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Old 12-03-2008, 09:36 PM
Oakminster Oakminster is offline
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Is the South Side of Chicago the baddest part of town? [ANSWERED BY CECIL]

Need answer fast. Dude named Leroy Brown wants to shoot some pool...
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Old 12-03-2008, 10:21 PM
Cluricaun Cluricaun is offline
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Sometimes, depending on who you ask. Chicago is one of those "good block, bad block" type of towns. We have beautiful new townhomes being built across the street from the last remaining unit of the infamous Cabrini Green housing project, and neighborhoods like Wicker Park, which were truly dangerous places to be 20 years ago are now hubs of housing and hipster bars and eateries. There's not really a good side or a bad side though the north side tends to be the safest if you discount rowdy Cubs fans peeing in lawns after night games.
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Old 12-03-2008, 10:29 PM
Oakminster Oakminster is offline
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Would it help if I brought my own two piece custom made cue?
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Old 12-03-2008, 10:33 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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There's not really a good side or a bad side though the north side tends to be the safest if you discount rowdy Cubs fans peeing in lawns after night games.
Until you get to Uptown (crazy homeless people) or Rogers Park (crazy drunk people). But, again, block by block. I looked up the stats on my block (in West Ridge, the part of the city everyone thinks is Rogers Park, but isn't), and there's been something like 2 arrests for violent crimes here in 7 years. The next block north has more than a dozen in one year. I warn my guests to park south of the street in question. You wouldn't think that a minor side street would be that much of a barrier to crime, but apparently it is.
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Old 12-04-2008, 08:58 AM
Happy Lendervedder Happy Lendervedder is offline
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I was just going to add Uptown, but I see my work has alredy been done for me.
  #6  
Old 12-04-2008, 09:52 AM
Sarahfeena Sarahfeena is offline
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I lived on the south side for a while. Then I lived up near Uptown for a while. Then I moved to the west suburbs. Driving from my suburb to the Loop by using a regular street instead of the expressway is the scariest thing I have ever done in the city.

Last edited by Sarahfeena; 12-04-2008 at 09:52 AM.
  #7  
Old 12-04-2008, 09:55 AM
Cluricaun Cluricaun is offline
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Originally Posted by Sarahfeena View Post
I lived on the south side for a while. Then I lived up near Uptown for a while. Then I moved to the west suburbs. Driving from my suburb to the Loop by using a regular street instead of the expressway is the scariest thing I have ever done in the city.
Ha! When we were kids and someone in our group had just gotten the first drivers license someone told us that the Ogden avenue that ran right by our house in Naperville went all the way into the city. Of course we had to check that out. Baaaaad idea. I believe at one point Ogden avenue actually passes through one of the upper circles of hell on it's way into the city.
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Old 12-04-2008, 10:01 AM
Sarahfeena Sarahfeena is offline
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Ha! When we were kids and someone in our group had just gotten the first drivers license someone told us that the Ogden avenue that ran right by our house in Naperville went all the way into the city. Of course we had to check that out. Baaaaad idea. I believe at one point Ogden avenue actually passes through one of the upper circles of hell on it's way into the city.
Well, they were right, it DOES go right into the city! Right into the part of the city where you are most likely to get killed by stray gunfire!

I think we drove in on Lake Street. Never will I do that again. Ever. And I have driven around in some pretty crappy parts of town.

Last edited by Sarahfeena; 12-04-2008 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 12-04-2008, 10:09 AM
Enderw24 Enderw24 is offline
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Need answer fast. Dude named Leroy Brown wants to shoot some pool...
That's not all he wants to shoot. Dude's got a .32 gun in his pocket. Word on the street is he also carries a razor in his shoe.
  #10  
Old 12-04-2008, 10:27 AM
chela chela is offline
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hey youse across the water!

So how deserved is Chicago of its famed mean streets? Who peoples these mean streets? Why is it dangerous to drive through, I may not be welcome by the locals but is it suicide? However my impression is that it is very segregated in Cook County, its villages and suburbs too. Pretty strong racist language actually from people I visited in the south suburbs. Though they also had strong words for their newly arrived Polish neighbors, but strangely all about hanging with the upscale Indian's ntl still in disparaging tones behind their backs.

And the waitstaff at a few downtown bars, mean bordering on surly seemed to be in, I was one tourist who didn't get it?! Am. I. talking. too. slow.

