Hyde Park has been in the news a lot in the past couple of years, courtesy of its famous resident and our current president. But for Jim and Jennie Poueymirou, Hyde Park isn't all about Obama-it's the fact that on any given day you can be sitting next to a Nobel Prize winner or a homeless person, Jim says.
"The beauty of living in Hyde Park is the diversity of ideas, cultures, religions, incomes, ethnicity," Jim says.
The parents of Matthew, 4, and Nicholas, 3, Jennie is a nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit at the University of Chicago Hospital, while Jim works as a mortgage consultant. When it came time to raise a family, Jim shares why they decided there was no place better than Hyde Park.
What do you like best about the neighborhood?
Being able to use the University of Chicago as our backyard. We've taught the boys about biology, very basic stuff, by bringing them to Botany Pond where ducks and frogs and turtles are all at. They regard the campus as their backyard, so I don't have to be in suburbia to have a sprawling backyard. We can throw a Frisbee or fly a kite right here.
Do you ever see President Obama?
Yes we have, he and his family add to the diversity of the community. ... You can find almost anyone as your neighbor and that's the pure joy.
What do you do on the weekends?
We really love the park; we love the museums. Our favorite is the Museum of Science and Industry, from a kids' perspective, because it has a separate kids' area. Over the holidays, MSI has its festival of trees from all over the world. It's the cultural diversity; you're learning about other countries and their beliefs. Same is true with the museum campus, Field or Shedd. These are all treasures that we have so close. That's what makes Hyde Park an ideal family spot. You're so close to downtown, yet you're removed from the hustle and bustle.
Favorite restaurant with the kids?
Salonica (1440 E. 57th St.), it's sort of a mom and pop diner, Noodles (1333 E. 57th St.), which is a Thai restaurant, and Kikuya (1601 E. 55th St.), which is a Japanese restaurant. Being able to share the diversity of appetites with my boys is wonderful.
How about for you and Jennie? Do you do date night?
We like a number of restaurants. Pizza Capri (1501 E. 53rd St.), Piccolo Mondo (1642 E. 56th St.) are very nice restaurants for our opportunity to get out.
Liz DeCarlo is the senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.