Lakeview residents have increasingly recounted overnight mayhem along their streets on summer weekends. Windy City Times (WCT) has received reports of people passed out on lawns, party-goers jumping on cars and trash filling the streets. For those who visit Lakeview on sunny afternoons, after the trash has been cleaned and before the clubs start blasting beats, the description of a neighborhood out of control is hard to imagine.
In August, WCT documented the neighborhood's drama for a night. A team of six reporters, equipped with cameras, notebooks and audio equipment, set out into the neighborhood to document how it changes from sundown to sunup. What follows are highlights from that Saturday evening and Sunday morning.
7:17 p.m. The sun is starting to set in the neighborhood. It's a warm night, and the streets are relatively quiet. The restaurants are full of people eating dinner.
8:04 p.m. Groups of people start appearing along Halsted.
10:28 p.m. At the corner of Buckingham and Halsted, people are walking past Nookie's. Everyone seems pretty chipper and relatively sober.
10:40-10:53 p.m. At Spin nightclub, the doorman dons a skimpy "Black Swan" costume. He checks in guests wearing similarly elaborate get-ups. Youth are congregating at the corner of Buckingham and Halsted. A few spill over into the street. No one seems to mind.
11:09 p.m. A taxi barrels down the street, windows down, blasting "Move Bitch" by Ludacris. People dance on the sidewalk. Two men walk southbound on Halsted carrying Jewel Osco bags and loaves of French bread.
11:15 p.m. Windy City Times reporters notice police handcuffing a man on the western side of Halsted Street. When the police realize reporters are watching them, they flash peace signs, let the man go and walk away.
11:30-11:32 p.m. Five police officers, in bright yellow vests, walk southbound on Halsted outside of Whole Foods, taking up the entire sidewalk. Two additional police officers, also dressed in bright yellow tops and black trousers, round the corner of Waveland and follow their co-workers down the street. A police SUV drives past Whole Foods, for a grand total of eight police officers on one block within two minutes.
1:28 a.m. About 30 people gather outside Scarlett, blocking the sidewalk entirely. The din has risen considerably, and the streets are packed. People shout, dance, climb in and out of cabs, and pour in and out of clubs.
1:35 a.m. At the intersection of Roscoe and Halsted, visibly drunk people crowd the street. Bar/club patrons walk in front of cars and cabs; drivers and pedestrians yell at one another. Trash has started to appear along the sidewalks. What appears to be dozens of napkins are scattered over the sidewalk in front of Roscoe's, where a large crowd blocks the sidewalk. The garbage cans along Halsted are already full.
1:46 a.m. On Halsted, dozens of people wearing tropical, luau-themed outfits sleepily pour out of a coach bus, and unload coolers and duffle bags.
1:53 a.m. Two EMTs sleep in their ambulance with the engine still running. Two women who appear to be intoxicated walk along Halsted. "We could go to the lakefront and drink it," one says to the other.
2:03 a.m. At the corner of Halsted and Waveland, an older man on the street begs for money with an outreached cup. "I'm hungry, ma'am," he says to a woman outside Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club. The woman laughs and says "I'm hungry too!" as she walks away.
2:14 a.m. Two people in head-to-toe costumes pose along the sidewalk in front of Tulip Toy Gallery, as they distribute promotional flyers. One wears a skin-tight zebra costume; the other appears to be a leopard.
3:28 a.m. Most of the bars have closed. Mostly youth remains, and the streets are significantly quieter. Earlier, crowds were predominantly white. Now, most of the people outside are Black. A few stragglers remain near bars and clubs. The trash cans along Halsted are overflowing with garbage.
3:56 a.m.-4:08 a.m. Smokers gather outside Berlin. Some ask around to see if anyone has weed. Several people start to make their way to the red line as Berlin empties. Others climb into cabs, while some stand around and chat with friends.
4:31 a.m. The Starbucks at Belmont and Clark is crowded, mostly with people napping or sleepy-eyed. A homeless youth sleeps with her head on a counter by the window. Inside, a few other young people chat with a worker from The Night Ministry.
5:26 a.m The sky is brightening with the sunrise, and the neighborhood is quiet save for the shush of passing cars. Trash lines the streets on both sides of Belmont. There are bottles, a crushed Cheetos bag, Starbucks cups, confetti and 7-Eleven pizza boxes. The window of a neighborhood dry cleaner is shattered but still standing. A glass with half a drink sits on the stoop of another Halsted business.
5:36 a.m. The streets are now nearly silent. The night over, one queer homeless youth heads off to find a place to sleep. Two men hail a cab. Moments later, two other men appear from an alley, looking slightly disheveled.
Follow this series for numbers on crime in Lakeview, interviews with police, thoughts from service providers and reflections from youth.
[ Next week, Beyond Boystown. Follow Windy City Times on a trip to 75th and Halsted, learn more about Youth Pride Services, and see how Chicago stacks up nationally.
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