New Eastside vs. New East Side

By B. David Zarley | Staff Writer

How do you style the name of your neighborhood? The New Eastside As-
sociation of Residents (NEAR), various denizens of the area, and signs erected
by the City of Chicago list the area as the “New Eastside.” However, Google
Maps, the 42nd Ward alderman office’s website, and some corporate entities
spell the neighborhood’s name using three words, “New East Side.”

When NEAR was founded in 1991, it used “Eastside” to register as a not-
for-profit corporation with the State of Illinois. “The commercial end of [the
neighborhood] spelled ‘East Side’ as two words, and then the resident’s associa-
tion came along and changed it to one,” says NEAR President Richard Ward. “I assume that they liked the word N-E-A-R, and the only way you can use N-E-
A-R is to combine Eastside.”

Chicago Tribune archives from the 1980s mention the area, but not by
name. Articles by Ron Grossman and Kathleen Myler, from 1983 and 1984
respectively, refer to the neighborhood as the Randolph Street or Randolph
Corridor. NEAR director Elliot Lapan does not recall a definitive reason for the name’s spelling. “I’m sure it was just a whim,” he writes in an email. “To me,
Eastside is a name while East Side is a location.”


“Prospective buyers are frequently confused as to why our neighborhood
has undergone a name change, and ultimately struggle with its brand,” says
Matt Farrell, managing broker at local real estate company Urban Real Estate.
“[New Eastside is a] gorgeous corner of Chicago that’s anything but new; rather it is a neighborhood that exemplifies Chicago’s evolution into a livable downtown.”

One form of acknowledgment exists in the signs that have been hanging in the
area since the 1980s, welcoming people to “Chicago’s New Eastside.” Scattered
throughout the neighborhood, the signs are a brilliant blue, with “East-
side” underlined by waves evocative of the Lake. The physical signs were
also used as a guide when naming the local newspaper.

“I chose the name New Eastside, two words, to be con-
sistent with the blue signs that mark the neighborhood,” says New Eastside
News founder Elaine Hyde.

Dr. Ann Keating, a history professor at North Central College specializing
in urban and suburban history, gave a simpler explanation. “My hunch is that
there isn’t a deep explanation—except for some marketing meeting at the
development company,” she writes in an email.

A definitive first use of the name—or other such event that can function as
the standard—has yet to be uncovered.

For now, the spelling is at the discretion of whomever is writing it down.

Pomeranian playgroup meets in Lake Shore East Park

By Stephanie Racine|Community Contributor


Lisa Michele says her nine-year-old Pomeranian Phoebe “looks and acts like a puppy. Wherever we go, she makes people smile. It makes my day when I see how happy people are to meet her.”

Anyone who has met a Pomeranian dog knows they are special. Weigh-

ing under ten pounds, they are well-matched for apartment living. Most Pomeranians love to play with other dogs, but can be inhibited by their small size, as larger dogs can pose a

threat to them. That is why a group of Pomeranian lovers have formed a meet-

up group that gathers at the northeast corner of Lake Shore East Park.

New Eastside resident Whitney Nippert Molsen describes Pomeraniansas “loving and loyal” dogs with intelligence and “big” personalities. “I feel it’s a safer environment for [my dog]

Ewokie because he has become afraid of most larger dogs,” says Molsen.

“When he was younger he was trampled by larger dogs at the dog park.” “It was entirely a chance meeting the first time,” says Anthony Ivone, owner of a Pomeranian named Enzo. “We just saw two or three Pomeranians playing in the park and we joined.” Soon, more Pomeranians arrived and it became a group of around six or seven dogs. A Facebook group was started and more Pomeranian owners found out about their breed brethren in the area. The meetings have

become more well attended since then, rounding out at 11 Pomeranians.

The group was a great find for resident Kara Adams and Sonny, her seven-year-old Pomeranian. “Sonny [has] a neurological condition called Cere-bellar Hypoplasia,” explains Adams. “He has a funny walk, but it suits his personality. The Lakeshore East Pom playgroup lets him play safely with other dogs his size.” The Pom playdates are beneficial to owners as well, as they get to socialize alongside their dogs.

The group has garnered excitement in the area and on social media. Pomeranians from other parts of the city have expressed interest in stopping by at the next meeting, and photos of the

playgroup have received hundreds of “likes” on Instagram.

To view photos and meet-up schedule, visit the Facebook and Instagrams of

the Pomeranians of Lakeshore East. Facebook:

groups/lakeshoreeastpoms/ Instagram:@enzo_thepom, @chicagopoms @young-

butternut @luna_white_black_pom @ewokiethepom @sonnycitydog

Alderman announces new high-rise developments in Lakeshore East

Lakeshore East is growing up, and growing up fast. Just as the first few floors take shape of what will be Chicago’s third-tallest tower, the Wanda Vista, plans for more Lakeshore East high-rises are ready to be unveiled.

