Looking for a Deal? Buy a 2-Flat in Humboldt Park for Under $35,000: 3278 W. Wabansia

This 4-bedroom 2-flat at 3278 W. Wabansia in Humboldt Park recently came on the market.

It is HUD-owned.

Built in 1886, it is a frame house on a standard 25×125 lot with a 2-car garage.

The units are configured as the following:

  • Unit #1: 2 bedrooms, 1 bath
  • Unit #2: 2 bedrooms, 1 bath

The listing says it has a full unfinished basement.

The house nearly next door at 3272 W. Wabansia has been listed since October 2012 for $195,000. See that listing here.

Is West Bucktown gentrification heading towards this neighborhood?

Does that make this property a deal?

Arthur Cirignani at Chicago Realty Partners has the listing. See the pictures here.

3278 W. Wabansia: 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2-flat, 2 car garage

  • Sold in October 2002 for $10,150
  • Lis pendens foreclosure filed in June 2009
  • HUD owned in May 2010
  • Currently listed for $33,355
  • Taxes of $3747
  • Escrow amount of $1870

51 Responses to “Looking for a Deal? Buy a 2-Flat in Humboldt Park for Under $35,000: 3278 W. Wabansia”

  1. If you estimate $10,000 – $20,000 for demolition, this takes listing up beyond what surrounding standard lot land listings are at, on average.

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  2. Can you rent these units out for $5-600 a piece? Mortgage + taxes will run about 450.

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  3. a good cleaning and a coat of paint will go a long way towards cleaning up these rentals. $40,000 all in including closing costs paint and some elbow grease.

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  4. I can’t believe Americans live in squalor like this.

    I really can’t believe people leave another country to come here and live like this and its awesome compared to where they came from.

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  5. West West Bucktown.

    Only a couple of blocks from future entry point to Bloomingdale Trail at Albany and Bloomingdale. Buy now and look like a genius in 10 years.

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  6. This seems like a good deal. I’m surprised anywhere on the north side is this inexpensive. If I wasn’t so worried about everything, I would love to buy it, fix it up a little, and rent it out.

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  7. Sold for $10,150 and went into foreclosure 9 years later?!?

    Can you really finance a $35k home purchase? Or a $10.15k for that matter?

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  8. Yes.
    Bank of America will finance purchases as low as 10K.
    Here’s a contact for you:

    Tommy Gonzalez
    773-851-5060
    tommy.gonzalez@bankofamerica.com
    (Also does 203K FHA loans)

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  9. These homes are a dime a dozen.
    I’ve toured them all over the North and South Sides.
    The price is not remarkable.
    The problem is they usually require much more than a coat of paint and 40K in repairs to make them safe and comfortable and up to code.
    40K does not go very far.
    Most of these places have structural damage and mold.
    Also, your home insurance costs are going to be extremely high with a frame rental property.

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  10. Is this completely mind blowing to anyone else?!? I mean, if you don’t have the fiscal means/responsibility to put away $10k, maybe home ownership should not be one of your priorities.

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  11. “This seems like a good deal. I’m surprised anywhere on the north side is this inexpensive. If I wasn’t so worried about everything, I would love to buy it, fix it up a little, and rent it out.”

    Uhhhhhh, Jenny,
    You know this house is in Humboldt Park, right?
    And you will most likely have to go there to collect the rents in cash, right?

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  12. I love Chicago real estate, we’re such a big prosperous world-class city, with no middle class, and only rich people live here, there’s no housing for the poor and we must build set-asides and subsidize their housing in the GZ….because there are no other options and they could be cast out onto the street!! Oh dear.

    I think I may spec some time on this urban deal, so I can earn the co-op commission.

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  13. You rent straight section 8 here. Cash the checks from the government so you dont have to worry about Tenants A & B not paying rent and having to evict.

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  14. I don’t think the developers have crossed Kedzie yet, but 2 blocks East on Troy Noah has a project…

    http://www.redfin.com/IL/Chicago/1653-N-Troy-St-60647/home/45466451

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  15. I prefer Troy St. up near Logan and Diversey versus North Ave.

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  16. I’m scared of everything!!! Especially what might happen sometime in the future to some one some where.

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  17. ChiB, that’s true. But I have to say I scratch my head at the stuff east of Kedzie.

