Re: Bleg: The Right Place To Live, Temporarily

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This is twenty years old, and not based on vast experience, but I recall Metra as being less useful than you'd expect it to be because the schedules were pretty thin -- if he's planning to count on on for commuting I'd put in some time poring over the relevant schedule first.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 11:10 AM
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Metra is commuter rail, though, so that's precisely when I'd expect the schedules to be at their least thin.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 11:13 AM
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I don't really know anything about what goes on north of, say, Highland Park, but I did buy a used car in Libertyville once. And saw Mr T driving around on my way there. (I only saw him from behind and concede it is perhaps racist to conclude that the black man with a mohawk driving an open-topped Rolls in Lake Forest had to be Mr T.)

(It's quite cold there in winter, but not necessarily incredibly snowy.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 11:14 AM
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We have an anonymous future Health Administrator among us? Well, my goodness!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 11:14 AM
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If you wanted to be a bit nearer the action you could live in Evanston and have a not-too-bad northward commute via Metra. Certainly I'd rather live in Evanston than Libertyville or something.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 11:15 AM
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2: Yeah -- I can't remember details, and it could certainly have changed since the early 90s, but I'm remembering the schedule from the stop near the U of C as worse than you'd think, even considering that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 11:16 AM
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Wow, the Metra website is impressively shitty.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 11:16 AM
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Is Metra what you get when you're from Boston and say Metro?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 11:17 AM
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The schedule for Great Lakes in the morning does turn out to be pretty crap, though!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 11:17 AM
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My uncle used to live in Lake Forest. It's a pretty swanky place. I visited Mr. T's house and saw where he had cut down all the trees with his chainsaw. (His neighbors were apparently unhappy with this development.)

Years later, a friend of mine went on something of a pilgrimage to Mr. T's house and left a cement bust of Mr. T -- that my friend had carried around on many trips across the country and around the world -- in Mr. T's driveway. This was obviously intended to honor Mr. T but it occurred to my friend later that Mr. T -- not expecting to find a concrete version of himself in his driveway -- might have run into the bust with his Rolls and screwed up the car. My friend felt quite bad about this possibility.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 11:18 AM
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Metra is fine for commuting; pretty thin for going places at non-commuting times.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 11:18 AM
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Yeah, so Davis (downtown Evanston) to Great Lakes is a 45 minute train ride. Trains seem to leave hourly midafternoon, but switch to every half hour at rush.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 11:19 AM
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Metra is commuter rail, routes will be mostly inbound in the morning and outbound in the aftternoon. In otherwords, likely to be poor service for living somewhere OK and taking the train that way.

Yup, three reasonable morning NB trains at Main St and that's it.
7:47 8:14 8:55
North of Dempster is basically dismal.

The weather's fine-- Personally, I got to having had enough of winter about mid-february, and the snow makes biking or parking a challenge for a few weeks every winter.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 11:25 AM
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The Metra is infrequent but speedy and reliable; the CTA comes fast and furious (or slow and furious rather) but gets delayed a lot. It's an interesting tradeoff. For a daily commute, I'd actually prefer the Metra, since you can plan around it better even if you don't get to choose your departure time with quite the same precision.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 11:27 AM
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It's also pretttty annoying that the UP-N Evanston line doesn't connect to the Hyde Park line* ("Electric" I think), but that doesn't affect OP's decision. Just makes intercity romance more challenging.

*Likely intentional to make HP less desirable/possible to travel through, just like the Green Line changes and all the one-way streets. Messed-up stuff IMO.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 11:30 AM
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I am prepared to offer all of my expertise as a Pittsburgh resident who has experienced all that Chicago has to offer in the sense of having been to both Midway and O'hare recently.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 11:44 AM
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My sister lives in Oak Park. It seems nice.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 11:46 AM
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It seems that nobody has an impression of any of the towns north of Evanston, except "Evanston is good".

I would really be looking for a small apartment, not someplace nice. It's kind of like a medical residency but not for doctors. We're thinking of it as like a dorm situation with my wife staying where we currently live and me flying back and forth a lot (there are direct flights).

North of Dempster is basically dismal.

You mean, culture-wise?
And Skokie is NOT dismal?

