Millennium Park

Downtown Chicago’s lakefront and parks closed

When sunny spring weather caused crowds to gather on the lakefront, Mayor Lori Lightfoot ordered that the lakefront, beaches, parks and the 606 be closed March 27 for an unspecified time to curb the spread of coronavirus. Chicago police patrolled the area to clear crowds and some areas have been fenced off.

Window washing essential

Spring window washing is going ahead as planned in the neighborhood. Window washing crews have been observed by residents at several buildings in New Eastside including 155 N. Harbor Dr. and 201 Westshore Dr. in New Eastside, causing residents to hastily draw their blinds.


COVID-19 in New Eastside

In March, cases of COVID-19 rose in New Eastside. Cases COVID-19 have been reported in the Prudential, Aon Center, Aqua and Lancaster buildings. Building managers sent notification of reported cases to tenants and residents via emails.

Chicago Park District Programs go online

Chicago Park District is bringing the fun to you. Children’s storytimes, make a baby Yoda art project, and video tips on how to keep your house squeaky clean while burning calories are coming to you online via the Chicago Park District Programs website. Visit for a list of their offerings: from bingo boards for download to virtual meditation and ballet videos.

Chicagoans come together in sing-alongs

Throughout the stay-at-home order, Chicagoans have found a way to cheer themselves up. Sing-alongs organized via social media platforms have filled the air with Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” which drew 8,200 virtual attendees and likely more at the actual event on their balconies and at their windows at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 21. The event caught the attention of Jon Bon Jovi himself, who dedicated an Instagram post to the city, “I am with you with all my heart and my soul, sending my love to everybody in Chicago and across America.”

The radio station 97.1 The Drive put together their own sing-along of the National Anthem and Queen’s “We Will Rock You” March 27. A singalong, especially for kids took place, Sunday March 29 at 5p.m. with a chorus of “Let It Go” from the Disney movie “Frozen.”

These events tend to pop up sporadically and at last minute notice. To take part in upcoming singalongs, please follow New Eastside News’ Facebook page, where we will be reposting the events as they are announced. 

2020 election wrap-up

Democrats claiming victory after the 2020 Illinois Primary elections include incumbent Sen. Dick Durbin, who will run against Republican challenger Mark Curran in the November general election. Incumbent State’s Attorney Kim Foxx will face Republican challenger Patrick O’Brien. Incumbent Rep. Danny K. Davis will run against Republican Craig Cameron for the Seventh District, which includes New Eastside, Streeterville and the West Loop.

New Eastside and Streeterville political races to watch

Unless a challenger emerges, incumbent State Sen. Robert Peters will run unopposed in the race for Senate District 13, which includes Streeterville and everything east of Columbus Dr. in New Eastside. The same holds true for incumbent Kambium Buckner, who won the primary for House District 26. Lamont Robinson ran unopposed and won the primary for State House District 5, which includes everything west of Columbus Dr. in New Eastside, all of River North, and the eastern half of the Loop.

City suspends late fees on parking tickets and more

On March 18, Mayor Lightfoot announced that the city has initiated several “hold-harmless policies” to ease the burden caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Effective immediately, Chicago will stop charging late fees on payment plans, utility bills, parking tickets, red-light citations, booting and other violations. “This is a common sense way that we can help mitigate the burdens and pressures many are feeling,” Lightfoot said. “We know that these practices disproportionately impact the residents that are most in need during this crisis.” The policies will remain in effect until April 30.

City rents hotel rooms for people with coronavirus

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office said certain people who test positive for coronavirus or are awaiting test results would be housed in hotel rooms rented by the city beginning March 23. The measure will apply to those “who cannot safely return home (but) do not need hospital care.” At the time of the announcement, the city had already reached agreements with local hotels to provide more than 1,000 rooms for those “exposed to or mildly ill with COVID-19.” According to the Chicago Tribune, the program could expand to include up to 4,000 hotel rooms costing nearly $175 per night, and the expense will be covered by “federal funds and other potential sources.”

How to give back in the neighborhood

In a recent email newsletter, Alderman Reilly thanked the community for their enquiries into how to give back locally in the time of the coronavirus pandemic. There are many ways to help.

