Kimball Stop – The Huddle House

Photos by reporter Brooke Hawkinson.

Huddle House is a tiny 24-hour diner located at 4748 N. Kimball Ave.,  directly across from the last stop on the Brown Line, Kimball. It caters to anyone at any time: Yuppies, hipsters, and hobos are among the many characters that call this restaurant home.

Posted in The Brown Line Series | Leave a comment

Belmont Stop – Baladoche

Photos by reporter Simon Bredberg.

Six years ago, Trinidad and Tobago-born Terrence Mootoo opened Baladoché, a Belgian and Italian-inspired café located at 2905 N. Clark St.,  just half a mile southeast of the Belmont Brown Line stop. Baladoché offers a wide range of European culinary delicacies such as Belgian waffles, Italian gelato ice cream and Belgian chocolate. It was an instant success in 2006, but today the café suffers from a declining clientele.

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Powder Puff Flops; Students Offer Improvements


The few supporters of the Homecoming '12 PowderPuff game stand in good spirits, despite the low turnout.(Pictured from left to right: Laurie Konecky, Carol Long, Kate Olszak, Brittany Skiles, Mary White, and Joseph Ramirez.)

The few supporters of the Homecoming ’12 Powder Puff game stand in good spirits, despite the low turnout.
(Pictured from left to right: Laurie Konecky, Carol Long, Kate Olszak, Brittany Skiles, Mary White, and Joseph Ramirez.)


Posted in CAMPUS PHOTOBLOG, Homecoming 2012 Photo Blog | Leave a comment

Faith in the Community

Nearing the peak of the holiday season, we begin to see increasing numbers of donations made to religious organizations. People have varied motivations for charitable giving, be it to ensure goodwill, to financially help the church finish the year in the black, or to somehow offset wrong deeds. Whatever the reason, Albany Park residents are less likely to contribute. According to a 2010 PerceptGroup study on the neighborhood’s faith-preference demographics, just 22% of households in Albany Park are contributing more than $500 to churches, compared to a 31% national average.

However, it seems the religious members of Albany Park make up for not extending a wallet by extending a hand instead. The PerceptGroup study showed that 27% of religious residents prefer Community/Social Service church programs (over programs providing spiritual development, personal development, or recreation), a rate slightly higher than the 20% national average.

Within the past five months, chronicled the numerous ways that residents have used neighborhood churches for a range of social service purposes. Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church hosted a Teachers for Social Justice meeting during the Chicago Public School teachers strike late this past summer; last September Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church hosted a Community Peace Forum for the Albany Park Neighborhood Recovery Initiative; the Mayfair Community Church hosts the monthly Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy 1712 Beat meetings.

One of the colleges situated in Albany Park, North Park University, is also a religious-based organization with a strong commitment to social justice. North Park’s affiliation with the Evangelical Covenant denomination of Christian faith seems to influence its strong focus on social service. The school offers students numerous volunteer opportunities within the Chicago region and a two-day Justice Summit.

A sense of community welfare seems to permeate many of the religious organizations in Albany Park, but why? North Park Nursing Senior Shadae Gaitlin claims in a recent Facebook status (paraphrasing Colossians 3:14-16 from the Bible): “The Church is more than bricks and buildings; wherever there are true believers and followers of Christ gathered—there is the Church.”

Perhaps it’s this idea that is shared among the religious members of Albany Park; a belief in people over structures or customs and actions over words—a belief that sets Albany Park apart as a neighborhood that is pioneering in social justice.

This article was written by Kia Lewis.
Shadae Gaitlin
Web Elements:…/AlbanyParkdemographics60625asof42011.pdf
Posted in RELIGION | Leave a comment

A Hidden Gem in the City

By Eva Larson

photo (14)

Park sign just off the sidewalk at North Park Village Nature center in Chicago on Wednesday, Dec 5, 2012.

Albany Park is filled to the brim with all sorts of culture, art, and entertainment that is appreciated by many of its residents. A somewhat forgotten opportunity for unconventional entertainment in our society is the Chicago Park District.

The North Park Village Nature Center is a branch of the Chicago Park District located in Albany Park. They offer several classes that bring people together through the love of nature. These range from exercise to classes about plants and animals. According to their website, the Nature Center is often described as “a hidden gem in the city.” The 46-acre preserve and education facility is nestled right into the hustling and bustling city amongst the sirens and car horns at 5801 N. Pulaski Rd. As you walk in, it feels like you are in another world.

