- Best ‘Thrift’: The Salvation Army Family Store & Donation Center
- Best Fitness Center: Push Indoor Cycling
- Best Family Kitchen: Gorditas La Tía
- Best Mexican Vegan Restaurant: Healthy Substance
- Best Place to Find That Special Dress: Peaches Boutique
This section was originally written in Spanish and was translated by the Weekly.
Are Clearing and Garfield Ridge part of the so-called “El Sur,” as a publication recently referred to the larger Southwest Side that is predominantly Mexican/Latino? The answer should be obvious when you see the business signs on the commercial streets of these neighborhoods.
Chicago magazine published an article jokingly questioning whether Clearing/Garfield Ridge would soon be joining “El Sud” (sic). It seems that whoever wrote that has not been around these parts of town or they only saw what they wanted to see. A subjective view.
The article acknowledged that two-thirds of Kennedy High School students are Latino, but it overlooked the brand new Hancock College Prep in Clearing that was built during the pandemic, and is also predominantly Latino.
Of course this area is part of the larger Southwest Side. On 63rd St., you can see old-school Polish and English signs, alongside newer Spanish-language signs, in bakeries, supermarkets, restaurants and places to treat yourself—like Los Mangos and Xurro.
Like neighboring Chicago Lawn and West Lawn, Clearing’s main artery is 63rd. St., the same one that runs parallel to the runways of Midway Airport. (While in West Lawn you can hear the planes landing, in Clearing you can hear them taking off.) Another main artery is Central Ave., which connects to Chicago Ridge to the south and meets busy Archer Ave. to the north, and you can find a variety of Mexican businesses there.
Perhaps on those streets the magazine can find its answer. A change in Clearing and Garfield Ridge is surely taking place, but these are also two neighborhoods where Polish, Anglo, Latino/Mexican, and Hindu cultures effectively coexist—where neighbors respect each other.
Gisela Orozco is a Mexican immigrant with a degree in Communication Sciences who has resided in Chicago since 2002. For ten years she was the entertainment editor of the now-defunct Hoy newspaper, the Spanish-language publication of the Chicago Tribune. From 2002 to 2009, she was a reporter and entertainment editor for the weekly La Raza. She is currently a copy editor and contributes articles for La Voz Chicago of the Sun-Times and occasionally translates articles for the Weekly.