Splotchy was commenting recently on an ad campaign by the town of Berwyn, a suburb west of Chicago, "Why Berwyn?" This ad campaign has reached my neck of the woods.
This billboard is at Western and Grace, just a few blocks from my home. The irony is that this billboard, apparently trying to convince Chicagoans to pack their bags and move to Berwyn, is in the middle of the "St. Ben's" neighborhood, one of the best middle class neighborhoods in Chicago. St. Ben's is named after a nearby Catholic church, St. Benedict's, which also has one of the best parochial schools in the city. And if you didn't want to send your kid to parochial school, you can send him or her to the local grade school, Alexander Graham Bell Elementary, which is generally considered to be one of the best grade schools in the city-- not even counting their "gifted" program. After school, parents can bring their kids to the nearby Sulzer Library branch, one of only two "regional" libraries in the city- a large branch that has university-level resources. Or you can bring them for music classes at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Or sign them up for baseball at Welles Park. Or hockey and ice-skating at the indoor ice rink at nearby McFetridge Park. They can drop them off in the excellent afterschool program at Revere Park, where they can take classes in cooking, basketball, etc. They can play baseball, fly a kite, swing on a swing in Horner Park. In fact, there are four large parks nearby with great facitilities within a ten of fifteen minute walk of that corner-- a legecy of the fact that longtime Chicago Parks commissioner Ed Kelly was a resident of the area. In fact, all the neighborhoods nearby-- St. Ben's, North Center (where I live), Lincoln Square, and Ravenswood-- are considered to be some of the most livable in the city. They're safe, clean and diverse, chockful of all kinds of cultural and artistic activities, not to mention lots of restaurants and shopping.
So why would you leave this great place to live in Berwyn? Looking closer at the billboard, Berwyn is trying to sell itself as the center of the Chicago area-- you're able to get to all the other suburbs, and locations in Chicago-- places you might actually want to be-- from Berwyn. In otherwords, move to Berwyn because it's easy to leave Berwyn. Marketing genius.