For a daily commute, I'd actually prefer the Metra, since you can plan around it better even if you don't get to choose your departure time with quite the same precision.

That's good to hear. Based on the relevant Metra line being called "Union Pacific-North" I thought it would be constantly delayed by freight trains, like Amtrak.


Posted by: The OP | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 11:47 AM
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I'm a fount of information on this topic, but I need more info. Studio, so I assume it's for one person. Old, young, single, dating, shut-in? Man, woman, Bruce? Is there a specific concern about the weather? Is this someone who wants cheap and doesn't mind ethnic and/or sketchy neighborhoods, or someone looking for a totally safe whitebread place? Tell me more, basically.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 11:49 AM
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My sister lived in Rogers Park. It didn't seem as nice as Oak Park.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 11:50 AM
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||Producer of bottom-grade courtroom reality TV shows B/yron A/llen, the plaintiff in this fairly ridiculous lawsuit, has hired a bunch of paid for "protesters" who have been picketing the office building across the street where presumably a deposition or something is going on.

For the past 2 1/2 hours they've just been chanting, over and over again "AT&T, Stop Being Racist!" right outside my window and it is driving me insane. "AT&T, Stop Being Racist AT&T, Stop Being Racist AT&T, Stop Being Racist AT&T, Stop Being Racist AT&T, Stop Being Racist AT&T, Stop Being Racist AT&T, Stop Being Racist." Look, pick a better slogan! Or a different one! The remedy for bogus fake protest speech on non-issues is I guess counter-bogus fake protest speech, as well as Byron Allen losing this lawsuit. But I am this close from going down there and shouting I AM AT&T AND I AM FUCKING RACIST|>


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 11:52 AM
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Also, how near is the job to the Metra stop?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 11:54 AM
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3: Mr. T would be in Boston. That was Mr. El.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 11:54 AM
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Is this the21: The Real People guy? That's exciting.
(I almost said, That's Incredible! but I didn't.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 11:54 AM
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You mean, culture-wise?
And Skokie is NOT dismal?

Well, I guess strictly speaking I mean that neither I nor any of my friends lived that far north many years ago. Possibly not the most relevant basis for a decision today.

There's good Afghan food in Skokie actually.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 11:57 AM
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I lived in Waukegan, a satellite city very near Great Lakes, for 3 years in the 80s. I've used Metra for 30 years, and concur with what's been said about its rhythms. Rush hour express trains are much more efficient, and crowded, than hourly all stops.

Until 2012, UP N. Line Metra downtown from my neighborhood was not only faster and nicer, but actually cheaper than CTA. I don't ride it any more because it's more costly now.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 11:58 AM
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Agreed about K/b/l Hse in Skokie, a much nicer place to live than it once was.

I live in West Ridge or West Rogers Park, a nice neighborhood bordering both Skokie and Evanston.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 12:02 PM
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24 -- yes! Actually, almost immediately after I posted the blog comment, the protestors went silent. It's probably their lunch break but I'm going to assert it was the power of the blog.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 12:06 PM
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Fuck, they've started up again. "AT&T, Stop Being Racist"


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 12:10 PM
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AT&T should stop being racist.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 12:17 PM
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Will you have a car? Are you planning to fly out of O'Hare? (You're almost closer to Milwaukee airport from Lake Bluff.) Do you hope to get into the city for sightseeing/entertainment/restaurants?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 12:20 PM
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"Almost closer" of course is not actually closer, but depending on time and traffic, it's pretty close.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 12:22 PM
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So far as I know the UP-N line is fine for daily commuting, a friend of mine who lives near the Rogers Park stop (inside Chicago) prefers it to CTA for his work-week commute. There's really nothing wrong with the neighborhoods around the stops on that line inside the city, the further north ones are the cheaper ones, generally. Until you get just north of the city to Evanston when it gets expensive again.

Metra is a bit more expensive than CTA, but it tends to have fewer drunk or crazy people, so there's that.


Posted by: Sheila | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 12:25 PM
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Is Metra what you get when you're from Boston and say Metro?

Wouldn't that be "Metrer?"


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 12:29 PM
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Oh yeah, the car question is really important. You will need on if you live in the exurbs even if you're near the Metra, whereas inside the city you can usually get along without one.


