Hyde Park is a dynamic neighborhood, diverse and complex, combining commercial, academic and social institutions. At the Maroon, we're growing afraid that Hyde Park might be quickly adding another adjective to its repertoire: vacant.
With the recent closing of Cafe Siena, Hyde Park is faced with yet another empty storefront, adding to the already too full list that includes the House of Tiki, the Meridian Theater, World Gym, Tony's Sports, Max Brook Cleaners, the 55th Street Flower Shop, and the former location of Cedars of Lebanon. This alarming trend, coupled with the apparent interest in but lack of actual development, should bother every member of the University community and the Hyde Park community at large.
Hyde Park is able to sustain long-term business establishments, but the more businesses that fail, the harder it becomes to keep commerce in Hyde Park. The more vacancies on 53rd Street, the less attractive the area becomes in general, whether for commercial, residential, or recreational purposes.
Running errands in Hyde Park is obviously more convenient for students who often have limited means of transportation, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to find businesses to patronize in the neighborhood. This self-perpetuating pattern may soon leave us with no other option but to take our business out of Hyde Park, propagating the idea of students as academic tourists.