Neighborhood News

Help Wanted:  Buena Park Neighbors

Printing – If you can provide in kind printing or reduced price printing, please send us an email.

Condo Events Coordinator – Buena Park Neighbors would like to host events in condominium complexes in the neighborhood to promote information flow and membership.  We need a volunteer to help contact potential hosts and do limited logistical set up for these “happy hour” events. Please send us an email.

Membership Outreach Coordinator – Buena Park Neighbors needs a volunteer to assist in outreach and recruitment of new members. Working directly with the President and Board, the person will coordinate these efforts. Please send us an email.


Buena Park Neighbor of the Month: Nick Georgelos

Nick Georgelos moved to Chicago from Greece with his family when he was 10 years old. After graduating from high school he studied electronic engineering at DeVry University.  While at DeVry his brother Sam purchased GNS Foods at the corner of Broadway and Belle Plaine.  It was here that Nick began his business career that now includes ownership of Buena Park businesses: GNS Foods, Michaels Original Pizzeria, North Broadway Delicatessen and most recently Klein’s Bakery.

Why so many businesses in Buena Park?  Nick said, “Buena Park is a great location, and if I’m going to be in a neighborhood, I wanted to open up the kind of business that I would want in my own neighborhood.”

Nick is focused on the details that make a business successful. He says several years ago he spent 4 to 5 months perfecting the sauce that makes Michael’s pizza the best.  The sauce has 13 ingredients, and Nick is not about to disclose his secret.

When asked about how he can remain successful in the next ten years Nick said, “We need to be unique, to have the best sandwich, the best pizza and the best product. People are looking for quality, and we need to provide it.”

Buena Park Neighbors encourages residents of the neighborhood to “buy local” and support those businesses that have made an investment in our neighborhood. We have a wide variety of services that deliver the highest quality.  We need to make sure they thrive.

Nick Georgelos has made a major investment in Buena Park and continues to be a great neighbor.  Stop by and have the best deep dish pizza in town and say hello to Nick.

Pride Films and Plays

Alderman James Cappleman made his stage debut at Pride on Wed., April 18 at 7:30 in THE WOMEN, a staged reading of the classic black and white film. The event is a fund-raiser to send Pride Films and Plays to the International Gay Theatre Fest of Dublin with our production of HIS GREATNESS, about the last days of Tennessee Williams. It is always exciting to exchange information with artists from around the world who share our mission, and we look forward to singing the praises of our new Buena Park/Uptown home. There will also be a farewell performance of HIS GREATNESS on Monday, May 7 at Stage 773. Get tickets here. (Photo of his greatness features Danne W. Taylor as Tennessee Williams and Whitman Jonson

Pride Films and Plays also presents a new musical comedy FLIES! The Musical! In a twisted mash-up of WAITING FOR GUFFMAN and GLEE, FLIES! THE MUSICAL! follows the drama kids from Lovely Valley Performing Arts Magnet High School. The students are left behind in an abandoned forest preserve during a “research” retreat for an unauthorized teacher-written musical production of LORD OF THE FLIES. Gradually, things turn savage in a couple of unsupervised hours as the plot points of the novel begin to come true one by one, in song, until eventually the kids are “rescued” by an astonished park ranger (who happens to love musicals) but it’s much too late for them to go back to who they were before. Get tickets here.

And as usual, check for films, cabaret with Melissa Young, and much much more!

Pride Films and Plays
Pride Arts Center
4139 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60613

Follow Pride Films and Plays on FacebookTwitter,  Instagram and YouTube.

See the Pride FIlms and Plays events calendar here.
Make a donation 
in support of our Pride Films and Plays here.

Retired President Lisa von Drehle Gives Accomplishments and Thanks

Buena Park Neighbors under Lisa von Drehle Presidency

Last night at the Community Meeting I thanked the many volunteers who have been instrumental in my 3 years as President of Buena Park Neighbors. As I hand over the reins to Curt Wiley here is a little look back at what we all accomplished.

