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Trending Now: A Brief History of Ping-Pong

If you’re unsure how to spend an open afternoon or a few hours of free time, look no further than an Optima® community! Ping-pong is just one of the many entertaining activities included in each of our multi-family developments. And while you might remember playing the lively game as a kid, what you might not know is its rich history. Today, we’re exploring the ever-evolving story of ping-pong.

The popular pastime of ping-pong that we know today arose in England in the late 19th century. At the time, it was more widely known as table tennis. The fast-paced game originated in Victorian England as an adaptation of the popular lawn tennis game to transfer the activity inside for the cold winter. And unlike the simple ball and paddle used today, participants in the game’s early years would get creative with their equipment, regularly using champagne corks as the ball, cigar boxes as the paddle and books as the net. 

However, it wasn’t until 1890 that the pastime enjoyed by the wealthy class of England attracted a greater appeal when David Foster patented the first table tennis-style game. It quickly became a favorite across Europe, and Hungary held the first national championship in 1897. During this time, the game became termed ‘ping-pong’, originating from the onomatopoeic sound of the bat striking the ball and the ball hitting the table. 

The Optima Lakeview® game room, featuring a ping-pong table

While the sport slowed down in the early 20th century due to a lack of governance, it experienced a revival in the 1920s following the founding of the International Federation of Table Tennis and its first-ever world championships. After the game equipment transitioned from a hard bat to a sponge bat in the mid-20th century, elite players from Japan and China helped to revive interest in the sport once again. Concurrently, ping-pong diplomacy advanced, contributing to enhanced relationships with Eastern and Western nations. 

While many don’t know the rich history behind the sport today, ping-pong’s dominant presence across the world remains. Seoul, South Korea, was the city to first introduce ping-pong to the Olympics in 1988, and following that, the activity gradually turned professional in the 1990s. Today, it remains the most practiced sport in China and an integral part of the country’s culture.  

A semi final ping-pong match between Chin and Korea at the 2012 London Olympics

Ping-pong’s attraction is rooted in more than its entertainment value, as it’s known to boost the health of both the body and the mind. Everything from the speed to the ball placement is crucial in the game, which is why routine players are highly skilled in creative and critical thinking. The fast back and forths and short distance nature of the sport also help with improved flexibility, hand-eye coordination and balance over time. 

Constantly bringing together people from different walks of life, the game of ping-pong embodies our commitment to connection and wellness within each of our communities.

Pet-Friendly Amenities at Optima Lakeview

We know how important pets are and we want to make them feel right at home when you choose to live in one of our communities. For anyone searching for the perfect home for themselves and their beloved animals, here are a few reasons why our newest development, Optima Lakeview, is the perfect option.

Optima Lakeview’s proximity to the lakefront and Belmont Dog Beach makes it one of the best locations in the neighborhood to own a pet. One of the most exceptional pet features in Optima Lakeview is the 2,000 SF heated dog park on the ground floor. The park, with its lush landscaping, comfortable seating and friendly astroturf is an ideal place for your dog to get exercise and enjoy the fresh air year-round. And after a romp around the park, take your furry companion to the community’s pet spa. With this convenient service, you can always make sure your buddy is sparkling clean before heading back to your apartment. 

Optima Lakeview’s onsite pet spa

Along with our spa, our wonderful team provides onsite grooming services for every pet that walks through its doors. And because we understand that many pets are home alone throughout the day, we offer our residents dog-walking services to make sure your beloved companion has ample time outdoors, even if you’re not available. For those unable to travel with their pet, Optima Lakeview offers in-home petsitting, so you can leave your little buddy in good hands and reduce the stress of finding a sitter. 

At Optima Lakeview, we invite our residents to expect the extraordinary. And what better way can we deliver on this promise than by making your pets’ lives easier and more enjoyable!

Green Space Spotlight: Optima Lakeview

Open green space can be a difficult convenience to find in many Chicago neighborhoods and properties. However, that isn’t an issue with Optima residences and buildings; we strive to welcome the lush and lively Chicago greenery inside our doors. Our newest development, Optima Lakeview compliments the neighborhood surrounding it with outdoor terrace landscapes, a vibrant sky deck, and nature bridging indoor atrium. 