  • CPS teachers or childcare providers are welcome to sign up with Sittercity. Sittercity will match sitters to care for children of first responders and healthcare workers, as both are welcome to access the site for free. Visit for more information.
  • CPS nurses or healthcare providers, including retired healthcare workers and those with out-of-state medical licenses, can sign up for the Illinois Medical Reserve Program. The IMRS is in need of volunteers to help support the healthcare field at this time. For more information, visit
  • The country is also in a blood donation shortage and the Red Cross is asking for more donations. If you are eligible, visit
  • For those who are unable to leave their homes or food insecure, there are several Chicago organizations that could use help and donations. One of which is Greater Chicago Food Depository. They are looking for volunteers ages 18-60 at
  • Please keep in mind if you have exhibited symptoms of the coronavirus or come into contact with someone who has exhibited symptoms or been diagnosed in the last 14 days, you should stay at home and not locally volunteer. For more information visit

Deals on Divvy

It’s a good time to get a deal on Divvy. To help ease the burden of Illinois’ stay-at-home order, the City of Chicago has arranged a deal to reduce the cost of renting Divvy bikes. The cost of an annual Divvy membership has been reduced 50% — from $99 to $49.50 —The “steeply” discounted memberships are available through April 30, 2020.

Other two-wheeled measures include reducing the regular $3 cost of 30-minute Divvy bike rentals by 66%, which comes out to a dollar for a half hour.

“Chicago is committed to ensuring reliable and accessible transportation for every neighborhood and community,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot in a press release, “We are taking every measure possible to provide the pricing support needed to keep our residents mobile and our city moving forward.” Divvy is also launching a 30-day program to give critical healthcare workers free bikeshare rides.

Local grocery stores enact dedicated hours for senior citizens

Seniors, and those with underlying medical conditions, are at the most risk for serious coronavirus complications, according to the CDC. To make essential trips to the grocery store and pharmacy easier for those individuals that are most at-risk, local stores have enacted senior-specific hours.

  • Whole Foods, 255 E. Grand: Those 60 and up can begin shopping at 7a.m., before the store officially opens at 8a.m.
  • Whole Foods, 30 W. Huron: Those 60 and up can begin shopping at 8a.m, before the store officially opens at 9a.m.
  • Target, 401 E. Illinois St.: Each Wednesday, the first hour of shopping is dedicated to seniors and those with underlying health concerns. 7-8a.m.
  • Mariano’s, 333 E. Benton Pl.: 6-8a.m. is reserved for senior citizens and those with underlying health concerns.
  • Jewel-Osco, 550 N. State St., For seniors and those with underlying health concerns, priority will be given on Tuesdays and Thursdays 7-9a.m.
  • Walgreens: 8-9a.m. on Tuesdays is senior shopping hour.

CTA, Metra help to ease COVID-19 burden

Starting on March 24, The Chicago Transit Authority offered partial credit to customers who purchased fare cards but were unable to use them due to the coronavirus.

“A one-time credit,” according to a CTA press release, applies to “any remaining days left on an active 7- or 30-day pass.” In other words, a person who purchased a 7-day pass but only used it for one day would be credited with six days of “Transit Value” that would be “added to the cardholder’s Ventra account.”

The CTA also offered reassurance that it will continue operations during the stay-at-home order. Medical personnel also get free rides at this time.

McCormick Place transforms into makeshift hospital

Plans are underway to turn McCormick Place into a 3000 bed makeshift hospital to treat coronavirus patients by April 24. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is providing kits help transform several exhibition halls in the facility into a temporary medical site.

Northwestern Memorial Hospital restricts visitors

In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 there is a new no-visitor restriction at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. According to the hospital’s website, visitors are not allowed in all in-patient and out-patient care sites with the following expectations:

  • Pediatric patients under the age of 18 (limited to one visitor/companion 18 or older)
  • Neonatal ICU patients (limited to two visitors 18 or older, one at a time)
  • Compassionate care, including pastoral care visits and end-of-life patients (limited to one visitor 18 or older)
  • Laboring mothers (limited to one visitor 18 or older)
  • Patients requiring transportation home after an ED visit or outpatient visit or procedure (limited to one visitor/companion 18 or older)
  • In these exceptional cases patients and visitors will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 or flu before being admitted.


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