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ChicagoSouth Side

Pilsen is once again the next hot neighborhood

Pilsen thrift store

The concept of a “willing suspension of disbelief” is credited to Samuel Taylor Coleridge from the year 1817. Wikipedia summarizes it thus: … if a writer could infuse a “human interest and a semblance of truth” into a fantastic tale, the reader would suspend judgment concerning the implausibility of the narrative. You can draw your ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on August 7, 2014
ChicagoSouth Side

Is Pilsen under the gun?

Pilsen thrift store

We’re not talking about the so-called hipster invasion of Pilsen, nor are we resurrecting stale debates about the threat of gentrification. We’re merely relaying the headline question from a recent post at Pilsen Portal on the prevalence of crime in Pilsen. Is Pilsen under the gun? An excerpt: The answer is both a “yes” and ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on July 9, 2014
ChicagoSouth Side

Checking prices at Union Row in East Pilsen

Union Row

It’s been a while since we’ve checked on the status of the Union Row townhomes on 16th St in East Pilsen. You can join me for a walk around the development in the above video, and see much more of the neighborhood and Union Row in the 23 videos at this YouTube playlist. Union Row’s ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 2, 2014
ChicagoDowntown / Loop

Where’s YoChicago been lately?

Wells Street, Chicago

In the course of a typical month YoChicago stops at 100s of places in dozens of Chicago neighborhoods and suburbs. We don’t write about all of them, but we do snap photos and video clips for use in current and future videos and posts. Here’s a look at just a few of the places we’ve ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on September 18, 2013
ChicagoSouth Side

Time to take a fresh look at Pilsen

Aerial view of Thalia Hall

I’ve been a long-time skeptic of the oft-repeated hype that Pilsen is poised to be transformed into a haven dominated by students, artists, hipsters and affluent trend-setters seeking the next hot neighborhood. Pilsen has been, for many years, a port of entry for predominantly Mexican immigrants and continues to serve that role well despite suburban ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on March 28, 2013
ChicagoSouth Side

Have the twelve days of Pilsen changed?

Pilsen at Christmas

In the Christmas spirit, we offer you the final stanza of an old standard. Click here to play the tune. On the twelfth day of Pilsen My true love sent to me Twelve trees a-growing Eleven more cops patrolling Ten cars not parking Nine trucks a-plowing Eight speed humps slowing Seven dogs not barking Six ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on December 21, 2012
ChicagoSouth Side

New listings at resurrected condo in Pilsen

Nuevo Leon, Chicago

You’ll be just around the corner from Pilsen‘s popular and colorful Nuevo Leon restaurant if you buy one of the recently-listed condos at 1533 W 18th Pl. The 6-flat building was built in 2008, but only one of the units sold. The remaining five wound up in foreclosure until earlier this year, and three of ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on October 16, 2012
ChicagoSouth Side

Quote of the day: Pilsen’s Bohemian builders and Mexican preservationists

Pilsen streetscape, Chicago

The Pilsen Historic District is bounded roughly on the east and west by Halsted St (800 W) and Western Ave (2400 W), on the south by Cermak Rd (2200 S) and on the north by the railroad embankment just north of 16th St. It’s a large area, and if you were to traverse all of ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on May 2, 2012
ChicagoSouth Side

Pilsen apartments for $7,000 a month

La Casa, Pilsen

Put 10 students from local universities in a 5-bedroom, 2-bath apartment at $700 a month each and you have a $7,000 a month rental at La Casa in Pilsen. The monthly rate’s not out of line with other student housing in downtown Chicago. If anything, it’s toward the lower end of the range, and it ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on May 1, 2012
ChicagoSouth Side

A warehouse makeover planned for Pilsen

May Street Cafe Chicago

The plans for several large new mixed-use / residential developments in Pilsen came to naught, but there is some significant construction on the horizon in the neighborhood – the rebuilding of a 122,000 square foot warehouse. According to Crain’s Chicago Real Estate Daily, Urban Investment Research Corp. is doing the deal on a “spec” basis, ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on December 22, 2011
ChicagoSouth Side

