Elmhurst Husbands Descend Upon Jewel-Osco for Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Gifts

Elmhurst Husband looking at Valentine's Day cards

by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Frantically seizing discounted flower arrangements, stumbling through the housewares, cosmetics, and “seasonal” aisles with no regard to other shoppers, and breaking every rule of etiquette in the Express Lane Checkout line, more than 300 procrastinating Elmhurst husbands bombarded the 944 S. York St. Jewel-Osco late Thursday afternoon in search of last-minute Valentine’s Day gifts for their wives.

Greeting cards, kitchen utensils, and expired pints of Driscoll’s brand strawberries were among the most frequent purchases by Elmhurst husbands, who desperately employed butcher counter staff to wrap gifts and asked pharmacists to recommend romantic body soaps during a frenzied two-hour period starting shortly after 4:00 p.m.

“It’s a madhouse in here,” said S. Euclid Ave. husband Joe Seaver, holding a 3-foot long box of Russell Stover Pecan Delight Assorted Chocolates in the wine aisle while trying to remember if his wife prefers Barefoot Moscato or Woodbridge Pinot Grigio.  “Looks like I’m not the only husband in town that waited until the last minute to buy presents for his wife.”

While many husbands put a lot of thought into eleventh-hour gift choices like cast iron fryer pans, moisturizing facial scrubs and Revlon hairdryers, others showed haste in their purchases.

“I just grabbed an oven thermometer, which is probably what I bought her last year,” said Stratford Ave. husband Jerry Lincicome, holding an unread Valentine’s Day card for this wife while rummaging through a sparse collection of candles and debating whether he should just buy a lavender and chamomile scented Air Wick refill instead.  “She said didn’t want anything for Valentine’s Day, so I’m sure she’ll be impressed that I bought some stuff anyway.”

At press time, police were called to the Redbox kiosk outside of Jewel-Osco after a fight broke out among husbands all trying to rent “The Notebook”.

Wow Condo! ‘The Hill’ is a One-Unit, Five Story Condominium Under Construction in Downtown Elmhurst

Hill Photo 2 cropped.jpg

by Dave Noble, Real Estate Editor

ELMHURST – Nearly 56,000 square feet of living space, seven full-time employees paid for with your monthly assessments, and breathtaking views of the post office and the Union Pacific railroad tracks are all yours when you purchase “The Hill”, a single-unit, five-story condominium space under construction at 105 S. Cottage Hill in downtown Elmhurst.

At an asking price of $28,000,099, The Hill’s only unit in the building features elevated ceilings, two spacious bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths, and an underground parking garage with ample room to store your automobiles, boats, and Christmas decorations.

There’s a gourmet kitchen, a dramatic fireplace, and high-end details throughout the unit.  The master bedroom boasts a private bathroom, a large walk-in closet, and a basketball court.

The rooftop terrace has a swimming pool, a gas grill, and enough room for up to 40 guests.  You can gaze upon the 164-unit Opus apartment complex built for those not rich enough to own The Hill, or you can take a mere 60-second trip in your private helicopter over to the top level of the Schiller St. parking garage and then have a nice dinner at Subway or Livia.

This one-of-a-kind condominium is listed by The Schiller Team, a local real estate brokerage group that is developing the property.  According to Schiller listing agent Mike Sparrow, the building will be at 100% capacity once someone purchases the unit.

“This is sophisticated, yet comfortable living,” said Sparrow, speculating that the building’s lone resident will often contemplate whether to utilize the elevator or the escalator to reach the doorway of his or her unit.  “You won’t find another condo in Elmhurst that has a concierge, easier access to the post office, and is walking distance to Wilder Park, a handful of yoga studios, and singles bars like The Club and FFC.”

While the property taxes have not yet been established, Sparrow believes that the $28,000 in monthly assessments is fair based on the amenities of The Hill.

“Helicopter pilots and elevator operators aren’t cheap,” said Sparrow, noting that basic cable is included with the unit.  “But let me be frank:  If you have to ask how much assessments are at The Hill, then you probably can’t afford to buy The Hill.”

Two retail spaces on the first floor have already been leased to a pawn shop and a tobacco paraphernalia store.

‘Just Ask Kevin’: Does Elmhurst Have Any Fitness Centers?

Gym Story Photo

by Kevin Flanagan, Elmhurst Funion Opinionist

 Dear Kevin:  “My family and I may be moving to Elmhurst later this year and I was wondering if there are any fitness centers in town?” – Buff Bod from Brookfield.

Dear Buff Bod from Brookfield:  Are there any fitness centers in town?  Do trains always seem to come through Elmhurst whenever I have to drop my son off at preschool on the other side of the tracks?  The answer to both these questions is:  Absolutely!

Pick your poison.  We have well-known locales such as Orangetheory Fitness, Courts Plus, LA Fitness, and a Fitness Formula Club, to name a few.  We also have other lesser-known locations that resemble a vacant storefront where someone threw down floor mats and free weights and wants to charge you $25 a session to grunt in unison with their cult.  Elmhurst is slowly becoming the mecca of fitness centers, and not all of the residents are happy about it.

