Friday, February 19, 2010

Talking to Hyde Park Locals- Alex H.

This week's featured Hyde Park local is Alex Hartzler, a 25 year old law student. Here's his take on the hood:

About how old are you? What's your occupation? Feel free to be as vague or specific as you want...
I'm 25. Student: formerly, presently, and sorta wish always.

How long have you lived in Hyde Park? What brought you to the neighborhood and/or what keeps you here?
Six short months. I moved here in August to go to law school at U of C. I'll be here for the next two and a half years, no question.

How would you describe Hyde Park to someone who isn't familiar with it?
Hyde Park is a neighborhood centered around the University of Chicago but with a culture and feel of its own apart from the university. Lots of ethnic diversity; beautiful, tree-lined streets; and the home of the President of the United States.

You have friends visiting for the weekend-- What do you make sure to show them in the neighborhood?
1) The U of C quad is gorgeous; that's a must-see because it looks exactly like what you picture when you imagine college. 2) The ice rink on the Midway is really cute, too. 3) Seminary Co-Op Bookstore is a place everyone should get lost once.

What is your favorite restaurant and/or business in the area? What about it do you like? What do you recommend there?
Falcon Inn!!!!!! What a bar. Ray always has an ice-cold mug waiting for you. Always a great night soaring at the Falcon [1601 East 53rd Street].

How do you feel about the Harper Court development project and community re-development in general? How do you feel it will impact the neighborhood? What type of development would you like to see, if any?
I live around that intersection. Which part is being redeveloped? The vacant "Obviously Used To Be A Hollywood Video" building is depressing, so if they're gonna put something there, great.

What do you think the neighborhood is missing (if anything)? What do you see as the barriers to Hyde Park having this?
It'd be cool if there was some sort of grungy, underground theatre that would bring in hipsters and artists, like how people trek in from all over the place to see the Neo-Futurists in Andersonville.

Overall, how do you feel about the neighborhood?
Love it. What a genuine place.

Bonus Question: Feel free to talk about any neighborhood-related issues or topics that I haven't touched on, suggest a question to be included in future interviews, and/or plug your own website or a cause you're passionate about.
Many law students complain about public transportation to Hyde Park. Conceding that it would of course be nice for an El line to run through it, like where the Metra is, I really think the complaints are excessive. The #6 is a breeze, and I often take the Garfield bus to the Green or Red lines. But I'm interested in public transportation issues and I'd love to see other people's thoughts on the matter.

Have thoughts about Alex's question about public transportation in Hyde Park, or about any other parts of the Q&A? Leave a comment! I don't bite-- promise.

If you'd like to share your views on Hyde Park and/or want the chance to plug your local business or website, click here to complete my online interview. (Note that while I post virtually all survey responses, there may be a 2-3 week lag before yours shows up on the website.)


  1. Thanks for the interviews--it's interesting to hear all the different reactions. As to the gorgeous mahogany bar in the Falcon--that's the bar from front room of the late, lamented Eagle (where Giordano's is now). Now that was a bar!

  2. Saw your post about the Eagle-- sounds like a great bar, I'm sorry I never had the chance to visit. I don't think I was in the area yet when it was open. When did it shut its doors?