“My kind of town, Chicago is my kind of town…” crooned Frank Sinatra in 1964.
AGMA’s always loved that song.
Chicago has been a part of my life since 1965 even though I lived in Pittsburgh growing up, Ft. Worth & Tucson in college, and Cincinnati & Atlanta as an adult.
My sister went off to Valparaiso University as a freshman in 1965. Valparaiso University (called Valpo) is quiet, small (in 1965) town of Valparaiso in Indiana. Valpo is 46 miles from Chicago.
So where do you think my sister and her friends went on the weekends for hijinks and shenanigans?
Yeah, they did!
As a wide-eyed 14 year old, the tales of her ‘big city’ adventures in the Windy City made quite an impression on AGMA.
After living in London for nearly 2 years after she graduated from Valpo, she returned to the US and settled in Chicago.
By that time, I was in college myself. And I was definately up for some shenanigans. Unfortunately, AGMA was a plane ride away from the Windy City, but I managed to visit her frequently.
She took me to a comedy club on one of my visits. I enjoyed it immensely. Maybe because it was The Second City comedy club. Yeah, THAT Second City. This was around 1972 or 73. I didn’t save the program from that night, but I feel certain that I saw a few Saturday Night Live original cast members pre-SNL.
My sister swears we did.
AGMA & Hubs settled in Cincinnati in 1976. Cincinnati is only a 6 hour drive from Chicago.
More visits ensued.
Then, in the early 90’s, she and my BIL moved to Atlanta. Then to Jacksonville. Then back to Atlanta.
So for nearly 10 years, Chicago was off our radar.
Son #1 to the rescue…
He started at the University of Chicago in the fall of 2000. And he’s called Chicago home every since.
For the past 20 years, we have been traveling to Chicago to visit him on a regular basis. During that time, he’s added a wife and 3 children to the mix. He’s been a busy guy!
Our visits to him were always pretty cut and dried.
We’d drive up (on the interstate from Cincinnati) or fly up and take a taxi from the airport (on the interstate) to go to his apartment, condo or home. Go out to dinner a few times and see a few sights, then leave.
Once the kids came along, we barely left the house when we’d fly up from Atlanta for our 3 day weekend visits.
The last few years, when we’d be taking a taxi or Lyft to or from the airport, I would look at the interstate exits along the way. And wonder what the rest of Chicago looked like.
Off the interstate.
Since we’ve lived in Chicago for the past 2 months, AGMA’s been finding out…
And it’s been wonderful!
Chicago if full of interesting, diverse neighborhoods with interesting, diverse people.
Socially distanced with masks of course.
We’re living in an area called Logan Square. And it’s gorgeous!
Logan Square is part of the original Boulevard System of Chicago. Originally constructed in 1870, it was a series of boulevards containing narrow parks that ran around the entire city for 26 miles. It was given the nickname “Emerald Necklace” because it surrounded the city with green space (like a necklace – get it?) Unfortunately, only 2 1/2 miles remain along Logan Boulevard, Kedzie Boulevard, Palmers Boulevard and Humboldt Boulevard. This 2 1/2 mile area is now the Logan Square Boulevards Historic District and, in 2018, was listed (as part of the Chicago Park Boulevard System Historic District) on the National Register of Historic Places.
Our Hobbit Hole is 1/2 block off of Logan Boulevard. Logan Boulevard is lined with massive homes that were built mostly in the late 1880’s to early 1900’s by new money German & Scandinavian immigrants. It’s a beautiful part of the city.
I sure didn’t when I rented our HH long distance from Atlanta.
Don’t you love happy accidents?
The pictures of the architecture along Logan Boulevard above were taken by your’s truly. But I think this article from 2017 in LoganSquarist has better photos of the diversity of architecture.
As we discover more about our newly adopted city (and old friend), AGMA will add more volumes to this series.
In the meantime, I’ll be having pancakes at the Golden Nugget, eating an Italian beef sammy from Al’s and devouring a Pequod’s pizza.
Chicago is Frank AND AGMA’s kind of town!