Your move: Board game night offers residents a chance around the board

(Published Aug. 31, 2019)

By Stephanie Racine, Staff Writer

A group of New Eastside—and nearby—residents have come together to form a board game night. The group meets monthly in the party room at The Tides, 360 E. South Water St.

New Eastside resident Ishmeet Lamda started the game night by reaching out to neighbors on the social media application NextDoor. She was excited to discover many people in the neighborhood like to play board games.

“I’m an extrovert who likes to socialize and also love to play board games,” Lamda said. 

New Eastside resident Jeffrey Molsen regularly attends. 

“The neighborhood board game night is great because it allows me to meet new people through sharing some of my favorite games and getting the opportunity to try out new ones,” he said.

A typical board game night includes a warm-up game to account for any latecomers. Short games, such as Uno or Iota, are played. 

“We then either split into groups and play, or we all come together and play cooperative games which are super engaging,” Lamda said. Those games, like Pandemic and Avalon, are more strategic and take a longer time.

Lamda’s favorites to play at game night are Stone Age, Iota, Hanabi, Uno, and Code Names.

Molsen said his favorite is Fluxx. 

“The rules start simple, and you just have to do what the cards say after that,” he said. “However, it can quickly devolve into delightful mayhem.”

The board game club welcomes all new members.

“It is a pretty flexible and happy-go-lucky group,” Lambda said. 

Plans are put together on NextDoor. Lamda posts information about meetings. The next planned meeting is 6 p.m. on Sept. 6. Lamda asks interested parties to RSVP on NextDoor.

[Board Game Night members rounding out the night with Uff-Da and free massages from (name) photo by Stephanie Racine]

Chicago’s WWII medical professionals to be honored

(Published Aug. 9, 2019)

A free lunchtime public event will honor the World War II 12th General Hospital Unit, which was comprised of Northwestern University Medical School physicians and dentists, Chicago-area nurses, dieticians and physical therapists, and enlisted men who treated nearly 30,000 patients during the war. 

The event, from noon to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, August 14, will launch a physical and digital exhibit featuring the 12th General Hospital Collection. The event will take place in Baldwin Auditorium, 303 E. Superior St., on Northwestern’s Chicago campus.  

The event is hosted by Northwestern’s Galter Health Sciences Library & Learning Center.

Dr. Sanders Marble, senior historian for the U.S. Army Office of Medical History, will speak about surgery and recovery during World War II. 

The 12th General Hospital Unit was officially activated on January 28, 1942. Following nearly a year of military and medical training, the unit was deployed first to the Algerian seaside resort, Ain-el-Turck, and then to Naples, Rome and Leghorn in Italy until the unit was deactivated on September 15, 1945. 

Along with performing emergency surgeries, the staff treated outbreaks of infectious diseases like typhus and malaria, and the high prevalence of venereal disease among American troops. Several members of the group were individually recognized for their service and the unit as a whole was awarded the Meritorious Plaque. 

Gabrielle Barr, a research associate at Galter, curated the exhibit. “What struck me most as I went through the papers was how deeply the medical personnel believed in their mission, how they overcame adversity, the tight-knit nature of their unit and the fond memories they had of their World War II service,” she said. 

Both the digital exhibit and its companion traveling iteration, which are predominately drawn from the papers of Michael L. Mason and James A. Conner, highlight the recruitment, training and medical experiences of those in the 12th General Hospital. The exhibits also provide a window into the types of leisurely activities that bonded such a diverse group of people together and touch on how these servicemen and women, many of whom had never ventured far from their hometowns, explored their surroundings while abroad.  

Born in 1895, Mason attended undergrad, graduate and medical school at Northwestern. In World War I, he served as a sergeant, first class in charge of the operating theatre in France and tended to patients in Austria. Before assuming his role as the chief of surgical service for the 12th General Hospital division during World War II, Mason was an attending surgeon at Passavant Memorial Hospital, specializing in hand surgery, and an associate professor of surgery at Northwestern University Medical School. Mason passed away in 1963.

Conner, born in 1903, received his medical degree from Northwestern in 1933. Before being called to join the Armed Forces, Conner was a part of Northwestern’s pediatrics department and an instructor of contagious diseases. He was promoted to be part of the senior staff of Wesley Memorial Hospital in 1948, where he treated patients for many years. Conner passed away in 2001.