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  #11  
Old 12-04-2008, 06:08 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Eh, it's bad, but it's not that bad. I routinely drive through Englewood and its environs and, while I might not recommend somebody not familiar with the area to do so, it's rather unlikely anything will happen to you, especially if you're in a car. Hell, my parents used to take 55th street down from Pulaski to the Dan Ryan all the time when we went to Indiana or Michigan (why they didn't just hop on the Stevenson, I don't know), and that passes through some of the nastier areas of the city.

Ogden isn't that bad either, although I may say that the West Side of Chicago can get as dicey, if not dicier, than Englewood. As long as you're on a main artery driving through the neighborhood, the likelihood of anything happening to you is very, very slim. I've walked through Englewood and Austin as well, without incident, although perhaps I would be cautious about doing that at night.

Last edited by pulykamell; 12-04-2008 at 06:09 PM.
  #12  
Old 12-04-2008, 09:08 PM
Ichini Sanshigo Ichini Sanshigo is offline
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Heh. I live on the South Side (SOUTH SIIIIEEEDDDDEEE!!) and yeah, it's pretty ghetto. Ghetto enough that when I was in college and I told people who don't even live in the country where I was from, they were all, "Damn, that's ghetto. So where do you keep your piece?"

Seriously though, it depends on the area, and conditions can vary block to block. Personally, I think the West Side (e.g. those long scenic drives along Lake Street) is much worse than the South Side.
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Old 12-04-2008, 11:05 PM
Cluricaun Cluricaun is offline
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But if you want true danger, you can't beat the East Side. It's completely underwater.
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Old 12-05-2008, 12:32 AM
Oakminster Oakminster is offline
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Originally Posted by Enderw24 View Post
That's not all he wants to shoot. Dude's got a .32 gun in his pocket. Word on the street is he also carries a razor in his shoe.

Both of which seem reasonable precautions. I heard the guy was an adulterer....
  #15  
Old 12-05-2008, 06:58 AM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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So how deserved is Chicago of its famed mean streets? Who peoples these mean streets? Why is it dangerous to drive through, I may not be welcome by the locals but is it suicide?
Well, I go to school in Uptown. It's not at all unusual to have to take a detour around a few cop cars with lights on and an ambulance or two. I've heard gunshots (not movie ones, real ones). There was a dead body found in our school's basement last winter - scuttlebutt was it was a shooting, but I never bothered looking it up to see the truth. A student was caught in what was believed to be gang crossfire this May and died.

Uptown not only has sincerely crushing poverty and gang activity going for it, but several Community Centers and Group Homes in the area which provide housing and/or services for the mentally ill, the homeless and the HIV/AIDS communities. The alderman there is really into serving those communities and so encourages the creation of these services in the area, which is GREAT...except that, of course, it means you have a lot of unbalanced, poor and desperate people wandering around getting into each other's space. And some of them have guns or knives.

What do I do? I go to class, I go home. I walk in groups and in daylight whenever possible. I might go to the Jimmy John's which is between the front door of the school and where I park my car, and once every two weeks, I go down a block to the sketchtastic nail salon on the other side of the tracks (only literally "the other side of the tracks"; same neighborhood, same problems), but I drive the block and repark, because going into or coming out of that salon, I get approached for money or drugs at least three times in the 15 second walk.

Keep your head down, keep walking, and always look like you have somewhere to be and people who are expecting you. If you're approached and you get a skeevy vibe, act crazy first and you'll often scare them away. (Not always. Once when I started quoting Hamlet really loudly, the crazy person joined in. That actually ended up being kind of fun.)

You just learn to live with it, I guess. We all become a little numb to the dangers we live with everyday. I can't imagine raising children on a farm, where they could fall off lofts or break a bone miles away where I wouldn't see and there's all that dangerous heavy machinery with sharp metal bits lying around and people actually let 8 year olds drive tractors?!
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Old 12-05-2008, 08:42 AM
Cluricaun Cluricaun is offline
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If you're approached and you get a skeevy vibe, act crazy first and you'll often scare them away. (Not always. Once when I started quoting Hamlet really loudly, the crazy person joined in. That actually ended up being kind of fun.)
There was a thread just a little while ago about "do you make eye contact with people" and I mentioned in there that keeping your hard crazy eye stare on people in the city will often cause them to leave you alone, because the only people who make solid staring eye contact are cops and crazy people, and street folk don't want to mess with either.

