Last week I attended my very first Tweetup. For those of you who are not on Twitter and have no idea what a Tweetup is, it’s basically a networking event for people who follow each other or the organizer of the Tweetup. I never attended one earlier because earlier ones didn’t involve cheesecake! Thank goodness I follow @bmaldonado and combined my first Tweetup with my 50 Wards project!
The Tweetup was held at Eli’s Cheesecake in the 38th ward. Alderman Thomas Allen already gave me the heads up on Eli’s (in fact, Alderman Allen or someone in his office gave me the step by step tour of the 38th ward in italics below!) as well as the farmers market held in Eli’s parking lot every Thursday from 7-9AM (through October). A farmers market in an industrial parking lot didn’t have me rushing out there – boy was I wrong!
Start at the west end of the ward at Eli’s (6701 Forest Preserve Drive). And let the Tweetup and 50 Wards project merge! I headed to Eli’s to meet fellow Tweeters and hear Eli’s President, Mark Schulman, speak to the group. Mark explained that Eli’s moved to this location in the 1990’s. The building is part of the Wright College business corridor and Eli’s partners with Wright College to put together and promote the farmers market. Wright College has a great agriculture program, which makes the partnership a perfect fit. The organizers really believe in local business and have speakers every Thursday at 1PM and some sort of family fun at noon.
Tomorrow is National Cheesecake Day so get on over to Eli’s (or online) and enjoy a free slice of cheesecake (10AM-2PM) and balance that with buying some farm fresh fruit and veggies. Oh, and I was surprised to discover the cute little Cheesecake Café right there as well as lots and lots of cheesecakes for sale (bargains, too!). If you have time for a tour, take one – and if you get Margie, she’s great!
Okay, on to the rest of Alderman Allen’s tour:
From Eli’s drive east on Forest Preserve Drive to Montrose & Narragansett where you’ll see Wright College. As I mentioned, they have a great agriculture program and the on site garden is beautiful (see photo).
Turn right on Narragansett and drive south to Irving Park where you’ll find Merrimac Park. Ooops – this is where I forget I have a camera. This park is huge and like most of the Chicago Park District parks, they host concerts and movies in the summer. The park also has a new Veterans Memorial. I didn’t see this but it makes me feel good that it is there.
Continue east on Irving Park to Central. Portage Park is located at Irving & Central. The park offers an Olympic size outdoor swimming pool, walking trails, nature garden and senior citizen center. Confession – I used to work near this area. This park is lovely but I skipped it because I had seen it when I worked in the neighborhood – it was a favorite “getaway” from the “bunker” where I worked.
Take Central Ave. south to Belmont. You’ll find a newly streetscaped shopping area there, and a very popular produce/grocery store A&G Fruit Market. Again, I was familiar with this area but the new streetscaping looks so nice! A&G was also a frequent stop when I worked over there and they have lovely produce – good to know when it is not farmers market season here in Chicago!
Finally, the area directly east of Irving & Cicero is called Old Irving Park. The Old Irving Park signs designate the neighborhood. There are many beautiful homes in this area. Yes, yes there are. This is where you can find some of those old, grand homes that define historic Chicago. To see some of the houses in the area, just click here.
Definitely, in my opinion, the highlight of the 38th Ward is Eli’s Cheesecake (and yes, the tour includes lots of free samples!). It’s worth the trek out to take the tour (again, Margie!) and stock up at the farmers market. Get there before the end of October!
Thanks for reading Bright-Yellow. Don’t forget to share your thoughts and tips in the comments section!