Golden Knights, Blue Angels headline 61st annual event by the lake

(Published July 31, 2019)

By Elisa Shoenberger, Staff Writer

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels, the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights and the U.S. Navy Parachute Team Leap Frogs will headline the 61st annual Chicago Air and Water Show, set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 17-18.

Last year’s show drew an estimated 1 million people, said Mary May, Marketing and Communications, Public Relations Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events for the City of Chicago.

The show will also feature the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team The Red Arrows from the United Kingdom. Nineteen other groups will be performing with nine military demonstrations and ten civilian teams. 

This year’s special guests, the RAF Red Arrows have performed nearly 5,000 times in 57 countries since 1965, according to a City of Chicago news release. The Red Arrows will perform in more than 20 displays in the U.S. and Canada on its first North American tour in 11 years, according to the Red Arrows website. 

To get the Red Arrows’ Hawk T1 jets to North America, they will be flown over three days, the tour website said. They will have 12 Hawk aircrafts and 1 Atlas A400M RAF transport aircraft. The tour will include 108 people, “including pilots, engineers and support staff.”

A regular of the Air and Water Show, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels includes 16 officers. The Commanding Officer, known as the “Boss” who flies the number 1 jet, is required to “have at least 3,000 tactical jet flight-hours and have commanded a tactical jet squadron,” according to the Blue Angels website. Officers in jets 2 through 8 must “have an aircraft carrier qualification and a minimum of 1,250 tactical jet flight-hours.” 

The U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights was founded in 1959 but received its name in 1962 due to all the gold medals the Knights had won, according to the Golden Knights website.

“The team has earned the U.S. Army 2,148 gold, 1,117 silver, and 693 bronze medals in national and international competition,” the site said. “Team members have also broken 348 world records.” The Golden Knights currently have nearly 95 men and women, including four parachute units and five aircrafts, according to their website. They perform annually in over 100 events.

New, improved Riverwalk is open for business

(Published June 30, 2019)

By Jesse Wright

The city’s renovated Riverwalk is open, and although some renovations continue, the scenic spot is a hotspot for both visitors and locals alike.

Among the improvements the Riverwalk now offers more greenspace, a walking path closer to the river and a community marketspace.

Two longtime Chicago Architecture Center tour directors praised the work.

“It’s gorgeous,” said Lorie Westerman, a CAC docent. “And it’ll be even better when it’s finished.”

“I like the amphitheater and the River Theater,” said Robin Bauer.

Westerman echoed Bauer, and noted the amphitheater is a very popular spot to sit down and relax. 

“One day on a recent tour, when we got done, I noticed people were sitting arm to arm at the amphitheater,” Westerman noted. “It’s very popular. 

One of the more ambitious additions to the Riverwalk is a marketspace. The Riverwalk has long featured businesses and restaurants but this space is intended to highlight women and minority-owned vendors. The vendors are selling food and drinks and the small kiosks are set up between Wabash and Michigan avenues.

These vendors have a six-month contract to sell at the Riverwalk. In addition, Lakeview’s Beat Kitchen has a three-year lease to operate under the staircase of the Michigan Avenue bridge.

According to the city, vendors are intending to make tourists aware of Chicago neighborhoods they can visit during their trip.

Visitors and locals can get a free, guided one-hour tour of the Riverwalk Thursday through Sunday. Anyone interested must meet at the Bridgehouse Museum Plaza at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. The walks are first-come, first-served.

Bridgehouse Museum prepares for cruise fundraiser

(Published June 19, 2019)

By Jesse Wright

Though the main Riverwalk entrance to the McCormick Bridgehouse and Chicago River Museum is shuttered as city workers renovate that space, the museum is open and busy planning for an upcoming cruise fundraiser.

The cruise is June 26 and the boat ride offers a unique voyage on the Chicago River.

“It’s unlike any other tour,” Coles said. “We go places where other tours typically don’t go. We go all the way to Damon Avenue on the south branch.”

The Bridgehouse Museum celebrates the history of Chicago’s bridgehouses—the small offices once used to manually raise and lower the city’s drawbridges—as well as the history of the Chicago River. Aside from the museum, many of the bridgehouses are now closed and unused.

The museum, at the northern corner of Columbus Drive and upper Wacker, is only open during the spring, summer and early fall. Museum director Josh Coles said, despite the construction, he’s happy with attendance so far this year. He even praised the work on the Riverwalk, which he said will improve the exterior space.

“They are expanding the plaza space,” he said. “They’re going to add two large long planters full of native plants. It should be good.”