Optima Lakeview offers communal spaces outdoors that otherwise would be hard to find in the bustling neighborhood for many. Landscaped terraces, full of ornate and healthy foliage provide lush welcoming spaces for many to enjoy the modern architecture that surrounds them over a warm fire pit and private grill for year-round grilling. 

The highlight of Optima Lakeview, however, is its 3,600 square foot indoor atrium. Acting as the heart of Optima Lakeview, the atrium allows for integrated access to both units and amenities. The expansive space, designed by Optima CEO David Hovey Sr., welcomes visitors from the lobby with abundant floor-to-ceiling greenery utilizing Optima’s signature vertical landscaping. Abundant natural light floods the space as glass ceilings open the room to the sky deck and rooftop pool above. For residents, the landscaped center of the atrium that is home to an abundance of vegetation invites the guise of living in an oasis.

Optima Lakeview three-bedroom model residence

Like the green spaces in our other developments, Optima Lakeview’s supply of lush greenery allows our residents to enjoy a wealth of benefits. Green areas in urban environments help absorb excess heat and pollution and provide residents with ample space to stretch and engage around vegetation, improving cardiovascular health and relieve stress. And while urban living is often individualistic, grand communal spaces like Optima Lakeview’s atrium and sky deck promote community and social cohesion.  

At Optima, we are dedicated to bringing the outdoors into our communities. The picturesque private terraces, one-of-a-kind indoor atrium and other lush amenities at Optima Lakeview welcome that outdoor experience and allow us to fashion a sanctuary of our own. 

Rooftop Amenities at Optima Lakeview: The Sky Deck

Chicago boasts of the best skylines in the country, and there is no better place to revel in the city’s one-of-a-kind architecture than Optima Lakeview’s very own sky deck. And not only does the sky deck provide views of the city from the lakefront to Wrigley Field, but it also allows residents to enjoy the fresh air year-round with access to a range of unique, extensive amenities. 

Optima Lakeview’s unparalleled sky deck has a surprise around every corner. From the resort-style pool and spa that stays heated for year-round use to the fire pits featuring lounge seating, residents will be able to go for a swim or relax at any moment. Our design provides plenty of ways for residents to stay physically and mentally healthy and embodies our dedication to creating spaces where residents can be active, inspired and entertained. 

Because of the sky deck’s versatility and unique amenities, the space is more than just a hub for wellness and relaxation, it’s also a space for residents to connect with their larger community. The BBQs, outdoor kitchens and theater provide the perfect opportunity for families and friends to convene and enjoy a movie and dinner under the stars. The space also features a glass-enclosed party room where residents have access to an extensive lounge area for entertaining. And, with views spanning the whole city, and Wrigley Field only a half-mile away, the Sky Deck provides the perfect opportunity for Chicago Cubs fans to throw their own viewing party. 

The sky deck at Optima Lakeview
The sky deck at Optima Lakeview

Optima Lakeview’s sky deck exemplifies our dedication to inventive, distinctive amenity spaces that leave a lasting impact on our residents. However, the sky deck isn’t the only extraordinary amenity Optima Lakeview affords. Residents can find more than 40,000 square feet of amenity space, including an indoor basketball court, golf simulator, fitness center and more. Stay tuned for more Optima Lakeview spotlights, or learn more here.

Gallagher Way’s Free Summer Programs

Summer in Chicago brings warm weather, vibrant colors and endless activities that stretch from Lake Michigan to the suburbs. Gallagher Way, the outdoor event space adjacent to Wrigley Field and just blocks from Optima Lakeview, offers some of the city’s most unique seasonal activities for people of all ages — all for free! Today, we’re highlighting some of their current and upcoming programs:

Fitness Series

Running from May through the end of September, Gallagher Way’s fitness series is perfect for anyone who loves being active outdoors. And no matter where your passion for fitness lies, there is sure to be a class that sparks your interest.

Every Tuesday and Thursday at 7 a.m, guests are invited to bring their own yoga mats for a one-hour morning yoga session led by Five Keys Yoga. Other classes in the series include Run Club with Movement Gym every Tuesday at 6 p.m. and high-intensity training every Monday and Wednesday at 7 a.m. for those looking to push themselves.