From the vault – the twelve days of Pilsen

Pilsen, Chicago

In the Christmas spirit, we offer you just the final stanza of this old standard. Click here to play the tune. On the twelfth day of Pilsen My true love sent to me Twelve trees a-growing Eleven more cops patrolling Ten cars not parking Nine trucks a-plowing Eight speed humps slowing Seven dogs not barking ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on December 19, 2011
ChicagoSouth Side

EPA cites unhealthy lead levels in Pilsen

H. Kramer and Co., Pilsen

The Trib is reporting that the US Environmental Protection Agency has moved to designate Pilsen as a community where people are breathing unhealthy levels of toxic lead. The Tribune had previously reported that lead levels near a Pilsen elementary school have spiked to more than 10 times higher than federal limits. A major source of ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on June 15, 2011
ChicagoSouth Side

Neighborhood change – Pilsen, Avondale and West Englewood

Neighborhood video, Pilsen

For one Pilsen business owner, neighborhood change means that “no one is stealing my flowers.” A Schurz High School student sees Avondale as having “changed from bad to good in the past 30 years. My family and I changed along with the neighborhood.” In West Englewood, a network of block clubs is working to promote ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on June 13, 2011
ChicagoSouth Side

Quote of the day – making doo doo in Pilsen

From a Craigslist roommates ad: when shit comes your way, you make doo doo. . ..so I have 2 rooms for rent that are looking to be filled ASAP. I’m looking for someone asap so its very possible you can move in soon. Short term welcomed at least 3 months (you are responsible for finding ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on May 19, 2011
ChicagoSouth Side

Quote of the day – White hipsters get out of Pilsen

Gentrifying Pilsen

Transcribed from a Flickr photo linked from Steven Vance’s Steven Can Plan blog: White hipsters get out of Pilsen. You are gentrifying cultural communities, displacing people of color. This is NOT your art community. To think so is RACIST. You are NOT welcome in Pilsen or any community of color. The post has apparently been ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on May 17, 2011
ChicagoDowntown / Loop

From the vault: Good Friday in Pilsen

Video: Good Friday in Pilsen

Every Good Friday, thousands of Pilsen residents turn out for a Stations of the Cross procession down 18th Street. Last year I met the throng near 18th and Paulina, and followed it west to Harrison Park, where the parade culminated with a reenactment of the crucifixion.

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Posted by Joseph Askins on April 22, 2011
ChicagoDowntown / Loop

From the vault: Pilsen’s Times Square

Pilsen's Times Square, 18th & Blue Island, December 2006

One of the most-viewed videos on our YouTube channel this week in 2008 actually dates back to December 2006. It’s Joe Zekas’ take on the “Times Square” of Pilsen — the intersection of 18th Street and Blue Island Avenue. As Pilsen videos always are, it’s been quite the magnet for comments over the years. How ...

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Posted by Joseph Askins on March 3, 2011
ChicagoDowntown / Loop

Multi-families are the market in Pilsen

Thumbnail image for Multi-families are the market in Pilsen

Pilsen is very much a renter community (by an almost 3-to-1 margin over owners, according to past Census projections), so it’s not too surprising to see that as much as 60% of real estate activity in the neighborhood involves investment in multi-family buildings. Redfin’s records show 57 Pilsen / Lower West Side buildings sold in ...

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Posted by Joseph Askins on February 8, 2011
ChicagoDowntown / Loop

Consultants sought for Cermak Creative Industry District redevelopment

East Pilsen, Chicago

On Monday the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Department of Housing and Economic Development issued a request for qualifications for consultant teams to help redevelop the Near South Side’s Spice Barrel District and Cermak Road Historic Bridge District between Chinatown and Pilsen into a new Creative Industry District offering “affordable and sustainable spaces for ...

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Posted by Joseph Askins on February 2, 2011
ChicagoSouth Side

A Pilsen and Little Village Christmas carol

RANChicago Christmas carol video

Santa and the elves from RAN Chicago visited City Hall before Christmas to bestow candy canes on aldermen who supported the Chicago Clean Power Ordinance, and lumps of coal on those who opposed it. More info is available at Clean Power Chicago. A musical tribute to the Fisk and Crawford coal-fired generating plants in Pilsen ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on December 26, 2010