It's official. Oak Park is "hot," according to Barbara Corcoran, contributor to The View, a daytime talkshow, geared toward women, judging by the July 20 segment we saw (thanks to Sue Mills who loaned us her tape).
"Hot" is the least sexy of the top five suburbs chosen by Corcoran after extensive, if occasionally inaccurate, research.
But we were the first mentioned and since eyes may well have glazed over by the end of the segment, first might well have made the biggest impression.
"Oak Park is great because it's one big melting pot," enthused Corcoran. "Everybody seems to love each other and get together."
"They have different ethnic groups [read: racially diverse], different religions, different lifestyles [read: gay and lesbian] ..."
Oak Park, it turns out, also "oozes creativity. There are tons of musicians and art shows," Corcoran said. "And the nightlife doesn't stop. There are 200 bars [in a 5-mile radius, that is] and most of them are open all night."
Frank Lloyd Wright came in for special notice, but Hemingway got overlooked. Of the 23 Wright homes that Corcoran said were our "pride and joy," one of them has "no windows at all because the revered architect was inside poking the housewife."
She had the "poking" part right (a reference to Wright's notorious affair with Mrs. Cheney, presuming Corcoran means by "poking" what we think she means) but the "no windows" part would come as a surprise to the current owners of the house.
Among the other facts, loosely cited: Within that same 5-mile radius, Oak Park has, in addition to the 200 bars, 200 shops, 17 plastic surgeons, 26 gyms, and the average home price was listed as $275,000.
"What's so sexy about plastic surgeons?" asked one of the guests, setting off a running gag for the remainder of the segment.
The clips, courtesy of village hall's Joe Kreml, included a shot of Pilgrim Church with Farmers Market in the foreground, a moving high crane shot looking down on Lake Street, and a shot of the intersection of Harrison and Lombard, with a Harrison Street Arts District banner in the foreground.
Village Communications Director David Powers said Kreml was a bit disappointed that they used so little of the footage he sent. Heck, even John Mahoney dining at Marion Street Grille ended up on the cutting room floor. But Kreml shouldn't feel bad. The footage from the other four suburbs was much worse. In fact, they all seemed rather boring somehow compared to us, but we might be biased.
Addison, Texas, outside Dallas, was the only sexy suburb with a lower average home price. Their chief claim to fame, it appears is the Mary Kay Cosmetics Museum. Coral Gables, Fla. boasts a July 4th parade where residents put their beds on wheels. Newport, Rhode Island, is, as expected, full of really rich people. And the sexiest suburb of all, La Jolla, Calif. (outside San Diego) has "hot weather and hot bodies." The guest asked, "Is it a felony to be overweight there?"
"You wouldn't move there," Corcoran replied. "It's too intimidating."
Supplementary information was supplied on www.barbaracorcoran.com/barbaras-pick, but the accuracy is again questionable. The sources include Sperling's Best Places, something called "Citysearch," and the "Oak Park Illinois City website."
Corcoran's site puts the percentage of singles in Oak Park at 40.6 and claims that only 10 percent are married, so something seems askew?#34;which also calls into question the 49.3 percent divorced figure. Average income is posted as $62,295.
Powers said wherever they got those figures, it wasn't from the village's website. He checked.
On the other hand, Corcoran redeemed herself with "The Vibe," which she describes as "Total and utter confidence."
Got that right.
Also in the top 5 ...
Speaking of publicity, S3 Kitchen on south Oak Park Avenue made the Sun-Times' Friday "Five To Try" restaurant picks this past week.
The "Vibe" here praises the "neat cafe setting with about 10 tables. Check out the chalkboard for daily specials.
Give a look-see at the goodies in the deli case. Order. Pay. Grab a seat. Friendly and very enjoyable." The photo features S3's jerk pork tenderloin salad.
Does the "S" stand for sexy?
Sexy is as sexy drives
Cars are sexy. Well, some are considered so. Chicagobusiness.com back in April posted a list of the most popular cars by town in Cook County, based on the number of vehicles registered as of July 1, 2004. Can you guess what sexy Oak Park drivers choose more than any other? Volvo? Cadillac? BMW? Toyota Camry?
Yep, Toyota Camry?#34;in fact, the 1998 Toyota Camry (89 of them registered), followed closely by ... the 2002 Toyota Camry (75), followed by ... the 1997 Toyota Camry (63), followed by ... you guessed it, the 1995 Toyota Camry (59).
But lest you think we are ground zero of Stepford drivers, bringing up the rear is ... the 1999 Toyota Corolla (54)!
The worst part is we're almost identical to Buffalo Grove. Yeesh.
River Forest, you ask? A world so very different from Oak Park? Number one is ... the very same 1998 Toyota Camry, followed by the very same 2002 Toyota Camry! Yikes, we're rubbing off on each other.
Fortunately, there we diverge. Next on the list is the 1998 Ford Explorer, then the 1999 Lexus RX 300, and finally, once again replicating Oak Park, the 1999 Toyota Corolla. Maybe we're more alike than we think.
At least we're not like Glencoe, where all of the top five were Lexus RX300s. How boring.
If it makes you feel any better, the top five for Wilmette were all Toyota Camrys.
DuMont goes green
Broadcast legend and Oak Parker Bruce DuMont's new museum will be green.
DuMont is the founder/president/CEO of The Museum of Broadcast Communications, a new $21 million, 70,000-square-foot museum being built at 360 N. State St.
Construction began last week on the building, for which the museum hopes to receive a Gold LEED designation. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a certification overseen by the U.S. Green Building Council.
All of that means it will be built and continue to exist in an environmentally friendly way.
The museum received "major funding" to get the Gold LEED standard from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. It is expected to open late next summer.
More information on the museum is at www.Museum.TV; more on LEED can be found at www.usgbc.org.
Brooks: D97's lightning rod
Brooks Middle School has seen more than its share of turmoil in recent years?#34;a lightning rod for controversy, so to speak. So when the school was struck by lightning a couple of weeks ago, maybe it was a sign the school continues to find itself on the wrong side of fate, troubled by some occult hand.
Or quite to the contrary ... Perhaps the bolt, which recently fried the school's new lightning suppression equipment, represents the shock of rebirth, the dawning of a new day.
Stay tuned for updates ...