Herald headline, at least. But I think the Herald got it backwards, and is giving the bats down there a bad name. If anything is rabid, it's not the bats.
We've already covered our good neighbors' sensible fear of bar mitzvahs, and a general phobia of life being enjoyed by other people, as eloquently demonstrated by NIMBY's Corner repeat guest Allan Rechtschaffen: "There is concern about late-night noise from groups of alcohol-fueled merrymakers leaving hotel functions." (Hyde Park Herald LTE, September 10, 2008)
Now, we admit that parts of Harper Avenue, especially those closer to Vista Homes, are about as near to a graveyard as you can get, and aside from the seismic rumble of 2AM freight trains, are known as a place where local bats can slumber in peace while the Social Security checks fall like snow.
But let's not be ninnies: cities make a little noise, and if you can't deal, you should move to Wisconsin. In fact, I recommend that Alderman Hairston establish a TIF set-aside to purchase Wisconsin land for Hyde Parkers displaced by late-night bands of drunken historians.
Seriously, a few blocks south people worry about stray bullets. You're worried about drunken gastroenterologists?
But getting back to the "merry-makers": it should be noted, for the record, that when the tradition of Liberal Hyde Park activism settles upon a fear of public urination as its greatest principle, things have really bottomed out.
How is the Big 10 Frat Boy these folks are so scared of going to find his way all the way down Stony Island, then around and back up Harper Avenue, before deciding to urinate on the lawn of some multicolored Victorian home? Maybe the bar mitzvah revelers will lead him there?
But there are still more serious questions, Mr. Rechtschaffen insists, and he already has the answers for them, and wonders why White Lodging hasn't done the studies to confirm what he already knows. "Parking will be a disaster" we're told. So forget the parking study. "All available street parking will be taken before drivers pay for hotel parking or use distal sites." You still want that study?
"Do we need such a large hotel?" the reader is asked. This expresses the concern that Mariott can't possibly be planning to make money by renting the rooms in its 17 stories. This would involve the "profit motive," and that doesn't function in Hyde Park outside the walls of the GSB.
With 2 million annual visitors to the MSI, thousands of professors, students, and staff associated with the University visiting every year, and no major hotels south of Roosevelt Road to service the south side of America's third largest city, there is no possible economic rationale for a 17 story hotel on Stony Island and 58th Street. Bats, look out!
I say scratch the hotel. What we need there is an executive, 24-hour helicopter pad.