Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cheer Greg of W. Crossings on in the Bucktown 5K!

Greg, who owns W. Grocer along with his brother, Paul, is not sure why he began to run, but six months ago he woke up one morning and decided that he needed to do it.

And he hasn't stopped since. Last month he reached his personal best in the Rock and Roll 10K marathon, with a time of 1:37.

In March, he ran in the 5K Zoo in the Park at Lincoln Park Zoo. "I enjoyed seeing all of the animals while I was running," he said, adding that he also likes the camaraderie that is formed with the other runners.

As for what he thinks about when he's running, Greg says, "Not dying."

Greg's favorite places to run are the Lake Shore path and forest preserves in the suburbs.

The Bucktown 5K is this Sunday at 8:30AM.

The Week Past, the Week Ahead and Changes

This past week's issue was a lot of fun, but there are many improvements which need to be made.

The format of the pipeline is way too long.

The focus is way too scatterbrained.

It needs to be more than the 'AH' show, and it has become this by default since I send it from my email, but I want the Pipeline to be about more than just my voice, as well as duplicatible. If I got hit by a bus tomorrow, would the pipeline just end?

Unless you know me or I've approached you and added you to the list, it is difficult to know about the pipeline, since it doesn't have any visible marketing or street-side presence.

We are working on a way to make it more clearly focused, and to streamline the design.
Phil accused me of being clique-y!

I am the least cliquish person I know, but he's right. Am I trying to keep this thing under the radar, or get the word out?

Granted, Phil is not well versed in social media, and in addition to the email list we get a reads through Facebook and Twitter and the Windy Citizen, but for people in the neighborhood who don't follow news on any of those said sites, there is no way for them to know that a neighborhood pipeline 80 weeks strong containing weekly and reliable information is available.

So, basically, I guess what I'm saying is that The Pipeline needs a makeover. And I am both scared and excited, but mainly scared. As a creature of routine and perhaps not the best at dealing with change (in fact I will go to great lengths to avoid changes of all kinds) all of this talk of improvement kind of freaks me out. But it needs to happen.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A good week for Bucktown closings!

By Marna Spizz
Sponsored News:
SPACES: Residential Closings, Openings & More
This section is sponsored by Marna Spizz, an independent residential real estate broker helping locals find or sell the spiciest and hippest of 'spaces' since 1998!

News just in.... A good week in "Bucktown" residential real estate. "Bucktown" defined as between North Ave and the 90/94 Expwy and Ashland and Western. 6 properties, 5 "attached" and 1 "multi-unit" changed owners. The multi-unit, a 2 flat at 2018 W. Wabansia, purchased in 2006 for $575,000 sold SHORT this week for $350,000 in 91 days.

The lowest closing was a 2 bed/2 bath condo at 1641 W. North Ave Unit 2W. Purchased in October 2004 for $335,000, it sold in 163 days for $320,000 or 91% of its $350,000 list price and 95% of its 2004 price. The 2nd lowest closings were a tie - 2333 W. St. Paul Unit 132 - a 2 bed/2 bath loft condo purchased in June 2008 for $364,500, sold this week in 33 days for $332,000...91% of its 2008 value. 2012 W. St. Paul Unit 406 - a 2 bed/1.1 bath loft condo also sold for $332,000 this past week, fetching 85% of its Jan. 2007 price of $387,900.

The highest closing this week was a 3 bed/3.1 bath condo at 2301 W. Wabansia Unit 1F which sold at $575,000 or 90% of its current list price of $639,900 in 177 days. This was essentially 100% of its 2005 price of $575,570.

At the right price - which seems to be taking us back to 2004 or 2005-- Bucktown real estate is moving without a huge inventory of distressed properties. Our great neighborhood still offers some of the best restaurants, entertainment, and shopping while being incredibly convenient to public transportation and the expressways. As you walk through the tree-lined streets of Bucktown, perhaps looking at some of the houses and condos we mention each week, you can take in an incredible breadth of eclectic properties that help make Bucktown so special.

As usual, if you are thinking about making one of these special properties your own, or have a special property you'd like to make someone else's, contact Marna Spizz, our residential closings columnist, and local market expert at or 312-543-2259. She'd be happy to meet with you in Real Space!

