There’s no doubt that the Near South Side is in flux. As the neighborhood continues its transformation from an urban wasteland into a bona fide cultural district, the attendant growing pains will become more intense. Seemingly every other week, a Near Southsider complains on Facebook (or to me or someone I know) about crime in the neighborhood. Of course. Poor areas are crime-ridden, and to their felonious residents, all of those young professionals and hipsters with their iPads and MacBooks, fancy bikes and fancy hybrids, high-def TVs and musical instruments, are just golden geese.
In other words, a fight instigated by some gun-toting young thugs at 1919 Hemphill last Wednesday really shouldn’t shock anyone.
As documented here, 1919’s Rick Vandeveerdonk, who figured prominently in Jimmy Fowler’s October cover story about the long-standing DIY venue, reportedly stared down a loaded gun and took a sucker-punch to the face that’s left him unable to eat solid food. The thugs also broke one of the venue’s glass entrance doors.
Police informed Vandeveerdonk that the thugs are part of a gang, Varrio Centro or the VCs.