I discovered a mass grave of GI Joes. At Quake. Lincoln Square. Casualties of Wat.
He jabbed sharply at me. I flinched.
As the sun set slowly on Kedzie Avenue, a couple blocks south of Lawrence Avenue, I imagined his hardened fist hitting my face, knocking my jaw numb. In that moment, I wondered whether I would absorb the blow and return fire, or go down coldly to the concrete.
I saw him approach from a quarter block away, the lone man coming my way on this surprisingly empty stretch of a normally bustling street. This homeless, cracked-out man wore the dried skin of one who has spent all summer on the streets of Chicago, protected only by his mustache and a smattering of unkempt facial hair. He cackled nonsense as he approached, strutting the way men do here, when their confidence and a garbage bag of clothes is all they have.
I was halfway through my evening’s jog, striding through what has become my preferred route, when he stepped toward me as we passed, his fist rising, a special cackle just for me.
The best “Welcome to Chicago” gift I received actually had nothing to do with my moving to Chicago. It came more than a year before I moved, when my brother-in-law signed me up for the Green Bay Marathon as a joke. That joke, or dare, turned me into a runner.
When I moved into my apartment just outside Lincoln Square in February, I set out to run as many streets in Chicago as I could. These runs - I’ve covered a couple hundred miles so far - have introduced me to this city, its neighborhoods, its feel. These runs have made me feel at home.
I change up the times, but my favorite runs are those in the evening as the sun fades away. I love to bounce through the thicket of people disembarking from the train at Montrose, or Bryn Mawr, or Southport, sneaking a peak at the faces of the day’s commuters as I hop, slide, and twist around them.
An empty Lincoln Square morning. (Taken with Instagram)
Folk jam session on Lincoln Avenue at the Square Roots festival Sunday. (Taken with Instagram)
He drummed. She had no money. Gave him what appeared to be a ball of feathers. He said thank you anyway. (Taken with Instagram)
Eagerly awaiting the Albany Park insult; we make it easy for you…just check everyblock for inspiration. Speaking of easy, this is the best you could do for the 47th ward? This insult is an insult to insults everywhere.
One rooftop beer garden doesn’t make you young again.
Beware: Doublewide stroller traffic does not yield.
Does anyone remember Thurber?
A sign near the Timeout Bar at Rockwell Crossing. Can’t imagine the frustration. (Taken with Instagram)
The Facade Project, as seen from the inside, where it takes on a ghostly, cathedral-like feel as the faces stare back at you “the way they would see themselves in a mirror.”
I didn’t notice the faces the first few days I lived here. I thought the paper in the windows above the Chicago Printmakers’ Collaborative (CPC) on Western Avenue was simply hiding a remodeling job. Then I found myself standing on the platform of the Brown Line’s Western stop waiting for a train. I noticed that the windows appeared to be full of faces, and when I walked closer, I realized they were the faces of soldiers. I was mesmerized, enough so that I let my train come and go. A few days later I stopped in to talk to the CPC’s owner, Deborah Lader, to learn the story about the 648 faces of soldiers killed in the War in Iraq. (The photo is by Lia Conklin.)
Here’s the story, at Gapersblock.com: The Faces in the Windows
Jerri’s Grill. (Taken with Instagram at Jeri’s Grill)
What hardware store wouldn’t have 7-piece salsa band & go-go dancers at its grand opening? @ Matty K’s, Lincoln Square. (Taken with instagram)
View from the 4400 block of Lincoln Ave. just before 9 a.m……Getting ready for a rainy Opening Day for T-Ball at Welles Park.
Watching the little league action at this bustling park is always quite entertaining.
I love this park, and the array of people who use it, especially the old guys arguing in some language I can’t understand over Bocce Ball every Saturday.
I always get here JUST after closing! (Taken with instagram)
Beginners’ Park. Lawrence and Western. (Taken with instagram)
Yup, that’s a disc-man, and this guy on the corner of Lincoln and Winnemac was loving whatever it was spinning Sunday morning.