Sandra Van Opstal I thought of you when I saw this. I especially wanted to know how many of the store owner are long-term residents and how many of them think about long-term implications on residents. I was saddened by the article and this woman's attitude.
North Avenue Pulaski Road "Authenticity is nearly always used as a lever of cultural power for a group to claim space and take it away from others without direct confrontation, with the help of the state and elected officials and the persuasion of the media and consumer culture. " - Sharon Zukin #procojoemoreno#DNAinfo#WOWdistrict
Deborah Baldwin You would think you would be happy that people have come to rent and open businesses in an area that needed it. Good for them wanting to make it a clean, safe, thriving area that brings in tax revenue for the area. Input from the community to change things you say? Was there any input when all the changes occurred in the late 60's and early 70's? Stop hating on changes and accept it. It is happening whether you like it or not.
Nohemi Moran Why can't it just be a better neighborhood, for the sake of being a better neighborhood, you do that by including the people that also live within it. Does it need a new name? "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
John Roeser I understand the desire of these shop owners to "rebrand" the area. I know as a business owner and landlord how many people have dismissed me for being "west of western". Personally I find it an insult to our community. We, Humboldt Park" community residents and businesses have gotten a bad rap since a riot 35 years ago that was primarily started by an ineffectual new mayor and temporary police chief and their inept handling of a minor situation. Get over it media!!! How many times has something good happend at Armitage and Kedzie and the media refers to it as Logan Square but if something bad happens at Palmer and Kedzie it's Humboldt Park. Even without actual data I would believe that the "one on one" crime rate in HP is less than that in LS, BT and WP. I see/hear people talking about "gentrification". I'm quite aware of the definition and the often economic development and lower crime rates that accompany gentrification. I am also aware that some people may be displaced by higher rents but in a 3-4% mortgage world no homeowners should be displaced by higher taxes, they should be reaping the rewards of increased property values. Oddly enough when you look at the census data the Puerto Rican population of Humboldt Park between 1990 and 2000 it declined by 23% while the non hispanic white population also declined by 20%. The Mexican population however increased by 40%, ergo our community is being gentrified by the Mexican population? I don't ever sense that this is the belief of many commentors. As you know my business has been here for over 100 years and although that represents 4 generations of Humboldt Park residents ( my son currently lives here) we are actually 5th generation community residents as my grandmother was born on Crystal to her parents who were here prior to 1900. You don't have to leave!! Humboldt Park is a transient neighborhood and has been for 100 years. Sorry for the digression and back to topic. If a change in name can help change the perception and attitude about/towards our community I can not be against it. If new shops open and hire from the neighborhood that cqn only be a good thing. We need to be accepting of change and work to better our community for our children and their families. A robust business strip offering more employment and an occupied clean look should benifit almost everyone in the community. We all need to just "stay" and work together to better the lives of all HP residents.
North Avenue Pulaski Road Thanks John for your wisdom. Your family and business never left the community. What I see with new businesses is an arrogance and unwillingness to engage longtime residents and businesses. What your business and legacy has been one of humility, and that goes a long way with a community. When residents and businesses started leaving and the neighborhood became more Puerto Rican, I know Roesers adapted to the change. In fact you traveled to Puerto Rico and learned to bake pastries that were important to the changing community. There is much to be learned from your model of doing business.
John Roeser Thank you for the kind words. How do we get the word out about how "accepting" our community is? How we have always embraced diversity? There is actually a few of us that have entertained the idea of creating a "North Ave Chamber". The NPACC has gotten so large it is difficult for Pete to handle its expansive area. We were thinking from Western to Lawndale. Jus trying to fill vacancies, bring jobs and change the perception of our Humboldt Park!!
Sandra Van Opstal That would be awesome if the new business owners hired from within the community--I have not seen that yet in any of the new business that came to Logan or Humboldt. John you should offer a class cause I know you all do that well.Stopped in for many red velvet cupcakes
Annie Nibs Passanisi Hi everybody! I represent Polymathicand we're proud to call 2423 W. North Ave home. We are saddened by the ideas listed here that we do not wish to include our neighbors or that we are trying to "fix" the neighborhood to our liking. Since moving in in early March, I have tried to find ways to get to know the community (other than my amazing WOW neighbors) and have been unsuccessful - especially with reaching the Puerto Rican community. I would be so grateful for any advice on events to attend or contacts to reach out to to help me bridge the gap. You seem like a great place to start, Mr. Roeser! (Can I buy you lunch sometime and pick your brain?) As for trying to fix the neighborhood, we love Humboldt or we wouldn't have chosen to settle down here. It's really that simple. We're just hoping to provide a great space for artists and technologists in the community (and a darn cheap event space). We're not trying to ruffle any feathers. Thanks for you input on the questions above. We're excited to be great neighbors and do the community proud.
