Saturday, August 4, 2007

Hyde Park Heroes: Sylvia Telser, Jonah Roth, & Joseph Samuelson

Since we are only a blog, and not a journalistic enterprise, we thank The Herald for giving us plenty of juicy fat to chew on until the next issue shows up. We're still licking our lips after the latest set of apocalyptic headlines detailing the collapse of various pillars of the Hyde Park Establishment. History is on our side, and a new age is on the horizon! But we must not become complacent, as the struggle continues.

To boost morale, I want to highlight not just one, but three Hyde Park Heroes this week. Three sane and reasonable people who dared to let their voices be heard against the numbing background NIMBY-ism and the platitudes of backyard-barbecue bolshevism.

Let's get straight to the good stuff.

This week, in a pithy note, Sylvia Telser adopted the Socratic method and posed an open question to her readers:

Hyde Parkers want successful stores offering a range of products at reasonable prices. Hyde Parkers do not want high-rise developments built on current empty lots and boarded up buildings.

Go to the South Loop and points north and what does one see? Many successful stores bustling with customers. Whence come these paying customers? From the high-density high-rise developments surrounding the retailers. It takes a critical mass of population to support purveyors of goods profitably.

Will Hyde Parkers ever resolve this dilemma?

Editorial Comment: Probably not, but the University will probably resolve it for them, with a little bit of market assist. But three cheers to Sylvia for uttering the unholy word "density." If Hyde Park wishes to remain an island, it needs to densify within its current borders in order to build a market base sufficient to support to kind of consumer culture that many demand. Although some such densification necessary, much more likely and and perhaps more socially important in the long term is for Hyde Park-Kenwood to link up with and encourage development on its peripheries to the North and South. To lift Hyde Park, we need to lift the South Side.

Moving on: Jonah Roth cuts to the chase on Dr's Hospital.

I regularly walk by the Doctors Hospital on the way to visit my Grandmother in Vista Homes. I should not have to tell you that abandoned buildings are creepy. I would much rather walk by a well-maintained hotel than a shuttered hospital. It's wonderful to talk about the architectural value of the Drs. Hospital, but I urge you to go spend some time in front of it on Stony Island. It's a nasty place right now and it has no value to the neighborhood.

Well said. And with regard to the architectural value of the building, I'll share the wisdom of an archivist I once worked for: just because it's old, doesn't mean it's rare; just because it's rare, doesn't mean it's valuable.

And finally, with a crescendo, we introduce Mr. Joseph Samuelson, who blasted into this week's Op-Ed page with both guns firing. We'd like to meet him and have a beer.

I have had enough of people in this neighborhood trying to prevent Hyde Park from coming out of the Middle Ages. [I wouldn't be quite so harsh: coming out of the 1960s would be fine with me] Of course we need a hotel in Hyde Park...everyone stays downtown. And then we cry when stores and businesses are leaving the neighborhood.

And of course we need a new supermarket. Why on earth do we need a Cooperative? We do not live in the '50s anymore and we are all worse off clinging to this old mismanaged institution that hasn't paid dividends or lowered its prices in years...It's time to bring in a Dominick's or a Jewel that can bring a pleasant shopping experience and decent prices.

All in all, and especially set against the Encyclical of the last of the Medici family Popes, Hans More-bucks, this was an encouraging week for dissenting views.


Peter Rossi said...

PLEASE, I insist the the highest standards of blogistic integrity. that's Hans More-bucks, FMS. FMS is our equivalent of ESQ for members of the Establishment. FMS stands for "For MySelf"

Elizabeth Fama said...

We have to be perfectly clear here: not one of us is upset that Hans is a profitable businessman. I for one celebrate that, and I make abundant use of the Market and the Bakery. What I don't like are his assertions that he represents the entire community when pushing for policies that stall progress in the neighborhood. And I don't like the way the Herald gives him unlimited space to do so, while editing the (already shorter) letters of opposing voices.

chicago pop said...

Peter: pardon the lapse in consistency, I don't always keep up with my own inventions. It will be corrected.

Elizabeth: speaking of making abundant use of bakeries, have you been to Abundance Bakery on 47th St? Enormous danishes, as good as the Medici.

I agree with your statement completely. The only other point I would bring up in additional is that the landed holdings of the Medici Pope are indeed a vested interest, and should be recognized as such and kept in mind when we evaluate those of his statements that claim to be in the interest of all.

Peter Rossi said...

The Medici bakery is fine/ U market has a horribly limited supply of stale food and high prices. If Mr. More-bucks had to face the forces of the free market (say on the northside) we would have cleaner stores/better service/ and higher quality merchandise.

I'm in favor of the profit motive, but it doesn't work as well as it might if we allowed Hans to have competition.

There two awful things here:
1. Mr. Morebucks think he represets the neighborhood.
2. Mr. Morebucks believes that he is entitled to his monopoly position.

Elizabeth Fama said...

Chicago Pop, I haven't been to Abundance Bakery. When you said 47th Street I thought you meant in Kenwood. But it's near the corner of Michigan Ave. Not quite walking distance, but worth a trip for a look-see, taste-see.