Chicago vs. NYC: Apartment Search Trends

Two of America’s greatest cities but at what cost? Rent rates in both cities have been a topic of discussion for a long time. The cost of living is 102% higher in New York City (Manhattan) than it is in Chicago. Google Trends provides the public with data on how often people search for apartments in each city.

Looking at the past five years, the term “Chicago apartments” has had more google searches than “NYC apartments”. The time when searches for both NYC and Chicago are at an all time low are usually during the months of September through January. Searches peak during spring months from March through May. Meaning that people in both cities tend to move into new apartments during the warmer months rather than colder ones.

Individually, NYC trends appear to indicate a slow decline in searches for apartments. Chicago also has had a slight decline but its interest rates still remain higher than NYC’s. Taking a closer look at peak search rates from April 2016 and it is compared to April 2019, Chicago has an interest rating of 100 in 2016, the highest on Google’s scale, and a rating of 73 in 2019.

Google Trends also display where most of the interest and searches are coming from all over the United States. Most of the searches for “chicago apartments” come from the West Coast and states neighboring Illinois. For “nyc apartments”, the majority of searches come from Idaho, and states along the east coast. The interactive map also shows that 7% of all of the searches for the two terms done in New York State, are searches for apartments in Chicago. In Illinois, 1% of all searches for both terms are for apartments in New York City.

While there are various reports of Chicago residents leaving the city, Chicago has had higher interest in google searches than New York City over the past five years. A possible explanation could be the higher rent prices in NYC. Both are expensive cities, but they share similar Google trends besides the fact that “Chicago apartments” is a more popular search term overall.

Wicker Park Small Business Thrive Despite Rising Property Taxes

Image by Jaqueline Terrazas

By Jaqueline Terrazas and Melissa Solis

With property taxes skyrocketing in the city of Chicago, it is easy to see how local businesses might get the short end of the stick. Thanks to community support, this is not the case for small businesses in the Chicago neighborhood of Wicker Park.

Property taxes have steadily increased in Wicker Park. Some notable include businesses Reckless Records, independent music venue Subterranean, breakfast restaurant Bongo Room and Volumes Bookcafe. 

When Reckless Records moved to its current location in 2015, the building’s property taxes drastically jumped from $8.7 thousand to $31.3 thousand in the span of one year. From years 2014 to 2018, Bongo Room’s property taxes increased $10,203,Subterranean’s increased $7,071 and Volumes Bookcafe increased $6,429.

Despite the dramatic rising of these building’s property taxes, local businesses have been kept afloat thanks to community support and involvement.

Chicago is home to 2.7 million people and at least 60 neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has its own aesthetic providing a large diverse spectrum of food, clothing, entertainment, health, beauty and much more. Small local businesses help provide these luxuries and amenities to tourists and residents of Chicago. 

One of the oldest and popular neighborhoods of Chicago is Wicker Park. It is located on the Northside of Chicago, right off the Blue Line Damen station. It neighbors Humboldt Park and Ukrainian Village, providing a large array of diversity amongst its residents. 

Wicker Park was home to many immigrants in the late 19th century providing work and home life. It was named after town alderman, Charles Wicker whose statue stands tall in the middle of the town park, Wicker Park.

Statue of Charles Wicker can be found in Wicker Park

A large contributor to the success of small businesses in Wicker Park is the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce. As stated on their website, the WPB Chamber of Commerce “strives to develop innovative ways to increase commerce” in the neighborhoods of Wicker Park and Bucktown. WPCC website even offers “business essentials” that help small businesses grow successfully.

 Alice Howe is part of the Wicker Park Bucktown Special Service Area #33 said businesses in the neighborhood are currently catering to families more than ever before and play a big part in what makes Wicker Park not only a neighborhood but a community as they participate and host events that involve the whole neighborhood.

The WPB Chamber hosts events with local businesses such as Window Wonderland, a month-long event the WPB Chamber hopes will encourage people to shop small and support local businesses. Window Wonderland will take place beginning November 30th through December 30th. Howe also says there has been an influx of restaurants settling into the neighborhood. 

November 30th is 2019’s Small Business Saturday of which all Wicker Park local businesses will be a part of. Businesses such as Mike’s Furniture, a family-owned/ operated business open since 1975 and located at 1259 N Ashland Ave. Lidia Colbert from Mike’s Furniture was available to comment and says she feels the community supports business at Mike’s Furniture and noted that she has noticed a change in customer demographics as before customers used to consist of mostly “Americans” and now there are more Latinos shopping there. 

