Filini’s new Doggie Happy Hour a hit

Happy hour in the New Eastside has officially gone to the dogs.

Filini restaurant, located at 221 N. Columbus Dr., has a new “Bring Your Own Dog” pooch party happy hour every Wednesday though summer. “There’s so many dogs in the neigh- borhood, we needed to be able to offer something more for them,” says Radis- son Blu General Manager Bob Shelley.

Charlie the Goldendoodle with owner Jessica Kim at Filini’s “Bring Your Own Dog” happy hour. Filini, 221 N. Columbus Dr. Event runs every Wednesday, 4:30-6:30 p.m., during sum- mer. Photo: Tricia Parker

The weekly happy hour, from 4:30-6:30 p.m., offers a $5 “Canine Cuisine” menu that could easily best many two-legged versions. Doggie diners can choose from a grilled chicken breast, bacon hamburger, “Lost Me Lucky Charms” turkey meatballs and a “Frosty Paws” frozen treat. All mains come served on a bed of rice and carrots.

“It’s a balance between protein and veg- etables,” says Shelley. “We didn’t want to overload carbs on the dogs.”

At the kickoff party June 21, customers had no qualms about barking their orders.

“Charlie literally devoured the burger in my hands,” said owner Jessica Kim, whose Goldendoodle used her natural charms to win over waiters. Across the patio, Peanut the Shih Tzu faced a few more obstacles to enjoying the party. Peanut is in his teens, is blind and is on five heart medications, which means he can only eat prescription food.

“Just being outside, smelling the smells, is very enjoyable for Peanut,” said his owner, Jeff Mishur, although he ad- mitted it “killed him” not being able to order for Peanut or his foster brother, Panda. “These are top-notch dishes,” said Mishur.

While Doggie Happy Hour is scheduled for Wednesdays, Shelley said the Canine Cuisine menu will be available all week. Doggie bags are included, but dishes tend to disappear as soon as they come.

“Telli loves to try doggie menus,” says Janice Suerth, about her 16-year-old rescue, who polished off all three mains. “It makes him happy.”

— Tricia Parker, Staff Writer

Hidden gems of New Eastside

Discover these little-known spots in New Eastside

 

Dog Parks

Everyone knows about the dog park in Lake Shore East Park, but there is a second dog park in New Eastside that is less busy. Located just east of the Lancaster (201 N. Westshore Dr.), you can find it on your walk to the Lake- front Trail from the Lake Shore East Park. Slightly larger than the main dog park, it is ideal for larger dogs to run off-leash. It is also not as well-known as some of the other parks, so it can
be a better location for dogs that get frightened from too much action but still want to run free.

A third dog park is located at the top of the stairs at the northwest corner
of the Lake Shore East Park next to GEMS- World Academy (350 E. South Water St.). It’s probably only best for a quick jaunt for a small dog, but it does feature a doggy-sized water fountain for thirsty pets.

 

Breakfast on the Lakefront Trail

Fancy a lakeside breakfast? You don’t have to go far. Cafe Michelle at DuSable Harbor (200 N. Lake Shore Dr.) is open for breakfast. To get there, you have to walk behind the Lancaster (201 N. Westshore Dr.), past the dog park, and through a parking lot toward the lake. The simple and no-frills cafe has a hearty breakfast, smoothies and even cocktails to enjoy while overlooking the harbor and Lake Michigan. The view and ambiance is worth a trip. Open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

 

Pedway restaurants

Many of the office buildings in New Eastside also have public shopping and eating areas, but they can be difficult to find. Visit the Pedway level of 225 N. Michigan Ave. and 111 E. Wacker Dr. and you will find some of your favorite restaurant chains: Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Wow Bao and Pret A Manger. Sopraffina Marketcaffe and Baskin-Robbins are located at the base of the Aon building (200 E. Randolph St.).

 

Milton Olive Park

A quick walk north of New Eastside, a little past Navy Pier, tall iron gates mark a path flanked by a phalanx of trees, which lead into an innocuous green space known only to wedding photographers, well-versed locals and lucky visitors who happen to stum-
ble across it. The park is named after Milton Lee Olive III, the first African American Medal of Honor recipient in the Vietnam War. Born in Chicago on November 7, 1946, Private Olive sac- rificed his life to save the other men in his platoon from a grenade on October 22, 1965. He was 18 years old. The park comprises a surprisingly large expanse of green grassy field, overlaid with an intricate series of walkways connecting five now-dormant circular fountains. The geometry of the walkways and fountains is designed to be viewed from the neighboring high-rises. But it’s the view of the Chicago skyline that is truly striking when seen from the park.

