Chicagoans living in the Central Lake View area of town, just east of the well known gayborhood of Boystown, are not big fans of the annual gay pride parade that ends on their front doorstep.
Unsatisfied with police and city efforts to calm post-parade crowds, Central Lake View Neighbors will write a letter to Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) recommending the parade be moved out of Boystown.
The parade, which has brought more than 1 million people to the Lakeview and Uptown areas in recent years, saw some success in June with additional security and alcohol checkpoints. But as police and neighbors have said, the mayhem after the parade is what must be changed.
"We're shut-ins for the weekend. We can't go to the Kenmore playlot because people are there drinking all day. We have little kids that see stuff they shouldn't see, and my alley still smells like urine," neighbor Brian Kenney said at a Tuesday night meeting of the Central Lake View Neighbors.
Kenney said the Pride disruptions far outweighed ruckus during Chicago Cubs home games or the June 15 Blackhawks celebrations. While neighbors did choose to live in an entertainment district, no other event disturbs their residential streets like the parade and its aftermath, Central Lake View Neighbors Vice President Jeanne Saliture said. – dnainfo.com
To be honest, if I lived there, I wouldn't be either. But to visit, that's where I want to be. Location, location, location. And during gay pride, apparently it's not where you want to live. The complains come every year and every year committees get together and battle with options for next year's parade route, times, and coverage.
Complaining of groping by parade passersby, waiting on hold with 911 for two minutes and a trashed neighborhood, those who spoke during Tuesday's neighborhood group meeting said the parade was "not really welcome anymore," as Saliture put it.
The sentiment echoed results from a survey offered to residents in the Lakeview area south of Belmont Avenue and between Racine and Halsted streets, neighborhood group President Diann Marsalek said.
"We only had two people respond positively and want it to stay. The vast, vast majority of people want it moved," citing the parade's size, security issues, traffic congestion and crowd behavior as major problems, Marsalek said. Since the survey is still open to neighbors, Marsalek declined to share more information about the responses received so far.
Moving the parade downtown, however, would create its own set of complications, officials have said. Highest among them is the concern that moving the parade would mean a loss of out-of-district police resources to oversee a crowd that would likely return to Boystown after the parade, regardless of where it takes place. – dnainfo.com
So what do other large cities do? The only pride parades I've been in have happened in New England. Portland, Maine's pride parade starts downtown and ends in the large Deering Oaks Park. It's a great location where all parade goers and celebrants enjoy the afternoon's activities, but as the day turns to night, the crowds disperse and trickle back into the city. Okay, so Portland, Maine is not the best example since it is a town of 60k citizens.
How about Boston? Their pride parade weaves its way through the city and arrives at Government Center, the heart of the city. With a population of 650k, it's a better example of how a large city directs its pride celebration, but both Portland and Boston don't have something that cities like Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles have. These two New England cities don't really have gayborhoods so the festive LGBT crowds do not have one part of town to go to after their parades end.
But what about NYC and LA? They as well have what we would consider gayborhoods, just like Chicago and they as well have parades that end in these gayborhoods. Do they have the same difficulties as Chicago? I've searched for information on violence related to NYC and LA Prides, but cannot find anything except for something from NYC in 2013.
This year [Chicago] saw 52 parade-related arrests, including several violent incidents that broke out after the parade. Officials, business owners and residents largely agree that the parade itself was calmer than in years past, but post-parade crowds fueled a different situation. – dnainfo.com
I am not sure moving Chicago's pride parade route is the solution if cities with larger populations can handle a similar route. Populations of these cities? Chicago = 2.7 million, Los Angeles = 3.8 million, and NYC = 8.4 million. Maybe instead of talking amongst themselves, Chicago needs to seek outside guidance from their east and west coast buddies or maybe even one from the south. Have you been to a Mardi Gras in New Orleans? Talk about a mess for two weeks straight!
The residents of Lake View do have some valid complaints, but then again, they live in a high traffic area and need to understand things will happen. Best of luck Chicago in finding a solution if one can be found.
Have you been to multiple different pride parades in large cities, INCLUDING Chicago's?
How does the Chicago celebration differ than other larger city prides you have attended?
Do you see Chicago's pride celebration being as obtrusive as what residents are saying?