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What do you like about your neighborhood?

What are the things that puzzle, enrage, delight and tickle you as you go about your life in Madison?

What do you like about your neighborhood?

Postby Bwis53 » Sun Jul 10, 2011 2:49 pm

I was sitting at Cargo, sipping an iced red eye, appreciating my neighborhood. I can hardly believe it's been three years since I left First Settlement for the near south side. Sometimes I miss it, but not the noise. I'm closer to Monona Bay. We have sweet little old houses, shady trees and plenty of neighbors that say hi to me. Having a grocery stores close by (Copps, Asian, Yue Wah), hospitals and clinics, is a big plus. Quintessence Herbs, on Lakeside, is a gem. Don't miss the Washington Hotel Tea Room, with it's lake view. Looks to me like Park Street is becoming another restaurant row. I had some good fried rice at Oriental. I would go to The Curve just because everybody in the neighborhood goes there. The kringle at Lane's Bakery is yummy! Goodman Pool is a gift to all. It's a little bit harder to bus transfer, but the drivers really work hard get riders connected to the desired bus.

What neighborhood do you live in and what do you like about it?
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Re: What do you like about your neighborhood?

Postby rabble » Sun Jul 10, 2011 6:00 pm

Near East. Everything's within walking distance. The yards around here are, um, unique. When my sister came to visit we went walking and she mentioned that the "curb appeal" (a DIY show where they remake people's yards" crew would really have a field day around here. I told her they could try, but they better be wearing body armor. People put their kayaks on those little two wheeled carts and walk to the river.

I like my neighbors, and I like Jenny St Market. I like the festivals.I'm going to walk over and check out the last show at Fete in just a few minutes. I bus or bike to work unless there's a doctor's appointment or something.

When we bring the cars in for maintenance it's not unusual for the mechanic to call us back asking if the odometer is broken because they can't believe we only drove a few thousand miles since the last checkup.
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Re: What do you like about your neighborhood?

Postby gargantua » Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:44 pm

I live in Hill Farms, and it is the proof of the realtor term "location, location, location." It includes Hilldale, with the Great Dane with Imperial IPA always on tap. The houses are nice but unpretentious. The streets are mostly curved, and the homes are situated on or near hills. There are a lot of mature oak trees. We live within minutes of the UW, downtown, State St., Trader Joes, Brasserie V and all the other Monroe St businesses, and the Arboretum. It's just a nice, mature, neighborhood in a perfect location except for being farther away from Ale Asylum and the Malt House than I would like.

But you can't have everything. There are lots of neighborhoods in this town I'd love to live in. Part of the reason I like mine is that all the others are within easy biking distance.
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Re: What do you like about your neighborhood?

Postby snoqueen » Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:56 pm

I know what you mean about the car thing. Living on the east side since forever, I now have a 1996 car with 80,000 actual miles. And most of those were put on earlier in its life when my parents were still living and I had to drive out of town to keep track of them.

I like my neighborhood because it's unpretentious, with really small houses and people who are happy with real small houses. Still, the yards are big enough for gardening and for chickens. We are near the bike path and I love the bike path, which gets more scenic each year. My neighbors are friendly, it's a nice mix of races, ages, and lifestyles, and just about everybody's got a union sign in the window. It was nice last winter discovering we were all secret flaming radicals.
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Re: What do you like about your neighborhood?

Postby kissyfish » Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:34 am

I love my neighborhood.

It is in Shorewood Hills, but not up the hill. In an area of smallish houses, neighors are nice, and eccentricities abound. I was hoping that when Whole Foods was going to move to where target now is, that Willy St COOP would have moved there, as it would then be 2 blocks from my house. And having whole foods as my closest store puts a dent in my wallet (a big dent).

I am a nine minute ride to work, the kids are a 5 minute walk to school.

I loved living on Willy St, where I had a condo in 2000, but my current location is better for me overall, given my circumstances work-wise and family-wise.