Posted by: Sheila | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 12:34 PM
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Are you getting a snow bike?

Get a snow bike.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 12:37 PM
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OP, I have a friend who, given a job in a similar location and very little money, lived in Kenosha, WI (which I referred to as "Kenowhere"), and drove his commute (although you could do it on Metra). It was about 45 min. I'm most familiar with western suburbs, not northern. Frankly, the Chicago suburbs, even the "nice" ones kind of suck. Metra seems to be mostly reliable, with occasions of multi-hour delays, and it is what most people I know use to get from suburbs to city if their city location is convenient to a stop. It seems that switching transit modes is awful.

Re: winter, it actually isn't very snowy. You're on the wrong side of the lake. It is cold and windy. Don't expect to spend much time outside between November and March. And per 35, agreed. You'll probably need a car, even if all you do is buy groceries once a week and you use Metra for your commute.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 12:41 PM
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I wonder how fast you can get Empire Carpet if you actually live in Chicago?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 12:50 PM
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38: How fast can you dial the number? (This number will outlast every other important piece of information in my brain. I'll probably remember it long after I've forgotten my own phone number.)


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 12:56 PM
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Evanston is livable without a car if you're reasonably close to the purple line - I think all the metra stops are close to purple line stops but I'm not sure if the opposite is true.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 12:56 PM
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They've changed it up after more than 4 hours! Now it's "Stop being racist, AT&T." These are definitely the hard-working fake protestors you want to hire for your next fake protest.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 1:28 PM
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The Nigerian army has raided Boko Haram camps and is working to identify 200 girls and 93 women found there.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 1:39 PM
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OP, if and when you've narrowed your apartment search and you're considering Lake Forest, be aware Metra has two Lake Forest stops, they're on different lines, and only one of them goes to Great Lakes.

Serious advice: unless you're going to live in Evanston or further south, forget Metra. Just rent a place in Gurnee and drive to Great Lakes.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 2:20 PM
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And they're done! The last 1/2 an hour was blissful, because the fake protestors finally changed it up from "Stop being racist, AT&T" to "AT&T! Hates minorities!" Seriously hire these guys if you ever want an annoying, fake protest.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 3:08 PM
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Wait, how much would they cost? Because I can definitely think of uses for annoying fake protests.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 3:12 PM
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42 That's some good news.

I can't believe I let TRO bait me into searching and then clicking on a TMZ story to find out what the hell is the deal with this fake protest.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 3:54 PM
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TRO is reminding me of two dudes who stood in front of the Borg Warner building on Michigan Ave in Chicago through a big chunk of the 90s. They had one chant, and it was, "Borg Warner! Apartheid corner!" I still say it all the time.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 4:48 PM
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"Since all Unfogged commenters live, or have lived, in either Pittsburgh, Boston, or the exurbs of Chicago,"

Nope. Never been to Pittsburgh (unless traveling through it on I76(?) counts), and in/around Chicago, I've only lived in Hyde Park and Evanston, neither of which counts as an exurb. However I do live in NH about 2.5-3 hours NW of Boston, so perhaps a Boston exurb. I am pretty sure that in all the maps put me pretty deep in Red Sox territory.


Posted by: marcel | Link to this comment | 04-28-15 6:36 PM
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Will you have a car? Are you planning to fly out of O'Hare? (You're almost closer to Milwaukee airport from Lake Bluff.) Do you hope to get into the city for sightseeing/entertainment/restaurants?

Yes, I'll have a car. Driving just strikes me as an annoying way to commute, and very stressful when there's snow and ice. But there's no shortage of parking in this area, so taking the train might be more expensive than driving on a daily basis, if it's an hour-long train ride compared with driving 5 miles from Waukegan as suggested above. (Actually Gurnee is suggested above. What's the difference?)

I lived in Waukegan, a satellite city very near Great Lakes, for 3 years in the 80s. I've used Metra for 30 years, and concur with what's been said about its rhythms. Rush hour express trains are much more efficient, and crowded, than hourly all stops.

There don't seem to be many express trains though (and they don't stop at the nearby stations).

So far as I know the UP-N line is fine for daily commuting, a friend of mine who lives near the Rogers Park stop (inside Chicago) prefers it to CTA for his work-week commute. There's really nothing wrong with the neighborhoods around the stops on that line inside the city, the further north ones are the cheaper ones, generally. Until you get just north of the city to Evanston when it gets expensive again.

