another hyde park experience

I had to go to Chicago on Wednesday to meet with the advisor and do some other U of C stuff. Hyde Park was at its least bleak with the spring flowers and cheery students holding classes outside–the grass was still brown and it was kinda cold, but they were determined, I guess.
A few changes have taken place in the old neighborhood since my time. A Starbucks has gone in where a dry cleaner used to be. A Borders bookstore has gone in where a park used to be on 53rd street across from the Metra station. Hopefully this will bring new life to that “borderline” area, which was controversially granted tax breaks a few years ago, much to the dismay of many who wanted to see it well and truly blighted before the government intervened.
Jacobs Brothers Bagels, where I used to purchase Rocky Road flavored coffee and toasted blueberry bagels with lowfat cream cheese; as well as the site of a few Hyde Park experiences, has closed. It looked like a couple of other businesses might have been closed also, though I couldn’t tell for sure because I was busy dodging maniac drivers (see below). One of these was ArtWerk, an art shop, which is too bad. 53rd St. isn’t particularly scenic and looking at the art was a nice enhancement to my walk to church.
The Meridian Movie Theater closed a year or two before I moved away. It’s still closed. How does a movie theater, the only one within a 45-minute travel radius of a densely-populated university neighborhood like Hyde Park manage to run itself into the ground? Living in Hyde Park was a little like living in a small town–you had to travel a couple of hours to get to stores, movie theaters, etc.–only with more crime.
I even had a genuine Hyde Park Experience while I was there. I was stopped at a stoplight getting ready to turn left onto 53rd. I had the left turn light, but two people appeared to be about to walk in front of my car, so I stayed stopped. This drove the driver behind me into a frenzy of frantic horn-honking. When I was sure that my turning left would not end the innocent lives of two human beings, I turned left onto 53rd, a narrow road with one lane in either direction, cars parked on either side of the road; and obscured by much double parking, stop signs, and people strolling casually into the street. I proceeded down the street, but not fast enough for the guy behind me, who decided to pass me. By driving into a lane with oncoming traffic. Traffic oncoming directly at him. Which fortunately slowed down to avoid a collision.
The trip turned out to be rather unnecessary, but I did get the books I needed to finish my Egyptian Cthulhu adventures. Here’s hoping my profs never find out the uses to which I am putting my education.

7 Responses to “another hyde park experience”

  1. Kim says:

    Only in Hyde Park could you have a Borders on the same street as a Harold’s Chicken Shack.

  2. michele says:

    Not to mention Lung Wah Chop Suey, Ribs ‘n’ Bibs, and everyone’s favorite, Valois.

  3. KDC says:

    You guys are too mean. I love that I can go to Calypso or Pizza Capri one day and The World’s Slowest Pizza Hut the next. Although for take-out the Pizza Hut is actually quite reliable, as Val and I have discovered lately.

  4. Michele says:

    Hey, I like all those places too (except Calypso which I don’t recall. Is it new?)

  5. KDC says:

    Calypso is in Harper Court above Maravilla’s. It’s a Caribbean-themed restaurant with an Australian-sounding owner, really good food and lots of it – particularly fish and barbeque.

  6. Kim says:

    I’m glad to hear Lung Wah is still open. They were shut down for health violations for a long time when I lived nearby. Their Lemon Chicken was actually quite tasty, though.

  7. HB says:

    What about Nicky’s Chinese Food next to Mr. G’s? I used to use the venom they serve there to clean the floors of my K and G flophouse.

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