    Again, once they open the Bloomingdale trail there’s going to be a lot more bike traffic down in this general area, as I believe the first trail entry west of Western is at Albany. I may be wrong about that, though. If that happens, I wouldn’t be surprised if development jumped Kedzie.

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  18. You can tell from my reaction to this “incredible deal” that I just don’t have the Right Stuff to make it as a real estate mogul….. or even an amateur flipper. I’d have to be PAID to deal with this piece of crap in this horrible, horrible neighborhood.

    Now, if I had real entrepreneurial spirit, I’d be right on this dump. I have the cash to close today. But when you consider the costs of rebuilding this place, the market and business risk (which is very large right now as interest rates are about to start ratcheting north), the sheer misery and time consumed in dealing with permits and contractors, plus the cost of materials, never mind sales commissions and the fact that the neighborhood is an absolute pit that I wouldn’t want to enter after 5pm… and, well, I just think I’ll buy my little 5 room condo in Rogers Park and Edgewater and let some other enterprising soul make the profits. God knows he’ll earn them.

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  19. I’m just joking it needs more than a coat of. Paint. That kitchen looks like its missing the floor.

    This area will not gentrify because of the trail. The trail this far down will be a nightly gang banging party for teenage gangbangers. Few will venture this far west after dusk.

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  20. About renting “straight Section 8”.

    I have a friend whose business model is being a Section 8 whore. Get that guaranteed voucher rent, that way, it doesn’t matter if the low-life tenant and her 20 or so roommates come in with the rent or not, because the rent that Section 8 allows to be charged is based on an area “average” that is arrived at by averaging in $4200/month Gold Coast luxury apts with inlaid marble floors and Viking appliances and 40′ terraces, with crumbling dumps on 71st St. That means that the rent you can collect on a Section 8 voucher is usually far in excess of the rent that the market would actually pay for the unit in question.

    Well, things haven’t worked out according to plan for my friend. For one thing, he’s not politically connected. It’s not like he’s some huge property owner who donates to the local alderman and who owns 150 fetid buildings on which he’s collecting voucher rent for empty apartments that are unfit for human habitation, which you can only do if you are very plugged in and make lots of political donations. What he has is a handful of single family houses for which he paid prices far above the current market, and the rents, even when and if the tenant pays her share and the places are occupied, do not begin to cover the mortgages. The places don’t cash-flow, nowhere near. In fact, if he’s really lucky and gets a tenant who pays her share of the rent and who stays a whole year and doesn’t rip the place to shreds, the monthly revenue will be about half the mortgage payment, and we’re not even factoring in property taxes, which tend to be exorbitant in these deep south side neighborhoods. Worse, he has had to spend about $20,000 per unit to meet HUD codes, just to have to do it all over again when the tenant moves out, taking the copper plumbing, the bath fixtures, and the kitchen sink, and leaving behind about 3 tons of old clothes, kitchen garbage, and crack vials…… plus evidence of having run a dog-fighting operation in the place. Place then sits unoccupied for 3, 6, even 9 months while friend tries to locate a decent tenant with a Section 8 voucher, of which there is a dwindling supply since HUD is cutting back Section 8, thank the Gods.

    Good luck to anybody who isn’t either one of the 1% with a stake in this country’s government-financed cartels (finance, education, Sick Care, agribusiness), or one of the entitlement leaches, who thinks he can make money off a government program.

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  21. “ChiB, that’s true. But I have to say I scratch my head at the stuff east of Kedzie.

    Again, once they open the Bloomingdale trail there’s going to be a lot more bike traffic down in this general area, as I believe the first trail entry west of Western is at Albany. I may be wrong about that, though. If that happens, I wouldn’t be surprised if development jumped Kedzie.”

    Looking at it from a pure investment standpoint there’s little reason to doubt that it is an attractive area. Between California and Kedzie there are numerous examples of new construction sales. Most of them start as low cost tear downs like the subject property and wind up as $400k+ boxes.

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  22. Wow, that’s a depressing post, Laura. Of course it’s good advice, too. I wouldn’t want to be in your acquaintance’s shoes.

