Google Street View’s Humboldt Park time capsule

View the 500 block of N Central Park Ave in Google Street View and you’ll see a very different scene than the one, above, that I saw early yesterday afternoon.

Google Street View serves up a historical snapshot of a part of Humboldt Park that has deteriorated rapidly over the past several years. West of the park board-ups and bust-ups are common, as are blue-light cameras, vacant lots, storefront churches and clusters of out-of-school teenagers.

The upbeat descriptions of Humboldt Park at real estate sites were never very real, but now seem dizzyingly surreal. An example:

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.

Prices in parts of Humboldt Park have fallen to the point that they’ve tempted some buyers. Two- and 3-flats have typically sold in the $10s and $20s during the past year, condos for as little as $1,500. There have also been sales approaching $200K, a price level that seems deeply irrational or indicative of a disturbing back-story.

And, of course, efforts to redevelop Humboldt Park continue unabated.

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