— Stephanie Racine and Matthew Reiss, Community Contributors

Comparing fitness programs in Lake Shore East Park

If getting into shape is a goal this summer, then success could be right at your doorstep. Lake Shore East Park is home to two major exercise programs: Magellan Outdoor Summer Fitness Se- ries, powered by Unicus, and Five Star Fitness’ Signature Boot Camps.

Magellan Outdoor Summer Fit- ness Series, powered by Unicus ($85 for an 8-week session; $15 for à-la-carte classes)

Now in its second year, Unicus’s Sum- mer Fitness Series offers the chance to burn calories on a budget. For $85, neighbors can access five classes per week, for eight weeks until September 2. Class sizes average between 10 and 20 people.

“It’s not Simon Says . . . and it’s not a competition like CrossFit or boot camp,” says Unicus Fitness owner Frank Nunez. “It’s more inclusive. We don’t want to make it for an elite few or crazy few or anyone like that.”

“We keep [people] moving forward. No matter what, no matter how small, it’s still success,” says Nunez. A University of Michigan kinesiology graduate, Nunez discovered an early knack for movement. “It was like a fish to water,” Nunez says.

Evening circuit classes include Monday night’s “Beach Body Emergency Ex- press” and Wednesday’s “Butts and Guts” class. “The name says it all,” says Nunez.

About 100 people signed up for the program last summer, Nunez says, although participation dwindled as “summer happened.”

Program runs until Sept. 5. To register visit, www.unicusfitness.com/wcs3_loca- tion/lakeshore-east-fitness.

Five Star Fitness Signature Boot Camps ($249 per six-week ses- sion; $25 per à-la-carte class) Founded in 2004, Five Star Fitness Boot Camps bills its six-week programs

as a “boutique boot camp.” Owner Scott McLain justifies the program’s higher cost with the personalized at- tention participants receive.

“We base our program on results,” says McLain, easily recognizable on the eastern edge of Lake Shore East Park as he zigzags among students in his gray T-shirt and sweats. A personal trainer and graduate of Ohio State’s Sport Management program, McLain brought his boot camps to Lake Shore East Park 10 years ago.

Boot camps kick off with challenge days, where McLain records his students’ time in drills like laps around the park and push-ups. As the program progresses, McLain checks his students’ numbers.

The pressure to perform seemed to be a positive motivator for Columbus Plaza resident Ana Lucia, a boot camp first-timer. She says although the work- out was “tough,” she “really liked it.”

“I don’t do anything by myself—I prefer to be in a team,” says Lucia, adding that she much prefers exercising outside.

McLain, who knows each student by name, emphasizes the team aspect with two Team Challenge drills each class, including relay runs and push-up mar- athons. Classes also include “Strength and Core” and “Power Alley” modules, where McLain runs drills with names like “Ab Grinder” and “Hell’s Gate.” Classes conclude with a team one- hand-in, “1-2-3, boot camp!” cheer.

“Absolutely, people get to know each other,” says McLain, who has taught more than 1,000 New Eastsiders since 2007. According to McLain, the higher price helps keep class sizes small.

6-week session begins August 7; prorated rates available for session beginning June 26.

www.fivestarfitnessbootcamps.com; 15% off with promo code NEWEASTSIDE

— Tricia Parker, Staff Writer

Fresh salad vending machines thrive in New Eastside

Sitting at the base of the 111 E. Wacker Pedway escalator, a teal-colored nook holds a culinary surprise: A five-foot-wide box dispensing recyclable jars filled with salad.

“It’s very transparent what’s in the actual salad,” said Paul Williams, who, like many Farmer’s Fridge fans, visits the wood-pan- eled vending machine multiple times a month. The kiosk, installed in 2016, was the first of two to open in the area. A second opened in Lake Point Tower (505 N. Lake Shore Dr.) earlier this year.

“These machines have been solid for us to date,” says Farmer’s Fridge Marketing VP Nadine Rich. “People have been receptive and happy to have wholesome [meals] conveniently located nearby.”

After spending months on the road as a traveling salesman, Farmer’s Fridge CEO

Luke Saunders longed for healthy, fresh food at his fingertips. He founded Farmer’s Fridge in 2013, with the philosophy that “eating well shouldn’t be hard.”

