeside Pride Music Ensemble will also perform live music.

Mary May, the Cultural Center’s special events coordinator, calls Dance-Along Nutcracker a “darling event.” “Kids from all ages dress up and get to be a Sugarplum Fairy or a Mouse King for the day,” she said. “It’s all levels of dancing as well. What’s more ‘holiday’ than Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic?

1 2