So is Evanston like an island of expensiveness, because of the college? Or do you mean that everything between Chicago itself and the Great Lakes/North Chicago area is expensive?


Posted by: The OP | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 11:06 AM
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Not because of the college, no.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 11:15 AM
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Waukegan is older, denser and more, uh, diverse

I liked living there, but I'm not sure everybody would.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 11:16 AM
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Progress! You still havent said whether you want to get into the city for stuff, but I'll answer in a little bit.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 11:57 AM
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Of course it would be nice to experience the city, but more important is not paying unnecessarily high rent for a 1-person dwelling. Thanks Oggers!


Posted by: The OP | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 12:16 PM
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Rent in Chicago is really not that bad!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 12:20 PM
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So it goes like this: when you leave Chicago going north, you're into the "North Shore" which is very suburban, very white, and very expensive. Evanston is something of an oasis of diversity and affordability because of the university, and it's a very nice place to live. The problem for you is that it's not at all close to Waukegan. It's a 45-50 minute ride on Metra (which is commuter rail and not bad at all) and probably longer than that by car. If that doesn't bother you, you'll be in a nice college town very close to Chicago proper.

Just north of that are the New Trier towns, which are basically indistinguishable for your purposes; going north, they're Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka, Glencoe. Personally, if I wanted a non-crazy-making commute, I wouldn't go further south than Glencoe, but even there you're looking at a half-hour commute by train or car and 30-45 minutes into the city, depending on time and destination. Glencoe has a charming little downtown with a grocery store and a few restaurants, and I know of one building where they almost always have studio apartments for rent for around $8-900. You probably won't find many like-minded or young people: it's a rich suburb for the finance crowd, mostly.

Going north of there you hit Highland Park, which is just as rich, but much more happening, with a relatively lively downtown and more rental opportunities. More old people, too, and also more annoying people who give rich Jewish folks a bad name. You could do worse than downtown Highland Park, though--big grocery, lots of restaurants, right by the train and the lake.

I think the hidden gem is just north of Highland Park, in Highwood. Much more diverse (lots of Hispanics), not really wealthy at all, a surprising concentration of cool and good restaurants, nearish to the lake with some green leafyness to explore. You'll almost certainly find a better deal on a place there than in the other places I've mentioned. Only about a 15 minute commute by train.

After Highwood you're in Lake Forest, and I'd be surprised if there were any rentals there at all. Lake Forest is more estates than houses, completely white, preppy, exclusive. Next is Lake Bluff, which I don't know as well, but which seems like a sleepy, wealthy town for people who aren't quite as classy as the Lake Forest crowd.

Then things change completely. North Chicago and Waukegan are larger, with large pockets of poverty, many Hispanics and even some black people (hard to believe, I know). If you want to live in either of those places, make sure you check them out in person to gauge your comfort, because there are genuine people-shot-in-broad-daylight neighborhoods up there. (My wife works in Waukegan; someone was shot at noon two doors down from her clinic.)

If you want to give up on the train commute, you can go inland, as has been suggested. Gurnee to the northwest and Libertyville to the southwest are your options there. They're pretty charmless places, says me; Gurnee is known for the amusement park and big mall; Libertyville is plain old suburbia--slightly more wealthy than Gurnee. If you live in Gurnee, getting into the city is a big pain; no train station in town, and at least an hour by car. Libertyville is on anothe Metra line that can take you to the city (but not to Great Lakes).

That should be enough to raise other questions.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 12:35 PM
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For Gurnee, I'll give you "pretty charmless." Not Libertyville, though. I suggested Gurnee because it seems to have more apartment buildings and because it's close to the interstate for those trips to O'hare.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 2:02 PM
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trips to O'hare or Mitchell, since they're about equidistant from Gurnee.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 2:07 PM
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I wonder how fast you can get Empire Carpet if you actually live in Chicago?

I *still* know their phone number by heart, thanks to that jingle.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 3:00 PM
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I know it well and have never spent meaningful time in chicago.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 3:03 PM
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Thanks Ogfed! And everyone else. I'd never heard of Glencoe or Highwood before.