Madison is blessed with lots of nice neighborhoods.
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Re: What do you like about your neighborhood?

Postby TheBookPolice » Mon Jul 11, 2011 1:32 pm

Sprecher East here. It'll be two years in September, and while we would have wished for a closer-to-isthmus house, this neighborhood brought the goods in terms of being affordable but established. We don't feel like the lots were still farm land last season.

The trees are at least as tall as the houses (which are, yes, almost uniformly beige). There's a park and an open prairie area just down the street. Great Dane East is close, with Papa Bear's BBQ and Antojitos El Toril only a bit farther. Between Cottage Grove, Milwaukee, and County T, we can get straight into town pretty easily. Having a little farmers' market (Capitol View) is a boon for mid-week refills on produce, as is Alpine Liquors for mid-week refills on booze.

Hilly (for the upper Midwest). Lots of dogs, not too many kids, and the neighbors are a pleasant (for us) blend of friendly and quiet. And the fireflies have been out-of-this-world this summer.
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Re: What do you like about your neighborhood?

Postby Ducatista » Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:44 pm

Mansion Hill, two blocks from the Square, three from State. Love the proximity to the Square, State St, campus, and all that brings: food, entertainment, shopping, culture, the mix of students and homeowners. Love that the neighborhood runs on an academic calendar, even though I don't. Love the easy access to both lakes, especially the good one (Mendota). Love the festivals and goings on, despite the occasional traffic disruption. Love the clip-clop of hooves as a carriage rolls by. (Doesn't happen often, and I'm not sure why they come down our street, but it's damned cozy.) Love using the Capitol as a sidewalk (cheers to free access!). Love walking around the Square when it's deserted. Early on a Sunday morning I get such a strong sense that it's my Capitol, my downtown.

And I've got history here. My first apartment in Madison was exactly two blocks west of our house; my next two apts were a couple blocks north. I've walked the same sidewalks a thousand times over the past 25 years, in all weather and at all hours of the day and night, and I'll never tire of them. I worked in the Capitol my first summer in town; got married there nine years later. King St seemed like the dark side of the moon when I was a student, but we'd make the trek for Porto Bananas or the Majestic or Hair Unlimited; 15 years later I walked up and down King every weekday and most weekends. This neighborhood's in my bones. I can't imagine leaving.

Before we bought our house we lived on the 800 block of Spaight for several years. Loved that neighborhood, too. Bongo & Bahn Thai Fridays: we'd trudge up the little hill on Paterson with a sack full of curry and a couple flicks. Not bad. Also not bad having B. B. Clarke for a front yard. But I prefer our current 'hood. Now we think of Willy/Jfer/Spaight as the suburbs.

Great topic, Bwis. Years ago a coworker told me about a Madison couple he knew who'd bought an 8,000 sq ft (!) Victorian in Janesville. Crappy neighborhood, he said, but they got the house for a song, cheaper than even a tiny shitbox on the isthmus. That doesn't sound like such a good deal, I thought. Their domestic comfort zone is 8,000 sq ft. Mine's measured in acres. That's what a neighborhood is all about.
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Re: What do you like about your neighborhood?

Postby Henry Vilas » Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:30 pm

I love my neighborhood. I rented at various locations within a half mile of my house for years prior to taking the plunge into home ownership. I'm within a half mile of both Regent Street and Park Street and only a block away from Vilas Park and Zoo. Monroe Street isn't much farther.

I finished up graduate school after we bought our small 1920 era one-and-a-half story Italian bungalow and I could walk to my classes. I'm a big Badger football fan and Camp Randall is just a 20 minute walk away. I bought when houses were relatively cheap and because of our location, when the bubble burst, values in my hood remained relatively steady. So I know when I get to the age when I can't maintain a house or climb the stairs, my investment is secure.

Over the years, many rental properties have been purchased by families which adds stability to the neighborhood. (I live east of Randall, which is the less affluent part of the Vilas neighborhood.) After 25 years of home ownership, I have no regrets.
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Re: What do you like about your neighborhood?