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  23. I realize the 3200 block of Wabansia is a horrible neighborhood now, but just 10 blocks east, things are thriving. If you went to the 2200 block of Wabansia in 1980, I wonder how it would have been. Maybe just as bad as the 3200 block is now. And you could have bought a house there for the 1980 equivalent of $33,000 (about $11,000), and now own a place worth $500,000 (not accounting for the money you would have had to spend to update).

    I’m feeling optimistic about the future of the city and also about this bike trail. Rather than buying this place and renovating it and trying to rent it, maybe I’d buy as an investment and do the minimum upkeep, not worry about renting it out, and see what things are like in 10 years. Even if things get worse, I assume it would only be a $10,000 or so loss. But if things get a lot better, the gains could be excellent.

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  24. Correction – there is no 2200 block of west Wabansia. But I did just do a street view of the 2300 block of west Wabansia and it looks like it’s in good shape, so my general comment stands.

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  25. “What he has is a handful of single family houses for which he paid prices far above the current market, and the rents, even when and if the tenant pays her share and the places are occupied, do not begin to cover the mortgages.”

    I think the key problem for your “friend” is your very first point. You make money in real estate when you buy right. And your friend screwed that part up. Simple.

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  26. Even if my friend had bought “right”, he’d have one helluva slog making money, and with a lot of pain.

    You get everything with this type of housing: dangerous neighborhood, horrible tenants, having to spend $20K re-doing the place every time it vacates, and the time and gas it takes to visit properties 20 miles from where you live and go from one to the other to collect rent in person and make repairs. The tenants almost never pay their share of the rent, so the voucher income is really all you can count on. HUD and the City of Chicago inspectors will nit-pick you to death- my friend was in housing court 3 times over a single exit. First, they said: remove it because an extra exit on the 2nd floor means the place is an illegal conversion to a 2-flat. Then they said, put it back because the interior staircase is so narrow that

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  27. Didn’t mean to post that so quickly-hit the wrong key.

    Anyway…. he removed the exit and put it back then removed it again, all on orders from the city, delaying occupancy for 3 months. Another house had a tenant who never paid rent and was successful in delaying eviction for a solid year. Don’t ask me how. Yet another, a rather better tenant in a rather better house, called every week about repairs needed on appliances that were perfect when she moved in. The washing machine. The dishwasher. This. That. In some cases, the original tenant would leave without notice and be replaced by a dozen squatters, friends of hers whom she had let flop in the place, and who had to be legally evicted. More time and money for court.

    You’ll spend a lot of time in court and a lot of money on court costs and lawyers.

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  28. Don’t forget it’s the responsibility of the landlord to fix door-frames and fixtures that are kicked in. Even those kicked in my law enforcement by a tenant selling drugs out of the apartment (CPD takes a certain pride in how bad they can damage door frames and defendants mugs). And in Humboldt Park, there’s LOTS of drug dealing going on, and not just the pot kind.

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  29. Oh, and yeah, don’t forget graffiti removal. Like, EVERY OTHER DAY. Property owners are required to promptly remove graffiti from the walls.

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  30. What’s the value just for the land itself? Is there any? How about just parking 35k in it, ripping down the house, and just sit on the land for awhile. No tenants, no problems. Certainly, one would hope, gentrification comes to this neck of the woods, down the line, and then sell the parcel or build a spec. If you can do a mortgage at these low rates, it’s pocket change. Or just pay cash. Anyway, in my mind, it seems more of a sure thing to park 35k here than in the dicey and annoying stock market.

    What am I missing – no land value?

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  31. negative holding values with taxes. no shortage of land In this area. sure in 10 years it could be worth a lot. but it’s pretty far west of western without public trans and the area isn’t exactly know for it’s high quality housing stock. it’s pure speculation at best. at least with Logan sq there’s a train line and a highway. this is the boonies

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  32. The land is worth 35K for sure, but the downside is the carrying costs – property tax and insurance.
    Over 10 years, that adds up to a large sum, meanwhile you aren’t drawing any income off the 35K.
    Yes, eventually it could pay off – you’d be taking a calculated risk – but you don’t know 100%.
    I’d take the risk if I had a large amount of cash and the 35K was a small percentage of that, but unfortunately I don’t.

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  33. Also, you can’t get a conventional mortgage on properties in poor condition.
    Your only option is 203K FHA.