That Hamlet bit is priceless though. A girlfriend and I were once approached by a very drunk and quite disturbed guy one evening while walking through the city who insisted, strongly, that we were in fact Captain and Tennille and he was mad because we hadn't been performing lately. All attempts at dodging him weren't going anywhere and he was becoming pretty agitated at us, so not knowing what else to do I broke into "Love Will Keep Us Together", at least what I knew of it. He was delighted and let us go with a warning to be careful because there were a lot of bad people out on the streets. The best part is that neither I nor my girlfriend at the time could have passed for Captain or Tennille in even the slightest way.

Anyone who's spent time in the city has stories like that in some way though, and not all of them are as light hearted. I've had knives pulled on me, and have chased a rip off artist for blocks before coming to my senses and realizing that I didn't want to really follow the guy wherever he was going.
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Old 12-05-2008, 09:24 AM
Sarahfeena Sarahfeena is offline
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Eh, it's bad, but it's not that bad. I routinely drive through Englewood and its environs and, while I might not recommend somebody not familiar with the area to do so, it's rather unlikely anything will happen to you, especially if you're in a car. Hell, my parents used to take 55th street down from Pulaski to the Dan Ryan all the time when we went to Indiana or Michigan (why they didn't just hop on the Stevenson, I don't know), and that passes through some of the nastier areas of the city.
When I lived in Hyde Park, I worked down in the south suburbs, so I would take 55th street to the Dan Ryan every day. When the older ladies I worked with heard that, they almost had the vapors...but it really wasn't that bad. I used to take 55th out to Midway, as well. I can understand how they felt, though...some of them were from that neighborhood (out on 55th past the Dan Ryan), and the changes there were hard for them.

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Originally Posted by Ichini Sanshigo
Personally, I think the West Side (e.g. those long scenic drives along Lake Street) is much worse than the South Side.
Yeah, like I said, Lake Street is the worst I've seen. Probably the only place I've been in the city where I felt like people would look at me and wonder what the hell I was doing there.
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Old 12-05-2008, 10:10 AM
aldiboronti aldiboronti is offline
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And this is the town of Al Capone, the St Valentine's Day Massacre, Dillinger gunned down leaving the Biograph, and the Outfit?

Sheesh, don't you Chicagoans believe in keeping the old traditions alive?

BTW I read that they've transformed the Biograph and surrounding area into looking exactly as it did in the 30s for the upcoming movie with Johnny Depp as Dillinger. Any Chicagoan Doper been down to take a look?
  #19  
Old 12-05-2008, 10:53 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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When I lived in Hyde Park, I worked down in the south suburbs, so I would take 55th street to the Dan Ryan every day. When the older ladies I worked with heard that, they almost had the vapors...but it really wasn't that bad.
Some people have weird perceptions of the city. When I was dating an au pair in college, her (North Side) host parents quizzed me incessantly about the (South Side) neighborhood I was taking her to. They were convinced that the Lindy/Gerties in McKinley Park (Archer and Western) was in a dangerous neighborhood of some sort. Funny, as the only place I've ever had my car's side window smashed out and shit stolen from it was in their neighborhood (Logan Square). The other time I had a car radio stolen (which, oddly enough was only four days before the Logan Square incident) was in Evanston, although there was no window damage, as I forgot to lock the car door.

That said, my current SO is adventurous enough that she'll go with me to areas like 76th and Cottage Grove, 69th and King, and 75th and King, for my late-night ribs fix. God bless her.

