Droppin’ it direct

By Derek Kucynda

Last weekend, while I was eating my dad’s homemade meatloaf, I had a revelation: I need to pack up my belongings, move out on my own and finally learn how to cook.

Yes, I was able to save up money and bond with my family while I lived with them, but now I crave independence. With my friend’s lease almost up, he and I decided we wanted to live together. So we went on ApartmentFinders.com and Craigslist.org and looked at prospective places around the city.

My friend pointed out every location that was cheap, but I told him that the choice of the neighborhood we move in was a crucial issue, as well. I have lived in Chicago my whole life, and throughout my travels, I have found that the Second City is brimming with different neighborhoods, each with its own character and history. Based from experience, I have compiled a list of pros and cons of certain Chicago neighborhoods, which can be helpful for those looking to move out.

Lakeview: I used to live here, and I still have mad love for these streets. These streets, however, are sprinkled with sex stores, smoke shops and promiscuous bars that might make families think twice about moving here. The Belmont Harbor is nice, but only in the daytime. At night, transvestites take over the harbor. Girlfriends beware; these faux-females want your man, and they usually have help from the three Js: Jose Cuervo, Jim Beam and Jack Daniels.

Wrigleyville: I find it frustrating that intoxicated Cubs fans can eat, drink and burp up a storm but can’t properly walk to the Red Line after drinking beer after beer at the Cubs game. However, the wide variety of sports bars on Clark Street make Wrigleyville the go-to destination during baseball season.

South Loop: Honestly, I miss the smashed college students stumbling through the neighborhood and getting into altercations with the homeless. But watch out for falling debris and garbage when passing by a dorm; college kids find it hard to recycle. Summertime in the South Loop is pretty awesome. With the Taste of Chicago and Lollapalooza down the street, it’s hard to be in the loop and not have a good time.

Bridgeport: Like Wrigleyville, legions of intoxicated White Sox Fans will take over this South Side neighborhood in the summer. However, most of the people who actually live in Bridgeport are Lithuanian, Irish, Italian, Mexican and Chinese, making this neighborhood a cultural melting pot brimming with opportunity, good restaurants and affordable housing.

Lincoln Park: I really want to live here, and it’s not because of the yuppies who throw lavish parties on their dilapidated porches. It’s because there are so many stores, restaurants and nightlife options available in this neighborhood. However, be mindful of the cars driving in Lincoln Park, because most drivers are chit-chatting on their cell phones and not obeying the law, opting to take a drive on the wild side.