Funsherpa goes back to where it all began, in Lincoln Park. Lucky enough to catch a cup of coffee with the lively bloggers behind Lincoln Park Now, I not only discover the secrets of the Lincoln Park Trixie, but also find out about issues that matter to local residents. Sitting down with Jenn and Molly was awesome and enlightening – read on to discover more about Pawsh Puppies and other interesting things about Lincoln Park.
F: Seems like a great idea to blog about a popular neighborhood in Chicago. How did this blog start?
J: It started when Chicago Now had this push to create hyper local blogs and we were chosen to setup the first one, Lincoln Park Now. We think this is a really great idea because right now, you see a lot of international news or national level news online, but nothing really related to what is going on in your local neighborhood. With our blog, we can let people know about local businesses and provide them with a venue to connect with their neighbors.
M: In addition to that, I believe our role really comes in 3 parts. One part is curation – we scour news resources looking for Lincoln Park mentions and package it into a way that makes it interesting to our readers. The other part of this blog focuses on connecting people, and generating interest from the community. We want our readers to react and share their own viewpoints on what we report. The third part is coming up with our own reporting, with Jenn and I looking for interesting topics and investigating the ins and outs of the story.
F: Do you find a certain type of person responding to local news?
M: When we hit on a special issue that resonates with the residents of Lincoln Park, we definitely see a lot of conversation. People who are very vocal include animal lovers and followers of Democratic politics. There is a very vibrant local political scene that connects to issues at the national level. An interesting fact to note is that President Obama got more donations from Lincoln Park than any other neighborhood in Illinois!
F: What’s the most popular story you’ve written?
J:Definitely the story about Pawsh Puppies . They currently have a defamation lawsuit against a group of protesters who are strongly against their business. We found out about them through a Twitter mention, found all these horrible things written about them online, and saw comment wars posted on sites such as Yelp. After seeing all the nasty stuff written about them online, we decided to call them up to get their side of the story. They told us that they don’t use puppy mills and get all their puppies through reputable breeders; unfortunately, the protesters don’t see it that way. So surprisingly, this issue is extremely divisive.
M: This movement is really gaining momentum – especially with Oprah highlighting the issue and the local politicians passing legislation against puppy mills.
F: What are some of the secrets of LP?
J: Savor the Flavor is one of them (where we meet up)! One interesting thing that has sort of quieted down is the Lincoln Park Trixie Society, which is a stereotype of the Lincoln Park women – these are women who stroll around the neighborhood, wear large sunglasses, drive Jettas, have designer handbags, and carry a cup of Starbucks wherever they go. Also, the Lincoln Hall venue just opened and there is a great music scene there. A lot of independent bands and local hometown favorites are starting to perform there.
M: I’d say Clark St is one of them as it has the most independent businesses than any other place. While Whole Foods isn’t a really big secret, there’s a lot of things that go on in that space. A lot of Twitter conversations usually revolve around the type of people that shop at the Whole Foods on North Avenue. The Farmer’s Market is a big deal here in Lincoln Park, a year round farmer’s market and definitely the most popular one in Chicago.
F: Do you girls ever fight with each other?
J: No, the working relationship is great and we help each other out a lot. Molly is the politics expert and I usually defer that angle in our posts to her.
M: Actually, we were so relieved that we ended writing this blog with each other. If one of us is down, the other one is always there to help out.
F: Do you have any advice for people moving into LP?
M: Take advantage of the free opportunities at Lincoln Park, this neighborhood can be pricey, but there are a lot of free things you can do here. Events at the zoo, yoga at the butterfly museum, and the great bike paths out there. The zoo is doing such a great job at planning weekly and special events, so definitely checkout the zoo!
F: Not to be blasphemous but what other neighborhoods in Chicago do you enjoy?
J: Oh wow, Chicago is so great because of all the diverse neighborhoods. I like Lakeview, Andersonville, Wicker Park.
M: Edgewater, big time, and Wicker Park. Edgewater is really the most diverse neighborhood in Chicago.