the renumbering of chicago streets in 1909

Chicago street numbers are wonderfully orderly, and we can thank the Chicago City Council for passing an ordinance in 1908 that established numbering rules and systems where chaos once reigned. If you’ve visited Chicago or call it home, all you need are coordinates (the north/south/east/west blocks) to find a specific address. The new numbering system took effect on September 1, 1909, and if you’re really lucky, you can find buildings with both numbers.

Buildings with both numbers are pretty uncommon. In the 25 years I called Chicago home, I only found three buildings with both street numbers intact. The older street number is usually reflected in a stained glass transom window above the door, as in the three-flat at 1107 S. Racine.

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Earlier this week in Lincoln Park I found this on the 2000 block of N. Dayton. Squeal. What a cool surprise.

Want to nerd out and learn more about the renumbering plan and implementation? You can read up on both here.

a chicago hot dog

Saw this print yesterday at All She Wrote in Lincoln Park and had to have it. Since relocating back to #Illinois, I’ve noticed all the hot dog stands. They’re everywhere, it seems.

Chicago Illinois food hot dog

And a Chicago-style hot dog is distinct from other dogs. The ingredients? An all-beef frankfurter tucked into a steamed poppy seed bun. Add yellow mustard, white onions, sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices or wedges, and sport peppers–topped with celery salt. Ketchup is a major no-no, as in no ketchup. No ketchup ever. To read up on this distinct dog, head on over to this Chowhound article here.

the national museum of mexican art in pilsen

In the heart of #Pilsen–on 19th Street between Wood and Wolcott–rests the National Museum of Mexican Art. If you’re a curious sort (I am) and love museums (I do), I would put this one on your map. It has permanent collections featuring ephemera, folk art, paintings, sculptures, prints, and textiles. Some items have significant age, dating back to periods from ancient Mexico. Others are more contemporary, and these captured my full attention this afternoon.

Santos Motoapohua de la Torre de Santiago created a large (10 feet wide by 8 feet tall) mural consisting of arranged chaquira beads in wax on plywood. Intricate design and bright colors. Love.

Chicago Illinois National Museum of Mexican Art Santos Motoapohua de la Torre de Santiago

Rocío Caballero’s works are more figurative and symbolic. There is Leccion 19: La case de entomologia.

Chicago Illinois National Museum of Mexican Art Rocío Caballero Leccion 19: La case de entomologia

And also ¡ Yuppy Yuppy !

Chicago Illinois National Museum of Mexican Art Rocío Caballero Yuppy Yuppy

Painter Alfredo Arreguin accomplishes amazing layers and details with his oil paintings. There’s this 2009 canvas titled Adelita.

Chicago Illinois National Museum of Mexican Art Alfredo Arreguin Adelita

the avena shake from irazu on n. milwaukee ave.

I wasn’t in #Illinois for more than 48 hours when I found myself hitting places that are old favorites. Of things I love very much, the avena (oatmeal) shake from Irazu on N. Milwaukee certainly places in my top ten. Irazu is a family-owned restaurant in Wicker Park that has grown over the years. The flavor is Costa Rican, and their standout dish is actually this shake. Avena con leche (oatmeal with milk) although you can choose water or soy milk. As for ingredients, I would guess a blend of ice, milk, oatmeal, cinnamon, sugar, and maybe some nutmeg.

Chicago Illinois Wicker Park Irazu Costa Rican Restaurant Avena Shake

If you’re super hungry, you can add a burrito, sandwich, taquitos, empanadas, or another one of my go-tos: the palmito salad. Be sure to have cash on hand as Irazu doesn’t accept credit/debit cards. Disfrútate (enjoy yourself).

village (of oak park) people and places

On Monday, I made the 12-hour hike from Jackson, Mississippi, to Oak Park, Illinois. I loved the drive through north Mississippi. So many trees. So green. The rest of the drive was kind of a slog, but I made it (with one dog and cat in tow) to Oak Park by about 6 p.m. The apartment/flat is cuter/bigger than I remember. (Always a good combo.) Noodled around the Village the last two days, and here’s what I found.

The Village people (I guess I’m one of them now) are very nice. They sound a lot like me, which is equal parts odd and comforting.

As for places, the Village has some neat ones to explore. The Oak Park Conservatory has the most fantastic Ponderosa Lemon tree. For real.

Oak Park Illinois Oak Park Conservatory Ponderosa lemon tree

The public library is a campus. I could easily get lost in there for hours, I’m sure.

Oak Park Illinois Oak Park Public Library

And then there are many murals, which I quite love.

Oak Park Illinois Murals

Oak Park Illinois Murals

Spring seems weeks away–very few flowers or much green right now. So for the time being I plan on enjoying cheer and color in places where I find it.

pilsen: a prelude

My last seven years as a Chicagoan were spent in the Near West and #Pilsen neighborhoods–at roughly 15th and Blue Island and 16th and Halsted. I loved living there so much. Prior to moving to Pilsen, a neighborhood called Logan Square was home for nine years, and it was quickly gentrifying to the point where I didn’t recognize Logan for Logan. I knew I had to leave. When I was looking for a place to buy in 2009, I remembered going to an arts district event at 18th and Halsted and really liking my experience. I didn’t know anyone who lived in Pilsen and all of my friends were North Siders, but I thought, Why not move to Pilsen. It was something new. And in the process I fell in love with Chicago again, which kind of shocked me. I had been out of love with Chicago for quite awhile.

La vida Pilsen was great. It had its fair share of challenges (crime, some neglected buildings, and so on). But the benefits far outweighed the challenges. There were restaurants and coffee shops (really miss the family-run coffee shop, Kristoffer’s on Halsted, sniff). There was the Mexican Museum of Art. There were the sweet abuelas, tias, and tios who swept the sidewalks outside their homes.

There was the annual Slow & Low Lowrider Festival (I absolutely loved this):

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And then there were murals, created by artists from all over the world:

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I guess Pilsen was a prelude to moving to Jackson, Mississippi. I like living in places that are kind of foreign to me because it forces me to learn and adapt. Here’s to preludes and living in places unfamiliar.

south side interloper

Have you ever visited Chicago’s South Side? It’s a vast swath of city starting, in my opinion, at Archer (Avenue), which, depending on which block you’re on, starts at about 2600 South. And then the South Side stretches down to at least 130th. Think Pullman, Beverly, Morgan Park. The South Side is a massive place. And I hesitate to call it a place, per se, because it’s really a densely constructed quilt of different neighborhoods.

Nine years ago, I became a homeowner in East Pilsen at 16th and Halsted, which is technically not south enough to be considered South Side. So I was a South Side interloper. I loved bicycling in parts of the South Side. There is a pristine paved trail that hugs Lake Michigan. My favorite spot was this–at roughly 47th. I miss it so freaking much.

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I also liked bicycling through specific neighborhoods. When it occurred to me to take photos, I did. Like this one in #Bridgeport.

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Or this one in #Kenwood, I believe.

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Sniff. Miss you much, Chicago.