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Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park

Uptown Building’s Courtyard Has 10,000 Lights, Field Of Inflatables To Bring Joy During Pandemic Winter

An Agatite Avenue condo building known for its elaborate courtyard decorations has outdone itself for Christmas.

An Uptown condo building's courtyard has been transformed into a winter wonderland.
JOE WARD/BLOCK CLUB CHICAGO
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UPTOWN — An Uptown building’s courtyard has transformed into a winter wonderland, dazzling neighbors with ornate light displays and lawn decorations.

The condo building at 908 W. Agatite Ave., known for its decked-out courtyard, unveiled its Christmas decorations earlier this month. The display includes 10,000 lights and 25 inflatables.

The Christmas display continues a trend of whimsical courtyard decorations at the Uptown condo building, a project neighbors have turned to, to create togetherness and spark joy during quarantine.

Credit: JOE WARD/BLOCK CLUB CHICAGO
Unicorn inflatables have been used in past lawn displays.

This summer, the condo neighbors unveiled the “Land of Make Believe,” a display of more than 40 lawn inflatables that included a field of unicorns, exotic animals and sea creatures.

The project started in the spring, when residents of the Agatite building used their sizable courtyard to host socially distanced happy hours, said neighbor David Geranen.

RELATED: Condo Neighbors Create ‘Land Of Make Believe’ With Field Of Inflatable Unicorns To Battle Coronavirus Blues

Inflatables and other decorations were added to the courtyard to make happy hour more fun. It blossomed into a full-blown lawn display that was included as a stop on an Uptown art walk.

Credit: JOE WARD/BLOCK CLUB CHICAGO
A resident of the condo building made and hand painted these signs.

It was a hit with neighbors and passersby, Geranen said, so the building residents continued to elaborately decorate the courtyard for Halloween and Christmas.

A team of about 10 neighbors do most of the work, though other residents chip in with supplies and volunteering. Geranen leads the effort and spends considerable time on the project.

“It’s something I take a lot of personal enjoyment from,” he said. “It’s a lucky bonus that other people enjoy it.”

One of the biggest features of the holiday display is a three-story Christmas tree made of lights. Geranen said he strung nine strands of green lights, but changed every ninth light bulb from green to red to give the appearance of lights on a tree.

The lights were hung from a third-floor balcony and extend to the first floor.

Credit: JOE WARD/BLOCK CLUB CHICAGO
One resident of the condo building made this snowman out of a dresser drawers left in a nearby alley. The courtyard building is known as “Agatite Harbor,” hence the moniker “winter harbor land.”

One neighbor salvaged dresser drawers from a nearby alley and used them to make a snowman that welcomes people to the courtyard, Geranen said.

Another neighbor found a fake Christmas tree in an alley and dragged it back to the courtyard.

Credit: JOE WARD/BLOCK CLUB CHICAGO
Christmas isn’t the only holiday being celebrated in Uptown. The white Christmas tree at left was salvaged from a nearby alley.

The display is behind the building’s fence, but residents do not mind if neighbors stop by and gawk.

The decorations do brighten faces on gloomy winter days. A postal worker walked by and said the Agatite Avenue building is the most festive stop on her route.

“Yes it is,” she said with a laugh. “It helps me get through, with all this madness going on.”

Geranen said that is exactly the idea of the decorations.

“We’ve been through a lot of hard times,” Geranen said previously. “There aren’t too many opportunities for small joy.”

Credit: Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
The condo building’s “Land of Make Believe” delighted passersby this summer.

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