"Chicago" by Carl Sandburg

Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders

-excerpt from the poem "Chicago" by Carl Sandburg (1916)

Chicago Skyline

Chicago Skyline
The Chicago Skyline from a Near West Side highrise

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Lakeview East

The Breakdown
Eastward on Belmont Avenue.
The boundaries: For our purposes, the community area of Lake View consists essentially three neighborhoods: Lakeview East (the southeastern portion), West  Lakeview (the southwestern portion), and Wrigleyville (the northern portion).  Our boundaries for Lakeview East are Roscoe Street to the north, Lake Michigan to the east, Diversey Parkway to the south, and Sheffield Avenue to the west.

Within Lakeview East, you also have North Halsted, more commonly known as "Boystown".  The City of Chicago's official tourism website defines Boystown as a triangle with Belmont Avenue to the south, Halsted Street to the west, and Broadway to the east.  Halsted and Broadway come together to the north at Grace Street.

Population make-up: 2000 Census figures for the entire Lake View community area lists the population as approximately 80% white, 10% hispanic, and about 5% black and 5% Asian.  Lake View has the 2nd-highest population of the 77 community areas (behind Austin) at nearly 95,000 residents.  Furthermore, it is the 2nd most dense (behind Rogers Park), averaging about 30,000 people per square mile.

Historical populace:  Lake View looks a little different today than it did in the 1850s with a heavy population of German, Swedish, and Luxembourgan immigrants or with a heavy influx of working-class residents as in the early to mid-1900s.  Today, Lake View's neighborhoods are among the most (if the THE most) popular for young professionals.  There is an abundance of dining, shopping and nightlife options, especially along Broadway and Clark Street.  Furthermore, it is in easy proximity to Lake Michigan and the Loop, and is relatively more affordable than Lincoln Park, immediately to the south.  Lakeview East also has a strong gay/lesbian presence, and has hosted the annual Chicago Pride Parade for 40 years.

Getting there: Undoubtedly one of the reasons Lakeview East is such a hot neighborhood for young professionals is the ease of public transit to/from the neighborhood.  There are Brown and Purple Line stops at Belmont, (beef) Wellington, and Diversey.  The Red Line also stops at Belmont.  There are east-west buses along Belmont and Diversey.  North-south buses run along Sheridan, Broadway, Halsted, Clark, and Sheffield.  Maybe best of all, express buses 143, 145, 146 take you down Lake Shore Drive from Lakeview East directly to downtown Michigan Avenue.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


The Breakdown
The boundaries: Winthrop to the east, Ravenswood to the west, Bryn Mawr to the north, and Foster to the south.  Andersonville is a neighborhood and not a community area.  Therefore, it doesn’t have formal boundaries as designated by the city as do Edgewater and Uptown, the two community areas in which Andersonville lies.  Furthermore, the historic district along Clark runs further south than Foster, almost down to Lawrence.

Ethnic make-up: Since it’s not formally defined, the demographics of Andersonville aren’t tracked by the U.S. Census.  However, judging from a NY Times website based on a special census from 2005-2009, the neighborhood is about two thirds white, with Asians and Hispanics making up the majority of the remaining one third.  (http://projects.nytimes.com/census/2010/explorer)

Historical populace: Andersonville was founded in the mid-1800s as a Swedish immigrant neighborhood, and that heritage remains in the shops, restaurants, and taverns.  Today, it has become a very trendy neighborhood, especially with young professionals and the gay/lesbian community.  There is also a Middle Eastern influence prevalent in the community.

Getting there: There’s no direct route to Andersonville by “L” train.  You can take the Red Line to Bryn Mawr, Berwyn, or Argyle.  Then just head due west about one-half mile to Clark and you’re in the heart of the historic business district.  Otherwise, you can take the Ravenswood Metra, but it’s close to a mile walk northeast once you get there.  If taking the bus, the Clark Bus and Foster Bus are your best bets.  You may be able to find parking on side streets, but in the evening the neighborhood is pretty crowded and you may need to walk a bit after parking in a residential area.