Boystown’s Violence

There has been an increase in violence within the Boystown area of Chicago. According to CWB Chicago, violence in Boystown and Wrigleyfield has increased 41%.

History of Boystown

Chicago is a city best known for being diverse and having many neighborhoods geared toward certain demographics. On the city’s West Side, one would find places like the Ukrainian Village or Greek Town. Downtown is Chicago’s popular tourist attraction as the location inhabits famous landmarks such as the Willis Tower and the bean.

While Chicago is the home of many of these attractions, there are definitely parts of the city that are geared towards the restoration and improvement of communities of minorities. Situated in the North Side of the city, is Boystown, Chicago’s LGBT community.

Boystown was the first officially recognized LGBT community in the United States. The community is home to one of the nation’s largest gay and lesbian populations. Boystown is famous for its very colorful and lively nightlife. Also, the community is known for the resources it provides members of the LGBT community. Essentially, it is supposed to be a safe place for them, even though it not always is.


In the 1970’s when Boystown was still an up and coming LGBT hot spot, there were many instances when heterosexual men would go to the area and target members of the LGBT.

Throughout time, majority of hate crimes have shifted to more economical crimes, but they still exist in the area. According to a Huffington Post article, there have been many anti-gay violence marches in the last couple of decades in order to help stop violence against LGBT people, but these attacks still happen. Like any other neighborhood with a popular nightlife scene, due to the large amounts of alcohol consumed, fights are always bound to occur.

Looking south on Halsted St. Many of the neighborhood’s bars are located on this street.

Bar Fights in Boystown

Fighting in Boystown is not uncommon. Since there are many bars and clubs, a lot of alcohol is involved, which results in fights breaking out.

Teodor Nikolaev, a frequent visitor of Boystown, said that many of his friends who are bartenders at the bars in the area always witness these fights.

“The fights usually happen because the people are drunk,” he said .

Many times, people are not able to control themselves when they are under the influence of alcohol, they become aggressive, and tend to get into arguments with others. He added that sometimes, someone’s ex-boyfriend shows up, and they start to argue with each other, which eventually can lead to a fight breaking out.

Sidetrack bar, located at the corner of Halsted and Roscoe, has been open for over 30 years. Colin Smith, who is a security guard that works in one of the many bars in Boystown, attests to this as well. While Smith is from not from the city, he has shared his positive experience both living in Boystown and working at Sidetrack. “It is very rare that we have issues with people,” Smith states, “… I will say since I’ve worked here, I’ve experienced one [fight].”

Many of these fights tend to go array if the situation is not controlled or contained. These fights do typically start through alcohol induction and escalates because of such. “After a long time of drinking,” Smith states, “especially when we’re crowded, people’s personal space is invaded or other people don’t respect other people’s space.”

In July of 2017, a street brawl happened in the same location where Sidetrack Bar was located. This brawl had 10 people involved and private security patrol officers intervened to break up the fight.


Map: Boystown neighborhood


At an earlier time in 2015, another brawl happened outside of Nookies Tree, a restaurant which is also located on the corner of Halsted and Roscoe. The emergence of these fights were so severe that Nookies Tree changed their business hours and closed at an earlier time.

The intersection of Halsted St. and Roscoe St. Many fights occur here.

Efforts in Resolving the Violence

In order to resolve fighting occuring in bars, bar workers tend to kick out the people fighting outside, in order to not make a huge scene inside.

Nikolaev said that many times, bartenders result in calling the police, if the fight can not be settled down. While volunteering at the Center on Halsted, Nikolaev said that although there is no active campaign against reducing the bar fights to occur, people would go to different bars and engage in conversation with the bar goers, to make sure they get home safe and advocate to reduce drinking.

Since much of the fighting happens outside when people linger after the bars close, Nikolaev said that police officers patrol the area in order to reduce people from staying out after the bars close.

Smith also discusses the ways in which Sidetrack abides by protocol dealing with bar violence. When the bar is crowded, six to eight security guards are working throughout the night to ensure safety for the guests.

“Separate and deescalate,” Smith said. “Get the parties as far away from each other as you possibly can, deescalate it, move everyone.”

He also discussed how there is a collaborative effort from all employees within the establishment. This becomes a very assuring and safe effort as businesses and police are becoming heavy on the amount of fights that happen throughout the area.

“Going out, [the violence is] never really a thing that I’ve experienced,” Smith reveals, “They’re just there to have a good time with themselves… People aren’t really going to swing on each other in Boystown.”


Top 10 Restaurants on Chicago’s West Side

Chicago is the greatest in having skyscraper buildings, beautiful landscapes, and really cool restaurants. 38 restaurants in the city are ranked to be the best restaurants given by food critics.

These restaurants are gorgeous in decor, culinary arts and overall, an excellent service. One thing that can be noted within the map, however, is that many of these restaurants are located toward the Downtown or North side areas. What about the side of town that has great food that’s ready to go?

Chicago’s West Side obtains many restaurants ranging from tacos and burgers to Mexican and Jamaican. The West Side also has great stand-in restaurants, especially with the legend, Jimmy’s Red Hots (1952), coming in at #2 for best hot dog spots.

Google Trends- Kendrick Lamar and Jay Z

Given the Grammys that included both rap stars for the nomination of their albums, Kendrick Lamar and Jay Z demonstrated a sense of understanding in the ways of the music industry. According to the trends of their searches within the United States, 2017 turned out to be the year of record breaking success for both artists with their respective projects of DAMN. and 4:44.

Trends on DAMN.

Lamar’s first single of the album, Humble”, was released on March 30, 2017 through his Vevo page. Immediately, the rapper gained much media attention and audience craze. At this moment, the music video earned 431 million views on YouTube.

A few weeks following the release of Humble”, DAMN. was released on April 14, 2017. The album obtained 14 tracks, including the singles “Humble,” “Loyalty” which featured Rihanna, and “Love.” Music videos for “Loyalty,” “DNA” starring alongside actor Don Cheadle, and “Element.”

Photo by
Ellie Gilchrist

One of the most interesting aspects in regards to the Google trends relating to the album is that Lamar’s album gained more attention in regards to beauty and fitness. This was evident as Lamar mentions a line within “Humble” that promotes women to embrace their natural beauty.

Trends on 4:44

Before the album was debuted, signs of 4:44 was displayed on billboards throughout the United States. This led to speculation and rumors in regards to what 4:44 was and what it meant to the audience. The increase in searches for 4:44 was prevalent at this time.

4:44 was released on June 30, 2017 nationwide through his video streaming site, Tidal, and Sprint. The album featured his wife, Beyonce, Frank Ocean, Damian Marley and his daughter Blue Ivy.

More attention was placed on the album as Jay-Z released the music video for “The Story of OJ,” which uses the essence of minstrel shows and cartoons to emphasize the place of Black people in America.

Many speculations in regards to 4:44 as the audience believes the album is in conjunction with Beyonce’s Lemonade, which allegedly addressed issues of Jay-Z’s cheating.

Interestingly enough, Jay-Z made mention of this by addressing Becky, who Beyonce refers to as “Becky with the good hair” in her song “Sorry.” He calls upon Beck to tell her to leave him alone in the song “Family Affair,” which a cameo appearance of both Beyonce and Blue Ivy.

While neither of the artists won a Grammy Award for Best Album of the Year, their work managed to cover a wide range of topics, including their growth and understanding of themselves and their emotion. Safe to say, these albums are indeed considered conscious rap albums, and the most important element of such is realization of self.




Practice Story

Pat Quinn photo
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 It’s been repurposed with permission for this assignment:



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.