“It’s easy, [and] it’s cheap,” says Herbert Wennink, who stumbled upon the 111 E. Wacker machine a year ago. Wennink was especially impressed the machine gave him credit when a salad slot was empty.

Salads are made fresh each morning at a Fulton Market facility and are distributed to more than 60 kiosks across the region. At the end of the day, each fridge sends a produce order to the kitchen, over a cloud-based wireless network.

“Our menu is dynamic, day-to-day,” says Rich. Salads include fresh-cut vegetables like carrots, avocado and asparagus, which are stacked underneath layers of greens and a carton of dressing. Customers punch in orders on an extra-wide touchscreen, and pay by cash or credit card. A vigorous shake is all it takes to combine the ingredients in the jar. According to Rich, a typical transac- tion takes between 30 and 45 seconds.

The menu includes a selection of about seven salads, ranging from about $8 to $12, along with snacks, a handful of breakfast items and LaCroix water. The 111 E. Wacker kiosk offers bags, plates, napkins, forks and spoons, though supplies can run low at lunchtime.

According to Rich, the future for more Farmer’s Fridges in New Eastside looks bright.

“We are constantly looking to expand our locations,” says Rich.

— Tricia Parker, Staff Writer

When loved ones disagree on politics

A guide to productive debate

We all have that special some- one in our lives who thinks very differently from us about politics. We may love grandma or our 20-year-old nephew, but when it comes to politics, we just don’t see eye to eye. Usually this can be handled with sprightly conver- sations mixed with humor and love. However, the most recent election, with its dramatic and polarizing differences, seemed to intensify worries and fears on both sides. Daily media reports bring a new twist and turn every day, and it is impossible for many of us to let sleeping dogs lie and talk about baseball and Chicago summer events.

It can be emotionally treacherous to challenge the political views of a loved one. Many people, to some extent, feel personally defined by their political identification. So for your nephew or grandma, there may be more at stake than pulling them to the political right or left. That dear relative may actually take your political assertions as personal rejection or criticism. Such questions may arise as, “Do I have to be wrong whenever I talk with my dad? Can’t he listen to me?” Or “Why is my brother always so condescending to me?”

So remember that when you push your political view there may be a subtle, un- spoken lower-level conversation going on: “Am I loved by this person?”; “Does he or she even have the capacity to love me?”; “How come I’m always wrong?”

You may, with your superior reasoning, win the argument, but you may have ruptured your relationship with someone you love. Is it worth it? And what if the request to debate comes from that loved one? Then what do you do?

There is an old saying, updated here: “A man or woman convinced against his or her will is of the same opinion still!” So here is an important precept and a few suggestions that may help you at that next family dinner or outing.

• Goal: I want to be closer to this per- son rather than more distant when we finish our conversation today.

• If you want to talk politics, first ask your loved one if she or he would like to talk about or exchange some ideas on the current U.S. political situa- tion. Your loved one may actually not feel up to talking about anything except her arthritis or a loss at work. Take this as a hint to back off.

• If your loved one is willing to listen and talk, try to express yourself with consideration and empathy for how she or he may experience what you are about to say. This may help you temper the passion you no doubt feel, so that a view, gently expressed, may be better received.

• Keep in mind that you will probably not make any major world change in this one conversation. Consider continuing the dialogue, for example, over 10 to 30 conversations. Open, loving, accepting conversations often lead, with time, to many positive changes.

• If the conversation should deterio- rate into anger or personal hurt, you risk losing the opportunity for future conversations down the road.

• Know and remind yourself that you are not responsible for other people’s political views. It is a democracy and we all have a right to our own position.

Walter D. Miller, LCSW, is a New Eastside resident and clinical social worker. Contact him at 312-856-0230.

Coach’s Corner – The parade of coolers

I have never owned a boat, and I’ve rarely been on one, but that hasn’t stopped me from admiring them. Call it jealousy or maybe it’s more like “love from afar.” Whatever the ail- ment, I have always enjoyed observing the boating scene at Monroe or DuSable Harbors, admiring the tranquility of the boaters’ morning preparations and viewing what I call the “Parade of Coolers.”

My favorite time to watch the action on the docks is just before dawn. Prepara- tions for boat enthusiasts are ritualistic and start early: the scrubbing, washing and wiping, and ensuring the boat is gassed, oiled and tuned for its big day on the lake.

