Thursday, April 6, 2006

Lincoln Park

No not Linkin Park, which was my first thought on hearing this name (an ‘alternative’ metal / hip hop music band), but Lincoln Park, the suburb or neighbourhood in Chicago. This is where we now live.

We made the move over the last weekend. Who thought that moving with so few belongings could be such a massive task. We needed to be at the new apartment to take delivery of some furniture items, services installation, etc., while juggling two boys who needed entertaining, picking up some furniture, packing up our belongings, transporting items, and cleaning the old apartment (for the next tenant – Kerem from Herzum’s Turkey office, who was arriving on Monday). We had Katie amuse Luc on Saturday (a huge relief), but we were absolutely exhausted by the end of the weekend. Paul had hired a mini van to help us with the move. I am so grateful that he is (reasonably) happy to do the driving. I have not yet summonsed the nerve to drive, let alone park a large vehicle in narrow, busy, one-way streets where parking is at an absolute premium.

Despite an acute lack of street parking, Lincoln Park is an excellent neighbourhood, with a great feel, some fantastic architecture and lots of trees (still devoid of leaves… but we are waiting!). The area is very well serviced with parks, transport, supermarkets, hardware stores, restaurants and cafes. We are a short walk away from the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Lincoln Park, Oz Park and the Lincoln Park Zoo. Within about a 100 metre radius of our apartment we have Einstein Brothers Bagels, an Austrian Bakery & Deli, Starbucks, Caribou Coffee (and other coffee options), a supermarket, a couple of Irish Pubs, Tapas, Algerian Crepes, Mexican, Italian, Indian, Pizza and Sushi restaurants (and still more), Tin Tin ice cream and gelataria, bike shop, Children’s’ Memorial Hospital, hairdressers, a plethora of record shops and drycleaners, comic store, etc. etc. Paul came home today saying “I am in heaven” (after he had made a quick recognisance of the bike shop and ice cream store after stepping off his bus).

One of the most distinctive features of the neighbourhood is its housing. Predominantly 3 floors in height (dispersed with some medium-rise apartment blocks), the architecture is distinctive with a great diversity of style and material. Victorian, Queen Anne, Georgian, Neo-gothic, Deco styles all abut one another. With a number of ‘single family’ dwellings, the majority of buildings appear to be apartment buildings with a single apartment per floor. This is the type of building we have moved into. Our apartment (or condominum) takes up the second floor of our building with an apartment above and one below. A shared basement provides a lock-up and area to store bicycles (this is a great facility for an apartment). We discovered just last Friday (after we had already signed up for the apartment) that there is a roof deck as well. The deck is sectioned into several discrete seating areas – potentially a great area to sit in the sun or witness the 4th July fireworks.

We have fallen in love with our apartment, despite the utter chaos and lack of seating (floor cushions have outlived their charm). The space seems so homely. Perhaps it is the timber floorboards that remind us of our house in Brisbane? It is larger than our house! Our landlady, Narci, is great – going as far as to replace the hot water service with a larger unit to better service a family!

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