"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

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chicago Tribune Candidate Questionnaire

We found out about this from Edgewater Community Buzz (an absolute ESSENTIAL if you live in Edgewater).  Here's a comprehensive collection of responses from Mayoral and Aldermanic candidates for this year's election as compiled by the Trib:


If you're not sure if you're registered to vote, you can check at the City of Chicago Board of Commissioners website (make sure to enter your address AND last name):


Election Day in Chicago is February 22.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Roscoe Village/Hamlin Park

The Breakdown
Eastward down Roscoe Street.
The boundaries: Roscoe Village and Hamlin Park are two of four neighborhoods located within the North Center community area, and make up its southern half.  The commonly accepted boundaries for Roscoe Village are the Chicago River to the west, Ravenswood Avenue to the east, Addison Street to the north, and Belmont Avenue to the south.  Hamlin Parks abuts Roscoe Village to the immediate south.  Its boundaries are Belmont Avenue to the north, Diversey Avenue to the south, the Chicago River to the west, and Ravenswood Avenue to the east.  For an image of the North Center community area, please see the map at the end of this post.

Population make-up: Since Roscoe Village and Hamlin Park only make up half the geography of the North Center community area, it’s not an exact science.  As a whole, North Center is pretty average in terms of population, size, and therefore density as well.  However, it does rank 12th in terms of median income, this despite its historical reputation as a working class area of Chicago.  In terms of ethnic make-up, North Center (according to the 2000 Census) is about three-quarters white, approximately 20% Hispanic, and the remainder a mix of other ethnicities.

Boutiques line Roscoe Street in the heart of Roscoe Village.
A brief history: Like much of Chicago, when the North Center area was established, it was heavily populated by immigrants, living there due to its proximity to jobs near manufacturing along the Chicago River.  Also like much of Chicago, the area suffered from post-World War II “urban flight”.  Crime increased and there was a severe reduction in much of the neighborhood’s property value.  However, the 1990s brought about a renewed interest in the area with substantial redevelopment and an influx of wealthy residents.  Roscoe Village, has become one Chicago’s most popular (and upscale) living destinations, especially for young families.

Getting there: Public transit is definitely doable, just fairly limited.  By train, your best bet is the Paulina brown-line stop.  Although it’s technically in Lakeview, it’s on Roscoe Street and is only a couple blocks east of the main business district.  The Paulina station is only two stops from the Belmont stop, which means an easy transfer to/from the Red and Purple lines.  The Addison brown line stop will also put you in the neighborhood’s northeast corner.

There are also a couple options by bus.  Going east-west are the Belmont Avenue bus (77) and the Addison Street bus (152).  If traveling north-south, one can take the Western Avenue bus (49), or the Damen Avenue bus (50) which takes you pretty much to the heart of Roscoe Village (intersection of Damen and Roscoe Street).

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hyde Park

The Breakdown
It was cold, it was wet, yet you could STILL
smell some serious BBQ from two blocks away.
The boundaries: Unlike our previous entries, the neighborhood of Hyde Park and the Community Area of Hyde Park are essentially the same.  Therefore, Hyde Park has formal boundaries as designated by the city.  The northern border is 51st Street (also known as East Hyde Park Boulevard), and the southern border is the Midway Plaisance that runs between 59th Street and 60th Street.  To the east, we have Lake Michigan, and the western border is Washington Park.  The majority of businesses are located on the strip of 53rd and 55th Streets.

Population make-up: Hyde Park is a very diverse section of Chicago.  The 2000 census breaks down the demographics as 46% white, 38% black, 11% Asian, and 4% Hispanic.  In terms of population and median income, Hyde Park is about middle-of-the-pack when compared to the other 76 Chicago community areas.  However, it is the 17th most dense community area, partially reflected by some impressive lakefront high-rises.

A brief history: Hyde Park was an independent township founded in the 1850s, and as Chicago grew southward, it was annexed just before the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893.  Hyde Park was the host of this World’s Fair, which introduced to the world (among other things) the Ferris Wheel.  The lone remaining building from the Columbian Exposition is currently the Museum of Science & Industry.  In the 1920s, the University of Chicago was founded.  It is today one of the nation’s top universities.  Like many neighborhoods in Chicago, Hyde Park saw substantial economic decline shortly after World War II.  Significant community commitment and federal investment prevented the neighborhood from falling into poverty.  Much as it was at that time, Hyde Park remains to this day a wonderfully diverse, charming, and unique neighborhood.

Getting there: If you’re taking public transportation, your best bet is the Metra.  There are three Hyde Park stops: 51st/53rd Streets (Hyde Park), 55th-56th-57th Street, and 59th Street.  You COULD take the Green line to 51st or Garfield, but then you’re going to have to walk over a half mile east through/around Washington Park.  There are north-south buses down Cottage Grove Avenue, Woodlawn Avenue (through the heart of Hyde Park), and Lake Park Avenue.  There are also east-west buses down 51st Street and 55th Street.