1-800-
something 8 8
something something hundred
Empire?


Posted by: The OP | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 4:37 PM
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I'm enjoying this thread. We should have more describe-random-areas-near-you threads.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 4:45 PM
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Looking at real estate, even the fancy Chicago suburbs are cheap as balls. Why the fuck don't I live there?


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 4:49 PM
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That would be cool. What should we do next, and how should we direct the discussion? (My answer would have been pretty different if someone had said they were moving here with young kids, for example).


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 4:53 PM
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I mean Lake Forest is known even to me as nationally renowned super fancy WASPy Chicago suburb, and yet the prices for many houses aren't that different than my ghetto neighborhood where street signs get tagged with gang symbols. What the fuck.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 4:54 PM
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Because it's 40 degrees here right now? Because you fear water?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 4:54 PM
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Oh, 63 moves things in a better direction. Where should you move in the northern Chicago region with young kids? Let's pretend that somehow I am moving there.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 4:55 PM
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Ha. That's a long answer. But I'll type it up later tonight.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 4:57 PM
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Seriously, Chicago is cheap. The professor I sometimes work with there keeps complaining to me about how expensive it was to buy a house. He doesn't believe me when I tell him it would be twice as much here.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 4:57 PM
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five eight eight two three hundred? Is that it?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 4:58 PM
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That's it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 5:00 PM
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Also, for any of these suburbs, there are pretty clear lines of demarcation of exclusiveness as you move away from the lake. East of Sheridan Rd: most exclusive; another drop off at Green Bay Rd; then a big drop off at Highway 41. But often a school will draw from an area spanning the range, so you don't need to live in the most exclusive section to be in the district.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 5:01 PM
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Where should you move in the northern Chicago region with young kids? Let's pretend that somehow I am moving there.

Also: where would you move if you had to balance commutes to Hyde Park, to the area half a mile or so west of the Loop, and to a place twenty-five or so miles southwest of the Loop? Not that this is likely to happen.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 5:07 PM
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Looking at the map, it seems that I could live in a large, completely updated house in the middle region (Sheridan-Green Bay Rd) in Lake Forest for slightly less than the approximate value of my current house, and I live (in a nice house which is) near a freeway, two doors down from an apartment building that has semi-open drug dealing going on by gang members, and whose public school is 85% low income.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 5:09 PM
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For the rent I'll be paying for a smallish 2 bedroom place in Boston next year, I could get a huge 4 bedroom apartment in Wicker Park or a slightly less huge 3 bedroom apartment in Streeterville.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 5:13 PM
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There's no comparison between California and Chicago prices. Although it's unlikely you'd want to live in Lake Forest. Most likely you'd be working in the city, and that commute is just too far. For whitebread suburbia with excellent schools without being too far from the city, Wilmette is your best option, and it keeps it relatively real compared to the suburbs north of it.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 5:14 PM
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That's it.

Pretty sure I haven't heard that jingle in at least 11 years.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 5:19 PM
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twenty-five or so miles southwest of the Loop?

How far south and how far west? Lots of different neighborhoods in that possible arc.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 5:24 PM
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Not that I have a very good sense of the neighborhoods down there.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 5:27 PM
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Hey, you know what happened in Chicago? Haymarket! It was a riot!

(Also, it's 100 years since the state murdered Joe Hill, though that's really only relevant to gswift.)


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 5:37 PM
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I'm enjoying this thread. We should have more describe-random-areas-near-you threads.

Okay TRO, where should a... let's say half-Filipino, half Ukrainian woman move to in Los Angeles County to... pursue a career in municipal government kickback procurement?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 6:09 PM
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72: In the suburbs, La Grange. In the city, probably West Loop.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 6:13 PM
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The neighborhood known as "historic Filipinotown" (now maybe 15% Filipino max) has a Ukranian Cultural Center in it, though I don't believe it's still being used by actual Ukranians. But that's close to downtown and thus not one but two huge municipal governments. The San Gabriel valley also has tons of small municipalities who need procurement and lots of Filipinios, but is far from West Hollywood where you'd have the biggest proportion of actual Ukranians (though most would speak Russian). So, we need more details.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 6:18 PM
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This is hard. Someone else think of something to ask him.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 6:20 PM
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Where do you get imitation Ukrainians? Asking for a friend who is totally not Putin.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 6:32 PM
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I don't think it's very nice to imitate anybody, even Ukrainians.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 6:39 PM
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71 gets it right, says the guy who went to Joseph Sears not just from west of Green Bay Road, but from the tiny piece of Winnetka that's in the Kenilworth school district.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 6:48 PM
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Dude, TRO (I stalked you) you're practically in the highway median, brah. (And it looks like Wilmette is considerably more expensive than Lake Forest. But you might like Lake Forest, being a Cadillac driver and all.)


