Boiling Down the Syrup
We never forget how lucky we are to have the North Park Village Nature Center in the northwest corner of our neighborhood. The site of a former influenza sanitarium, this area is now home to senior housing, a gymnastics complex, recycling facility, duck pond and deer-laden nature preserve.
The Nature Center regularly hosts family friendly fetes such as solstice festivals, Halloween carnivals and more. This past weekend’s maple syrup festival is just such an event. About a month or so before the festival, Nature Center staff host school groups who help tap the park’s maple trees. The slow-seeping sap is collected over the next weeks and boiled down over a fire at the festival. In addition to a free syrup tasting (delicious, by the way; smoky and less sugary that reg. maple syrup), the maple syrup festival also features educational crafts such as buckthorn necklace-making.
The Giving Tree Band
A big highlight of this (and other) North Park events was a performance by local bluegrass musicians, The Giving Tree Band. These gentleman are truly excellent performers, who engage both children and adults in the audience with their superior talent and charming demeanor. They’re performing at Martyr’s this week, if you’re interested.
If you missed the syrup festival this past weekend, you’re out of luck until next year. But take a look at North Park Village’s list of upcoming events. Plus, you can early-vote there in the District 5 House elections.
At Albany Park News, we love to spotlight organizations within our community who work to improve the conditions of our neighborhood and lives of residents.
A perfect example this type of organization is Healthy Albany Park. This non-profit is dedicated health and wellness issues, focusing on the needs of children and families. Not only does this group help connect Albany Park residents with health-care services, but it also provides education as to how to lead a healthy life. Healthy Albany Park provides weekly exercise sessions for children, offers periodic health screenings, leads cooking classes and a whole lot more.
If you’d like to get involved with Healthy Albany Park as a donor or volunteer, contact Radhika Sharma-Gordon at (312) 282-1199 or HAPcoordinator AT gmail DOT com.
Image courtesy Chicago Neighborhood Tours
If you’re new in the neighborhood, have friends visiting or just want to look at Albany Park with fresh eyes, take a City of Chicago-sponsored neighborhood tour this summer.
Join fellow architecture and history enthusiasts on this trolley tour of Albany Park which includes sites such as the Cambodian American Heritage Museum, North Park Village (a former influenza sanitarium turned nature preserve), Superdawg Drive-In and more. The cost is $30 per adult and includes transportation and light refreshments.
Other tours include Pullman, Pilsen and Little Village, Wicker Park and Bucktown, and more.
The January 31 fire which killed pregnant Rosanna Ocampo and her daughter, Itzel Fernandez, shocked Albany Park. It was not only the location of the fire (adjacent to Volta Elementary), but also the gang-related motives that has caused residents to be ill at ease.
However, this weekend residents received some positive news on the tragedy as 17-year-old Joran Djurdlov was arrested, charged and held without bond for his role as a lookout in the crime. A second suspect was questioned, but released, early Monday morning. Police are also investigating the tie between the arson and the recent shooting death of local teen gang member, Franco Avila.
Area residents are strongly encouraged to attend local beat meetings this month. These meetings give residents an opportunity to ask questions of and demand response from officers serving the local area. Find your beat and beat meeting now.
Image via Blue Cart Recycling
Alderman Laurino’s office recently announced that the Blue Cart program, already rolled out to the North Park-adjacent area of the ward, will be expanded. Starting in late March, crews will deliver Blue Carts from Central Park west to Cicero and from Devon south to the southern borders of the 39th (roughly Montrose).
- The card will be delivered to the front of your home, but will be serviced from the same location where your trash is picked up. If you have alley service, place the Blue Cart next to your trash carts in the alley. Want to be a nice guy? Move the Blue Carts back for your senior or physically challenged neighbors, too!
- Beginning the week of April 6, the City will start to service the Blue Carts. Take the time to review what you can place in the Blue Carts. You don’t have to separate your recyclables, but you shouldn’t throw trash in there, either!
- Attend one of these community meetings if you have additional questions about the program: 3/18 @ 7pm, Kilbourn Park; 3/19 @ 7pm, Disney II Magnet School, 3815 N. Kedvale; 3/21 @ 10am, Mayfair Library, 4400 W. Lawrence; 3/23 at 7pm, North Park Village Nature Center, 5801 N. Pulaski; or 3/24 @ 7pm North Shore Community Bank, 4343 W. Peterson.
It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut, going to the same two or three restaurants in your neighborhood, taking the same walk to the train, etc. Why not take advantage of this weekend’s reportedly nice weather (yay, mid-50s!) and try a new place? You never know when that one burrito place or shoe shop you’ve been walking by for the past five years will turn into your favorite.
Here’s a Yelp roundup of our neighborhood, Albany Park. If you’ve been stuck on Noon-o-Kebab for years, why not give Semiramis or Salam a try? If your Saturdays regularly include a trip to one of our three local Starbucks, why not try the charity-minded Blue Sky Bakery?
As for Albany Park News, we’re going to hit up the new Mayfair Market on Pulaski or Alexa Cafe, the cuban sandwich/coffee shop at Argyle and Pulaski. What’s your plan?
Area gourmet fishmonger Bill Dugan, owner of The Fish Guy at 4423 N. Elston, is advertising this week’s “Spring Break” deals. Choose from Canadian hard shell lobster at $12/pound, organic tilapia at $6.95/pound, and raw, peeled shrimp at $15/two-pound bag. He’s also carrying several excellent varieties of clams.
In addition, The Fish Guy’s in-house restaurant, Wellfleet, is now taking reservations for March dinners. This exclusive, upscale menu is a great way to enjoy truly excellent seafood prepared by a master. Tickets are $100/person.