Best of the South Side 2013 | Chinatown

Chinatown

Zoe Kauder Nalebluff

Zoe Kauder Nalebuff

Chinatown ostensibly retooled itself for tourism in the early nineties, with the opening of the two-story outdoor Chinatown Square over what used to be the Santa Fe rail. And with fresh blacktop being steamrolled onto Archer and Cermak and those shiny, new Red Line renovations optimistically nearing completion, the rush of visitors doesn’t seem likely to ebb anytime soon. Continue reading

Best of the South Side 2013 | South Shore

South Shore

Patrick Leow

Patrick Leow

It seems as though the center couldn’t possible hold in South Shore. In a city where homogeneity within neighborhoods has been the rule for decades, the uneasy marriage between rich and poor, progress and stagnation—at times just a block away from each other—is blatant and inescapable. Continue reading

Best of the South Side 2013 | Pilsen

Pilsen

Zoe Kauder Nalebuff

Zoe Kauder Nalebuff

On Saturday, September 14, 18th Street is covered in the colors of Mexico. It’s almost Independence Day, and Pilsen is wearing its heart on its sleeve. Flags wave from second-story apartments and car roofs. Glittering tassels, alternating pennants, and tissue-paper flowers boast red, green, and white. On the temporary stage at Paulina Street, a singer sways in an equally blooming dress, crooning Mexican tunes for an eager crowd at the Mercaditos en el Zócalo. At Racine, music floats from empty doorways, and in the late afternoon, the sidewalk begins to fill with a scattering of neighborhood cookouts. Continue reading

Best of the South Side 2013 | Chatham

Chatham

Bea Malsky

Bea Malsky

When Michael Cherry takes a break from frying chicken wings and flipping burgers at Luversia’s, he and his brother Anthony’s new soul food restaurant, he likes to walk along 79th Street—the commercial heart of Chatham—and look into the windows of hair salons, clothing stores, food markets, and diners. These days Chathamites never take anything for granted. Since the recession, half-century old neighborhood staples like Army & Lou’s, a soul food diner, are suddenly hitting financial bottom, and new businesses like Garrett Popcorn and Flecks Coffee are moving into boarded-up buildings. Continue reading