Jesse Mumm If you move into a community and the first thing you do is try to rebrand it, what kind of message do you think you are sending to the people you want to "reach"? How many local, predecessor residents have been hired by the six businesses mentioned in the article? McDaniel openly proclaims the desire to have what Lincoln Park and Andersonville have. So why not go there? I am astounded that people can claim they want "community" but do not go first to speak with the organizers of one of the most organized communities in the country. It already has a name. The name is Humboldt Park.
Annie Nibs Passanisi Lynne has been in the community for about a decade, but I see your point, Jesse. Remember, we aren't trying to rename the neighborhood (no West Wicker-ing here!). It's only a district. The Wow District OF Humboldt Park.
North Avenue Pulaski Road This will be hard for you and the twenty businesses to do, but it is the right thing to do; Stop, just stop. Don't claim the space as a district of Humboldt Park, don't spend. $15,000 to put up benches , signs, etc. Cease planning, don't continue to fall deep into the gentrification narrative. Wait. Do you want to do this right, in such a contested space? Flip the script by regrouping your cohort of friends and businesses and take time to listen. Going forward cannot look like what is dreamed in the article. Meet with Mr. Roeser, meet with those opposed to the branding, reach out to Jose E. Lopez at the Puerto Rican Cultural Center to understand the community history. He will tell you history of the North Avenue business district. He will show you how rebranding and gentrification has already deeply affected the community. Ask him for advice. Talk to the DSBDA. Learn how an organization like West Town Bikes use to be where An Orange Moon was, and became accepted and fully integrated into the Puerto Rican business community, they did not follow the gentrification narrative. Don't not go forward until your group has made this right. Trust us you will not regret it, and history will bode well for you and the businesses west of Western, along North Avenue.
Juanita Irizarry Deborah Baldwin, I've seen your comments here before. The 60s and 70s narrative you suggest ignores the redlining and blockbusting and arson fires that destroyed our community. It did not just decline because if the individual acts of poorer and brown people who moved in. Instituional racism in the form of bank policies decided not to provide loans because of who was moving in.
Deborah Baldwin I am glad you did. Then you know I lived there the majority of my life and have lived through all the changes and have seen first had all the destruction of a beautiful area that I was always proud of. A once vibrant, safe community turned into an almost ghetto of filth, gangs, drugs, prostitution. It can not be sugar coated. And it sickens me that now that someone wants to fix it up and attempt to make it what it once was that it has become nothing more than keeping the white man out, the same white people that lost so much because of the destruction.
Juanita Irizarry I have lived here all my life, too. We all lost so much because of the destruction. But the people who want to come in now are not the same people who were here before, and they don't want to make it what it once was. It will be much more high end than it was back in the days you remember, and only those with a lot of money will be able to afford what's coming, if you look west to Lincoln Park and Wicker Park. That's what's coming, and very few of us, white or Latino or whatever, will be here to enjoy it once it completely takes over.
Deborah Baldwin And very few of the people who were there before the destruction stayed because of the lose of property value etc. Changes happen, and it will happen regardless of what anyone does. Remember, the whites with money can not buy if the Hispanics do not sell to them.
Juanita Irizarry Deborah: The era you speak of was one in which property values plummeted because banks would not provide mortgages or home improvement loans because of their racist policies. It was a self-fulfillingprophecy: because banks believed property values would go down because Latinos were moving in, they did go down: because no one could sell their property or fix it up. So owners burned their homes down and got their fire insurance payment to get their money out. Or, the white homeowners moved out and just rented their buildings; some of them were slumlords--they didn't maintain the buildings. And then the brown poor people in the neighborhood got blamed for the condition of the buildings--rather than the owners. That is the actual history of the neighborhood.
Juanita Irizarry Deborah: Also, assuming that the people who currently are the owners of buildings in your neighborhood are Latinos may not be on target. Many of the people around you are renters, not the owners of the buildings.
Deborah Baldwin You know that story is not correct, I wont argue with you about it but that is not how it went. As I said before, too many poorer people came in and had no respect for other peoples property, they would destroy it , take advantage of not being able to be evicted,left landlords with little money to fix the places back up since rent was so cheap to begin with. Owners sell, renters do not.
Eleazar Vazquez McDaniel summarized this best -- "I want community," she said. "Some people get it, and some don't, but I don't even give a damn if they get it or not." Not much of a community attitude there. Sounds more like she's creating her own business clique rather than a business community. She could learn a lot from Mr. Roeser.