Music Box Theatre Movies

One of Lakeview’s most treasured venues, Music Box Theatre, is partnering with Gallagher Way beginning May 25 to showcase 12 music-themed movies on the venue’s video board. Most Wednesdays starting at 6 p.m., movies range from classics like Dirty Dancing and School of Rock to family flicks like Encanto and Mamma Mia!

Guests are encouraged to bring a snack if they’d like, but for those who forget, Gallagher Way’s on-site concession stand won’t disappoint. And while seating is free, guests can reserve VIP seating for only $30 which includes a beverage, treat from Jeni’s Ice Cream, popcorn from Garrett Popcorn Shop and a souvenir cup. 

French Market

Select Thursdays from 4 to 8 p.m. through September, Gallagher Way hosts the European-inspired French Market. More than 20 vendors make up each market, displaying everything from handmade pasta to jams, candles and soaps. The French Market is ideal for a casual night where you can enjoy post-work drinks and warm weather.

Along with the various unique vendors, the French Market is also home to a different performer each week, ranging in genre from Chicago Blues to Latin Jazz. Kids can enjoy the Craft Corner, where they can create a new masterpiece each week!

Dog Day

One of the best perks of summer is being able to spend quality time outside with your furry friend, and Gallagher Way feels the same, which is why they’re hosting Dog Day on May 29 from 12 to 5 p.m. Neighbors are encouraged to bring their dogs down for a day full of treats and games. 

Local dog-friendly vendors will be on-site, along with drinks, lawn games and more for dog owners. In addition, the Anti-Cruelty Society will be hosting a supply drive for dogs and cats in need.

Chicago’s summer months are precious, so make the most of them while they’re here! Head to the Gallagher Way website to learn more about these events and other summer 2022 programming here.

Chicago’s Lincoln Park & Its Spring Offerings

Just two blocks east of Optima Lakeview lives Chicago’s largest recreational area, Lincoln Park. Throughout the year, the beloved park is host to a plethora of unique events and activities, but Spring is one of the best seasons to witness the more than three square miles of greenery come alive and enjoy all of its enchanting affordances. Here are our favorite activities we believe you should take advantage of this season:

While the park is widely known for being home to the cherished Lincoln Park Zoo, Conservatory, Chicago History Museum, countless other treasures line the seven-mile stretch of greenery. As the weather gets warmer, one of the best ways to experience Lincoln Park is by taking a stroll through one of its various paths. 

One of the most familiar, the Lincoln Park Trail, is perfect for those interested in observing some of the park’s most iconic monuments, sculptures and murals. The five-mile stretch offers views of Self Portrait, Chevron, the You Know What You Should Do mural and the Alexander Hamilton Monument.

The park is also home to great eateries and restaurants that provide amazing views of the vast greenery and not-so-distant skyline. The Patio at Cafe Brauer, North Pond and Bacino’s Italian Grill each bring their unique flavors to the park, promising visitors unforgettable eats and refreshing atmospheres. 

Another easy stop for food and entertainment is at Lincoln Park’s Theater on the Lake. Found at the end of Fullerton Avenue on Lakefront Trail, Theater on the Lake is one of the steadfast champions of Chicago’s off-Loop theater community. With special events and shows happening throughout the season into the summer, it’s one of the greatest treasures in the park. 

Along with being home to the Waveland Tennis Court, Sydney R. Marovitz Golf Course, Lincoln Park Archery Range and countless other recreational activities, the park hosts various free and unique excursions. From yoga to farmer’s markets, Lincoln Park provides visitors with a handful of unique events throughout the Spring, all of which can be found on their website here.

Angie Chache Team Member Spotlight

Our passionate team at Optima is the heart and soul behind each of our communities and embodies all of our values daily. We recently sat down with Angie Chache, Optima Lakeview’s Property Manager, to learn more about her journey to Optima Lakeview and what excites her the most about this extraordinary new property. 

Tell us a bit about your background and the role you play at Optima.

I have been in residential property management for almost 20 years, managing different types of communities in a Property Manager and Regional Manager role. With Optima Lakeview, I am the Property Manager, so I oversee the site itself. I’m responsible for the entire building and its system of operations, and because I’m jumping in just as the building is being completed, it will be my first lease up. I am excited about it!

What drew you to Optima initially, and what’s kept you working there?