Last edited by pulykamell; 12-05-2008 at 10:57 AM.
  #20  
Old 12-05-2008, 11:10 AM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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That said, my current SO is adventurous enough that she'll go with me to areas like 76th and Cottage Grove, 69th and King, and 75th and King, for my late-night ribs fix. God bless her.
Oooo...the Number Streets! Sounds like she's a keeper!
  #21  
Old 12-05-2008, 11:45 AM
HazelNutCoffee HazelNutCoffee is offline
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I've lived in Hyde Park and Uptown, and have had unpleasant experiences in both areas, but both incidents involved me being somewhat careless. It really is true that it varies wildly from block to block. In Uptown there were several shootings just a few streets down in the course of the summer but my block was always pretty quiet.
  #22  
Old 12-05-2008, 12:45 PM
Ichini Sanshigo Ichini Sanshigo is offline
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That said, my current SO is adventurous enough that she'll go with me to areas like 76th and Cottage Grove, 69th and King, and 75th and King, for my late-night ribs fix. God bless her.
Oh God yes, Lem's! I've never eaten there (can you believe it?), but in high school I passed that place practically everyday on the way home. It smells sooooo good. Seriously, I'd pay for the scent alone.
  #23  
Old 12-05-2008, 12:56 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Oh God yes, Lem's! I've never eaten there (can you believe it?), but in high school I passed that place practically everyday on the way home. It smells sooooo good. Seriously, I'd pay for the scent alone.
Yep! Lem's is one of 'em. Great ribs, and they have a very interesting sauce that has a strong clove note to it. I model my own sauces after Lem's sauce: tart, with a little bit of sweetness, and the spice of cloves and/or allspice. Also, Barbara Ann's and Uncle John's (the pitmaster from Barbara Ann's opened up a place on 69th about two years ago.) Uncle John's is clearly my favorite barbecue in Chicago.

Last edited by pulykamell; 12-05-2008 at 12:56 PM.
  #24  
Old 12-05-2008, 03:50 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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But if you want true danger, you can't beat the East Side. It's completely underwater.
Yeah, those wimpy New York mobsters act like it's a big deal when somebody sleeps with the fishes.
  #25  
Old 12-05-2008, 04:49 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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But if you want true danger, you can't beat the East Side. It's completely underwater.
East Side, Chicago. It's just north of Hegewisch, east of South Dearing.

Last edited by pulykamell; 12-05-2008 at 04:49 PM.
  #26  
Old 12-08-2008, 08:13 AM
buttonjockey308 buttonjockey308 is offline
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But if you want true danger, you can't beat the East Side. It's completely underwater.

On the contrary, my neighborhood The new Eastside is decidedly above water

I grew up a south sider. We were always warned not to go Englewood/Hyde Park/Roseland as my parents were both denizens of those areas the year it "turned" (67-68, years of intense civil unrest, I might add) into a violent place, which it is to this day, but not wrong-turn-movie violent. You shouldn't drive through there if you're not familiar with the place and you should definately not walk around if you're not street smart, but same goes for Uptown and the west side, north of the medical corridor.

Other posters are right about the block-by-block nature of it all though, because taking Halsted St. the entire way from the south 'burbs will guide you through some pretty rough areas, but those areas will be punctuated by the stretches of new malls/stores and city buildings, few blocks down the road it gets ghetto again.

Like any big city, it requires you to pay attention.

Last edited by buttonjockey308; 12-08-2008 at 08:15 AM.
  #27  
Old 12-09-2008, 05:09 PM
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Nah. I preferred the Mighty Mighty West Side when I lived in ChiTown. Magic Sam & Otis Rush RULED !!!!!
  #28  
Old 12-12-2008, 07:21 AM
SkyAudley SkyAudley is offline
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some words from Jim Croce

Badder then an old king kong, meaner then a junkyard dog,
  #29  
Old 12-13-2008, 01:46 AM
MOIDALIZE MOIDALIZE is offline
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Wherever I happen to be is the baddest part of town at that time.
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Old 12-19-2008, 02:51 PM
Van-Ness Van-Ness is offline
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Is the South Side of Chicago the baddest part of town?

I have to wonder if the "patchwork neighborhoods" is a Mid-West thing, or just something that happens everywhere but visitors don't pay attention.

Amusingly I lived in/near Logan Square while I was living there. My neighbors were friendly, my car was left alone, I walked everywhere and worked nights. I was outside waiting at 10 pm for the bus most nights and no one ever bothered me.
Sure the buildings looked a little run-down, and there were lots of bars on doors and windows (signs both of a sketchy neighborhood) but the people around didn't act afraid to walk around and talk to people they didn't know. Children played in the parks and sidewalks openly, even without roving in tight groups.

The most trouble I got were from other Chicagoans who balked at my living location and made jokes about sidelines in car-jacking.

There were, however, two memorable incidents that were, suffice to say, a bit unusual.

