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Old July 19th, 2007, 09:16 AM   #1
okcguy29
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Is Humboldt Park safe?

Hi folks. I've been an avid reader on this board for a long time, and now that I am officially moving to Chicago, I've decided it's time for my first post! I've found a roommate in Humboldt Park and she seems really nice and has told me she feels very safe. But after doing some research on the area, I've discovered it has quite a sketchy reputation. The place I'm moving to is near the intersection of North Ave. and Humboldt Park Blvd. The roommate says it is mere blocks from Bucktown and this section of the neighborhood has gentrified. I will not be driving in Chicago and will need to walk to and from transit at night. You all seem like a blunt and direct bunch, so tell me what can I expect: is this area of Humboldt Park safe (I am aware that safety is a relative perception) and what might I expect from this neighborhood?

Last edited by okcguy29; July 19th, 2007 at 09:25 AM.
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Old July 19th, 2007, 03:51 PM   #2
chikid
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While Humbolt is not the worst of the bunch, it does have its violent pockets. There is still gang activity, and I really suggest you look at the area before moving. Some areas of Humboldt Park are really actually nice and safe. Some areas are the opposite. Humboldt Blvd. and North Ave are not that close in terms of walking distance to Bucktown and Wicker Park. It's not that far though. From what I know, the Humboldt Blvd. and North Ave action is nothing to get worried about, but if you are going to be walking alot at night, I suggest taking a look at the place first and see how you feel. I know this because my dad used to live close to that intersection, only he lived closer to Bucktown and Wicker Park. He lived on the Talman and North Ave intersection (Well not on it but close to it).

I suggest you look at Logan Square. Logan Square is about the same as Humboldt Park in pricing, but is much much safer. Logan Square is also gentrifying, but it seems to me that gentrification is taking a much faster pace in Logan Square than it is in Humboldt Park. Humboldt Park has been gentrfying for years now, and you can tell a difference, but you can also tell its the same old Humboldt Park. Logan Square I think is a better deal, and you will feel safer at night. If you want to go even better than that, try Avondale, specifically the West Roscoe Village area. The area costs about the same, maybe even cheaper, but is even safer. However it is not as exciting, but mind you the neighborhood is close to enough exciting neighborhoods. Avondale borders North Center, Irving Park, Lakeview, Logan Square, and Lincoln Park. If I were you I would look at Logan Square and Avondale before HP. Maybe you should also look at North Center.
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Old July 19th, 2007, 05:09 PM   #3
Abner
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Huh, I didn't know somebody had started calling part of Avondale "West Roscoe Village." This is the first Google result of that term. My first piece of advice would be to disregard anybody who refers to any neighborhood in Chicago as "new" besides the ones developing outside the Loop on reclaimed railyards and industrial corridors. Chicago is not Phoenix. Its neighborhoods have been around awhile. My second piece of advice would be to take a neighborhood's reputation with a grain of salt, because neighborhoods here change a lot faster than their reputations. I'd trust people who live there or recently have first (or had other reasons to actually go there regularly as chikid did).

Loosely speaking, Humboldt Park generally gets safer the farther east you go. People use the name to refer to a large area that actually encompasses a bunch of different neighborhoods. When somebody calls something "West Bucktown" or "West Wicker Park," they mean Humboldt Park. It's a complicated neighborhood, one that can change fast with a walk in any direction. It's the center of the Puerto Rican population here, although much of the neighborhood is very racially mixed for Chicago.

It does have a lot going for it: much of the housing stock is awesome, it has a lot of small businesses and a HUGE amount of community and nonprofit activity, the park itself is amazing, and it's close to a ton of stuff. Long ago it had service on the el but nowadays you would probably have to bike or take the bus. On the bad side, there are gangs in some parts, and some longtime residents are resentful of the process of gentrification. I would say that if safety is your number one priority and you're not that interested in frequenting the businesses in the area, you might be better off farther north.

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Old July 19th, 2007, 06:10 PM   #4
ardecila
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abner View Post
My first piece of advice would be to disregard anybody who refers to any neighborhood in Chicago as "new" besides the ones developing outside the Loop on reclaimed railyards and industrial corridors. Chicago is not Phoenix. Its neighborhoods have been around awhile.
That said, there are quite a few big developments on reclaimed land that are large enough to qualify as neighborhoods. The new development on the site of Cabrini-Green comes to mind, although that development is associating itself with Lincoln Park as much as possible.
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Old July 19th, 2007, 06:37 PM   #5
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^ That's what I kind of meant about West Roscoe Village. West Roscoe Village is considered to be the part that borders the river, north borderAddison, south border the expressway, and west border the expressway, West Roscoe Village, or actually that part of Avondale has a lot more in common with Irving Park, and Roscoe Village than it does with the rest of Avondale. I mean I live on Elston and Albany and 5 new condo buildings have gone up on our block, and they built about 12 new single family homes about 4 years ago, each sold at $750,000 (the frame houses) and the bricks sold for $800,000. Condos near the intersection of Roscoe and Elston were designed (the interior) by Oprah's interior designer Nate Berkus. The area by Belmont and the river is booming, and especially Elston from Belmont to Addison. That little pocket is booming in Avonadale, and if you drive through it now you can tell there is a clear difference betweent he part of Avondale that is East of the expressway and the part of Avondale that is west of the expressway. They are both very different in terms of housing, and development.