Initially, a conversation with Ali Burnham, the Marketing Director, introduced me to the vibrant project they were building here. My first experience with an Optima community was actually Optima Old Orchard Woods; I was drawn to its classical modernist architectural style. So when the opportunity to join the team at Optima Lakeview came up, I was very excited. At Optima, there is this wonderful collaboration between all departments. With most companies, the architect/designer and developer/builder are separate entities. So at Optima, where we do everything essentially under one roof, I observe that things go much more smoothly on the operations side of things.

How do you view the concept of community at Optima? How does it differ from other properties/buildings?

Community at Optima means providing exceptional and curated experiences for our residents. The buildings are designed with extensive amenity spaces so they can seamlessly function as an extension of our residents’ homes. Our tagline at Optima Lakeview is Expect the Extraordinary, which I believe speaks for both the building’s outstanding architecture and the rich community we are creating within it. 

One of our philosophies that encompasses our value around relationships and community is called the Optima Way. The Optima Way sets the stage for Optima experiences that are very unique and customized for every one of our residents. We strive to get to know every resident, what they like, what they don’t like, and how we can make all of their experiences unique. It’s about being encouraged by our company culture to create extraordinary encounters for the residents. When you live in an Optima community, it’s more than just living in any generic apartment; it’s about what residents can enjoy when they’re here and what we can do as a team to curate living experiences just for them. 

There are a lot of luxury properties in the market, but what differentiates us is our suite of services. The resident events we frequently host are incredibly special, including fitness classes and kid-focused events (we’re one of the only communities doing this). And our grand amenity spaces are unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Residents at Optima Lakeview are going to feel like these spaces are an extension of their home. Some areas feel private, and others are great spots to gather with friends…because when you have that much space to spread out, it’s going to feel like home.

Optima has a unique set of values that differentiates it from other company cultures. How does that affect the quality of your work life? What values matter most to you?

My bucket gets filled every day. Yes, there are challenges and days that are hard, but there is also support and fluidity between the departments. We all work for the same company which, on the Property Management side of the business, makes my job so much easier. The two values that speak to me the most are that we build strong lasting relationships and that people are — and always will be — the most important pieces of the puzzle. 

In my career, relationships — whether it be with employees, vendors, or residents — have been at the forefront of my values, and I always want everyone to feel welcomed and appreciated. Optima allows me to curate experiences for people and provide amazing customer service, and it isn’t typical of companies to have the customer at the forefront. Many companies say they value that, but Optima acts on it.

What makes you most proud to be a part of the Optima team?

The beautiful ,innovative designs of our buildings, how we impact our residents’ lives, and the intentional way we work to be a part of the communities we build in. I never really understood the thought put into Optima’s communities before I started working here. We strive to build long-lasting relationships and partner with businesses surrounding our community so our residents and the surrounding businesses can benefit from those partnerships we form.

I’m also proud of the way we give back to the communities where we have built. Recently, we partnered with Lakeview Pantry and worked there for a day, which allowed us to see the lives that are impacted daily by this organization right here in the Lakeview neighborhood. We are excited to partner with them long-term and see how our community can help support such an important cause.

With move-ins scheduled for the spring, what elements of Optima Lakeview should new residents be most excited about?

Everything! We have 198 units with 52-floor plans, which means sometimes there may only be one unit of a particular floor plan, so our uniqueness provides a sense of exclusivity. I can’t wait for residents to see our 7-story atrium that will be filled with an abundance of natural light and the vibrant vertical landscaping that will live inside of it — similar to the vertical landscaping we do on the exteriors of our Arizona communities. We will have 40,000 square feet of amenity space for only 198 residences. Our skydeck with 360-degree views of the city will also have a heated pool and jacuzzi that can be used year-round — even when it’s snowing. And, we’ll have private terraces that range from 300 square feet up to 2,000 square feet, some with private grills and firepits. Our community is like no other in this neighborhood.

Curated Furniture at Optima Lakeview: the Bertoia Side Chair

Our love of mid-century classic furniture can be found throughout all of the Optima communities. And with our soft spot for iconic seating, it’s no surprise that the famed Bertoia Side Chair is a staple in many of our amenity spaces. Let’s take a closer look.

