ChicagoNorthwest Side

Which Humboldt Park is the real one?

by Joe Zekas on 4/27/12

There’s an idealized Humboldt Park and a real one. You can find the idealized version at a real estate site:

A diverse, family-friendly area full of mom-and-pop shops, plenty of greenery and neighbors chatting on front stoops is the core of Humboldt Park living. But the real treat is that the neighborhood hustles and bustles around one of Chicago’s largest parks which is the site of many summer music concerts and year round recreation. Also a big draw of this west side community is its unique tie to Puerto Rican culture. Humboldt Park’s strong Puerto Rican heritage prompts a yearly festival and parade, held under the neighborhood’s two large Puerto Rican flags that mark Paseo Boricua Humboldt Park’s main drag. But the restaurants, shops and entertainment are hardly restricted to a single spot, there are great options for eating and amusement all over place in Humboldt Park.

You can get closer to some aspects of the real Humboldt Park in the first of several articles at the Chicago Reader:

The drug market is a fact of life for everyone who lives in west Humboldt Park. Some people—scores of them, perhaps more—have a stake in it themselves.

But many others have been forced to find ways to cope with it. These residents find needles in their alleys—or stumble upon people as they’re shooting up. They know when dealers have a new product by the crowds that form when free samples are given away. They have to navigate drug traffic every time they go to work or run to the store.

The Reader article quotes a resident of the 900 block of North Homan on her block’s booming drug business. Is there any chance that the Google Street View of 900 N Homan, above, reflects a neighborhood watch group in action?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Buster April 28, 2012 at 4:40 PM

Living near Humboldt Park…I’d say the real one is somewhere between the two. It’s got its good and bad. You should stop over on Division and enjoy a meal and meet some of the locals if you haven’t already. I’d recommend Nellie’s for weekend brunch. It’s delicious. And as for the street view pic, are we to assume they are drug dealers? Is that the inference? Doubtful they’re neighborhood watch team members. Those tend to be a bit older.

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CaptainVideo April 28, 2012 at 11:26 PM

Gentrification will eventually end the crime in the part of Humboldt Park east of the park. But the part west of the park is not amenable for gentrification because it is too far away from the center of the city.

Once the condo market has revived, Puerto Ricans who own property east of the park will again be able to sell out to the gentrifiers at a good price and use the money to buy a home in a low crime area in the suburbs.

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