Perhaps the most important of prepa- rations is the food and drink. It’s a weekend tradition down at the lake- front that I call the “Parade of Coolers.” It’s just like a regular parade but with coolers of every different color, size and shape, filled with the day’s food rations. The only thing missing here is the marching band.

“Cooler envy” is definitely alive and well on the boat docks. I watch the boaters eyeing each other’s coolers, and I keep a silent competition running in my head about who comes out with the most high-tech, sporty and the flashiest of coolers.

he bottom line is that these boat owners are a dedicated bunch, and that commitment to excellence has to start early and with a good cooler.

They know full well the impact of the famous quote: “Failing to prepare, is preparing to fail.”

Cohn-Fucious thought for the day: “Whoever said nothing is impossible, never tried slamming a revolving door.”

— Jon Cohn, Community Contributor

Studio Gang’s vision extends beyond the Wanda Vista

Juliane Wolfe, Design Principal at the Chicago office of Studio Gang architect and urbanism practice, says that her company envisioned much more than a skyscraper when it began working on the Wanda Vista tower.

“With this building, we saw a unique opportunity to create a connection with the neighborhood, the Riverwalk and Lakeshore East park,” she explains. “So many people are being influenced by the site. We had to understand really well what was there.”

In some respects, Studio Gang realized that ambition quite literally. The Wanda plan includes strengthening the connection between Lakeshore East Park and the Riverwalk.

“We spent many hours walking around,” Wolfe continues. “What we typically do is build physical models to see how the connections make sense.”

Juliane Wolf of Studio Gang. Photo courtesy of Studio Gang

Wolfe is a native Frankfurter who came to Chicago “during high school” and later earned a Bachelor’s degree from IIT, where Studio Gang founder Jeanne Gang was an instructor.

“It was the first time that I experienced a city that was shaped by tall buildings,” she remembers. “Really exciting and really beautiful people too.”

After graduating from IIT, she started working for Studio Gang. Among the inspirations that guide her is “a high regard to make cities better and more livable.”

The firm’s research near Lake Shore East Park revealed, among other things, that the Riverwalk is a cherished destination. Their plan will strengthen the path between the two areas when the building is completed.

“The Wanda Vista is created of three different stems,” Wolfe explains. “The largest are the outer two. We were able to lift the middle stem, which is supported by the outer two stems, and connect the roads underneath the building.”

The plan also locates the hotel drop-off at the “very highest level” of the street, on “the north side of the east stem.” The residential drop-off is on the south side to the west.

Chicago architecture buffs and critics around the world praise the firm for its creation of the Aqua Tower, an award-winning structure adorned by undulating balconies that soar 82-stories into the air. The flowing grace and dynamic energy of its shape are visible for blocks.

But Studio Gang equipped the structure with an additional flow that affects residents and visitors every day.

“For the Aqua building, we created connections with the elevated stairs from the upper level to the lower level,” Wolfe explains.

Although it does not generate as many headlines as the curvy balconies, it certainly makes the neighborhood a more livable place to be.

— Daniel Patton, Staff Writer

Survey Says Now’s a Great Time to Sell

How to know if it’s right for you

With existing housing inventory on the decline for the past two years, 71 percent of homeowners believe now is a good time to sell according to research by the National Association of REALTORS quarterly Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) Survey. This rings true with Matt Farrell, managing broker of New Eastside’s Urban Real Estate, who sees the same opportunity in our community, and across Chicago.

“There is obviously a disconnect between homeowner perceptions, and translating that to bringing their home to market, but the truth is, if your lifestyle or economics affords you the opportunity to sell, now is a great time to do so,” says Farrell. “Interest rates remain desirable, and buyers who have

invested wisely are looking to make their mark in our neighborhood by buying here. New Eastside, in particu- lar, attracts serious buyers, competitive offers, and strong deals when presented with homes priced compellingly.”

Urban Real Estate brokers regularly walk clients through the current marketplace, and evaluating if “now” is the right time for a homeowner to sell. Farrell, an expert on local and national media and often interviewed on Chicago’s real estate trends, adds that one

of the most important parts of selling is being able to address the “Where do we go once we sell” question. “Thinking about where you will go once you sell is often the most imperative part of the decision. If you haven’t thought that through, the expense in interim housing, dual packing and moving expenses, and stricter timeframes due to a lease, etc., can ultimately cost you financially now, and negate your ability to negotiate a strong deal for the home you purchase later.”

