Sunday, March 7, 2010

Time Out Chicago versus Chicago Reader: Battle of the Hyde Park Issues

Just a couple weeks after Time Out Chicago (TOC) put out its What's Wrong with Hyde Park issue (see my post about it here), the Chicago Reader has released its own Hyde Park and Kenwood Issue. If you haven't had the chance to read it, you can check it out here.

Those of you who read my post about the TOC issue may recall that, even though I was bothered by the somewhat negative tone of the title and some of the articles, I generally felt positively about the way the magazine argued for the need for more commerce, entertainment, and dining in Hyde Park. Now that I've read the Chicago Reader issue, though, I'm feeling like I gave TOC too much credit....

As the title suggested, the TOC edition focused essentially on what Hyde Park is missing. The Reader's Hyde Park & Kenwood issue, in contrast, reads like a laundry list of all that is great about the neighborhood. It provides an amazingly extensive guide to local dining, entertainment, shops, bars, arts, theater, and architecture (check it out here, under the Street Level heading). What is refreshing about the Reader issue is that the spin on all of its articles is overwhelmingly positive, yet honest and objective. Whereas TOC used the term "wasteland" to describe the neighborhood, the Reader notes,,"[Hyde Park] is a zip down Lakeshore Drive to astounding treasures." The Reader doesn't, though, ignore the challenges and deep-rooted issues that come into play in the neighborhood. Rather, it thoughtfully explores the complex tension and interdependence between the University and the community and how it plays into local political debates such as the contention over the 6st Street Community Garden.

When all is said and done, the Reader paints a picture of Hyde Park as a community that is fiercely independent, uniquely diverse, and thriving in a way that few other communities could. It values Hyde Park on its own merit and history, unlike TOC which seemed to define it by comparing it to north side communities that may have more yuppy hotspots, but lack the history, culture, and socioeconomic, racial, and cultural diversity and richness that Hyde Park possesses. Some more high quality food and dining in the neighborhood would definitely be nice, but the Reader reminded me that these things are relatively insignificant when you look at the big picture of what living in Hyde Park is all about.

No comments:

Post a Comment