Showing 1 - 25 of 33 comments
Pilsendan, you can pontificate on the plight of the “poor oppressed Mexicans” all you like. That doesn’t change reality. If you truly believe that moving in a bunch of foreign gang-bangers, driving out businesses that were there for decades due to safety concerns and vandalism, higher crime rates, lower literacy rates, plummeting home prices and lower education rates constitutes “progress”, then you have a very backwards and pathetic definition of the word.
Broan, you’re someone who just doesn’t want to deal with reality. We’ll just leave it at that. People like you and Pilsedan simply don’t want to acknowledge reality. Luckily, others (such as me) are comfortable dealing with reality.I think at this point neither of us has anything left to say, and this thread is getting ridiculously off topic.
Broan, I’ve known and lived in or near Brighton Park for almost half a century, and I’ve studied the issue closely. Yes, it is due to a demographic shift and the very alien values the incoming demographics hold.It is no stretch to blame it on that. No one who is honest and looks at the facts objectively can disagree. Everyone I know who grew up there agrees.
Broan, my original post was on topic. When someone with an agenda comes in here accusing me of being racist for simply stating factual info about the area, that in itself demands a response to rectify the lies. I see the link clearly, but sometimes you have to bend the rules to right a wrong.
Pilsedan, you’re the one obsessing about race here, not me. And your comments such as “Luckily all these businesses, like yourself moved away”, in reference to Polish and Lithuanian people and businesses, is in itself racist. What reason do you have to say that, other than racially based hatred? You call me racist for pointing out the demographic shift that brought in gang bangers, crime, and lower standards of living, and yet you’re the one saying it’s good that the people who previously lived there – hard working Poles and Lithuanians who gave the place a higher standard of living and a cleaner, safer environment – have moved out. That is clearly a racist statement. Let me give you some incontestable FACTS about Brighton Park. You can go research this to verify my statements.
In 1960 Brighton Park was 99.8% white and less than 1% Hispanic with only 20.4% foreign born.
In 2010 Brighton Park was 85.29% Hispanic (69% of those being Mexican) and 8.12% white with 46.3% foreign born
Today, less than ¼th (24%) of Brighton Park residents speak English.
Today, 48% of Brighton Park residents lack a high school diploma.
Today, only 56% of Brighton Park residents complete even an 8th grade education.
Today the violent crime rate in Brighton Park is 22% higher than the average in Chicago and 3,332% higher than the Illinois average.
Today the property crime rate in Brighton Park is 22% higher than the average in Chicago and 1,518% higher than the Illinois average.
When it comes to safety (from violent crime), Brighton Park now ranks in the BOTTOM third of all Chicago neighborhoods.
The percentage of teen birth rate is 75%.
The unwed birth rate is 56%.
The Poles who used to live in Brighton Park, the very people you seem so happy to see leaving the area, created a much better neighborhood than the later incoming Mexicans in every category of measurement. The neighborhood was cleaner, had few if any gangs, no graffiti on every building, etc. People were not afraid to walk the streets at night. People were here legally, they spoke English, and they were more highly educated. Income levels were higher. The teen and unwed birth rate was much, much lower. There can be no sane argument against the fact that Brighton Park has declined significantly in the last 20-30 years. The facts speak for themselves.
You seem to have a psychology of victim-hood, with all your bizarre references to the brave, upstanding Mexicans who fearlessly stood up to the evil, racist Poles that were trying to “run out” and “intimidate” the incoming Mexicans. Ideologically lawless people like yourself always present the argument in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario. When Mexicans start moving in and bringing with them low education levels, high crime rates, high illegitimate birth and teen birth rates, violence and poverty and whites resist to try to stop that influx of indecency, you call it racism. If whites flee the area, you call it white flight and accuse whites of being scared and wimpy while portraying the incoming crowd as noble if oppressed people who are simply overcoming evil racists. You clearly want to be a champion for crime, poverty, and poor quality of life.
The bottom line (and undeniable reality) of Brighton Park is that as the influx of Hispanics (mainly Mexicans) increased, the standard of living decreased. Poverty levels, violent and property crime levels, teen birth rate, unwed birth rate, foreign born birth rate, illegal alien rates and gang activity soared to new, unheard-of heights, while income levels, property values, education levels, and overall standard of living dropped precipitously. That’s historical fact and beyond debate.
So you can stop waving the flag of Mexican nationalism and stop being proud of what your people have accomplished in Brighton Park, because it is nothing to be proud of. It is something to be ASHAMED OF.
Pilsendan, you can stop with the hysterics. The racist label is inaccurate and in any case does not intimidate me in the least. I’ve stated nothing but facts. Brighton Park has seen a massive influx of Mexicans over the years and it is now predominantly Mexican. And with them come plenty of illegal aliens, a displacement of American culture (look at how many exclusively Mexican restaurants line Archer Ave now), tons of gang bangers (Mexican/Hispanic gangs, tagging, graffiti, and vandalism. If you look up the crime stats, they have skyrocketed since the demographic shift, incomes have dropped, home values bottomed out, and education levels plummeted. Most of the signage in the area is written in Spanish. It’s like being in a foreign country, visiting Brighton Park these days. All of this has nothing to do with racism and everything to do with reality. So get off your high horse and stop acting like anyone who speaks the truth is racist.
Here are some newly discovered although sad photos of the demolition of the Marquette Theater in Aug. 1987.
Can anyone tell me if they remember a restaurant called the Centennial Restaurant near the Woods Theater? I used to eat there as a kid, and for the life of me I can’t find a single reference to it anywhere. I’m pretty sure it was on Dearborn near the Woods, because I remember eating at the Centennial and looking down the street to see a sign for the movie Penitentiary II (with Mr. T) playing there.I can’t recall if this restaurant was near the Woods or the McVicker, but it was near whichever theater played Penitentiary II. Anyone?