Inside the museum, Coles said the organization continues to welcome locals and tourists with a robust schedule of river-related events through the summer.

“In July and August we do a speaker series,” he said.

The free series will kick off July 8 and run from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. xperts will talk on a variety of topics, from the history of the area to the ecology of the river.

“We have all kinds of great people who know a lot about river-related issues,” Coles said. “Also, in late June, we have our annual fundraiser for the museum and it’s a summer cruise.”

Tickets are $85 for a single or $155 for two tickets, available online at bridgehousemuseum.org.

In September, the Bridgehouse Museum will offer a temporary exhibit, The Tender House project, which imagines the potential use of the other bridgehouses in Chicago.

The Bridgehouse Museum is open Fridays through Mondays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Thursday from noon to 7 p.m. The museum is closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

Navy Pier Pride Presented by American Airlines returns for fourth annual daylong celebration of love and equality

(Published June 13, 2019)
 
Navy Pier Pride Presented by American Airlines will soar onto the Pier with flying colors for the fourth consecutive year on June 29, offering a variety of festivities to embrace diversity and celebrate the vibrant LGBTQ culture in Chicago. The full-day free event, from noon to 11 p.m., positions the Pier as an inclusive Pride destination for all ages, with activities ranging from build-your-own Pride bracelets to musical performances by the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus and a colorful and vibrant fireworks display.
 
As part of its Pride Month tribute, the Pier will be decorated with Pride flags all month long and display the symbolic rainbow colors in the center digital screen of the iconic Centennial Wheel. Further illustrating a visual celebration of diversity and inclusion, two essential tenants of Navy Pier’s values, the Pier will also adorn staircases near the Centennial Wheel and Crystal Gardens in rainbow colors, as well as project a custom “togetherness” wall asset highlighting the Pier’s mission to welcome all.
 
For the day-of celebration, guests can begin with an opening activity at Chicago Children’s Museum’s Family Resource Activity Station to celebrate LGBTQ families. On the Pier’s South Dock, create a rainbow bracelet as a symbol of Pride and learn about the museum’s LGBTQ inclusion resources that are available for parents and teachers from noon to 2 p.m.
 
PFLAG Council of Northern Illinois will be on-site from noon to 4 p.m. to speak to their mission of building a foundation of loving families united with LGBTQ people and allies who support one another. PFLAG envisions a world where diversity is celebrated and all people are respected, valued and affirmed inclusive of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, and the Northern Illinois Council is a coalition of chapters within the Chicagoland area. Navy Pier is passionate about partnering with other likeminded nonprofits in the area to promote dynamic and eclectic experiences.
 
Reading gets revamped from 1 to 2 p.m. during Story Time with Drag Queens presented in partnership with Chicago Children’s Museum, where classic children’s books will be brought to life in fabulous fashion.
 
A variety of other performers will create an energetic musical atmosphere throughout the event starting at 2 p.m. through 11 p.m. at the Miller Lite Beer Garden.
 
All guests are welcome to join and follow the festive music processional led by the Lakeside Pride Marching Band from the People’s Energy Welcome Pavilion down the South Dock from 2 to 2:30 p.m. and revel in the musical stylings from the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus during a special performance at the Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion from 3 to 4 p.m.
 
As the sun sets, enjoy an energetic live performance as part of Navy Pier’s ongoing Wave Wall Wax weekly DJ series featuring reigning queer Chicago female DJ All the Way Kay at the Wave Wall Platform from 4 to 6 p.m.
 
Coinciding that evening will be the signature Aon Summer Fireworks lighting up the Chicago sky for a 10-minute vibrant display at 10:15 p.m. as a breathtaking closing to the celebration.
 
Please see below for the full schedule for Navy Pier Pride Presented by American Airlines:

Get out and grill in Chicago

(Published May 30, 2019)

By Stephanie Racine, Staff Writer

For grill masters and amateurs, there are several public parks and beaches that allow grilling.

“Grilling must be confined to enclosed metal containers and may only take place within dedicated grilling areas,” according to the Chicago Parks website. The parks also stress all hot coal must be watered and any remains should be disposed of in designated red receptacles.  

Some of the nearby parks and beaches that allow grilling:

Oak Street Beach

1000 North Lake Shore Drive

North Avenue Beach

1601 N. Lake Shore Drive

Montrose Beach

4400 N. Lake Shore Drive

Loyola Beach

1230 W. Greenleaf Ave.

Riis Park

6100 W. Fullerton Ave

Rules:

$50 fee to grill, must bring own grill.

