Thursday, August 2, 2007

NIMBY's Corner: Burger-Meister Morsbach

The Selection Committee here at NIMBY's Corner usually has a tough time choosing one from among the pool of qualified applicants to be highlighted with us. This week, there was no contest. Restaurant Mogul and Status Quo SuperHero Hans More-bucks, welcome! We expect this to be only the first of many repeat visits!

Mr. More-bucks is proprietor of a 57th Street restaurant popular with students and known as a good place for Hyde Parkers to take their families. He leads the opposition to a proposed development that would include two restaurants that might be popular with students and a good place for Hyde Parkers to take their families. As he puts it in his Letter to the Editor (The Hyde Park Herald, August 1, 2007), he is among "many...local citizens who have a stake to maintain the amenities in our community."

Editorial Comment: "Maintain amenities?" WHAT amenities? The amenity of a near-monopoly on the 57th St. restaurant business? Ah hah! NIMBY logic!

We had not considered the possibility that for a restauranteur, preserving share in a captive market might be considered "an amenity." But we see his point of view. Two more restaurants would be two too many for the King of 57th Street. This might explain why Mr. More-bucks proposes relocating the Restaurants and Hotel to areas far outside the Golden Rectangle, such as the present location of the ramshackle Ramada at 49th and South Lakeshore, or the charming corner-of-death at 61st and Cottage Grove, both far, far away from 57th Street.

Cottage Grove and 61st St./Corner of Death

Editorial Comment: As we live quite near to the first of his proposed quarantine locations, we would like to thank him for thinking of us, and the possibility that we in the drab northern reaches of Hyde Park-Kenwood might benefit from a location that, as he puts it, "would diffuse the affluence and charm of Hyde Park and create less controversy."

Moving beyond this colonial project to bring uplift to the natives beyond the pale of the Golden Rectangle, Mr. More-bucks' NIMBY-ism is made still more clear in his attitude to parking. We'll quote directly:

I like to park my car near my house on Harper and I do not much care how much more money will be required to provide adequate parking on the site.

Well, now that I think about it, I'd like to park MY car near YOUR house on Harper, too, and seeing as how we both pay the same ridiculously low flat-rate wheel-tax for unlimited use of City Streets as private parking garages, I feel that I have as much right to park a few of my jalopies in front of your house as you do, which I may start doing. Instead of freeloading on the City, perhaps some of those pizza-profits could go towards a bigger garage. Or maybe try walking to work.

So, as expressions of classical NIMBY-ism, we'll add entitlement to subsidized, free, and plentiful parking to entitlement to a big slice of market-share in the pizza-burger business. Entitlement is the key word here and, if I may indulge in a wee smidgen of Marxist sloganeering, is so terribly
petit bourgeois.

But that's why we're here, at NIMBY's Corner! To pull the cover off of barbecue bolshevism, and expose it for what it is -- the voice of a few cranky activists who undemocratically impose a minority voice on a much larger community.


Elizabeth Fama said...

The NIMBY attitude was also summed up in another HP Herald letter this week, tucked in a complaint about the rowdy behavior that occurs in the parking lot east of Bar Louie at night. As I understood it, the writer suggested locking the parking lot, and giving out the key, as dentists do (attached to a pink toothbrush for girls, and a blue toothbrush for boys...I'm kidding).

Sharonjoy A. Jackson, of a group I've never heard of called "Lakefront Taskforce for Hyde Park" asks rhetorically:

"Who is helping us retain a unique, more natural, progressive, yet quiet, bucolic, residential area?"

So I'm guessing she hasn't met Jack Spicer or Hans Morsbach.

(I'm not sure what she means by "more natural" And I for one don't want our gritty, urban neighborhood to fit the saccharin catchphrase "bucolic," or even, for that matter, "quiet" or "residential." I don't WANT to live in the country, or the suburbs.)

chicago pop said...

Amen to all that! Like you I'm left a bit at a loss with all the adjectives used in that letter: bucolic? more natural? quiet? These folks live on Lake Shore Drive, not Lake Geneva. It's public land across the way -- including the parking lot, which I use on a regular basis. Lots of people are going to use it, and even when it's legit, it's going to occasionally make noise. That's the cross you bear for living on top-notch Lakefront real estate in Chicago.

Peter Rossi said...

You have exposed the core the the Establishment view, typified by Mr. More-bucks for me! He only cares about his own parking space and his monopoly profits. He often boasts of his business acumen. I will grant him this -- unlike the Hyde Park Coop -- he is a monopolist who can actually make a profit.

However, a little healthy competition would provide some much need humility.

NO ONE should presume to speak for our neighborhood. Particularly, some one who turns such a deaf ear to those who dare to disagree with him

Famac said...

I think Hans has a driveway.

Since his house runs along the train tracks, his street is already filled every morning by commuters. I should know, I used to live a stones through from his house.