  • Re-wrote and updated By-Laws
  • Conducted Board retreat resulting in agreement on priorities and Committee system to enact these priorities.
  • Established Executive Committee and Advisory Board
  • Updated 501C-3 status
  • Expanded contact list from 800 to 1,600
  • Grew membership from negligible to over 200
  • Developed branding and graphic design program. Conducted Branding workshop confirming ‘Good Living by the Lake’
  • Redesigned and updated website
  • Initiated more robust Facebook and Instagram presence
  • Developed Architectural walking tours of Hutchinson Street
  • Creation of Advisory Board for Buena Circle Park and choice and of new playground equipment and tree planting
  • Development of Block Captain System
  • Creation of Young Professionals Group
  • Expansion of summer events from 2 to 4 Events in the Park
  • Big thanks to all who worked hard to make so much happen in Buena Park these past three years. It has been a gas!  See you in the hood.


Lisa von Drehle Buena Park Neighbors Extends Her Thanks

Three years ago Bill Petty, the former President, moved to Evanston and I inherited the Presidency of Buena Park Neighbors.  Bill was a great president, but also a one man band.

One of my main missions as President has been to expand the base and build a solid, committed group of volunteers.  I think I have been successful. I couldn’t have done this without the help of so many people. Please indulge me for a few minutes as I thank some individuals..

Two Volunteers have been with us for years

Gene Tenner – who handles all of the communication. It is thanks to Gene that you all know what is going on in the hood

Alice Leahy – who put her hand up to help me get Buena Park Open Day off of the ground and has stayed around as Treasurer ever since.

Over the past 2 years we have built a great Executive Committee. Special Thanks to

Estelle Chandler – Estelle blew in to a meeting over 2 years ago with all sorts of proposals and ideas. Her creative and inspired leadership of the Events Committee gives us so many opportunities throughout the year to get together.

Laura Flanagan – who named and built Buena Park Green, our beautification and environmental program. Laura is now moving to Pilsen but leaves a great organization and legacy

Jamie Willet – a committed and creative new business guru

And his partner in all things Buena Park Business, Jared Dolan, who also serves on the SSA

Asher Mayerson – a new addition, but one who has already made a huge difference with his creation of the Young Professionals Group and helming of the Block Captains Program

How did this Executive Committee come together, and how did we decide on our priorities? Malachy Walsh, a long term Buena Parker led two Vision Days for us over the past two years to help decide and refine our priorities. Thank you Malachy

Jennifer and Cesar Pacheco are long term Buena Parkers who always turn up when asked, particularly with Buena Park Bunnies.

 Jenny Maraccini is our volunteer Social Media director and has made a world of difference in our communication over the past year.

Above all of this is our Advisory Board, a group of ‘Wise Elders’ who have served as a sounding board to me, and now Curt. Ken Kandaras, Dominic Irpino, David Lynch and Karen Sims, thank you so much for all of your valuable counsel. And Karen, special thanks for keeping the Hutchinson Street architecture tours going

Huge thanks are due to all of our members and business sponsors, big and small. You are the people who make everything we do possible.

The Alderman and his whole crew, Martin Sorge and the team at Uptown United are the supportive professional back bone of Buena Park Neighbors.

Finally, I want to thank Curt Wiley who showed up with his wife Priscilla at a social 18 months ago and expressed an interest in getting involved. Starting as Secretary he quickly started seeking more opportunities to get involved. I am thrilled to be leaving Buena Park Neighbors in such great hands. We have had a great time working together for the past 6 months and I look forward to more of the same as he assumes the leadership.

And thank you all for being great neighbors.

Curt Wiley Is the New President of Buena Park Neighbors

Lisa von Drehle, President of Buena Park Neighbors, announced on Mon., March 26, 2018 that she is stepping down and will turn the reins of the organization over to Curt Wiley who currently serves as Vice President.

 “I have enjoyed my years as President and believe we have accomplished a great deal, but there is always a time for change and my time is now,” said von Drehle. “I look forward to continuing my life in Buena Park and will be involved in the neighborhood as it continues to change.”

 Wiley has lived in Buena Park with his wife, Priscilla Fossum, for three years. He retired and moved from Washington, D.C. where he served in the Obama Administration. He has been active in membership recruitment and in helping with management of Buena Park Neighbors.

 “I am pleased to become President of Buena Park Neighbors,” said Wiley. “Lisa von Drehle has done a wonderful job, and Buena Park Neighbors is doing more than it ever has because of her extraordinary effort over the years.”