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 6:51 PM
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Blandings, you went to Sears???


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 6:53 PM
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Indeed. But I moved away shortly before I would have gone on to New Trier.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 7:52 PM
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90

Huh.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 7:56 PM
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I wonder if y'all are contemporaries of one of the artistic directors I used to work for. It kinda sounds like it, if I am remembering your age cohort right.

It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to paint it!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 8:04 PM
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82: The word "Historic" was used advisedly, after Eric made a campaign promise to designate a Filipinotown, but research that the neighborhood was chiefly Latino. It had been a hub of Filipino life in LA, and there remains a concentration of businesses and residents.

The official street sign was the longest one ever produced.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 8:10 PM
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thus not one but two huge municipal governments

are you calling the county government a municipal government?


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 8:27 PM
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No one actually cares about the where would you live in the Chicago suburbs with kids question, right? Because it would take a long time to write up, and I have kids in the Chicago suburbs and I'm tired.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 8:27 PM
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I care! I mean, I'm not going to put the information to use or anything.

93 -- that was the idea.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 8:42 PM
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Just realized that the initials of "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously" are CGISF -- clearly Chomsky was decades ahead of his time in predicting the replacement of San Francisco with a digital simulacrum.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 9:05 PM
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Sorry, that was me.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 9:06 PM
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Ok, ok, I'll do a quick version.

I genuinely like Evanston. Good size, the university is there, on the lake, right next door to Chicago. So much good theater for kids (NU, Piven, etc.) Incomparably more diverse in every way than the towns to the north. The one knock on Evanston these days is that the schools are hit or miss. Lots of folks raise their kids there and say that yes, it's no longer white and exclusively rich, but the available education is just as good as it ever was. But we also have friends (goodhearted liberal ones) who sent their kids to school there and found both the curriculum and the bullying intolerable and now send their kids to private school. If you're the "only the best for my kids" type, Evanston isn't for you; if you're the type who wants your kid exposed to something other than people just like you, it might be great.

Next up going north is Wilmette, which is the first of the New Trier towns (Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka, Glencoe). If I were forced to live around here and didn't have other constraints, I'd probably live in Wilmette or Evanston. Nice beach/park; larger than the other NT towns, so there's more to do and more restaurants and shops; more economically diverse, with houses in west Wilmette approaching genuine affordability, and still fairly close to the city, either by car or train. Less precious and pretentious than Winnetka or Glencoe.

Kenilworth is its own bizarro world. Founded (by the Joseph Sears mentioned upthread) as an enclave that explicitly excluded blacks and Jews. I'm not going to look it up, but surely the only north shore town that has had an actual cross-burning. Also the richest zip code in Illinois. Absolutely no reason to live here, although some of my very good friends grew up in Kenilworth and seem normal.

Winnetka is McWASPerville. Dads at the park in pink striped dress shirts and loafers kind of town. In Glencoe everyone drives an Audi, in Winnetka it's Range Rovers. Bigger than Glencoe, smaller than Wilmette, nice downtown with restaurants, a very good independent bookshop, rapacious but well stocked grocery, other stores you might actually visit. If you're white and you like suburban life and want to feel like you're top of the heap (and actually have a ton of money), Winnetka is for you.

If you're Jewish and you like suburban life and want to feel like you're top of the heap, Glencoe is for you. When I grew up there, it was Jewish in the "we're liberal and support unions and will happily argue with you loudly about Palestine" way. Now it feels Jewish in the "we're brunette and have a lot of money and really nice stuff" kind of way. But some of the old liberal undercurrent survives, and it's a compact, very pleasant town with a charming downtown, another branch of Winnetka's rapacious grocery, a great kids' section in the library, and is maybe the last town going north that doesn't feel too damn far from the city.