About Harry Bertoia
Born in San Lorenzo, Italy in 1915, Bertoia built an international reputation as an artist, sound art sculptor and modern furniture designer. After leaving his home at the age of 15 to join his older brother Oreste in Detroit, Harry embarked on a career that centered on the exploration of modernist ideas and ideals, often in collaboration with some of the greatest thinkers and visionaries of that era.

In 1936, a one-year scholarship to the School of the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts allowed Harry to study painting and drawing. He entered and placed in many local art competitions, said to be the most awarded student up until that time. The following year, another scholarship took him to the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Working among some of the most famous artists and designers of the modernist age, including Eero and Eliel Saarinen, Charles and Roy Eames and Florence Knoll, Bertoia’s creativity and mastery of materials flourished.

Bertoia as Furniture Designer
Bertoia was first exposed to furniture design at Cranbrook when Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames entered and won the Organic Furniture Design Competition sponsored by the Museum of Modern Art. In fact, Bertoia developed his initial chair design ideas while working with Charles Eames and others in California in the late 1940s, which he later incorporated into his work.

Bertoia eventually left Eames to join the Point Loma Naval Electronics Laboratory. While there, he learned how to study the human body to design control panels and knobs that focused on comfort for reach and grip. This sensitivity to ergonomics contributed significantly to Bertoia’s fascination with designing well-fitting practical chairs.

In 1950, at the invitation of former classmate Florence Knoll and her husband Hans, Harry moved to eastern Pennsylvania to work at their emergent furniture company Knoll, Inc. Florence had seen Harry’s work at Cranbrook, heard he had left Eames, and knew that he had enormous promise as a furniture designer. The Knolls offered him the opportunity to design what he wished with full credit and complete recognition of his work, which was their policy with all designers.

About the Bertoia Side Chair
Once on staff at Knoll, Bertoia was asked to develop hospital furniture, but he preferred to work with healthy bodies. He gravitated towards metal as his material of choice, and he continued to experiment with it until he landed on the concept of the wire grid, which could be shaped at will. with it until arising at the wire grid concept that could be shaped at will to conform to the human body. This was a radical departure from the use of rigid wood, which was characteristic of the late 1940s and early 1950s furniture. He not only created the airy welded metal design of the chairs, but also devised the production molds used for mass manufacture. 

Knoll produced the first Bertoia chairs in 1952 — an amazing collection of furniture that reflects a profoundly beautiful study in space, form and function. As with other designers of his time, including Mies van der Rohe, Bertoia found infinite elegance in an industrial material, elevating it beyond its utility into a work of art. 

Today, the Bertoia collection remains one of the great achievements of mid-century modern furniture design by one of the master sculptors of the last century and a proud part of the Knoll heritage.

Lakeview’s Hidden Architectural Treasures

Filled with an appreciation for arts, culture, and everything in between, Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood is home to some of the city’s most brilliant and iconic buildings. Forever inspired by the architecture surrounding us, we’ve been out and about to spotlight a few of the many architectural treasures found near our newest development, Optima Lakeview:

Landmark Century Cinema

Landmark Century Cinema, one of the neighborhood’s most opulent structures, opened its doors in 1925 at 2828 N Clark Street. The structure, originally named Diversey Theater, was designed by Edward Eichenbaum of Levy and Klient, a prominent architectural firm that was known for their theater designs at the time. The stunning theater was built with a Spanish Baroque Style façade which has remained in excellent condition throughout the building’s life.

Throughout the building’s nearly century-long existence, it has undergone several renovations and name changes. In honor of the Century of Progress World Fair hosted in Chicago from 1933-34, the building became the Century Theater. With the name change came a complete remodeling of its interior space, which introduced various Art Deco elements to the theater. 

In 2000, the Landmark Theater Chain bought the property, prompting the name change to Landmark Century Cinema. With the purchase came further restorations and renovations across the historic structure. Today, Landmark Century Cinema exhibits its original Baroque terracotta facade and updated neo-Art Deco interior. 

The vibrant interior of Schubas Tavern

Schubas Tavern

What was once a beloved tied house – a bar created to serve only a single brand of beer – is now a historic tavern featuring some of Lakeview’s most stunning interior and exterior architecture. Built by architectural firm Frommann and Jebsen, Schubas Tavern originated as a Schlitz Beer tavern in 1903.  

