North of Howard Run Too Scary for Me
One morning last month as I was driving to my personal training session at 180 Fitness on Howard Street (317 W. Howard, Evanston) I received a text from Stephan Fouche, my trainer:
“Delayed. Start at 9:00 instead?”
Promptly acknowledging receipt of his text, I then considered what I should do to kill the hour before my delayed work out.
Two options immediately came to mind: either a warm up jog or breakfast across the street at the fantastic Howard area breakfast joint, Pete’s Grill (7557 N. Paulina, immediately south of Howard Street in the row of businesses aligning the bus terminals.)
Luckily, a tinge of common sense overcame me and I decided to jog.
Now, I needed to consider my path.
“Why not go north of Howard?” I thought to myself. “I’ve already jogged most areas to the south. Let’s check out this hood.”
While beginning my run, I started thinking about how some of my friends would react if they knew I was running north of Howard.
“Don’t you dare do that” might be the common refrain. “Too scary a place to run.”
“Screw them,” I thought.
I wasn’t more than ten minutes into my run until I realized that my friends were absolutely right.
Running North of Howard is far too scary an experience for me.
Proceeding North of Paulina, I cut towards the west, and proceeded north along Chicago Avenue, which is part of Evanston.
Turning right at the first road, I saw the following sign:
I ran under the foreboding arches that greet all cemetery visitors.
Running into the cemetery, I saw countless old tombstones, and some statuettes of dignified yet creepy looking men and woman, dressed in regal fashion, sporting haunting looks.
Realizing that running in a 100-year-old cemetery is not an activity for the faint of heart, I immediately reversed course, departing the Cemetery.
“Far too scary” I said to myself. “Not a good idea to run this far north of Howard.”
Along the pathway back to my car, and out of harm’s way, I decided to take a breather at a local park located in the northwest corner of the North of Howard neighborhood called Triangle Park.
I’ve long known that this park existed in this northwest corner of the North of Howard area, located adjacent to some CTA facilities, but admittedly I never paid much attention to it. At the park’s southern end are some picnic tables, yet, admittedly, when visiting this part of the hood I usually focus on the urban gardening plots located on the east side of street – across from Triangle Park.
With this morning jog, I finally focused on the park’s northern edge, in the field that borders the fence line that separates the park from the cemetery. There sits a fitness site known as a Par Course. Around an eighth of an acre field of open land, arranged in an oval pattern, the Park District has placed a series of work out stations offering its participants with a balanced work out routine, equipped with stretching, cardio and strength promoting exercises. Each station is equipped with its own equipment, along with signs directing us how to use them. As I proceeded to each station, heeding the instructions for monitoring our heart rate, I felt the strain and exuberance one feels from engaging in a challenging yet satisfying work out. I soon realized that Triangle Park offers an exceptional and completely affordable respite for those of us seeking a way to get or remain in shape.
So, I wonder: can the Triangle Park Par Course be an exercise destination this summer for more people from our neighborhood? Or, do too many residents of the greater Rogers Park area deem the North of Howard too scary a place to seek this type of work out experience?
I encourage each of you to judge this for yourself. My experience is that Triangle Park, immediately west of Paulina, and north of Howard a couple of blocks, offers a great spot for a well rounded and challenging work out routine.
It is plenty safe for me. I heartily recommend the Par Course at Triangle Park north of Howard Street - one of our neighborhood’s great hidden gems.
If you try it out, stay out of that scary ass cemetery to the north.
(Dancers from the North of Howard group, 808s: Youth Empowerment thru Dance, in conjunction with the website, decided to have some fun and has showcased the Triangle Park Par Course in a short video, posted on this website)
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