While on his nightly patrols, I caught up with outspoken critic and Arlington Avenue Neighborhood Watch Block Captain Tom Wolfe, for his thoughts.

“I’m sick of having a gym everywhere you turn in this town, transforming all my neighbors and even my family into fitness freaks.  You know why I go on these nightly patrols?  Partly because that Sullivan kid down the block is a little shady and I have keep my eye on him, but mostly because I don’t want to hear about how many splat points my wife Julie got today at Orangetheory, or how many floors my daughter Allie climbed on the stair climber.  We have stairs at home.  Pay me $99 a month and you can climb them as much as you want.”

I may not have the same sentiments as Captain Wolfe regarding the plethora of fitness centers around Elmhurst, but do agree they seem to be everywhere, and I wonder if all these options are sustainable in this small market.

I think back to my Econ 101 class and the law of supply and demand.  There is certainly no short supply of fitness centers, and whether or not the demand is there remains to be seen.  I’d like to see Elmhurst be proactive in addressing this problem though.  As my neighbor Mary Gnadt says, “When life gives you lemons, you either shove them in the mouths of babies for the amusement, or you make lemonade.”

What if instead of using those TIF funds to attract more fitness centers, we use them to subsidize gym memberships for Elmhurst residents to the current locations?  That would stimulate the demand to hopefully be in line with the existing supply.  Perhaps we qualify it for individuals with a BMI of 25 or greater so my fat ass gets off the couch?  I’m sure we can tie in a promo for the new Culver’s being built and throw in a complimentary shake when it opens as a sweet-treat reward for their first workout.

I asked Captain Wolfe what he thought about that idea as he finished his patrol.

“You want to talk about shakes?  Last summer, my son Ben was on his way home from the gym and asked if I wanted a shake.  Please keep in mind he knows I like those chocolate shakes from Hamburger Heaven.  They’re not as good as the chocolate cake shakes from Portillo’s, but I get aggravated when a cake crumb clogs my straw.  Anyhow, he walks through the door and hands me some green concoction.  It was a ‘Matcha Smoothie’.  What the (expletive) is Matcha?  Where’s my shake?  I’m sorry, what was your question?  Hold on….there goes that Sullivan kid.”

So to answer your question Buff Bod from Brookfield, yes, Elmhurst has plenty of options for fitness centers.  Also, I would steer clear of Arlington Avenue at night if you want to avoid being harassed by the Neighborhood Watch.

Elmhurst Residents Emerge (Mostly) Unscathed from Polar Vortex

Mail Delivery
A mail carrier delivers much-anticipated utility bills and furniture store catalogs to Elmhurst residents on Tuesday.  The post office did not deliver mail on Wednesday or Thursday due to weather conditions.

by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Brutally cold temperatures and a dangerous wind chill that resulted in school cancellations, a limited number of options to purchase alcohol, and a devastating two-day delay in mail delivery were among the struggles endured by Elmhurst residents this week as the polar vortex entered the Midwest, virtually shutting down the city on Wednesday and Thursday.

Snow on Tuesday afternoon followed by historically-low temperatures over the next two days took an icy grip over Elmhurst and forced residents to either ride out the weather at home in the company of their own family or venture out into the polar vortex for necessities such as Tito’s vodka, spin classes at FFC, and the latest Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons purported to have been mailed out on Monday and awaiting pick up at the Elmhurst Post Office.

“I promised myself I would never go inside the post office again,” said resident Lindsay Law, waiting in line Thursday morning to purchase a Cinnamon Shortbread Latte at the jam-packed downtown Elmhurst Starbucks.  “The last time I was in there, the girl behind the counter yelled ‘Next’ really loud.  But I haven’t received my ComEd bill since August, and I’m pretty sure that the Arhaus spring furniture catalog is due any day now.  I’m really not sure what to do.”

Throughout Elmhurst, residents faced similar decisions as temperature dipped below minus 20 degrees both Wednesday and Thursday.

“I have to admit, I wasn’t prepared for this weather,” said Kent Ave. resident James Rudy, who bravely spent $5.23 to employ an Uber driver traveling from Niles to usher him to the S. York St. Jewel-Osco two blocks away from his home.  “But I ate my entire package of Oreo ‘Most Stuf’ cookies last night, so I had to ‘buck up’ and go to the store for more.  I’m just thankful that Jewel took the right measures under these circumstances by opening up a second check-out lane.”

While most residents were thankful for those businesses that did not close on Wednesday and Thursday, others questioned the recklessness of business owners who remained open during the frigid weather.

“Not having a valet service at this restaurant puts my safety at risk,” said resident Sherman Myers, eating Rigatoni alla Mantovana inside of Francesca’s Amici Wednesday night while staring out the window at his idling vehicle parked directly across the street.  “I’m going to talk to the manager and see if I can get a bottle of wine comped.”

The City of Elmhurst announced Thursday evening that garbage pick up would resume on Friday and that residents should expect to see a slight increase in their next water bill to offset the cost of extra snow removal during the month of January.