Wicker Park and Logan Square Prep for Festival Season

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Wicker Park and Logan Square are happening places. With the mix of warm weather and young-ish professionals with disposable incomes, the area will have its share of events in the next few weeks and months. DNA Info just posted an article highlighting the beer fests and bar specials going on this week.

I think there could be a story somewhere in here. The fests alone could make an interesting article, but then again this isn’t an uncommon thing. But if you think about it, just what effects might the fests have on the neighborhood? Take, for instance, the Wicker Park Fest in late July. Looks like a good time. But how does this affect businesses? Do they do better after these fests, because of successful promotions at the event? Do residents in the neighborhood like the influx of people who visit the area on those days? Is there a rise in crime/vandalism/public lewdness? Or is this something the neighbors look forward too, a chance to show off their home? Do people attend the fest and eventually move into the area? There are a multitude of story ideas.

The Logan Square and Wicker Park chambers of commerce would be good sources for this type of story, as would their neighborhood associations. They would presumably have valid opinions. Again, there could be an interesting story here.

Envisioning the Final Project

For my final article, I was probably (I never like to commit too early) going to continue on with my bicycling story. I’ll go a little more in-depth with the topic, focus more on an organization or specific cyclist, and what problems there are in the city with biking.

There are a number of bicycling groups in Chicago that deal extensively with the Wicker Park/Bucktown/Logan Square/West Side area, so I might try to profile them. For instance, I found one group in Pilsen, so perhaps I can speak with them or find a sister organization in Wicker Park.

One thing I do know is that I’ll be going with all new sources for my final paper. I talked with two random strangers on Milwaukee Ave., so I won’t be able to track them down again. Also, the lady I talked with who works with The Chainlink was nice, but it was a huge ordeal to speak with her. I’ll move on from that.

If I don’t write another biking story, I might go with a story on pick-up basketball, or I might just walk around the neighborhood this week and see what catches my interest.

West Side Bicyclists Won’t Get Protection From The City

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I’m not a cyclist myself, but bicyclists have always fascinated me. Mainly, Chicago bicyclists are of interest they maneuver around the busy city streets and go toe-to-toe with cars, with little protection other than a hardened foam bike helmet. Kind of crazy, right?

Last week I read that the city balked at making a protected bike lane on Milwaukee Avenue. A big reason for that is because cars park on the street, and the city would be sacrificing parking spaces. Milwaukee Ave., though, is an odd street because it is a diagonal street. It has a ton of six-way intersections. This is a fairly dangerous street for bikers.

For my midterm, I want to go in and write about that – finding people who traverse West Side streets on bike, getting their reaction to not just the city’s scrapped plan, but also their take on any cycling-related issues in Logan Square and Wicker Park.

I found a few Chicago cycling clubs online, so I’m sure they have an opinion on the issue. I also found a splendid map that illustrates where accidents happen, and exactly what happened.

I also found an article stating just how beneficial protected bike lanes are, and just how dangerous it is to ride around out in the city streets without that protection. The protected lanes not only protect bikers, but are good for the city, too.

Humboldt Park School Closings and Wicker Park Gentrification and Parking

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In conducting my research on the news coverage of the northwest Chicago neighborhoods of Logan Square, Bucktown/ Wicker Park and Humboldt Park, there are a couple of story ideas that came to mind.

One of these story ideas is that of the public school closings taking place in Humboldt Park. This story idea came to me after reading a couple of the articles published by DNAinfo on the subject. The first news story that caught my eye was a story called “CPS Closings: Public Meetings Set for Humboldt Park Schools”, this story discussed public meetings being held by the city which aim to give members of Humboldt Park neighborhood a second chance at trying to save their neighborhood schools.

This story immediately caught my attention given that one of the schools listed in the story Ana Roque de Duprey, is a school to which I attended during my first years of school. I remember the school very vividly and can definitely attest that it played a huge role in the development of my Spanish language skills my overall interest in my education.

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Basketball and Bicycles

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I’m still not sure what I’m going to write about for the midterm and final, but I found some articles online about what’s going on in the Wicker Park/Bucktown/Logan Square area. First, I found an article from last week that says that Wicker Park voted against removing street parking on Milwaukee Avenue to add a lane for bikers. I don’t know too much about the cycling world, but I do know that cyclists are a proud, tough people that will protest and push for a lane that gives them more protection. This already seems like an ongoing story, and I don’t think it will fade away anytime soon.

I also read that Wicker Park is a top place for pick-up basketball. From what the article says, it’s interesting that a park with only two half-courts is a top place for outdoor hoops. That’s something I could check out myself, and write about that. I’ll be honest: I really want to write about sports, and this seemed like the most timely option for that. It’s about to be spring, the best time for outdoor sports.

Another big picture story idea was on the declining population of Logan Square. I always thought it was a nice neighborhood, a pleasant place to live (I spent a whopping 27 days living in an apartment near Armitage and Humboldt in September 2012). I found an article that broke down how the neighborhood is changing.

In Logan Square, for example, the non-Hispanic white population grew by 7,000, while the number of Hispanics dropped by 16,000. Many of the new residents are affluent white singles. That pattern of gentrification can also be seen in Humboldt Park, Uptown, Rogers Park, North Center and Lakeview, Lewis said.

It’s very interesting. Logan Square is becoming whiter and less Latino. It’s also becoming emptier.

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