Then you leave the New Trier district and enter Highland Park, which has its own schools. Basically, what you need to know about Highland Park is that it's a Jewish town. There's a lot to like about it, but if you're not Jewish and have a choice, I'm not sure why you'd move there, unless you wanted to feel like a minority. It also has a somewhat-deserved reputation for having the most annoying, entitled residents around here. That said, the schools are good, the downtown is very happening for a suburban/non-college downtown, and the housing stock there seems to me for some reason much more consistently charming than the surrounding towns.

Worth mentioning a few inland places at this point, which are on average more affordable for not being on the lake and not having the cachet of New Trier schools (although their schools test as well or better than NT). Glenview feels 100% suburban (no real walkable downtown), but is big enough to have some economic (and ethnic, if varieties of Asian count as ethnic) diversity, and it's a very well-run suburb, with lots of parks, activities for kids, and recreation facilities. It's also not too far from the city, and is served by a (different) Metra line.

Northbrook is just north of Glenview and very similar, but the population seems to be older and to my eyes, it has very little charm (this is where we just bought a house, by the way--more on that later). Some economic diversity, and the major ethnic groups are Russians (you cannot be out in public and not hear Russian being spoken), Koreans, and a fairly sizable population of Hasids. Northbrook is at my limit for distance from the city, and is on the same rail line as Glenview.

North of Northbrook is Deerfield, which also has a non-walkable downtown, but has more green space and, to my eyes, aesthetic charm. Also a very Jewish town, but doesn't have Highland Park's reputation for insufferable residents. The one thing that distinguishes Deerfield for parents is that the high school (which has fabulous test scores) is the smallest of the ones around here (although it's not small: 1700 kids or so, compared to Glenbrook North (Northbrook) at 2100 or so, and Glenbrook South (Glenview) at 2600 and New Trier in the 4000s). Also, for my taste, it's too far from the city, although it's on a Metra line.

(Almost forgot Northfield, which is inalnd, but part of the New Trier district. Northfield is known for huge lots--it's the only town around here zoned for horses--and it really does have a more rural, down-to-earth feel. Plenty of families, and a bit more affordable than the other NT towns because it's not on the lake. We were this close to putting an offer on a house in Northfield.)

I covered most of what I know about the towns north of there upthread. Given that my wife works in Waukegan, Wilmette and Evanston were out for us (too long a commute), so we we narrowed things to Glencoe, Deerfield, and Northbrook (Northfield wound up being too far a commute, and Deerfield felt too far from the city for me, so it really came down to Glencoe or Northbrook. My mom lives in Northbrook.)

The deck was stacked in favor of Northbrook because it's considerably more affordable than Glencoe, and we found more house and more yard there, and a place just a mile from my mom, so that was that.

All that said, if my mom didn't live here, it's very unlikely that we'd live here. Chicago is mostly flat and ugly and the winter lasts forever, and the fabulousness of the city itself isn't enough to make up for that for either of us. Even odds on us being here in five years.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 10:00 PM
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where should a... let's say half-Filipino, half Ukrainian woman move to

Kodiak. (Assuming Russophone Ukrainian.) There are even two municipal governments there, although neither is known to be particularly corrupt.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 10:28 PM
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a fairly sizable population of Hasids.

The ones in Pittsburgh seem pretty doughy too.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 10:44 PM
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Also, it's 100 years since the state murdered Joe Hill, though that's really only relevant to gswift.

At least he went out like a man via firing squad, which has totally been brought back here after only a short absence!


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 10:46 PM
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OK, 98 was awesome. I have a good griend who grew up in Kenilworth, and now I know. Everyone should do micro-geography and school district posts; eg Megan could do the west Valley. There should be a book like this with opinionated, capsule demographic descriptions of each suburb or city neighborhood, kind of like the Almanac of American Politics but minus the parts about Congress and with zero Mike Barone.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 04-29-15 11:13 PM
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I have a good friend who grew up in Kenilworth

A high-school friend who grew up in Kenilworth now lives in LA and married some entertainment exec. Same person? Unlikely, but...


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-30-15 6:04 AM
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