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  34. “it’s pretty far west of western without public trans and the area isn’t exactly know for it’s high quality housing stock”

    Sabrina taught me this lesson early on in my adventures in Chicago: the location dictates the quality of the tenant. I spent some time in this area a couple of years ago pounding the pavement and testing out the commute. You are basically reliant on buses. The bus never comes. Meanwhile you’re waiting outside in extreme heat or cold. When the bus finally comes, it’s crowded with baby mamas and their massive strollers and people just generally taking their own sweet time getting on and off. What tenant on a professional track who has to get to work on time downtown is going to deal with that?

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  35. Kedzie might be teh new western. It’s purely speculative, going west of Kedzie, but if you can hold off long enough, and collect enough rent in cash to pay the mortgage, the speculation might pay off. Or it might not That’s why its called speculation. Hell, Chicago was a speculative city at the time it was built. All those downstaters speculating on property off the I&M canal in this city called She-Cah-Go, who woulda know it turned out the way it did.

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  36. I can’t say I’ve been in this area in a long time, or maybe even ever lately, but, east of Kedzie has green zone pricing, that’s for sure. Maybe next time I have some free time I”ll take a little drive through this area; I hope I dont get shot! hhahaha I’d like to see it from teh ground.

    Has west of the park changed at all?

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  37. Well we were driving around west of the park a couple of weeks ago.
    We were actually trying to go to La Encantada which Sonies recommended ages ago – (word, Sonies!), but unfortunately it was oddly closed on a Saturday night.
    Did they have a Puerto Rican Day parade in Chicago?
    Literally every car in that area was affixed with Puerto Rican flag pennants and every person was wearing the Puerto Rican flag in different forms.
    When we got back to Irving Park, every car on the street had Blackhawks pennants.

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  38. Hockey(and lacrosse in my suburb) is a rich white boy sport. No surprise no hawks gear in humbolt park.

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  39. You do see a few hipsters here and there, west of the park.
    Or maybe they’re more hippies than hipsters.
    I’m not scared around there or anything, but you’d be dealing with quality of life issues.
    If I could get a large, sweet place at a cheap price for myself I might even live around there, but I’m not that into the idea of renting to tenants and the hassles that entails.

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  40. This is NOT a bad neighborhood right here. Not great, sure, but not what it would be two blocks south. North of North Ave is way better then the square right below the park. I’d call this a deal — and yes, the Bloomingdale Trail (or the 606, as they’re calling it now) will make a huge difference.

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  41. logansquarean on June 22nd, 2013 at 12:07 am

    I’m conflicted on something like this property. Going Section 8 isn’t the way to go, but I imagine if you could find some tenants who could pass a somewhat modest screening (like job at the same place for > 1 year, no criminal record or judgements against them), you could potentially get some ‘working poor, trying to get ahead’ folks to live there and not have too much trouble. But if the nabe is REALLY gang infested, that kind of tenant is going to be harder to find. The properties in the area don’t look like total ghetto, but you’d have to have a big scary guy to go collect the rents, and lay down the law on what’s acceptable and what’s not.
    I think it takes a certain skill to own successful stable properties with rent paying tenants in a marginal area. It’s not for everyone, but it can be done. If I were 20 years younger, it might be something I’d consider taking on…

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  42. ” at least with Logan sq there’s a train line and a highway. this is the boonies”

    agreed totally

    “Hockey(and lacrosse in my suburb) is a rich white boy sport. No surprise no hawks gear in humbolt park.”

    Hockey players in the NHL are mostly non-rich, hard-working, honest-type Canadians. Many others are similar type Europeans.

    What % of the Blackhawks or NHL rosters are American? not very high… Yeah in Chicagoland you get some a-hole punks from a “Glenbrook North” who think they are great, and exclusive, because daddy David pays for their ice time etc. …and these d-bags play at Johnny’s Ice House later on. But they’re not real by any means. Even New Trier which wins alot of hockey state championships has never placed a player in the NHL. What does that tell you about jews? The NHL isn’t comprised by even a majority of Americans. Remember that punk in the Ferris Beuller movie with the Red Wings jersey? That’s your typical north shore-Highland Park ravine brat who thinks he’s into hockey. The NHL stars basically put up with it, and keep their mouths shut. They really have some true class. Bravo to them.

