Thursday June 25,  2015

Dear Neighbors,

Lincoln Central hosted a unique party at our beautiful Fire Station Park last Sunday featuring food and beverages all seasoned with flavors from our herb garden. Several attendees noted that even a small amount of seasoning from a single herb could shape the entire flavor of a dish.  


Upon reflection, it occurred to me that the same is true with community service and neighborhood engagement.  Even if you don't have time to be the "main course" of a neighborhood project, or even its largest ingredient, your involvement, even in a small way, may still be the very thing necessary to fundamentally change the outcome for the betterment of the neighborhood. 


And that's my invitation to you: Let this be the "season" you find even a small way to shape the flavor of our neighborhood.  If you are not already a member of Lincoln Central Association, why not join today?

From the heart,

P. S. If you would like to learn more about LCA, help support our organization or provide suggestions to help us better serve the neighborhood, contact me at any time at Also, please let us know if you have story ideas for our newsletter or website.

Between the raindrops, it was all fun and games at LCA's second Spring Zing on May 30 where families gathered, despite the weather, to enjoy the event.


Special guests US Representative Mike Quigley (D-IL 5th District) and 43rd Ward Alderman Michele Smith brought celebrity to the event, as participants sought their advice in one-on-one conversations.

Congressman Quigley has Heart

Kids and grown-ups had a wide variety of activities to choose from. Lurie Children's Hospital provided bike & pedestrian safety tips, while Performance Bike offered safety tune-ups. For pure fun, there were balloon artistry by A Real Mad Hatter and face painting by Elsa from Frozen.  Age specific activities included the Community Christian Church Kid's Corner with arts & crafts, and architectural tours from neighborhood historian, Bob Segal.


Excitement was high at the raffle drawings with prizes that included gift certificates from Gemini Bistro, Glasses Ltd, Geja's Cafe,  Gepperth's Market, Cafe Floriole, Taco Joint, Oz Animal Hospital, Summer House, Stella Barra, Whole Foods, Four Farthings, Natural Elements Salon, and David's Tea.  Two special packages were eight White Sox tickets and a Navy Pier package that included free parking, a Harry Carey's gift certificate and more, thanks to Jen Kramer; and two BBQ grills, an insulated wine cooler, and surprises just for kids all donated by LCA members.


Rain couldn't stop the fun. "It added to the spirit of adventure that Spring Zing inspires," said LCA Events Chair Lisa Qu, "It created a real camaraderie among the crowd, as we came together despite Mother Nature's choice of weather."

Smiling in the rain at Spring Zing!
Thursday, June 25 
LCA monthly Board meeting 


You are invited to attend the discussions at meetings, which are held the fourth Thursday of each month at 6:30 PM in the back room of the Marquee Lounge at Halsted and Armitage.


Saturday, June 27
Perennial's Vision at Fire Station Park

Come fill in the garden with new perennials and learn about the native Illinois plants we are growing in the garden Fire Station Park gardeners meet the fourth Saturday of each month at 9:00 AM. ( More info)


Sunday, June 28
LP Kidical Mass Bike Ride

Explore our wonderful parks as Kidical Mass leads a family friendly bike ride past several of our neighborhood's parks and playgrounds.The ride will depart from Dorothy's Playground at Oz Park at 4:00 PM. LCA member Jerry Quandt will serve as Ride Coordinator. ( More Info )

Tuesday, July 14
LCA monthly Zoning Committee meeting 

The Lincoln Central Zoning and Planning Committee meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month to discuss ways to ensure open and fair processes for developers and homeowners.  The meetings are held the fourth Thursday of each month at 6:00 PM in the back room of the Marquee Lounge at Halsted and Armitage. The public is invited to attend.


Saturday & Sunday, July 18 & 19 
47th Sheffield Music Fest & Garden Walk 

The features self-guided tours of more than 80 Gardens, guided Architectural Tours, live entertainment by some of Chicago's and North America's finest bands, food and drink, and activities for children at the Kids' Corner. ( More Info)

Saturday & Sunday, July 25 & 26
Taste of Lincoln Avenue

One of the city's largest and most popular summer celebrations, the Taste of Lincoln Avenue  sprawls over six city blocks on a major artery in the heart of Lincoln Park where high  incomes meet the vibrant DePaul University population. (More info)

Lincoln Central Association is a non-profit organization with minimal resources. All of our activities to improve and beautify your neighborhood rely on unpaid volunteers and your tax deductible donations. We are deeply grateful to the organizations listed below who have helped offset many of the expenses associated with our events this year.




"It's so nice to have neighbors come together in such a relaxed and cordial way," said LCA Member Mary Quincannon, a longtime Lincoln Park resident. That sentiment was repeated often as neighbor encountered neighbor at LCA's Sunday Summer Sipper on Sunday, June 21, at the Fire Station Park.

A garden party with Heart
While  emphasis was on the park's wonderful gardens, the event was designed to bring LCA members and others together for an afternoon of connection and conversation. Many people saw friends they hadn't seen in months. Others met neighbors and for the first time. "It became an afternoon of interaction and pure enjoyment for those in attendance," said Sally Drucker, LCA Parks Chair and the person who keeps the Fire Station Park growing better every year. "It was wonderful to be able to show the design of the garden, with its prairie and wetland beds, herb garden, vegetable beds, and peaceful setting. And our new sculpture got a workout from the little ones.
Hearty hors d'oeuvres
Beverages and hors d'oeuvres featured herbs from the garden.  Everything from mojitos and minted ice tea, to melon and mint skewers, cucumber chive sandwiches, grilled herbed vegetables, green goddess dressing, and caprese skewers--all made by LCA members for the enjoyment of  guests who included Alderman Michele Smith.