Postby meowzamusic » Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:56 pm

I live in the Schenk Atwood area, have been here for 10 years--did live on the Northside for about 9 months in there and have since returned for a variety of reasons. I feel very fortunate to be here, where the edge of the city was for many years. Most of the houses near me are pre WWII and many are over 100 years old. I can walk to restaurants, bars, heck I'm even close enough to walk to Woodman's if I want. I'm 3 minutes away from Highway 30 so I can get out of town in a flash if I need to. The bike path is a block away. The Goodman Center is a couple of blocks away. There are real wooded areas integrated with the houses and killer parks with trees older than everything else around.

This neighborhood was designed to be used by people on foot. Glass Nickel has the biggest parking lot of any place in the area but most are just store fronts and lots of folks come out without needing their cars. I like the personal touch that many of these places have, especially Victory Coffee. I feel like this is about as good as it gets in Madison, close to stuff in an older neighborhood where people do know each other and try to keep the local flavor alive. When I go to the single use neighborhoods that are further out and all over the west side, I feel depressed. I can't imagine having to drive to do everything, it would suck my soul out.
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Re: What do you like about your neighborhood?

Postby narcoleptish » Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:47 pm

Atwood here too, near the Goodman Center. About 41 of my 44 years have been spent living in this neighborhood, so it's definitely part of who I am. I grew up south of Atwood but opted for the more affordable north side as a home-buying adult. The yards are bigger over here but I suspect it's only because the houses are smaller. I love it for all the reasons others have given and more. I've worked in so many of these places that I can usually spot something I've fixed or built no matter what route I take through. I can start at that house behind Stalzy's and moving diagonally through the streets to Olbrich, remember my entire 8th grade paper route. I can hit multiple businesses along Atwood/Winnebago/Willy and be greeted by name at all of them.

For every time that I feel oh so un-worldly for having spent an uncomfortably large percentage of my life in the same square mile, there's at least a matching time when I sit against the wall at the Harmony, just people watching and enjoying really being a part of this place and time.
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Re: What do you like about your neighborhood?

Postby Michael Patrick » Tue Jul 12, 2011 5:07 am

West side, Glen Oak Hills. We're kind of off the beaten path, and I like that my kids can ride their bikes in the street in front of our house and not worry about traffic. We're close enough to campus that my wife can ride her bike to work (and there's a bus stop a block away for days where weather isn't conducive to riding). Plus we've got the Oak Crest Tavern and Knoche's Butcher Shop in easy walking distance.

Our kids go to Crestwood, and we've been very happy with the school. They do an especially good job with our younger daughter who has autism, the special ed staff has been great despite some very serious challenges.

I also like that we've got some space on our lot. I grew up in Chicago, and we had a tiny little back yard that didn't get much sun. Here we've got enough room for fruit trees and a decent-sized vegetable garden while still leaving plenty of room for the kids to play. There were precious few places in Chicago with yards the size of what we have here, and it would have cost us WAY more than what we paid for this place.
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Re: What do you like about your neighborhood?

Postby rabble » Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:04 am

My wife grew up in Henry's neighborhood. If she's driving when we're out that way, I often get a little impromptu tour out to one childhood friend's house or other, or hear a story about what used to be on this lot or that. And hear tales of children rocketing down certain hilly alleyways on single speed bikes narrowly missing cars, pets, or people.
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Re: What do you like about your neighborhood?

Postby Marvell » Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:20 pm

I live a couple blocks from meowza and narco.

Other than them, I like the neighborhood fine.
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Re: What do you like about your neighborhood?

Postby narcoleptish » Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:38 pm

Marvell wrote:I live a couple blocks from meowza and narco.


Well that explains the lowered assessments.
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Re: What do you like about your neighborhood?

Postby snoqueen » Wed Jul 13, 2011 4:04 pm

Before we close the curtains on this one, here's why lots of people like their east side neighborhoods:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/madtownmoo ... otostream/

What a lucky photo!
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