One Image, One Question: September 24, 2017

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

As this post is about to be published, the temperature outside here in Chicago this Sunday in September, the first official weekend of autumn, is 88 degrees.

Yes, 88 degrees this late in the season.

Do you have a favorite spot to observe the changes around you?

Hey, that’s a bit less July-like than the record breaking mid-90 degree temperatures recorded here and around the Midwest the past few days.

But enough weather talk.

The image above was taken on our front porch, where Susan and I sit often during the warm months to read, drink coffee (and sometimes wine or beer) and watch activity in the neighborhood.

By this time of year, opportunities to enjoy the outside on the porch dwindle.  But, not today.

From this perch, we’ve observed many somewhat subtle but significant changes to Avondale. Most specifically — the people.

Avondale’s proximity to downtown Chicago and public transportation, great housing stock and relative affordability has attracted families and a younger demographic.

Okay, the neighborhood is becoming gentrified.

We observe this in three quantifiable ways:

  • Rising prices for housing, meaning less affordability for many, including long-standing residents.
  • A reduction in gang-related activity, which was prevalent when we moved to Avondale 17 years ago.
  • An increase in people walking dogs! (I’m not kidding; being on a corner, we are at the dog walking crossroads.)

So on today’s question:

Where and how do you observe changes within your community?

Time to get back outside to continue this research. Real autumn weather will be here. Someday.

 

 

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Fixies, Tats and Fedoras: In Search of Hipsters, Part 1

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

As all strategic public relations professionals know, conducting research drives communications plans. Primary research, or the studies you conduct yourself — can and should — offer insight needed to craft a plan that helps realize realistic goals and produce measurable objectives.

For the past several months, The PRDude has been conducting primary Hipster man and womanresearch of sorts into a unique sub-species of human: The urban hipster.

The purpose, of course, is to craft a plan to build greater awareness for and acceptance of hipsters and hipsterism in and around my humble Chicago neighborhood of Avondale and its sister ‘hood, Logan Square.

After extensive study, actually just looking around at people, I’ve identified these three key hipster traits:

1. Fixies. Or, to be precise, a fixed-gear bicycle.  Every self-respecting hipster rides a fixed gear bike, or some derivation thereof.  Breaks, gears and comfort are for nerds. Accoutrements include a stylish messenger bag and helmet color-coordinated to the bike.  Alternatives to the fixie: An Uber or Lyft app on the iPhone 6, Divvy membership and unlimited ride Ventra card.

Hipsters2. Tats. Self-explanatory, but with some provisions.  Hipsters opt for more subtle placement of ink on their bodies, although I’ve witnessed some with a full sleeve.  And never will a hipster let the tattoo artist work on hands or neck; that can hurt, I’ve been told.  As for designs, most prefer stars or other celestial objects and Japanese or Sanskrit messages that translate to phrases like “love, truth and identity.”

3. Fedoras. Every self-respecting hipster dons a fedora at some point during the week, especially when off to dine at restaurants that charge $13 for a bowl of soup and feature entrees made with lots of bone marrow (whatever that is). Why a hat my father once wore has become the de rigueur hipster dress accessory today remains a mystery.  Perhaps a fedora helps hide a premature bald spot better than a baseball cap.

Now kind readers, let me know if my casual research is on target with identifying today’s hipster.  And, watch for Part 2, where I point out some places in the neighborhood where hipsters are known to congregate.

How do I know where to look?  Fixies, tats and fedoras will show me the way.

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Want more on Avondale and Logan Square?  Here are some other posts to consider.