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I LOVE Rogers Park!

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Rogers Parker

I'm writer, social media maven & tail-end baby boomer.

I stumbled across a real estate blog not too long ago on which a condo listing on Hoyne generated a bunch of comments about what a shit hole Rogers Park is. The following is my lightly edited response:

I have lived in Rogers Park and West Ridge for 18 of the past 20 years, including a stint as a condo owner, and I personally wouldn't want to live anywhere else. I love Rogers Park's diversity, convenience, access to great restaurants, entertainment, the lakefront, shopping...

In all my time here, 7 of those years on Pratt near Lakewood, the worst experience I've had is when my road bicycle was stolen out of my storage locker in 1994, or so. My car may have been broken into once, too, but that's life in the city. The same thing happened when I lived in Boys Town-and that's supposed to be a "safe" neighborhood.

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Lost Eras is one of many businesses along Howard Street in Rogers Park.

I currently live in what you all would consider the worst of the worst of Rogers Park, that little enclave notoriously known as the Jungle that butts up against the Calvary Cemetery. I don't have a car right now and EVERYTHING is conveniently located within 2 blocks of my apartment building: Red/Purple Line is a block away as well as a bus depot that will take me to just about any part of the city and into Evanston and Skokie, as well. Grocery store, post office, laundromat are all within a block; the lakefront, with a nice little beach, is a 4-block stroll.

I'll admit I've been startled by the sound of gunshots in this neighborhood. And there are definitely druggies and too many young men hanging out on street corners (the unemployment rate among young black men in urban areas such as this is as high as 52 percent). But, for the most part, the people I have met and spoken with in this neighborhood, some of whom have lived here for 20 or 30 years, are no different from you and me: hard-working, law-abiding citizens who just want some peace and to be able to get along in this world.

I'm actually working on starting a writing program for teens in this neighborhood to get them blogging about their experiences growing up around here so that maybe people like you can quit stereotyping and see them for who they really are-smart young people struggling with many of the same issues YOU did at their age, young people who matter and who have something to contribute to society if given the opportunity to explore their interests.

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People like you guys who do "drive-bys" of neighborhoods like Rogers Park or form opinions of my 'hood based on the crap you read on city-data.com message boards are missing out on opportunities to live in a vibrant, racially, ethnically and economically diverse community that boasts all the great conveniences of city living without the ginormous price tags. Gentrification be damned, this is a GREAT time to invest in a community that is committed to maintaining its identity as the most diverse neighborhood in Chicago. I love Rogers Park and look forward to the day when I can afford to invest in real estate here again. just sayin'

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4 Comments

David T. Boyd said:

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Hi there. I was born and raised in Chicago, but on the south side. At present I'm living in New York City, but am contemplating a move back to my beloved hometown. I have a few dear friends who live in Rogers Park and visit them when I come to town. There's no other place in the city where I'd love to reside than Rogers Park for the same reasons you've already mentioned. Thanks for posting this article, and I hope to add my name to the list of Rogers Parkers like yourself someday.

mobilephoto said:

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David,

If you decide to come back to the city. You should contact a great rogers park realtor, Mark Malave. www.markmalave.com

Alderman Joe Moore said:

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I just came across this blog post. What a wonderful essay about our neighborhood. Thanks for writing it! Alderman Joe Moore

cdholds said:

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I always come back to rogers park..I've lived in chicago on and off, mostly on, for 20 years now and rogers park will always be my favorite neighborhood. It's more than just diversity. Recently someone made the point that some census tracts in west ridge and skokie are technically more diverse. Bully for them. But in rogers park all that diversity actually comes together. Maybe its just because we are all drawn to the lakefront. Maybe its all the terrific small businesses and the lack of giant chains that makes everything feel a little more, i dunno, personal? I mean, does anyone know of another small privately owned grocery that makes the kind of effort morse fresh market does to offer something for pretty much everyone in such an incredibly mixed community? All I know is that there are these beautiful summer days when I go walking with my little girl and so many different people, from every walk of life and corner of the world, smile and nod and I feel "these are my neighbors...these are my friends" It's a pretty good feeling.

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