As much as I wish West Roscoe Village didn't exist, because it is not that officially, I will say 'West Roscoe Village' has more in common with Irving Park, and to lesser extent Roscoe Village, than it does with the rest of Avondale.
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Old July 19th, 2007, 06:38 PM   #6
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Thanks for the info. The place is north of the park itself and a quick look at Google maps reveals that the place is really closer to Armitage than North Ave. The California Blue Line stop is less than a mile away, so I'll probably go further north to shop and do errands and such. The actual duplex that I'm moving into is gorgeous and the price is right. It's definitely not "deep" in Humboldt Park.
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Old July 19th, 2007, 07:05 PM   #7
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^That's much better. The closer you are to the Armitage the better it is, generally speaking. You are also close to the border of Logan Square.
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Old July 19th, 2007, 07:06 PM   #8
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It really goes block by block up there, so it's hard to say without knowing exactly where you are. Depending on how close to the boulevard a place is, and which side of it you're on (east or west) it could be rougher or not. Basically the gentrification is spreading down the boulevard and gradually filling in the areas between there and Logan Square, Bucktown, and Wicker Park. It is certainly still in early stages compared to those areas but I would say its wild west days are over. Security-wise, if you're not a dumbass you're probably okay. There are lots of people on the streets when it's nice out, ice-cream guys, etc.--a fairly healthy street life, with its attendant safety. If anybody is the likely target of random violence, it's probably your teenage neighbor who's wearing the wrong color. There is still the occasional drive-by and innocent victim. (And actually, it's Logan Square and points west that's in the middle of a big turf war right now, way worse than anything I ever saw in Humboldt Park.)

If you won't have a car, you will need a bike. Bucktown/Wicker Park are a reasonable walk (20 mins or so), but a little far just to grab a quick something to eat or a beer. Aside from good Latin food and crap chains, there's not a whole helluva lot in the immediate area, and local groceries still leave a lot to be desired.

The park itself is great, and is thoroughly enjoyed by the surrounding community. It's probably among the busiest parks in the city not on the lakefront.
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Old July 19th, 2007, 07:21 PM   #9
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The house is on Humboldt Blvd on the east side and near Armitage to the north. One of the members of the band Wilco live in the building, so I can't imagine it being too bad. I'm starting to feel a little better about the area. I may get a bike, but I'm a very brisk walker. I walk nearly a mile to work here in Oklahoma City and can make it in about 16 minutes flat. Also, coming from OKC where EVERYTHING is spread out, you often have to drive 15 minutes to grab a bite or a beer. A 20 minute walk would be a dream come true for me!
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Old July 19th, 2007, 07:32 PM   #10
Abner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belacqua View Post
Security-wise, if you're not a dumbass you're probably okay.
Yeah, this is the key. If you act like a disrespectful idiot, people might give you trouble. And don't go around leaving your toys out or whatever.

As for "West Roscoe Village," it's true that sometimes neighborhood names change for perfectly logical reasons--people don't call Cabrini-Green Little Sicily anymore--but there's something creepy about that name coming from real estate companies that just try to stick some other name onto a neighborhood for marketing purposes. I do know what you mean about the changes happening there though (I used to live farther west, near Roscoe and Milwaukee--the Avondale-y part of Avondale). Humboldt Park, at any rate, is still Humboldt Park.
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Old July 19th, 2007, 07:47 PM   #11
okcguy29
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I can't imagine what acting like a disrespectful idiot would entail in those parts. All I can say is that I mind my own business and I don't bother anyone, whether it's Humboldt Park or Lakeview or any where else.
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Old July 19th, 2007, 07:54 PM   #12
Belacqua
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Quote:
Originally Posted by okcguy29 View Post
The house is on Humboldt Blvd on the east side and near Armitage to the north. . . . Also, coming from OKC where EVERYTHING is spread out, you often have to drive 15 minutes to grab a bite or a beer. A 20 minute walk would be a dream come true for me!
Oh, right on the Blvd there is very nice (relatively speaking). I think the house where the Wizard of Oz was written is right around there. Yep.

