Living at Clark and Fullerton


Sunset from my apartment at Fullerton and Clark. (Peter V. Bella)

I lived in a mid-rise building at Clark and Fullerton from 2002-2007. It was one of the best places to live at that time. I could walk everywhere, including to work. There was a grocery store across the alley from the building, so I could shop daily for food- since I cook that is important.

I never had to worry about driving drunk as my two favorite bars were within stumbling distance from my home. At the time just about every business delivered. You could get carryout food, groceries, dry cleaning, prescriptions, or anything else delivered to your door.

The people in the building were a diverse group. There was a core group of elderly people who had lived there for decades. They took turns throwing cocktail parties in their apartments. These were old school cocktail parties with Martinis, Manhattans, Sidecars, Cosmos, and other classic cocktails.

Some of the long term residents were art collectors, antique collectors, and one musician who somehow got two baby grand pianos in his apartment- the freight elevator was not that big.

There were a couple of maitre ds from top restaurants living there, so I never needed a reservation. I just showed up. One couple owned a sushi restaurant down the street. I ate the best sushi in my life there.

Lincoln Park was across the street. I could wake up, make a pot of coffee, grab a paper, and sit in the park when the weather was nice. The zoo, conservatory, and lake front were a few blocks away.

The building was owned by descendants of the the family that originally built it in the 1920s. It was the first building erected east of Clark Street on Fullerton. The management was great and very responsive. No problem was to big or small to solve. The tenants were treated as honored guests instead of mere clients.

Eventually the building was sold. The new owner was strictly business and did not believe in the personal touch. His company was also somewhat notorious for rent gouging and delaying repairs until a crisis erupted. The very long term residents started to move, as they could not afford the rent increases.

The neighborhood was also changing. I was becoming more congested and way too noisy. I bought a home and moved out when the rent got too high and the building maintenance started slipping. Management was more concerned with cosmetics- putting perfume on a pig instead of fixing day to day issues.

Now, I live in a bucolic area of the city. There are conveniences and public transportation is much better. I love my hood. I do miss the people who lived in that building. We were a community, our own little neighborhood in two towers. I do not miss the noise, congestion, or the rude and inconsiderate management.

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