Once we had a near riot in the street which left the phone banks to the police department on fast busy. When I took a surreptitious look through a window, I didn't recognize a single person in the mob. I found out later it was a student protest of some sort, and that not a single person who was in it was local.
So I guess we had to borrow our trouble.

The second event was a bit more telling. I was waiting for the bus one night, and the bus was running late. I checked my cel-phone for the time, and looked up and discovered a police car pulling up to me. They offered me a ride to the train station. I thought about saying no, but they were... persuasive. I go there without incident, and they were careful to ask when I'd be back. They seemed visibly relieved that I was going to work and would be away for the whole night.

However, I find that there are much sketchier neighborhoods in Gary than there are in Chicago. I sometimes tour bad neighborhoods recreationally.

It's a habit I picked up while growing up near Detroit.

The South side actually looks perky in comparison... and things seem to be improving there even despite the economic down-turn. That's got to mean something.
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Old 12-19-2008, 09:01 PM
The Understander The Understander is offline
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I grew up there. It's not as bad as it's made out to be.

I just have to echo the experiences in everyone else in the thread, natch--it really does depend on which block you're on. For example, from 79th on south, you're not... standard disclaimers apply... likely to run into much danger, as long as you're not ON 79th itself and near the major streets. It gets dicey again once you get to the Hundreds. In general, once you start heading toward the SW side and Ford City things get a bit more ... shall we say... upscale. But Chatham is nice, and that's on the east side of state.

Generally, it's between the forties and sixties where you're likely to be eaten by a grue.

But that's way oversimplified. Bottom line is... the south side is not a patch on the west side when it comes to sheer danger. Sarahfeena... you're one brave woman.
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Old 12-21-2008, 11:15 AM
Sarahfeena Sarahfeena is offline
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But that's way oversimplified. Bottom line is... the south side is not a patch on the west side when it comes to sheer danger. Sarahfeena... you're one brave woman.
Thank, but STUPID might be a better characterization of me than brave! The truth is, I had driven pretty much all over the south side, so I kind of assumed I'd seen the worst of the city.
  #33  
Old 12-25-2008, 10:13 PM
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But if you want true danger, you can't beat the East Side. It's completely underwater.
Daddy was a cop On the East Side of Chicago Back in the USA Back in the bad old days...
  #34  
Old 01-16-2009, 03:54 AM
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But if you want true danger, you can't beat the East Side. It's completely underwater.
Oh no, you just gave me a science fiction idea...
  #35  
Old 02-03-2009, 01:31 PM
Little Plastic Ninja Little Plastic Ninja is offline
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I have to wonder if the "patchwork neighborhoods" is a Mid-West thing, or just something that happens everywhere but visitors don't pay attention.
Not being a Chicagoan myself (I've been to that fair city all of once, but to my disappointment it appears to be shut on Sundays) I can advise that patchwork neighborhoods are part of Texas big-city life. I am vaguely aware of them in Houston but I'm keenly aware of them in Austin -- some parts of East Austin are beautiful areas with happy, usually lower-income families and bohemian folks and artists and the like, but crossing the street is definitely not recommended. There was sadly a bit of creep of crime that ended up being one of the factors pushing us out of the neighborhood.
  #36  
Old 02-13-2009, 11:43 AM
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I have to wonder if the "patchwork neighborhoods" is a Mid-West thing, or just something that happens everywhere but visitors don't pay attention.
I think it's largely a geographical function. I live in Chicago now but grew up in Pittsburgh, and the two cities actually had pretty similar Public Housing Experiments (ie disasters) in the mid-late 20th Century. The difference? In Pittsburgh, you could plop all the poor people down on the other side of a hill, or in a valley, or elsewhere out of sight, out of mind, where everybody could pretend they were being "rehabilitated" by their situation (because of course that was the goal all along, ha ha ha).

In Chicago, where the tallest hill is a speedbump, you don't quite have that option. So, it's much harder to get an "effective" separation, and the gridlines of the city become the only real dividing lines. Once development crews come in, you wind up with kind of a hopscotch game of crime rates, where Cabrini Green faces fancy-schmancy townhouses.

I've found it very interesting that most "bad" neighborhoods (on the North side, especially), tend to follow a similar pattern: rough neighborhood, then the gays move in, then the hipsters move in, then the hipsters start families, then the other families move in. It's happening sporadically through Uptown now (Andersonville is probably the most further along the spectrum right now; I'd say it's about ten years post-hipster now).

