Neighborhoods I’ve Lived In

Carroll Gardens: Sept. 2006-Present. To add to what’s stated in “Who Is This Guy?” I wouldn’t move to Carroll Gardens without a significant other. I think I’ve seen 4 single people in my year of living there. Although, maybe it’s because when I’m near the home turf, I pack it in around midnight. The unlikely singles’ scene probably occurs after that. Nobody lets it all hang out before midnight.

Morningside Heights: Sept. 2005-June 2006. The best part of living there was meeting my girlfriend who was attending Columbia at the time. She then moved with me to the far preferable Carroll Gardens. I was ecstatic when I first moved in at 109th & Broadway due to the mere thought of living in Manhattan. The fantasy was better than the reality, especially when the reality took the form of rats scurrying across the sidewalk on trash night or bed bugs, the pests that have changed sidewalk furniture scavenging forever.

The River West: May 2005-Aug. 2005. Former hood of residence. An amazing place to live. Here are the strengths: 1) Grand St. on the west side is the Little Italy of Chicago. 2) My accessible roof had stunning views of the Chicago skyline. 3) It smells like chocolate in the summer. 4) Trees 5) The Matchbox Weaknesses: 1) Since it’s so close to the loop, a tremendous amount of dust floats through the windows in the summertime, like an inch in a week. It was like living in South Dakota in the late 1800’s or what Mexico looks like in most movies. 2) It was a 15 min. walk to the Blue Line, which in Chicago in the winter is a very long walk. 3) The nearest grocery store is not near at all. 4) My flaky-ass check-bouncing roommate. 5) It’s in Chicago. It’s probably good that I only lived there for a month or so before moving to New York.

Williamsburg: Aug. & Sept. 2004. Sister’s hood of residence. Back when I was permanently living in Chicago, I came to New York to work on a show at The Paper Mill Playhouse for a month. I stayed with my sister in Williamsburg and returned to Chicago socially shell-shocked. I would definitely recommend to singles that they move here. Everyone knows that it’s the hipster capitol of the world, but do people realize that there’s a significant Italian immigrant population. I suggest stopping by Fortunato Bros. to get a whiff of it.

Wicker Park: Sept. 2003-April 2005. Rivaled only by Carroll Gardens in terms of comfort-level and aesthetic pleasure among the places I’ve lived. I lived two blocks from Letizia’s Bakery and Enoteca Roma and a very short walk from The Big Intersection (North, Damen, & Milwaukee) and spitting distance from the Wicker Park (the grassy area from which the neighborhood takes its name). From Wicker Park Fest to Around The Coyote to open mics at Subterranean, there’s was always plenty of interesting culture to take in. The food and the architecture were also tough to beat. Back in ’03, the area was on the back end of a transition from artists to yuppies. I believe now that transition is complete, which is too bad, but the architecture, the food, and the music remain, even if the artists and the hipsters are dwindling.

Hyde Park: Sept. 1999-June 2001. Sept. 2002-June 2003.  Home of The University of Chicago, which is why I lived there for 3 years.  Bright spots: trees, 57th St. Art Fair, Jimmy’s, The Falcon Inn, The Midway, very reasonable rents on big apartments.  Dark spots: crime stemming from the surrounding neighborhoods, tension between university growth and residents’ ways of life, no El train within walking distance.  Hyde Park was a lovely place to live while my primary activities took place within its limits.  It’s a terrible place to live if you have to go somewhere else in Chicago on a daily basis.

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