Posted inNews & Politics

Wolf

The hooded giant passing through the plywood enclosure stalks a man and a woman. His urgent speech sounds indistinct from where I walk, a dozen steps behind him on West Randolph Street. The couple never stops, but, sensing my approach, the sweatshirt-hooded man does. Built for speed, six-foot-eight, smooth-faced, in his 20s, he has a […]

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No Sanctuary

Street lamps light the asphalt and cement of Ashland Avenue, unexpectedly vacant even for midnight on a freezing Friday. Exhausted but watchful on the ride home from a north-side theater, I slackly pedal my bicycle south between Taylor Street and Roosevelt Road. All at once I spot a runner on the sidewalk opposite me. The […]

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Motorcycle Escort

An afternoon in Pilsen: The blast of gunning motors rumbles downstreet and catches me from behind. Riding my bicycle home from work, I don’t look back. The motorcycles have followed me, turning from Ashland west onto Blue Island, and now they seem to be gaining on me in bursts, lurching forward and backing down, the […]

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The Works

The teenage girl ringing orders at Al’s #1 Italian Beef is questioning the man ahead of me in the lunch-hour line. He looks puzzled, an expression of passive amusement slightly lifting the corners of his mouth. The guy is mum. Froze solid. “What you want on it,” she says rather than asks. A black cashmere […]

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Squatter

Alone at home on a rare, warm Saturday evening, ready to “bring the noise” to Pilsen, I’m interrupted on my way to the cuarto de los discos (room with phonograph records) by my dog’s loud barking. Duke, a German shepherd, is going nuts on the enclosed porch in back. His bark is usually commensurate with […]

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Auto d’Art

In postindustrial Pilsen, west of the artists’ fashionable rehabs, debris accumulates faster and deeper than anywhere else in Chicago. Some of it comes from the neighborhood drunks and joyriders; after every weekend, empty beer, pop, whiskey, and wine bottles stand upright on the curbs of Avenida de Blue Island, buoys to mark their passage. But […]

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Gotta Light

I’m crossing the Daley Center Plaza at midday. The remains of the city’s Christmas tree, a towering frame now stripped of greenery, is ringed by municipal trucks. The Cor-Ten steel of the Picasso and the Miesian architecture behind are rusting familiarly Something’s different, but I don’t notice it until I’m about 60 feet away from […]