NAR’s survey also adds that consumer confidence, housing affordability, and job security, continue to add to a market plagued with questions in the short and long-term. “The reality is, homeownership in our corner of the city remains one of the best places to call home. If you have the opportunity to make a change, and can exceed your personal and financial goals doing so, this is absolutely the time to connect with a trusted real estate advisor and evaluate your own situation, today,” Farrell says.

For more on the Urban Real Estate Difference, or to connect with one of our brokers, call 312-528-9200, stop by our office at 400 E. Randolph St., or visit us online at UrbanRealEstate.com.

— Urban Real Estate

Chicago Spider-Man spotted in New Eastside

Had it not been for a schoolyard bully- ing incident, we wouldn’t have Spi- der-Man adorning unexpected sights in Lakeshore East.

What startles passersby is that this Spi- der-Man doesn’t behave like a street per- former with an obvious means of cashing in on his act. He’s been spotted on the tops of bus stops, fire hydrants, news- stands, railings, hanging off light posts, overpasses and bridges in the area. I first heard about him from Kumush, an Uber driver taking me home earlier this year. He coyly asked, “Hey, have you ever seen Spider-Man in your neighborhood?”

Chicago Spider-Man Joshua Marks perches on top of a Millennium Station elevator. Photo: Ben Cirrus

That conversation set me off on a months’ long search that led to many stories of sightings by residents, but no leads to unmask our superhero. It wasn’t until I was strolling home mid- May that I spotted Spider-Man on top of the Millennium Station accessibility elevator on the northeast corner of the Chicago Cultural Center—there he was on his first outing of the season!

His story begins with a bullying in- cident in a Chicago Public School in Logan Square. Kids picking on Joshua

Marks threw his bag on top of the ledge over one of the building entrances. You could say, “Mozart Elementary School at 2200 N. Hamlin Avenue is where this Spider-Man was born,” says Marks, 33.

Marks stayed there wondering what to do. If he asked the school staff for help he could be called a tattletale, risking more bullying. After a while he concluded that he should solve the problem on his own, and proceeded to examine what he had to work with to retrieve the bag himself.

This brings us back to how I saw Marks creatively make his way down from the top of that unusually tall elevator structure. If you saw him up there, you’d have the same thought…how did he get up there?

For now while out and about in the city, Marks wants to “prove his skills and motivation,” and in the process spread positivity and smiles. He supports him- self partially by performing at children’s birthday parties.

He eventually intends to build publicity for himself and his troupe to the point that they can start a non-for-profit organization to entertain sick children in area hospitals as a full-time job. He says if he can help them “forget their pain” for a few seconds, it will all be worth

it. The Chicago Spider-Man’s parting message on his way up another seem- ingly impossible climb was that “we can all be heroes by being the best version of ourselves.”

More information about the Chicago Spider-Man can be found at the Chica- go Spider-Man Facebook and Twitter pages.

www.facebook.com/thechicagospider-man

www.twitter.com/TheChiSpiderman

— Ben Cirrus, Community Contributor

Millennium Park Family Fun Festival

Located under the big tent at Chase Promenade North (201 E. Randolph St.), the Family Fun Festival, presented by Millennium Park Foundation, offers daily events and activities for kids of all ages. The festival is held daily from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and runs from June 19 through August 20.

“My daughters and I love going to the Family Fun Festival in Millennium Park,” says New Eastside resident Nicole Decker. “We go for the musical perfor-

mances and stay for story time. It is nice that the crafts are different every week. We look forward to it every summer.”

Children play with hula hoops inside the Fam- ily Fun Tent at Chase Promenade, Millennium Park. Photo: Angela Gagnon

The Activity Zone arts and crafts presented by a different sponsor each week, have, in the past, included Lurie Garden, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Art Institute and Looking- glass Theatre.

New Eastside resident Reemaa Konkimalla has been attending the Family Fun Festival for several years.

“Each year we are amazed with the di- versity of the participating companies. My son has a proud collection of hand- made puppets from Chicago Theater, an architectural bridge from Chicago Architecture Foundation and miniature Lego creations by MSI.”

For more information and schedules, visit www.cityofchicago.org.
Millennium Park Family Fun Festival Chase Promenade, Millennium Park
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Daily/June 19-August 20

— Angela Gagnon, Community Contributor

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