The company operated the tavern for over 80 years until the building was bought by Schubas in 1989. With restoration at the front of their minds, Schubas refreshed the historic bar’s 30-foot Brunswick mahogany bar, tin ceilings, walnut wainscoting along with exterior fixtures that included the famous Schlitz globe logo. Often frequented for its showstopping concerts and events, one of the most significant renovations for the building was its timber performance stage, which has been host to a variety of big names, including Janelle Monet, Billie Eilish and The Nationals.

The bar’s newest architectural addition, Tied House, exhibits a modern reinvention of the iconic tavern. The new restaurant and bar utilizes traditional tavern materials, including brick patterns, copper accents and ceiling tiles, while transforming them in a modern fashion. 

The Classical Revival Style façade of the Marshfield Trust and Savings Building

Marshfield Trust and Savings Building

Dramatically rising from its compact triangular lot at 3325 N Lincoln Ave, the former Marshfield Trust and Savings Building showcases various unique architectural elements that still radiate today. The historic bank building was constructed in 1924 by Architect William Gibbons Uffendell and Contractor Arthur Brundage, who would later become President of the International Olympic Committee.

The lanky flatiron building, which utilizes Classical Revival Styles of architecture, showcases an ornate terracotta exterior that features various elaborate designs. Two-story arched windows stretch along both sides of the building’s façade and meet in the middle to reveal the building’s main entrance, which is framed with an eye-catching bracketed cornice above its doors. 

With the opening of Optima Lakeview fast approaching, we couldn’t be more thrilled to continue showcasing what makes our new vibrant community so special.

Exploring Lakeview’s Theatre District

Lakeview’s deep appreciation for the arts and support for its thriving creative community are just some of the many reasons we love the neighborhood. In anticipation of Optima Lakeview’s upcoming opening, we’re taking a walk through one of the community’s most vibrant sectors, the Belmont Theater District

Star-studded Location

A collaboration between the Lakeview and Lakeview East Chambers of Commerce in partnership with local theaters and businesses, the Belmont Theater District functions as a critical supporter of the immense talent that calls the Lakeview community home.

Located in the heart of Lakeview, the theater district pulses with lively energy through more than 20 theaters that line the streets surrounding Belmont Avenue. Its prime location is within walking distance to hundreds of shops and restaurants, making it the perfect spot to spend quality time with friends, family and everyone in between. The historic venues, some of which are nearly a century old, all bring their own unique contributions to the theater district. 

Standout Performances

With more than 100 live shows every week, visitors can find everything from world-class performances to hole-in-the-wall comedy shows. In the midst of this abundance and variety, the Belmont Theater District — the largest theater district in Chicago — is home to a few showstopping venues and performances that stand out from the rest. 

The Blue Man Group performing at the Briar Street Theater.
The Blue Man Group performing at the Briar Street Theater

One of the neighborhood’s most beloved venues, the Briar Street Theater has provided a constant source of entertainment since its opening in 1985. The renowned theater has hosted several famous guests, including Sada Thompson and Dorothy Loudon, and displays artwork created by Van Gogh and Picasso. Since 1997, it has been the home to the iconic Blue Man Group act, which continues to delight audiences of all ages with its stage productions that incorporate many kinds of music and art, both popular and obscure.

The Music Box Theater found on North Southport Avenue has been standing for nearly a century, making it one of the oldest theaters in the neighborhood. The venue originally opened as a single-screen theater playing everything from independent films to Spanish and Arabic language films. Today, the ornately-designed theater operates as an art-house and revival cinema and is recognized as the largest full-time operating film theater in Chicago. 

The interior of the Mercury Theater, Courtesy of the Mercury Theater
The interior of the Mercury Theater, Courtesy of the Mercury Theater

Other iconic venues in the community include The Playground Theater, which showcases the Chicago-born art form of improvisation, and Mercury Theater, where melodramatic musicals and plays ranging from Sister Act to Clue are enjoyed by all. 

With a shared appreciation for the arts and community, we couldn’t be more excited to become an official member of the Lakeview community and can’t wait to explore more of the charismatic neighborhood.

person name goes here

Maintenance Supervisor

Glencoe, IL





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