Proposed plans will be revealed at a public presentation hosted by Alderman Brendan Reilly and the New Eastside Association of Residents. Chicago-based Magellan Development Group, in association with Australian company Lendlease Development Inc., will present building renderings and proposals at the community meeting, which will take place July 10 at 6 p.m., at the Hyatt Regency Hotel (151 E. Upper Wacker Dr.).

The proposed developments are located at “Site O” (195 N. Columbus Dr.) and four sites near Lake Shore Drive that will add over 2,000 residential units and 900 hotel rooms to New Eastside.

Magellan Development, the developer of Lakeshore East since 2001, has completed nine buildings in the New Eastside neighborhood. If the proposed plans become a reality, Magellan Development will be responsible for a total of 14 towers in New Eastside.

Community Presentation for Proposed Developments in Lakeshore East Monday, July 10, 6- 8 p.m. Hyatt Regency Hotel, Regency Ballroom, West Tower A 151 E. Upper Wacker Dr.

Elaine Hyde, Editor

New Eastside business tops best places to work

Crain’s Chicago Business released the results of its annual Best Places to Work report for 2017. This year Microsoft, with Midwest district offices based out of New Eastside at 200 E. Randolph, landed the top spot on the list. Microsoft was also No.1 on Crain’s inaugural list of Chicago’s Best Places to Work for Minorities.

Location is a critical part of being a great place to work, says Midwest Operations and Community Manager, Mary Monroy-Spampinato, who has been at the company for 16 years. She adds New Eastside offers “many restaurants, shopping options” and “beautiful views and easy access to parks for walks or concerts.”

Businesses in Cook County and six surrounding counties with “more than 50 full-time employees” were eligible to apply, Crain’s reported. The publication ranked the participating companies using answers to two surveys: a quan- titative employer survey to measure corporate policies and benefits, and a qualitative survey to assess employee experience.

There were 195 applicants and respons- es from more than 14,900 area employ- ees, and what sets Microsoft apart is the opportunity to work with “incred- ibly smart and compassionate” peers “who love their communities as much as they love technology,” says Adam

Hecktman, director of technology & civic innovation for Chicago, a 25-year veteran at the company.

— Ben Cirrus, Community Contributor

Doorperson of the Month – Tony Vergara

 ParkShore Condominiums, 195 N. Harbor Dr.

By Daniel Patton | Staff Writer

When Tony Vergara transferred from the maintenance department of the ParkShore Condominium in 2006 to the door staff, he discovered his professional calling. “I’ve been at the front desk for ten and a half years,” Vergara says. “I love it. It’s part of me. It’s what I was made for.” 

Born in Cuba, Vergara came to the United States with his mother. They landed in Florida, stayed a few weeks, and traveled north to join their extended family in Upper Manhattan.

Thanks to a little help from Mother Nature, he will never forget his initial glimpse of the Big Apple. “There was a big snow storm,” he explains. “First time I ever saw snow. It was crazy.” After a few months in New York, they relocated to Chicago, where he has remained ever

Nearly two decades ago, a friend told Vergara about a job opening in the maintenance department of the ParkShore. At the time, the ParkShore was one of only three properties on the elevated portion of North Harbor Dr. between Randolph St. and Wacker Dr. The area that is now Lake Shore East Park then contained a three-par golf course. “It used to be this private thing,” he remembers. “Now it’s a whole new neighborhood.”

Besides a switch from maintenance to door staff, a lot has changed in Vergara’s life over the years as well. “I have three boys,” he says. “My oldest is [in] engineering school in New Jersey. My second is a sophomore in high school, taking classes at the Illinois Institute of Technology.”

Vergara is married to a “wonderful person” who he says has made him a better person. “I met her, believe it or not, at a gas station,” he explains. “She was pumping. I was pumping. We started talking. She gave me her phone number. I was just being myself.”

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

Coach’s Corner – What to do with the last parcel of land


The wait is over. Speculation of what will be built on the remaining empty plots of New Eastside land can now end. Four new buildings are ready to join the O, IJKL parcel party, all of varying shapes and sizes. In maps presented at a recent alderman’s meet- ing, the future sites of these buildings are labeled as lettered “parcels.”

Only one plot of open grass remains free from a fate of concrete and mortar, at least for now. It is one of the two sites
left unlabeled. On the northeast corner of Lake Shore East Park, a strangely angular-shaped plot is closed off completely. One remaining question is what to do with this untouched spot, mysteriously labeled “FUTURE.”

The Alderman has indicated that in the distant future, a school will rise in that space, but no one has any definite plans, as far as I can tell. I have a few suggestions about what should rise in the right-angled “FUTURE” spot. How about a 24-hour yoga and meditation center? A basketball court? A build-your-own pizza joint? A drive-thru, all-night White Castle? There are all kinds of possibilities.

Maybe the best idea, with all the construction scheduled for the next few years, is to turn the space into what I will call a Quiet-torium—a building with soundproof walls. It will be place of perfect silence, where those who need it could come for a brief moment to just sit and listen to, well, silence. The only problem is… there might be a long line.

Cohn-Fucius thought for the day: “There is only one place where you start at the
top, and that is when you are digging a hole.”

— Jon Cohn, Community Contributor

1 2