Aside from small businesses, schools play a big role in the success of a neighborhood. Families look to move where there is a good education for their children. Guidepost Montessori in Wicker Park is a small chain of Montessori schools in the Chicagoland area. The Wicker Park location is their 3rd and newest location, that has only been open for two years. We got to sit down and talk to Brooke Houle, the extended day director who has been at the school since the open date. 

Photo by Jaqueline Terrazas

Brooke gave some insight on the schools’ success and their thoughts on having it located in Wicker Park. Houle then went into detail about the things local businesses have done to make Guidepost Montessori feel more welcomed.

She said, “The businesses have actually helped us more than we helped them. These businesses have been cooperative enough to allow us to have field trips to give the children a look inside a local small business and gave us some gifts as well.” 

Guidepost Montessori has attended  field trips at 4 local business in the area. Big Star; a beer-focuced, taco-lovers honkey tonk resturant, Jeni’s Ice Cream a trendy popular ice cream shop filled with exotic flavors, and Myopic Books, a cozy vintage bookstore filled with over 80,000 books and has been in Wicker Park for decades. 

It is clear that the businesses in Wicker Park help each other and serve the neighborhood and visitors which make it more of a community. Having an array of culture definitely benefits this because bringing families together is what gives Wicker Park its success since it is converting to a more family friendly neighborhood. 
In the beginning of 2019, Hollywood Cleaners, open since 1948, and Real Good Juice were forced to shut its doors. Rakki Cafe, known for its japanese desserts, also closed its doors in early November. While Wicker Park has lost some local gems, they are constantly gaining new businesses. 

In 2016, Dox, a restaurant providing Greek fare, opened its doors and soon after shut down for remodeling. After this it was quickly replaced by Bonci, a famous Roman pizzeria making the Wicker Park location their second ever location in the United States. After a 4-year-run in Wicker Park, Scone City permanently closed leaving room for Graze to relocated from the Loop’s Revival Food Hall. 

Without its small businesses, Wicker Park would not have its reputation. These independently owned businesses cater to all types of people who reside, work or visit Wicker Park. Only time will tell if these new businesses will become long-lasting members of the Wicker Park community. 

Chicago: 7 Places You Have to Visit!

By Melissa Solis

First time visiting Chicago? Take a look at some places to visit.

Cloud Gate, or more commonly known as “The Bean” , is a must-see only for a first time visit to Chicago and is located in Millennium Park. Next is Buckingham Fountain which is only a 10 minute walk south of the Bean. It is perfect for a photo opportunity but it is turned off mid-October. A museum that is often overlooked is the Adler Planetarium right off of the lakefront giving you a perfect view of the Chicago Skyline.

Some neighborhoods that should be part of every Chicago visit include Wrigleyville, Chinatown, and Wicker Park. Instead of waiting long lines at the Willis Tower’s SkyDeck, try making a reservation to the John Hancock building’s Signature Room to get a great view of the city while dining!

A Quick Infographic of Craft Breweries in Illinois

By: Melissa Solis

As of 2018, 229 active breweries reside in the state of Illinois. That is 175 more breweries than the 54 that existed in 2011. The number of breweries opening every year is steadily increasing. There are 2.4 Breweries per capita (per 100,000 adults). Meaning that per each adult that is of drinking age, 21, there are 1.3 gallons of craft beer available.

According to the Brewer’s Association, the number of barrels of craft beer produced per year in Illinois is 400,473. After taking a look at the trends in number of breweries in the state, it is safe to say that all of these numbers are expected to increase in the coming years.

Divvy Bike Stations in Chicago

In a post-scooter pilot Chicago, it can be difficult to get around the city in a fast and efficient way. But fear no more as the city’s tried and true Divvy bikes have got your back! The places in which bike stations are located in clusters seems to be the Downtown area, places where tourists tend to frequent (such as Navy Pier, Mag Mile, and along the lakefront) and near CTA ‘L’ stops are located.

The neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city still have Divvy bike stations but they are more spread out than the stations in the center of the city. In some areas such as Hermosa Park, Belmont Cragin, and Galewood, there are no stations at all. Since a single ride consists of only 30-minutes, Divvy might want to consider being more inclusive and place more stations in the outer-neighborhoods of Chicago. Check out this interactive map that shows where all 113 active Divvy bike stations are located.

Neighborhood boundaries and Divvy bike station locations were gathered from the City of Chicago’s Data Portal. Bike station locations are active as of July 12, 2019.

Chicago Cubs Game Attendance in Decline

Attendance rates seem to be slowing declining post 2016 World Series win. Despite winning the World Series in 2016, that was not the year in which attendance was at its highest. In 2008, Wrigley Field welcomed 40,743 fans for the season, while there was a decline of 837 fans from 2008 to 2016.

Wrigley field capacity has increased along with its overall attendance and ticket sales. Bleed Cubbie Blue, a website dedicated to anything and everything Chicago Cubs, has provided a brief history of changes in Wrigley Field’s capacity over the years. Aside from the renovation of Wrigley’s bleachers in 2005, roughly 1,800 seats were added. The current maximum capacity at the home of the Chicago Cubs sits at 41,649 seats.

A decline in attendance at Cubs games is easily visible in the graphic. Attendance rarely plateaus at Wrigley Field. One of the noticeable trends in the graphic is that after every peak, there is a drastic downfall in attendance rates. It is not just the Chicago Cubs who are experiencing this downfall. The MLB as a whole is experiencing a decline of 7% in attendance since 2015.

Practice Story

Gov. Pat Quinn talks about MAP grants at DePaul University. (Photo by Josclynn Brandon)

Editor’s note: This story was originally posted on Dec. 12, 2012 and is housed at RedLineProject.org

By Bob Smith

Gov. Pat Quinn visited DePaul University’s Loop campus on Wednesday to discuss how pension reform is harming the Monetary Award Program (MAP) college scholarships and access to higher education in Illinois.

“This is so important to our state, not only in the past, but certainly now and in the future,” Quinn said. 
“We want everyone to have the opportunity to go to college that has the ability to go to college.”

MAP grants are need-based college scholarships that allow merit students who are in need across the state and do not need to be repaid by the student. Quinn said that due to cutbacks and having to pay more money in the pension amount, almost 18,000 students lost their MAP grant scholarships this year.

“We do not want anyone denied that opportunity because of finances,” Quinn said. “We can’t afford to lose all the talent that exists, all the ability that exists for higher education to help our economy and to help all of us, because there are financial challenges that deny someone the opportunity to go to community college or a four-year university — public and private — in our state.”

Quinn was joined by several Illinois college students, including DePaul Student Government Association Vice President Casey Clemmons.

“Every year over 5,000 DePaul students receive MAP grants, and just like the students who have already spoken here today, all of these DePaul students rely on this funding in order to continue their college careers,” Clemmons said.

“Because the number of Illinois students eligible to receive MAP is currently increasing, existing funding does not allow the state to assist all the eligible students. As a result, without action by the Illinois state leadership, more DePaul students than ever will see their MAP funding disappear this year and more 

DePaul students than ever will be forced to give up their education due to finances.”

More than 150,000 students nationally receive MAP grants each year.

Clemmons told the audience that on Tuesday, DePaul’s SGA unanimously passed a resolution calling on the Illinois general assembly and the governor to ensure the longevity of the MAP program.  He read the resolution aloud and presented a copy to Quinn. 

Ken Thomas, a University of Illinois Board of Trustees student member, MAP recipient and University of Illinois Chicago student, told how he wouldn’t be where he is today if it wasn’t for the MAP grant.

“My mom, when I was in high school, had to work two jobs just to keep food on the table,” Thomas said, “and if we didn’t have [the] MAP program like we do today, I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today; graduating with a degree, hoping to be a productive member of society.” 

Having a productive and functioning society and economy is what Quinn says it’s all about.

“Jobs follow brainpower,” he said. “We want to make sure we have smart people in Illinois. Well skilled, well-educated students coming out of college with graduate degrees and diplomas so they can create jobs, create new businesses,” he said. “Our goal in Illinois is to have at least 60 percent of the adults in our 

state with a college degree or college associate degree or career certificate by the year 2025. In order to achieve we have to make sure we have a good scholarship program.”

Clemmons said that in order for that to happen, state legislatures need to reflect upon the question, “What must be done?” and do what’s required. 

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