Last edited by Jester; 02-13-2009 at 11:44 AM.
  #37  
Old 02-14-2009, 09:37 AM
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There ain't nothin good or worth saving north of Route 80 or East of Route 45.
Cook County needs to be a State of it's own, So they don't feel the need to cram there goofy gun control laws down our down state throats.
First they pass laws that give our rights of self defense to the criminals, Then since that doesn't work they think they can fix it by stripping us of more of our Constitutional rights.
They need to check their facts and find out when & where gun control has been successful in reducing crime & conversely when and where empowering the citizens & protecting their civil rights has resulted in less crime.
When will the NAACP & the UCLA figure out that gun control is discriminatory since it is most frequently implemented in areas with a high minority population?

Also downstaters also do not feel a need to pay for northern folks public transportation. It seems that was a big issue in the last budget negotiations.
Users do not pay their fair share. We don't have a problem supporting public transportation as long as that money is spent wisely and universally throughout the sate. Maybe a real high speed train syatem linking all of the major cities.
It costs people $.50 per mile to drive a vehicle. It should cost public transpertation users at least $.30 per mile. Maybe they should give people a card and they can pay by miles logged? The argument that people will stop using public transportation if the rates are raised is rediculous. LIke they are really going to save a lot after they get there & pay a minimum of $20 to park.

Join me in doing your best to boycot Cook County And boycot any purchases from companies headquartered in Cook County, Illinois.
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Old 02-14-2009, 09:52 AM
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Uh...huh.
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"The man who cannot laugh at himself should be handed a mirror."
  #39  
Old 02-14-2009, 10:08 AM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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Right...

So, uh, Jester... how 'bout them Bears, huh?

(I got nothin'.)
  #40  
Old 02-14-2009, 10:42 AM
butwhat butwhat is offline
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I like that UCLA part, That was supposed to be ACLU but UCLA makes a better post. Maybe it should have been YMCA? I can't figure out how to edit a post here so there you have it.

True Story - I went to jail with Whynott oncet upon a time. The cops got pissed at good ole Whynotte. Every time they asked him his name he would say Why not? Cop said
' I 'm not Fxxxxxn with you I want to know your name right now. He said Why not? There were several of us laughing at the cop who was getting madder and madder. Mr. Whynotte Didn't have his billfold cuz he wasn't driving and couldn't produce any identification. When the cop would look at us and ask his name & we would say Why not? also. It was in the olden times when they didn't even make you empty your pockets. We actually followed the cop to the jail in a separate vehicle while drinking beer and throwing the empties out the back window.
  #41  
Old 02-21-2009, 12:48 AM
benjamin81 benjamin81 is offline
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The South Side gets a reputation as being one undifferentiated slum, but, as mentioned elsewhere, you have good neighborhoods and bad ones. I'll try to share the wisdom I've gained as a longtime south side resident. But if you don't believe me, you can check for yourself using the CPD's crime-mapping tools (http://gis.chicagopolice.org/).

The South Loop (Near South Side) has changed very dramatically in the last decade. It's as safe as Lincoln Park, I'd say. To the south, Douglas isn't bad to about 31st Street, but clumsy urban renewal projects from the '60s left very little retail along the streets, which means there's no street life, which means that you're a little more likely to be a victim on the street than elsewhere. South of 31st, things get sketchier.

Bridgeport is perfectly fine. McKinley Park and Canaryville (part of the New City community area) look worse than they really are. Armour Square (what's left of it - most of the neighborhood was demolished to build the Dan Ryan and the US Cellular Field parking lot) and Chinatown are pretty safe.

Grand Boulevard is rough, though the stretch along King Drive is very pretty. Oakland is too depopulated to be good or bad. Back of the Yards (the rest of New City) was _never_ a good area.

Hyde Park, where I live, is very nice. The University of Chicago circled the wagons about 40-50 years ago and saved the neighborhood from a spiral of decay through its own private police force, incentives to get faculty and staff to live in the area, and aggressive (and controversial, and not always smart) urban renewal. I have no problem walking alone through Hyde Park at night. South Kenwood is the same; north Kenwood isn't great but it's getting there.

(Incidentally, I had a friend who absolutely refused to visit me in Hyde Park because she thought it was too "ghetto." I checked the CPD database, and it turned out that her supposedly safer street in Ukrainian Village had double the crime of almost anywhere in Hyde Park.)

