Saturday, January 3, 2009

north side vs. south side

The other day I was having a conversation with a friend down the street talking about the pros and cons of north side vs. south side living. I wish that the south side had more good non-fast food restaurants and a higher percentage of businesses that do customer service right. The north side definitely has the edge there.

Few areas have the wealth of green space that we do, including parks, forest and house lots. We are abundantly blessed with parks. Ridge Park offers a variety of facilities and programs that are among the best of the city's parks.

I enjoy tasty Jamaican dinners from Kingston's. I'd love to see more small ethnic restaurants like Thai, Middle Eastern (Lebanese, Persian or other), Ethiopian, Vietnamese, etc. There are plenty of vacant spaces on 95th. Why can't we get more restaurants to fill them?

I wish I could find a hair salon in Beverly or nearby with a stylist I like who can actually do a good reasonably priced wash-and-go cut, not a high-maintenance do. If I were a woman of color, I'd have choices. For white women who don't do high maintenance hair, where are the options? I'm still going to my old salon in Evanston and planning to try Hyde Park next. If any readers have suggestions closer than Hyde Park, please respond in comments.

And don't get me started about movie theaters. Other than Beverly Arts Center and DOC Films in Hyde Park, I try to avoid going out to see a movie down here. Netflix has become my friend. Going to malls and mall theaters is my idea of hell.

For special occasions, we are doubly blessed by having both Koda and Cafe 103 here in the neighborhood. Few areas of the city have restaurants on this level, much less two of them. Our independent coffeehouses are a treat. Blue Moon is my favorite, as you might have guessed. To make it even better, we have Calabria and Beverly's Pantry for goodies to take home. Top Notch offers better burgers than most restaurants in the city for reasonable prices. Franconello's is delicious. I don't understand the lack of good pizza in Beverly. Barraco's may not be in Beverly, but it's close enough. Jimmy Jamm's pies make me sing. And I can't forget to mention Rainbow Cone. I miss their delicious ice cream while they're closed for the winter.

For learning and entertainment, we have both Beverly Arts Center and World Music Company - more than most neighborhoods. We have many fine independent retailers who understand customer service. County Fair gets a special mention there. I can't remember when I could honestly say that I looked forward to grocery shopping at a neighborhood store. County Fair has changed that for me, and I'd like to say thank you. Few neighborhoods have a seafood store like DiCola's.

I could go on longer, but you get the idea. There are plenty of north side places I miss that have no Beverly equivalent. There are many Beverly/Morgan Park places that have few north side equivalents and some have none. We may not have all of these great places in a compact area like Andersonville, but we have an abundance of unique and wonderful places that make Beverly special. The variety of architecture and gardens is amazing and beautiful. And it's all within easy bicycling distance in what I consider to be the most bike friendly neighborhood in the city.

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