"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

Friday, August 31, 2012

Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Chicago/America 2012

A little over a year ago, we did an entry on the Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Chicago based on data from Neighborhood Scout.  This is a follow-up to that entry, reflecting an article from DailyFinance based on 2012 data from Neighborhood Scout.  Once again, the data reflects your odds of becoming a victim of violent crime on those particular streets within the past year.

As in the previous entry, Chicago doesn't fare very well.  Although it no longer has the "worst" neighborhood in America for violent crime, it has the second-worst, along with three others in the Top 25.  No other city has more than two on this list.  That's not to say the data isn't interesting, but it's also not earth-shattering.  For starters, the two "neighborhoods" that appeared on the previous list do not appear on this one.  Also, the four "neighborhoods" that appear on this list are clustered closely together.

This leads to the debate as to what exactly is a neighborhood, based on this study.  They are not four of the officially designated community areas of the city (all four on this list are MUCH smaller than community areas), and they are not really informally designated neighborhoods.  It clearly appears that it is just a tiny slice of the city, usually quadrilateral, selected by its particularly high presence of crime. So, to see which neighborhoods made the list...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Little Italy

The Breakdown
Benvenuti to Chicago's Little Italy!
An overview: Little Italy has transformed itself from one of Chicago’s true ethnic areas into one of the city’s most sought-after neighborhoods for trendy dining and student living.  In recent years, Little Italy has been lumped by many into the bigger University Village neighborhood that extends to east to include the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and south down to the Pilsen border around 16th Street.  We debated whether to make this a University Village entry and include parts of Little Italy, but decided to just focus on Little Italy, especially an exciting stretch of Taylor Street that runs from Ashland to Halsted.  So we’ll save University Village as a whole for another entry.

Little Italy has sported some of Chicago’s best-know Italian eateries for over a century.  It’s home to the original Rosebud, Francesca’s, and Al’s Beef.  However, it’s also home to some of the city’s trendiest new restaurants such as Davanti Enoteca and Three Aces.  Although the neighborhood doesn’t boast Italian flags and bakeries at every turn the way Greektown does for the white cross, blue stripes, and baklava, it’s still one of the country’s most well-known and authentic slices of Italia done American-style.

The past dozen or so years have seen a tremendous surge of interest in Little Italy.  New multi-story mixed-use developments have taken over antiquated buildings along Taylor Street.  The formerly quiet streets, save in patches, now bustle with activity in the evening.  Also, with some vacant properties sitting in the area, the neighborhood still has room to grow.  So whether you want to take in classic Italian food, something a little more progressive, or just a night of relaxing and cocktails, Chicago’s Little Italy should NOT be overlooked.