Woodlawn has come back from the brink, but it has a ways to go. The areas not patrolled by the U of C Police are not good. Washington Park is bad; I'm hoping that the Olympics will inspire/shame the city into doing something about that. Englewood is the worst place on south side, IMO, but you're unlikely to be a victim of crime merely driving down 55th/Garfield.

South Shore looks nicer than it really is, which is shame, because it looks really nice; the neighborhood changed from almost entirely white to entirely black between 1960 and 1970 without the strife and disinvestment that accompanied that process in many other neighborhoods at the time. I have no problem walking around the area near Jackson Park during the day, but I'd be more circumspect at night.

Grand Crossing? Forget about it.

Chatham is hit or miss. Parts are quite nice, but the western half goes downhill pretty quickly. Here the city gets more middle-class and a bit suburban, and so the crime rate tapers off a bit. Calumet Heights is a little nicer still. South Chicago (the neighborhood) is worse, much worse, but the stretch along the lake is nice.

Roseland and West Pullman are very rough, but Pullman itself is like a little oasis of safety. It's a little gritty, though, but there's some talk that the (now vacant) Pullman headquarters building might someday serve as Obama's presidential library, which might cause the rest of the neighborhood to have some grit sandblasted off.

Mt. Greenwood is okay, from my understanding, and Beverly is very safe. Washington Heights is a smidge better than Roseland, but not by much.

I've never been to Hegewisch (it's on my list), but my understanding is that it's pretty safe. East Side is less so, but it could be worse.

In conclusion: worse than the North Side, not as bad as the West Side, but it really depends on the neighborhood. Don't fear Hyde Park or Bridgeport, stay the hell away from Grand Crossing and Englewood.

P.S. Everywhere I've gone, I feel pretty safe in my car, especially during the day; carjackings are pretty rare here.
  #42  
Old 03-20-2009, 01:13 PM
mm33 mm33 is offline
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Nice job, benjamin.

Your post also addresses the problem of the media terming everything the South Side. The same thing doesn't happen on the north side, where every neighborhood is always referred to by its semi-official name. But get a shooting at 66th and Lawrence (or whatever) and they just call it "the South Side."

Part of this is a lot of areas not having real names and boundaries (as opposed to, say, Bridgeport or Kenwood), but part of it is media coverage. It's easier to say murder, south side, than to explain where it is and let people get an accurate idea of where is bad or okay.
  #43  
Old 04-05-2009, 01:33 AM
SCSimmons SCSimmons is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cluricaun View Post
Ha! When we were kids and someone in our group had just gotten the first drivers license someone told us that the Ogden avenue that ran right by our house in Naperville went all the way into the city.
Heh. Just reminded me of the directions I used to give people to my parents' house from downtown Chicago, about twenty years back. "Take Ogden Avenue west," I began, " and at the first stop sign, turn left ..." Sadly, that first stop sign (at Ogden/Naperville Road/U.S. 34 and Washington Avenue in Oswego, ~60 miles from the Loop), has been upgraded to a stoplight, so I can't use that one any longer.
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  #44  
Old 05-16-2009, 03:31 AM
thatdudeguydude thatdudeguydude is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cluricaun View Post
There was a thread just a little while ago about "do you make eye contact with people" and I mentioned in there that keeping your hard crazy eye stare on people in the city will often cause them to leave you alone, because the only people who make solid staring eye contact are cops and crazy people, and street folk don't want to mess with either.
I totally agree! Born and raised here, the one thing you learn is how to look through people. Stare right through them. Not at them. Through them. There's a difference. The worst thing you can do, is avoid eye contact and look down at the ground or away, they are like dogs, they can smell fear. You have to have an attitude that you own the place, that you been there a million times before, it's your turf, no matter what. Good call. Otherwise, yeah Benjamin pretty much nailed it. And there really isn't an east side, even though some people down there really want to claim that there is. Sorry, no east side, try again.
  #45  
Old 05-20-2009, 11:59 AM
Shadowfyre Shadowfyre is offline
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I spent many years living in the city. I went to school at IIT (between 35th St and 31st St) back in the 90's. That was when Stateway Gardens and the Rober Taylor Homes were still around just south of 35th St. I was in a fraternity and was much closer to 35th St than anyone in the dorms. When the first nice days of spring came around and we went to sleep with our windows open, we could count gunshots. Not quite as relaxing as counting sheep, let me tell ya!

