"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, March 27, 2013

Wicker Park

The Breakdown
Six Corners: The Heart of Wicker Park
An overview: Your opinion of Wicker Park likely hinges upon your opinion of hipsters.  Perhaps you think they’re great because they bring unique shops and eateries to the community, embrace ethnic diversity, and are extremely fun to look at.  Or, you might just think they’re just PBR-drinking, excessive hair gel-wearing, “hey look at me” kind of folk who don’t have real jobs.  You can debate the merit of hipsters all you want (although we happen to be in the former category), but you cannot debate the impact they’ve had on Wicker Park.

Wicker Park has gone in the past 25 years from being considered a relatively seedy (if not dangerous) ‘hood to one of Chicago’s premiere destinations for the arts, entertainment, and nightlife.  The beating heart is at the intersection of Damen, North, and Milwaukee.  The Flatiron building overlooks galleries, taverns, indie shops, and people on top of people.  The energy is 24/7.

Wicker Park continues to grow as a destination not only for hipsters, but the young professional community as a whole.  Its access to the Blue Line makes it very easy to get downtown and vice-versa.  This blog entry, to this point, may be our longest.  We haven’t even scratched the surface.  Wicker Park has just too many destinations, too much historic architecture, and too many eccentric individuals to be confined by one entry.  Unquestionably we’ll be back again at some point.

A Couple Notes: Wicker Park and Bucktown often get lumped together as one neighborhood.  They certainly have similarities and share a border at Bloomingdale Avenue.  However, they also have their own personalities and vibes as well.  We visited Bucktown back in March of 2011.  For that entry, please click here.  Also, this is the entry where we’re going to introduce a rotation of guest writers to give their take as well.  So thanks Tom and Dana for being our guinea pigs, if our page views drop dramatically we’ll know where to find you!