0123456789, it as closed because of a major demographic shift (from Polish/Lithuanian to heavily Hispanic)as the demographic shift brought in people who didn’t watch movies that much, plus it brought in tons of gang bangers. It’s now a crime ridden neighborhood (Brighton Park) and home values have plummeted precipitously there. Sad.
Just an FYI – several people have written me asking for a piece of the facade, but never wrote back with their address. If anyone wants a piece, all I’m asking is enough to cover shipping. Not looking to make any profit. I’d just love for other fans who cherished this theater to be able to have a piece of it to remember it by.
No, Miami Bowl was on Archer and PULASKI. Actually, just a block off Pulaski.
Tim, it’s all well and fine to wax nostalgic and hope to save an old favorite, but it’s also unrealistic to expect something good to come of it. I lived there, and I left. I’ve passed through there many times in recent months. It’s the ghetto. Violent crime rates in the area around the Colony Theater are 4 times higher than the Chicago average, and property crimes are also almost 4 times higher. You’d need to hire armed security on a 24/7 basis to keep the gangs under control, and even then shootings would be likely. Mr. Valentine is, of course, free to do whatever he likes with his money. Some of us are simply warning him as to the reality of the risk he’s taking.
Jimmy, it would be a spectacularly unwise investment. The neighborhood has gone to hell. Gang-bangers and low-lifes everywhere. It’s a very depressed neighborhood now, a ghetto. You’d never make money with a theater there. Even if you could, the people who would go there would destroy the place within the first few months. Sad but unfortunately the reality of things.
Those who want a piece of the facade, please email me at junk(at)undermountain(dot)org and replace the (at) with @ and the (dot) with .
Anyone who wants a piece of the facade, just email me at the address listed in my profile and I’ll send it out. All I ask is a couple of bucks to cover shipping, I don’t want to make money off it. Just sharing the love. :–)
Unfortunately, there’s no way to resurrect the Brighton Theater. The Brighton Park neighborhood has become a crime-ridden slum. Most of the people there no longer even speak English. Education levels are far lower than what any of us remember (high illiteracy rate and high school drop out rate). Mexican gang bangers are on every corner and every building is tagged with graffiti. It’s a truly destroyed neighborhood. No wonder the property values have plummeted to badly. So re-opening the Brighton Theater would not be economically feasible. Not any more. Not in Brighton Park.
Thomandlinda and Johnp77, I have some nice pieces of the facade from when they tore it down. If you want, I can send you one as a souvenir. I grabbed a bunch when it was being torn down because I wanted a keepsake and a few friends did also, so I took more in case I ran into other people who might have wanted a keepsake. It was such a wonderful place!
Cool! Check your email, Igg. I sent you some info. If anyone else wants a piece of the facade, just LMK. No charge, just pay exact shipping. I never intended on making a dime off it, I just figured I’d grab a bunch of pieces for when I run into other people who loved that theater as much as I did, so they’d have a source to get a “souvenir” so to speak. Man, I miss that place!
Igg, you don’t seem to have your contact info set so that others can contact you. If you enable it, I can send you a PM so we can get you a piece of the facade. ;–)
Otherwise, send me a PM with your email so I can write you.
CHI74, I do the same. I try to remember all the great places in Brighton Park as I drive through…the Park Restaurant, Community Smokeshop, Gerties, Huck Finn, Brighton Theater, Archer Avenue Big Store, Fannie May, etc.
I remember often stopping at Huck Finn, White Castle, Park Restaurant, or the Golden Heart after or before a show at the Brighton Theater. There was a bowling alley just past Archer on Kedzie by Huck Finn, that later became a Forest Auto store and is now a dollar store. Any idea what the bolwing alley name was?
So true. And there was a truly rotten element there. Lots of gang scum. I remember going there once and people had to be searched. Lots of punks yelling and acting out. I demanded a refund and never went back.
CHI74, I think you’re right. The place that was Gerties is still there. I think it’s now a tiny Mexican restaurant. It is a shame. Brighton Park is getting totally run down and infested with gangs now. Very little is even in English anymore, and almost every building has graffiti on it.
Oh, by the way. The jewelry store was to the left of the Brighton when facing the doors not the right. I noticed in my last post that I had that turned around. Next to the jewlery store was Wolf Furniture, which is now Watra, a Catholic religious store.
Catherine, the Sheridan was located at 79th & Harlem. Harlem Corners was located at 87th & Harlem. So they weren’t in the same strip mall, but they were down the street from one another. I don’t think Harlem Corners existed while the Sheridan was in operation (or even still standing!) though.
CHI74, the gold store was actually right next door to Fannie May. It was in the part of the building next to it, right before the alley. Gerties was off to the right of the Brighton (when facing it). I think it was owned by the same people who owned the Gerties by the Colony. I remember stopping in there after school in the early 70’s to get hot chocolate, which they made with milk, not water. Yum! I remember the jewelry store to the right of the Brighton. Tiny little place! That got torn down along with the theater. :–(
Well, these are sad pics, but nonetheless pics of the site where the glorious Brighton Theater once stood. The first shot is a more wide angle shot:
The big grassy open spot in the center is where the Brighton Theater stood. The triangular shaped building to the north of the lot is now Watra, a Catholic religious store. It used to be Wolf’s Furniture in the 60’s and 70’s. Going southeast of the lot is where Gertie’s Ice Cream used to stand. Fannie May Candies was in the building just north of Watra/Wolf Furniture.
The red building on the left side of the photo is the firehouse where the movie Backdraft was filmed.
Here’s a close-up of the lot where the Brighton stood:
Well, I hope that at least brings back some memories of the area, even if the theater is missing.