One Sunday evening in December, my dad was bringing me back from our south suburban home on the Dan Ryan and the car sprang a massive oil leak just before the local lanes started (I don't remember the street name). We pulled off and parked along the street. I left my dad surveying the damage under the hood as I walked about a block to the gas station. There were about 5 customers there and they all turned to look as I, probably the only white guy in about a 10 block radius, walked in. No one looked like a gang banger and I figured that we were still a few miles south of the housing projects, so I wasn't too worried. I bought some oil and took it back to my dad. We didn't trust getting back on the highway and drove the rest of the way up State St., right through the heart of the beast. Within a couple of weeks, my parents joined AAA.

I knew a couple of people that got mugged at knife point on the green line platform at 35th St.

There was a shoot out on campus once.

While the Green Line was shut down for repairs, I walked out to the red line in the middle of the Dan Ryan to go visit my friend at Loyola. I was shot at from a high rise as I walked (then sprinted) down 35th street.

The IIT tower along 35th st, directly across from the highrise where someone shot at me, had bulletproof windows on that side because they kept getting shot out otherwise.

When I moved in with my buddy up at Loyola, we lived in Roger's Park (I had a car, he didn't). The worst I can say about that is that the parking was horrible. If I had to stay late at school, I'd have to park 4 or 5 blocks away from my apartment building. And we had roaches.

Then I moved to Bridgeport and had no problems whatsoever. I really enjoyed living there, even with all the Sox fans.

An interesting story: Before I moved in with my friend up by Loyola, he lived a few other guys in an apartment right on the lake. The street he lived on ended about 20 feet from the lake. The nearest street sign said the street was W. Suchandsuch St.(I don't remember the actual street name). I looked east over the lake and laughed at the designation of "west" when there was no "east" Suchandsuch St.
  #46  
Old 05-21-2009, 03:04 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thatdudeguydude View Post
And there really isn't an east side, even though some people down there really want to claim that there is. Sorry, no east side, try again.
Chicago is divided into South, West, and North Sides, yes. However, the East Side community area I mention has been around (and known as such) since at least the early 1900s, if not longer. There is and has been for over a hundred years a part of Chicago known as the "East Side." It's just north of Hegewisch, abutting Indiana. My point was that one can refer to the East Side and not mean the Lake, but that area.
  #47  
Old 05-23-2009, 04:52 PM
C K Dexter Haven C K Dexter Haven is offline
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This has been answered (or at least, addressed) by Cecil: http://chicago.straightdope.com/sdc20090409.php

Consequently, I've edited the thread title (added the words [ANSWERED BY CECIL] and I'm moving this thread to the forum for discussions related to a SD-Chi column, since that's now what it is.

Last edited by C K Dexter Haven; 05-23-2009 at 04:53 PM.
  #48  
Old 06-28-2009, 10:01 PM
Shepy Shepy is offline
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There are plenty of rough spots on the South Side. And there was just some article published (NYT?) listing the worst 25 neighborhoods in the US, and 5 of 'em were on Chicago's South Side. My personal belief is that Austin (West Side) is way worse than any South Side hood, but that it doesn't get the bad rep/statistics due to lack of arrests, because the cops don't even really go there.
  #49  
Old 06-28-2009, 10:13 PM
Shepy Shepy is offline
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And Ninja, you gotta be kidding me. The Loop is closed on Sundays (and Saturdays, and after 7pm on weekdays) but the city is not. I hope on your next visit to my beautiful city, you'll get out of the Loop and River North and come into the neighborhoods. I'll even buy you a bloody.
  #50  
Old 06-29-2009, 03:14 PM
Ed Zotti Ed Zotti is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shepy View Post
And Ninja, you gotta be kidding me. The Loop is closed on Sundays (and Saturdays, and after 7pm on weekdays) but the city is not. I hope on your next visit to my beautiful city, you'll get out of the Loop and River North and come into the neighborhoods. I'll even buy you a bloody.
Doesn't sound like either one of you guys has been to the Loop in a while. It was pretty deserted after hours in the 1980s, but nowadays you find a fair number of people on the street at most times. I was in the West Loop yesterday afternoon (a Sunday); people all over.
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