    “No surprise no hawks gear in humbolt park.”

    Oh, but they need a player of their own race, so they can “identify”. That’s why the NHL has its pathetic diversity push and mandate. Meanwhile, it’s no problem if the NBA is totally black. I can’t believe the Hawks let go of Dustin Byfuglien, even if he wasn’t as talented, he could have been a hero to the non-white racists who only will cheer for someone like them. They screwed up bigtime, they could have sold so much Byfuglien merchandise to the masses.

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  43. As someone who has lived at or rented 3600 W Wabansia for the better part of 10 years (as well as lived in Wicker Park, Irving Park), this is not some graffiti laden, gang infested area. There are lots of hard-working lower and middle income families who take great pride in their homes. Yes, they (omg) speak Spanish. Is iit Lincoln Park? No. It’s an eclectic mix of folks – lots from Latin America, Mexico and Puerto Rico and lots of “white people” too..and I say that as that always seems to be what everyone is so concerned about (I’ve felt less safe at 2AM outside in the white drunken jocksville of Lakeview than I do here). I’ve yet to not feel comfortable walking my dogs at night, and we’ve got quite a strong block working with CAPS and each other. We all say hello, we watch each others mail/dogs when we’re out of town. Etc. It really always makes me laugh to watch all of these folks commenting on this area who haven’t so much as driven through it. Things are far worse south of North Ave and just West of Humboldt park, but N of North Ave and E of Pulaski is pretty ok. There are lots of homes in poor condition that are being snapped up and flipped – with many reasonably scoped flips still staying at a very affordable price point for first time buyers. Seeing quite a mix of new folks in the neighborhood as a result. The only problem we’ve ever had with tenants was when we rented to some college students…that was our fault. Is it paradise over here, no, but far from the urban terror dome I’m reading about in this thread.

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  44. Here you go HD: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/25/sports/as-lacrosse-keeps-growing-the-diversity-of-players-remains-largely-unchanged.html?_r=0

    note who the author is, LOL…but no mention about the lack of diversity in the NBA.

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  45. Lake Titicaca on June 22nd, 2013 at 8:06 am

    I smell BS on the long-winded Section 8 story. I’ve owned 3 flats w/ Section 8 tenants, HUD doesn’t have any “codes” they don’t specoify quality of appliances, fixtures, etc. they simply approve the unit as being habitable w/ working water, heat, fresh paint.

    Kedzie became the new Western about 20 years ago, when I started buying crap buildings on McLean and the Boulevard. 1994-Frame 4 flats bought for $50k. Held for 6 years, made a bundle, would have made a ton more but dealing with tenants became a chore. It;s a full-time gig. Buy this dump, tear it down, your tax and insurance cost is minimal and in 5 years double your investment. That’s a 20% annual return. Don’t be a hog.

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  46. Not bullshit- I witnessed it all first hand, as my friend enlisted me to “help” by making phone calls to collect delinquent rents and took me to see a few of his properties.

    It would have helped him a lot to do some research before he got into this game. It doesn’t look like it’s for amateurs, or people who don’t do a lot of homework first. Frankly, it scares the hell out of me. People who can deal with it are welcome to their profits- I only begrudge the taxpayers’ funds spent to deliver nice, livable properties to people who shred the place within 6 months.

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  47. “and in 5 years double your investment. That’s a 20% annual return.”

    And you still aren’t good at math.

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  48. I don’t bought lake titicaca’s slumlording ways.

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  49. “They screwed up bigtime, they could have sold so much Byfuglien merchandise to the masses.”

    Maybe you missed it with your racist eyes, Dan, but the Blackhawks aren’t all white even right now.

    Please stop with your racist views. Or I will ban you again (and again and again.) Or maybe just shut down this site because I’m SO SICK of you and your rants.

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  50. “I’ve yet to not feel comfortable walking my dogs at night, and we’ve got quite a strong block working with CAPS and each other. We all say hello, we watch each others mail/dogs when we’re out of town. Etc. It really always makes me laugh to watch all of these folks commenting on this area who haven’t so much as driven through it.”

    Thanks for checking in Susanne. It’s always nice to hear from people who actually live in the neighborhood.

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  51. “Did they have a Puerto Rican Day parade in Chicago?”

    Yes.

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