Saturday, May 20, 2006

Go West(ern), Young Men & Women

Everyone wants to put a Chicago e-mail newsletter in your in-box, but Gaper's Block's is one of the few I actually enjoy reading. Written by Brian Sobolak, it's called the Party Line. It's nothing fancy. Just engaging writing delivered in a bare bones format. Here's a little sample below.

""Hey Brian -- what do you think the neighborhood is like at Sacramento and Lawrence? Would it be a good place to live?"

That's an email I got from a friend last week, and indeed, Sacramento and Lawrence is a FINE place to live. Perhaps it's me, or perhaps it's the company I keep, or shoot, maybe I'm just getting older, but I've been surprised to see how many people have been willing to move across the unofficial border of hip Chicago, Western Avenue. The masses are teaming out of Roscoe Village and Lincoln Square to settle in formerly uncharted territory: Avondale, Albany Park, even Jefferson Park.

It's funny what a mythical place Western Avenue occupies in the Chicago mind: the big great street that is so ugly that most of the time you just want to close your eyes and pretend you're about to turn. But once you cross it, everything seems distinctly more neighborhoody (cf. Devon east of Western vs west of Western; same for
Lawrence, Irving Park, even Division or North, too.)

Western still is a big border, an edge somehow. In our minds, anyway."

Sign up for your Party Line by scrolling a bit south and right once you click here.


Michael Allen said...

I lived west of Western, barely, on Artesian just north of Division. This stretch of Western near the Empty Bottle is almost genteel and unlike the rest. Largely, I found Western to be crude and ugly, albeit a useful thoroughfare by car and bus.

wayne allen sallee said...

I enjoy Gaper's Block, as well. If you lived on the south side, what you'd always recall was right off Western and Archer, a novelty company and a pickle factory and there's competing smells.