Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hyde Park Gets Some Love

posted by chicago pop

This has to be photoshopped, right?

[Source: Chris Sweda, photo in "Hyde away", Chicago Tribune, Friday October 9, 2009]

Post-Olympic bid, post-Obama Nobel Peace Prize, things are getting back to normal in Hyde Park, with a new theater season at the Court, impressive new shows at the Hyde Park Art Center and the Smart Museum, to say nothing of the spectacular success of the 3rd Annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival.

The Tribune, in its wisdom, decided to send a reporter other than Ron Grossman to bring Chicagoans up to speed not on where Hyde Park was, but where it's going. The old attitude cries in its beer at Jimmy's over all the old joints on 55th, and writes comments to the above article like these:

Hyde Park may ... be noted for what it has lost like the Harding Medieval museum, the studios on Stony Island where writers like Nelson Algren, Saul Bellows [sic], used to hang out, the retail shops and apartments along 55th street which gave way to university development. But it is still a nice place to live.
The new attitude knows this old story, but doesn't repeat it as an eternal prelude. It can, symbolically, find the hipsters -- every neighborhood needs a few of them -- that reporter Lauren Viera caught at a Fixed Friday event over at Tati Cycles at 53rd and Ellis.

Here's the view from behind the fixie handlebars:

If Chicago is two years behind the coasts, then Hyde Park is two years behind Chicago -- and so it would make sense that we are beginning to see a nascent fashion + fixie trend in the hood. It seems to be taking on a unique, UofCesque flavor however: Have you seen the Rush Hour with Proust quotes on the top tube? Or the Rivendell Atlantis with Nitto bullhorns shellaced grey and a White Industries ENO? Or the young grad student with the Anais Nin tattoo and shock of neon pink accents to match her anodized Sugino 75s? I wouldn't have imagined this a couple of years ago.

If it pauses to get a single shot espresso at Istria norte on Cornell and 50th, it absorbs talk of Bruno Latour, Carl Schmitt, and art in Shanghai.

Hyde Park: it's not just the Museum of Science and Industry anymore.

Of course we've all known this, even before the Hyde Park Jazz Festival came on line, or the HPAC started ramping up the cool shows. There have been hidden treasures like the Oriental Institute and the Renaissance Society, the footpaths and ponds at the south end of Olmsted's Washington Park, and the morning mists on the great meadow to the north.

Soon we'll be able to add a restored and revived Shoreland and Del Prado to that list, combining the best of what was with what is yet to come.

There's no mistaking that the cultural momentum in Hyde Park has picked up over the last little while. Props to the Trib for noticing.


Olivia said...

Yeah, that photo is definitely a composite image. There's no way that the skyline is that large from Hyde Park. Even the angle of the buildings downtown seems slightly off from how they look in reality when viewed from the Point, but it's mostly their size that's been exaggerated here.

edj said...

I still think the skyline as you see it coming around the curve at 47th or so is the best view of it in the city. Trump looks spectacular at that point in the morning when the sun reflects off of it.

chicago pop said...


I also love riding my bike northbound on the path between those rows of trees by the 50th Street ped bridge, coming out of the trees at a good clip and seeing downtown, with some waves on the lake ahead of me.

Just awesome.

Elizabeth Fama said...

Chacun a son gout. I think the Trump Tower is annoyingly blinding in the morning light from LSD. It looks like a giant roll of Reynold's Wrap.

David Farley said...

Looks like that shot was taken with a long lens, not Photoshopped.

Richard Gill said...

".....a reporter other than Ron Grossman....."

Isn't it wonderful, the perspective of a different reporter, one without baggage?!

chicago pop said...


J/tati said...

I honestly think that the article should have mentioned Blackstone Bicycles instead. Or for that matter, the Bike Doctor -- these are the places that need the publicity, not down here.

chicago pop said...

Jacques, it's like everything else: we all benefit when one of us gets a little love. But your point is taken. I just had both wheels of my road bike trued at the Bike Doctor (after a nasty crash under the 47th Street LSD bridge -- there is, or was, an inch-wide crack in the pavement that caught my wheel and totally threw me) and was in and out that same afternoon, for a reasonable price. It's a reliable shop in a great location providing a needed service. It's going on the sidebar.


chicago pop said...

Also of note, and related, is today's Tribune piece on our neighbor, Washington Park

edj said...

Elizabeth, you underappreciate the changing looks of Trump from that point. It's always something different based on weather, vantage point, sunlight, etc. It is a great addition to the skyline - even when it looks like Reynolds Wrap.

Elizabeth Fama said...

For you, Edj, I shall endeavor to appreciate the aesthetics of the Trump Tower -- right up to its oddly impotent toothpick spire.

el vee said...

For the record, since some of you were wondering: That shot is not photoshopped; it's just the loveliness of your neighborhood outshining the rest of the city.

Glad you liked the piece.

Lauren Viera / Tribune Features reporter

Kevin M.(CTC) said...

It isn't photoshopped, everyone. I'm the editor of On the Town, and that's not how we roll in Trib-land.

Thanks for the props. More to come.

chicago pop said...

Hey, Tribbers,

Thanks for clearing up the photo-techie question. Either way, photoshop or no, it's quite a stunning pic. Just not quite what we're used to seeing with the unaided eye.