*** Information sourced from MRED; closed properties from 9/20/2010 - 9/26/2010 as of 9/27/2010. Cross property residential Bucktown as defined above.

-Marna Spizz

The Midnight Circus... Appearing Live at a Park Near You

By Julie Horowitz-Jackson

The Midnight Circus... Appearing Live at a Park Near You

by Julie Horowitz-Jackson
On a chilly Sunday afternoon, a community comes together. Welcome, the Midnight Circus. In partnership with the Chicago Park District, Circus in the Parks featuring the Midnight Circus aims to raise funding for much needed local park improvements and expansion.

Together since 1995, the Midnight Circus has performed in theaters and outdoor venues all over the world, returning home to earn the title of Chicago's resident theatrical circus. Midway through their 4th season with Circus in the Parks, the Midnight Circus is on target to raise close to $140,000 for an expanded series of parks this year which includes Gompers, Welles, Portage, Chase, and our own Holstein Park.

Astounding feats of silken swings and oddly flexible juggling will keep you riveted. A true theatrical experience, the Midnight Circus offers something for everyone. Alongside traditional trapeze and clown pandemonium, breathtaking arabesques high in the air make this a feast for everyone's eyes. Even the most simple moment of down time between acts is filled with a flutter of butterflies that never ceases to amaze and delight the kids up front.

Such an intimate experience has been finely choreographed at the homestead of Jeff Jenkins and Julie Greenberg, together with their two kids, a couple of dogs, and a very talented troupe. If you have a chance to see just one outdoor event this month, take the kids to see the Midnight Circus, appearing live at a park near you. For details, please visit The Midnight Circus can be found at

Huge thumbs up from this reader and her four year old son.

Did you miss the circus this past weekend in Holstein Park? The circus will visit Portage Park on Oct. 9-10, and Chase Park, Oct. 16-17. For details, visit; more information on The Midnight Circus can be found here.

Julie Horowitz-Jackson has been a proud Bucktown business owner for the last nine and a half years. Constantly looking for ways to share her fondness for this community, Julie is quick to recommend a Bucktown bite or local event to all those who visit Virtu. 2034 N Damen.

Upcoming Wicker Park Garden Club Lectures

Three of Chicago’s top landscape design firms will address creating landscapes for historic homes or restoring an historic landscapes. These landscape designers will address: working with the historic elements and aesthetics of the homes (Italianate, Second Empire, Queen Anne, etc.), working with the clients needs and incorporating those into the landscape design, and bringing to the final designs their personal creative energies and points of view.

Monday, October 4 - Lecture - Top Photo
7-8-30 PM – Wicker Park Field House - 1425 N. Damen
Landscape Designs for Historic Homes
Brian Culliton and Toni Quinn
Culliton Quinn Landscape Architecture Workshop - Lecture Sponsor
RESERVATIONS - $8 – or (773) 278-9075

Monday, November 1 - Lecture - Middle Photo
7-8-30 PM – Wicker Park Field House - 1425 N. Damen
Landscape Designs for Historic Homes
Abigale Baldwin, RLA
Hoerr-Shaudt Landscape Architect - Lecture Sponsor
RESERVATIONS - $8 – or (773) 278-9075

Monday, December 6 - Lecture - Bottom Photo
7-8-30 PM – Wicker Park Field House - 1425 N. Damen
Jensen Landscape Restoration for a Private Residence
Deirdre E. Toner
DT Landscape Design - Lecture Sponsor
RESERVATIONS - $8 – or (773) 278-9075

The Wicker Park Garden Club, organized in 1984 as a not-for-profit organization, brings new and veteran garden enthusiasts together to create a forum in which the participants can address both landscape design, green technologies, and practical gardening techniques. Box office from the talks support speaker stipends and/or support to maintain the 10,000 square feet of gardens we design, fund, and maintain in our Park.

Pictured is Richard Tilley of the Garden Club, working in the park this past weekend.

more images, maybe to i.d.

Day One: Figure out the Digital Camera

Haunted Indoor Drive In At Wicker Park

Click to enlarge