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Once predominantly Jewish and solidly middle class, Rogers Park has experienced an influx of students and young working people over the last five or six years. Most of the newcomers have settled between Ashland and the lake, a medium-density area that is full of old but comfortable three-story apartment buildings, well maintained brick homes, and "four-plus-ones" (unattractive, cheaply constructed apartment buildings, made possible by a peculiarity of Chicago's housing code until they were finally outlawed a few years ago). Rents are fairly low, public transportation is good, and the youth invasion has brought with it a proliferation of singles bars, gimmick restaurants, jeans and T-shirt stores, plant shops, etc., on Devon Avenue and Sheridan Road. The area is a mecca for movie freaks, with half a dozen theaters—among them the grand old Granada, dowager queen of Chicago's movie palaces—showing bizarre double features at el cheapo rates.
The neighborhood changes character west of Ashland, where peas-in-a-pod brick bungalows and duplexes fill block after block. Another abrupt change comes north of Howard Street; the row of run-down taverns on Paulina was established to serve Evanston's drinking population when Evanston was dry, and the surrounding blocks of high-density apartment buildings became one of the city's worst slums.