Burnham Park

Promontory Point

5491 S. Lake Shore Drive

Rules:

Public fire pits or bring your own grill in designated areas.

Humboldt Beach

1400 N Humboldt Drive

For more information about the parks and beaches, visit chicagoparkdistrict.com

Not Your Average Mother’s Day

(Published April 29, 2019

By Stephanie Racine, Staff Writer

Treat mom to a unique Mother’s Day experience that goes beyond brunch.

Family Game Night Out

Does mom love family game night, but is often stressed playing host? Try Family Game Night Out in Lakeview, which takes the pressure off mom. Invite the whole family, from 6-24 guests, to play familiar party games in a private room that includes a host. Family Game Night Out is BYOB and welcomes guests to bring snacks. $45 per person for a 2-3 hour experience, depending on the number of guests. Make reservations in advance. Recommended for game players 18 and up.

gamenightout.com

2828 N Clark St., Chicago

312-448-724

Donut Tour

If mom is a pastry fan, then the Chicago Donut tour will be a treat. The Underground Donut Tour has two Chicago-based tours, one of which covers downtown, the other covers Wicker Park. The downtown tour encompasses two miles and each donut shop stop includes samples. Tours run Thursday to Sunday and begin at 9 a.m. The downtown tour is $35 for adults and $15 for children.

undergrounddonuttour.com

Freeze and Float

For a relaxing Mother’s Day, take mom to River North’s Freeze and Float, a recently opened spa specializing in cryotherapy treatments, infrared saunas and flotation therapy. Cryotherapy hyper-cools the body for three minutes, with temperatures in the chambers reaching -184F. According to the Freeze and Float website, Cryotherapy has rejuvenating effects, similar to the benefits of icing inflamed muscles. Infrared saunas improve circulation and help with injury recovery. Floatation therapy in Epsom-salt filled water is a meditative experience. They also offer classic massages, facials, and beauty treatments. For pricing and more information, visit Freeze and Float’s website, or call them.

freezefloatspa.com

371 W Ontario St.

312 809-7008

Windy Kitty

For the cat-lover mom, Windy Kitty is the place to go. Windy Kitty is a cat cafe in Wicker Park, where mom can hang out with some rescue cats, while having a snack or coffee. Cats at the cafe are available for adoption, but enjoy being visited too. Windy Kitty also features a kitten nursery, available to visit for those over 10. Windy Kitty strongly suggests reservations. Admission is $14 per person per hour. For parties of five people or more, Windy Kitty recommends a private party reservation. They often have fun events, such as Yoga with Cats or Painting with Cats. For more information, visit their website, or email them.

windykittychicago.com

meow@windykittychicago.com

1746 W North Ave

Let it Out

Moms often are subject to a lot of stress. To give mom a way to let go of that stress, take her to The Rage Room, in River North’s Escapades Escape Room. For those over 18, the Rage Room allows visitors to break as many items, such as televisions, crockery, and computer equipment, as they desire. The Rage Room provides safety wear to go along with a baseball bat, crowbar or golf club. The room can be shared with up to 15 people in a party, but only one person goes in at a time. Experiences can last up to 2 hours, or can be as little as 15 minutes. Prices vary. Online reservations required. Visit their website for more information.

www.escapadesescapegames.com

153 W. Ohio

312-526-3072

Learn Something New

For the jack-of-all-trades mom, check out Dabble, which has classes available in a variety of subjects. Pasta making, archery, glassblowing and soap making are just a few available on Dabble in the upcoming weeks. They also have food tours, architecture tours and drinking tours. Prices, locations, and times vary. Dabble’s website has a list of classes and is constantly updating new times, dates, and experiences.

dabble.co/chicago/

Summer fun for all: Parents have plenty to choose from in local summer camps

(Published April 29, 2019)

By Jesse Wright, Staff Writer

With summer around the corner, schools, museums and even watersport companies are offering summer camps for kids.

At Camp GEMS, kids can explore the city through a six-week program that mimics the school’s curriculum, although the program is open to all kids, even non-students. Through the camp, kids explore the whole city and the build and design the city features. Each week is $475 or $2,700 for six weeks. Camp Gems is open to kids 3-12.

Taneal Sanders, a GEMS teacher, said Camp GEMS aims to benefit the entire student.

“We focus on keeping the kids’ minds and bodies active,” she said.