Intentionally set in its location as the first Nature Center in Chicago, they aim to “provide visitors the opportunity to interact and learn about wildlife and natural resources.” They have programs for children of all ages, families as well as adults. They even have a summer day camp called EcoExplorers that focuses on nature-based games.

Throughout the month of December, the park is offering a free class for younger children where they can learn about owls and how they live. Included in this class is an ‘Owl Prowl’. Geared towards adults, this class both teaches adults about owls and takes them on an evening prowl to see how these birds hunt through the winter.

When the park was purchased by the city in 1911, it was converted into a tuberculosis sanitarium. In 1974 the sanitarium was closed and a public park was opened. The park itself is very extensive. It has senior housing, government buildings, a gymnasium, and of course the nature center.

Next Saturday, December 15, there will be a Winter Solstice Festival from 6-9 pm. There will be live music, crafts, walks along luminary-lit trails, and visitors from Big Run Wolf Ranch. You won’t want to miss it!

The North Park Village Nature Center is open 7 days a week from 10 am – 4 pm (except on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years’ holidays).

This article was written by Eva Larson


Posted in ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT | 1 Comment


Tagging by the Latin Kings on McLean & Western, about 15 minutes from campus

Tagging by the Latin Kings on McLean & Western, about 15 minutes from campus

Almighty Latin Kings in the Albany Park Area

By: Kevin Vaseghi

Many neighborhoods around Chicago suffer from criminal activity, and Albany Park is no exception.

It is safe to assume that most people living in this city have heard about, or even had experience with gang activity. The Latin Kings were formed in the 1920s in New York City by Puerto Rican immigrants, but quickly spread across the nation. The main leader back then was known as “Papa Santos”.

According to they have 25,000+ members. Just a few miles from North Park, Division & Spaulding, is known as their “Motherland”. The Chicago Police Department has also spotted Latin King members even closer to North Park College.

There was an incident last year close to the campus in which a North Park student and his girlfriend were walking back to their apartment after a night out, and a handful of members of the Latin Kings (according to one of the students) started walking towards them. The male student’s first thought was to protect his girlfriend, so he stood in front of her to try to protect her. Suddenly, he felt a hard blow to the side of the head.

After the blow, the attackers ran away, and the victim saw a glass bottle tossed away by one of them. The student was said he was lucky they did not do more.

On September 13, the Sun-Times reported that over 40 members of the Latin Kings were arrested and face narcotics charges for their alleged roles in drug trafficking involving huge amounts of heroin, cocaine, and marijuana. Of those arrested, 17 face state charges in Cook and Will counties.

To show their presence, members of the gang will do something known as “tagging”. This means that they will use spray paint to mark their territory. On Everyblock,  people have reported places where they have spotted Latin Kings logos. Last month they reported seeing “tags” on their garage doors, liquor stores, dumpsters, and other places. The users were encouraging each other to report them to Graffiti Busters to get them removed.


Posted in CRIME | 2 Comments


By Alexandria Williams

Local Albany Park Library announces doors are closing for construction June 9 after 49 years of service to the community, leaving the community without a library for two years. Construction is estimated to cost around 15 million.

Albany Park Residents were thrown for a loop last spring after finding out their library located on the corner of Foster and Kedzie would be closing. They found a notice on the front window proclaiming that the library would close for construction purposes. This came as a total surprise to the residents, who wondered how a library that does not have the funds to stay open late on evenings or weekends when the residents use it most can afford to be demolished to build a new one in the same spot.

Many of the workers are now out of a job. Mayor Emanuel requested funds for this project last fall and the City Council approved. Regular library users were unaware of the finalized decision as the closing date was approaching. Neighbors gained knowledge of this operation and quickly began a petition receiving 200 signatures wanting more information and for the community to have input. Online reviews from EveryBlock and Albany Park Mom stated, “Yep. It’s temporary. But, the timing could have been better.”

Ald. Margaret Laurino held a public meeting May 24. Attending the meeting were Brian Bannon of the Chicago Public Library commission and Erin Cabonargi, the city’s public building commission director. They presented their plans. Bannon told the crowd at a meeting, “we have a big vision here.” The new facility will be bigger. After the second meeting, the committee to save the Albany Park Library had another 700 signatures demanding to keep the library in-service.

The new Albany Park Library is scheduled to open in the summer of 2014. Albany Park residents can register to use the library facility at Northeastern Illinois Library by September 1. Programs are also offered at North Park University and the Albany Park Community Center for the library users.

Chicago Public Library
Chicago Reader

Posted in LOCAL POLITICS | 1 Comment