"We couldn't have asked for a better result from our plans," said Kathy Jordan, LCA Vice President.  "We wanted an event that would bring to life our new logo--Lincoln Central . . . the heart of the neighborhood. And that's exactly what happened."



Business has taken Howard  Ecker around the globe, but his favorite place to watch the world go by is on the steps to his Webster Avenue home, facing Oz Park. He's lived there since the late 1970's, and it's where he and his wife Janet raised twin daughters and tended to a series of much-loved dogs. Indeed, it was their young dog Trucker, gone blind, that led them to a house on a park.   "We've been in that park three times a day for 37 years," says Ecker.  "Everything happened for us at that park."
Howard, Janet & Trucker Ecker in the 70's

The immediate neighborhood was good to the family, too. Without crossing a street they could reach the veterinarian and the pediatrician. And when they entertained, their dinner guests would carry their plates into chef Louis Szathmary's kitchen at The Bakery restaurant, load up, and return to the house. "It was before carry out as we know it,"  Ecker  says with a chuckle. 

Ecker is president and CEO of Howard Ecker & Co., a firm that specializes in representing commercial tenants. He has a sky-high office in the Loop that's brightly decorated and filled with museum-worthy art. He employs 25 and has offices in New York, Denver, Miami and in Australia.  Ecker says his
professional success comes from knowing and finding the right people in real estate (Helmut Jahn, Buzz Ruttenberg, Sam Zell) earning their trust, and working to keep them.

A snappy dresserEcker wears white and black only during the work week, clothing that's made in Japan and shipped to him from a store in Paris. About his striking wardrobe, Ec ker  says it's important to be identifiable by what you wear and what you drive. ( Ecker 's wheels? An electric Fisker.)

A native of Chicago, Ecker grew up in Lakeview. A Latin School of Chicago graduate, Ecker went on to Tulane University, where he studied Russian history. He caught the property bug from his roommate, whose family business was New Orleans real estate. Ecker returned to Chicago and shortly thereafter became the leasing agent for the John Hancock building -- before it was built. He's spent his entire 50 year career in commercial real estate and development. 

T he  Eckers  have a second home in Mallorca, Spain, which they visit a few times per year. But it is their 1885 Victorian, with its view of Oz Park and the Chicago skyline, that dazzles. "We entertain a lot," says  Ecker . "We sit on the steps, it's a stage in front of us, it's theater. I don't know why anyone would want to live anywhere else." 
Howard & Janet
The Eckers still heart the neighborhood!

When Engine 22 Firefighter Ben Hosek approached LCA Parks Chair Sally Drucker about getting help to beautify planters outside the station at Larrabee and Armitage, Sally
knew just what to do. She said, "We'll spread the word."


Brownie Troop 20212 at Abraham Lincoln Elementary responded with a resounding "yes." "This project was part of the girls' achieving their gardening badge for next fall," said Troop Leader Diane Smason. "They were beyond thrilled to do it, and loved spending time at the fire house."


"We were so happy at the response from the troop," said Sally.  "They had so much fun planting, talking to the firemen, and making the planters come alive."


How did the firefighters respond? "Troop 20212 did a great job on our flower boxes in front of the firehouse," Ben Hosek wrote on the LCA Facebook page. "Thanks for getting it done, and stop by and check it out.

Help our friends at Bridgeview Bank stop the tragedy of homelessness in Chicagoland through their Hearts for the Homeless program! 


Bridgeview Bank will donate $50 to a partnering homeless organization when you:  
  • Open a new personal checking account with direct deposit; or
  • Open a new personal savings or money market account with $10,000 or more; or
  • Deposit $10,000 or more into an existing personal savings or money market account
Additionally, Bridgeview Bank will add $100 to your new Personal Checking Account! 


Or, add $100 to your new or existing Personal Savings or Money Market Account.


To participate: visit a Bridgeview Bank  location near you, or  open an account online!

The Lincoln Central Association Marketing Committee has issued a challenge to all Board members-each Board member has been asked to bring in five new LCA members. How about joining us in that challenge?

We write this newsletter for YOU. If you have suggestions or story ideas, either for our newsletter or website , please let us know.  Perhaps, you have a beautiful photo taken in our neighborhood you would like to share. Lots of folks in the neighborhood love history, so if you know something about the history of Lincoln Park or have interesting historical materials, we hope you will share with us so we can share with others. If you know someone from our neighborhood who has achieved an important milestone, others might like to know  about  that too. Maybe you have an interesting neighbor who should be featured in our newsletter, the way the Eckers were in this issue. If so, tell us about them.

Thank you for reading our newsletter. We hope to hear from you.

Interested in the history of Lincoln Park? If so, learn more about the Lincoln Park Community Research Initiative at DePaul University.

Founded during the DePaul Centennial (1998-1999), the Lincoln Park Community Research Initiative (LPCRI) is a partnership of Lincoln Park community organizations, businesses and DePaul University. The goal of the LPCRI is to collect, document and preserve the shared history of DePaul University and the Lincoln Park community. The historical materials collected are housed in the Lincoln Park Neighborhood Collection of the DePaul University Library.

To encourage contributions to the Lincoln Park Neighborhood Collection, LPCRI develops and supports research, publications, exhibits and educational programs about the Lincoln Park community. The educational programs, which are held in the Spring and Fall, examine the diverse cultural and political issues of the community and city at large.

For more information on the Lincoln Park Community Research Initiative, contact Fran Casey or 312.362.8100 in Community & Government Relations at DePaul.