As for the dreamy walk, come talk to me in February.
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Old July 19th, 2007, 08:02 PM   #13
okcguy29
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Quote:
As for the dreamy walk, come talk to me in February.
Today 06:47 PM
Haha, well maybe in February, it'll be more like a dreamy bus ride. Still, it will be infinitely more navigatable than OKC.
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Old July 20th, 2007, 03:42 AM   #14
mohammed wong
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for exhaustive discussions about the safety of areas in chicago
check out citydata forum,
its basically devoted to questions about relocating to new areas,
interesting site.
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Old July 21st, 2007, 09:24 AM   #15
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Humboldt

I lived in a great loft in the South Loop area for 4 yrs, then last Aug moved to Humboldt Park. Yes, a big move in terms of distance to the downtown, as well as a change in the overall neighborhood. For those familiar with Chicago neighborhoods, you know what I mean! The pricing is clearly a huge difference & that is one of the reasons we settled in a brand new loft, that we could NEVER get in the South Loop!!!!
Anyway, it has been a big adjustment for me. I have felt that I am so far West and I can't say I totally love it. I now know that Humboldt is very block to block in terms of issues –*I have never encountered any but I try to be as cautious as possible and you won't catch me walking late at night through unfamiliar streets. As with any city or new surrounding, just be aware.
We are actually near Streetside Cafe which is on Armitage, on Kedzie. I prefer the Armitage side over the North Ave side. It definitely is coming along, with new property being developed. In fact, the real estate people are even calling Armitage & California 'West Bucktown.' Which isn't true, but they dub it this in order to hike their rates up!!!!
I would say on the main streets there are generally never many problems. Its a nice neighborhood that is very up & coming –*Its taking a bit of time because it covers a lot of land. But there are some nice things about it & I'd give it a chance, as I did!
I suggest you check out this other helpful site called YELP.
http://www.yelp.com/chicago
Here you will find out about restaurants, coffee shops, etc that are in or very near to the neighborhood. People are generally friendly, so if you have questions, don't hesitate to ask. BTW, if you like hangin at coffee shops, there is a chill spot on California called 'No Friction.' 2023 N California Avenue (between Francis Pl & Mc Lean Ave) www.no-friction-cafe.com
Hilda is the owner & she brews a mean cup of Intelligentsia!! A favorite of Chicagoans!
Enjoy!!
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Old July 23rd, 2007, 05:42 AM   #16
okcguy29
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Hey, thanks Lovestar! You live only a few blocks from where I'll be moving. We'll practically be neighbors! That is a comfort to know that the main streets are pretty safe. I'll only have to go a couple blocks to get to Armitage and from there I have several routes I could take to the 'L'. From looking at the map, it appears that the California stop and Western stop are pretty much the exact same distance from my address. Would I do better to walk along Armitage to the Western stop? Or would Armitage to the California stop be safer, in your opinion? I just know that there will be times I will have to walk to or from the blue line at night and want to take the safest route, regardless if one is quicker than the other. I'll definitely check out that coffee shop!
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Old July 23rd, 2007, 06:57 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by okcguy29 View Post
From looking at the map, it appears that the California stop and Western stop are pretty much the exact same distance from my address. Would I do better to walk along Armitage to the Western stop? Or would Armitage to the California stop be safer, in your opinion?
Same difference safety wise (well, other than the police station on California, which could add or detract from safety, depending on the day). Armitage and California are both big streets with plenty of foot and auto traffic, businesses, and houses fronting them (so no big blank spots).

The California stop is probably marginally closer, which you couldn't really see on a map, and trains downtown will be less crowded in the morning; it also has a green grocer right there, which Western doesn't. Better liquor store, too. And oh yes, the Cozy Corner.
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Old September 14th, 2010, 10:34 PM   #18
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North Ave. & Kedzie

Hey folks, i'm an Iraq vet and i have a real problem with inner city urban areas as a result of my PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I have to go to the national guard armory located at 1551Kedzie Ave. off North Ave. and then to park in Humbolt Park. Is this a safe area to be in ? Thanks in advance.
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Old September 15th, 2010, 12:52 AM   #19
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I wouldn't call it a "safe" neighborhood by any means...
__________________

for the Pelasgians, too, were a Greek nation originally from the Peloponnesus
The Roman Antiquities of Dionysius of Halicarnassus
http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/...assus/1B*.html

Macedonia, of course, is a part of Greece". Strabo, VII, Frg. 9
http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/...ragments*.html

But north of the gulf, the first inhabitants are Greeks called Epirotes....
Procopius
http://books.google.com/books?id=9m6...page&q&f=false
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Old September 15th, 2010, 06:20 PM   #20
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Holy mega super bump Batman! 3 year old topic?

Anyways... It's not exactly safe, but it's not horrible. I've had no problems walking around the park by myself or walking/driving through the neighborhood.
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