Each week has a different theme, and students learn lessons based on each theme. The first week is “who we are,” the second weeks is “where are we in place and time,” the third week is “how we organize ourselves, the fourth week is, “how the world works,” the fifth week is “sharing the planet” and the final week is “how we express ourselves.”

Throughout the camp, kids explore the city, design model cities, visit a theater and visit various markets and festivals in the city.

“On Fridays, we do a share-out where all age groups come together and we kind of have a little assembly where we share what we learned during the week,” Sanders said.  

Last year, kids took a water taxi to Chinatown and on another day they visited the Field Museum.

“We don’t just stay right in the neighborhood,” Sanders said. “With the younger campers, we stay close to school, but for the older kids, we venture out on public transportation.”

In addition to the cultural diversity, Sanders said Camp GEMS is staffed by GEMS teachers and the ratio is five students to one teacher, ensuring the kids are learning as well as enjoying the city.

“It’s not just for GEMS students,” Sanders said. “We love that it brings in different people and different perspectives.”

A variety of other day and week camps are available for kids.

Sailing and STEM camp

The Chicago Park District is hosting its annual sailing and STEM camp in May, June and July.

Kids can learn to sail at Monroe Harbor, with no experience necessary. The camp is for 5th-8th grade students in Chicago and it requires a $250 donation, though low-income applicants can get in free. To apply for a spot, visit endeavourchicago.org.

The four day-sessions (Monday-Thursday) go beyond  sailing. Students will learn science, technology, engineering and math curriculum. The course opens May 4 and meets every Saturday at 9 a.m. A June camp runs from June 24 to Aug. 1.

Visit EndeavourChicago.org for more details and to apply online. Scholarships are available.

Urban Kayaks paddle and kayak camp

Urban Kayaks summer paddle and kayak camp kicks off July 29. The camp runs weekly from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and is aimed at kids ages 10 to 16. The course, at $550 per week with a 25 percent discount for siblings, is located at Monroe Harbor. For more information, visit urbankayaks.com or call 312-965-0035

Navy Pier’s Wiggleworms music program

While not a camp, Navy Pier is again hosting Wiggleworms, a free music program for children every Friday beginning June 21.

Wiggleworms, Old Town School of Folk Music’s early childhood music program, introduces young children and their families to a musical world. The program is at the Polk Brothers Park stage and it runs Fridays from 10 to 11:45 a.m.

Easter fever: The best local egg hunts

(Published April 1, 2019)

By Jesse Wright, staff writer

Many parents in downtown Chicago don’t have lawns for children to hunt eggs—but the city provides a plethora of alternatives, some including grandiose spectacles, for both kids and parents.

New Eastside’s Maggie Daley Park hosts the Great Chicago Egg Hunt on April 19, which, as the name implies, is not small affair.

Besides the Easter Bunny, the egg hunt includes various performances from event sponsor Medieval Times’ knights and princesses. The event is open to any child from 1 to 11 years old. though parents need to register kids. A spot is $10 per person online or $15 per person the day of the hunt. Parents can register on the park district’s site, maggiedaleypark.com.

Parents should register sooner rather than later because it is popular. “We had 5,000 people last year,” park supervisor Jackie Guthrie said. “It’s a pretty big egg hunt.”

She explained the hunt is actually several hunts, handled in waves, and a Medieval Times’ trumpeter will sound off each hunt.

The event is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and registration begins at 9 a.m

A Rainforest adventure

Across the river near Streeterville, kids and parents can get a hop on Easter  breakfast with the Easter Bunny April 13 and April 14 at Rainforest Café, 605 N. Clark St. The Cha! Cha!’s Egg-Cellent Easter Adventure breakfast includes a breakfast buffet, an egg hunt and basket and goodie bags for the kids. Children 3 and under are free, 10 and under are $14.34 and tickets for everyone else are $24.75. Tickets are available at Eventbrite.com.

Lake Shore Park Easter egg hunt

Streeterville families can take part in the Maggie Daley Park egg hunt and then, the next day, April 20, families can go over to Lake Shore Park, 808 N. Lake Shore Drive, for the Streeterville’s Easter egg hunts for kids 12 and under. Bags will be provided for the eggs. The event is free and open to the community from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Besides the hunt, there will be snacks, face painting, crafts and there will also be storytime reading by Blue Box Libraries and parents are asked to bring a book to donate. The event is free to the public and parents can register at easterinchicago.com.

The event is sponsored by Lake Shore and Seneca Park advisory councils and Church of the Beloved.

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