It had to be the most beautiful Earth Day–April 22nd–in Chicago History. Continuing a long time annual tradition, the people of Eli’s Cheesecake with the support of the Chicago Park District and Engine Company 98 of the Chicago Fire Department gathered for the annual Spruce-Up of the Eli M. Schulman Playground at Seneca Park.

What made this year most special and successful was the leadership and hard work of 47 middle school students plus teachers from the Miguel Juarez Middle School in Waukegan, Illinois, Recently renamed in honor of the late Police Chief in Waukegan, the students at Juarez have a commitment to community service. We thank Barbara Dolinger, Student Advisor, and Ray Arceo, Physical Education Instructor (and husband of Eli’s Erin Arceo) for their support in making this day possible.

We also thank all of the students for helping contribute to the beauty of Streeterville and the Magnificent Mile. These students gave up much of their Saturday and travelled almost 50 miles to help clean up this playground that is used by so many visitors and residents. Several of these young people had recently moved to this country and this was their first visit to the Magnificent Mile. What a great demonstration of character by youth and a great committment of support by their faculty advisors.

For over 100 years, Engine Company 98 has protected the Streeterville Community. We are very grateful of their protection today of our neighborhood and for keeping a watchful eye over Seneca Park and its Eli M, Schulman Playground. Our thanks today to Captain Madden and the men and woman of Engine Company 98 who hosted our breakfast with the students this morning

Engine Company 98 is located just west of the Eli M. Schulman Playground. To the west of the firehouse is Chicago’s historic Water Works and the home of the world famous Lookingglass Theatre.


Our thanks to Eli’s, Sarah Zupancic, Maryanne Gaw, and Donna Carberry for organizing such a successful Earth Day activity. Also to Len Simkowski, Mary Gale, Mark Bouchard and Diana Moles for supporting the students and making sure the Playground will be tip-top for the season.

Our thanks to Eli’s Erin Arceo, and to her husband, Ray Arceo, physical education instructor at Miquel Juarez Middle School, who introduced us to these great kids.