Interview with Mark

I’ve lived in Chicago all my adult life, since the early 1970s. I’ve lived in Hyde Park since 1993, so I’m kind of a veteran. Especially in the last five years, there’s a lot more gentrification. They’re trying to make it look more like Evanston, so we have a number of high rises going up, and some fascinating new restaurants have opened in Harper’s Court―51st street, 53rd street. I live on 56th. My building has University of Chicago students, and the oldest person is 98, so the building has a wonderful variety―18 to 98―and a few small families with small children.

This park area is wonderfully stable. They planted 160 cherry trees, and I drop by every week waiting for them to bloom. Honeysuckle blooming, a lot of crab apple blossoms, and I just saw a crane. It’s so elegant, with the long neck. It looks ungainly when it takes off, but then it just smoothly goes over the lake, only about two feet above it. It knows exactly where to land.

There’s a golf course nearby which Tiger Woods has been contracted to redesign. The Presidential Complex is currently held up by a court. I have attended a couple of the meetings. Washington Park is bounded on the west side by King Drive. One idea was to build it there so it wouldn’t be so much on park land, because across the street from King and across from Washington Park there are vacant lots―like you find especially on the south and west side―so it wouldn’t be that disruptive, plus it would be more anchored near people who need jobs. That’s what we call Woodlawn—this is Hyde Park. Woodlawn has generally a much lower income.

Many are dissatisfied and kind of disappointed in Obama, because so far the Obama team has opposed a contract for new builders ensuring that, say, at least 50% of the people employed come from the area…so that’s created tension. But I think a number of positions will open and there will be more tourism. My rent will go up, because I’m right next to the building practically.

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