Chinatown Library’s Two Best Stories Are Its Own
Sep25

Chinatown Library’s Two Best Stories Are Its Own

Just about a month ago, the Chicago Public Library opened the doors of its newest branch at 2100 South Wentworth Avenue. The 16,000-square-foot facility will serve readers in the Chinatown, Bridgeport, South Loop, and Armour Square neighborhoods. Chinatown Branch, Chicago Public Library, 2100 South Wentworth Avenue The green roof is best seen from the Cermak Red Line station. A wonderful curving staircase leads you to the second...

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A Lantern to Light the Way in Chinatown
Jun01

A Lantern to Light the Way in Chinatown

There’s been a lot of change in Chinatown over the last few years.  A renovated park, a new field house, and a new library are among the civic improvements complimenting a surge in the number of people living and working in the once sketchy neighborhood.  Now the way forward has a guidebook: The Chinatown Community Vision Plan. We first told you about the plan about eight months ago, and it has been the subject of numerous...

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Filling in the Cracks in Chinatown
May13

Filling in the Cracks in Chinatown

One way of telling how “hot” a neighborhood ranks is by looking at the hoops developers will jump through in order to build there.  Is he willing to accept a River North lot bisected by the L?   What about a Bridgeport site within smelling distance of Bubbly Creek?  Or one in Streeterville contaminated with radioactive dirt?   There are almost always tradeoffs when it comes to selecting a site in Chicago. Something similar...

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Slice of Life: Ping Tom Boardwalk
Oct13

Slice of Life: Ping Tom Boardwalk

One of Chicago’s fastest growing neighborhoods is also one of its oldest.  When Chinatown was relocated from The Loop in the last century, it landed in a hardscrabble, industrial corner of the city, amid rail yards, factories, and a shipping channel. Today, Chinatown is surging with new life as more and more families move ino the area from smaller ethnic enclaves in the suburbs and other cities.  If you’ve wandered the...

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All About the Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge in Chinatown
Oct08

All About the Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge in Chinatown

Designed by engineers J.A.L. Wadell and John Harrington, this bridge near 19th and Stewart Streets is the second vertical-lift bridge ever built crossing the Chicago River, and only one still standing.  Near Chinatown over the South Branch of the river, this bridge was completed in 1915 for the Pennsylvania Railroad. The bridge is now owned by Amtrak and carries Metra and Norfolk Southern train traffic in and out of Chicago.  ...

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Status Update: The New Chinatown Library
Sep08

Status Update: The New Chinatown Library

The City of Chicago’s latest library is taking shape down in Chinatown.  The new Chinatown Branch Library (2100 South Wentworth Avenue) is going up on a triangle-shaped piece of land that used to be a parking lot a block north of the CTA Red Line station.  Our Daniel Schell took these photos showing the steel framework which will help the main portion of the building assume its final shape — a three-sided oval. Not...

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Old Old Chinatown
Feb08

Old Old Chinatown

While cruising the Tumblr* feed known as Calumet 412, I stumbled across this picture of the King Yen Lo restaurant taken around 1902.  It reminded me of something that a lot of Chicagoans I speak to don’t know — that while New Chinatown is fairly new, the so-called “old” Chinatown isn’t all that old. I discovered this fact a while back while looking at an old 1920’s map of Chicago, and it clearly...

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Ten Perfect Chicago Experiences
Feb25

Ten Perfect Chicago Experiences

A friend of mine is moving.  He’s trying to choose which city to move his life, family, and business to.  For various reasons, the three finalists are Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago. Listening to him talk about his decision-making process started me thinking about Chicago, and some of the — for lack of a better word — “perfect” Chicago experiences I’ve had, and try to occasionally recreate. So,...

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Slice of Life: Fly Your Orange Flag

A marcher in the annual Chinese New Year parade down in Chinatown practices his flag stunts before an appreciative crowd of...

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Chicago’s Coolest Townhouse?

You may think your two-flat with the bitchin’ wooden kegger porch in the back and view of Wrigley Field is the ultimate in Chicago living.  But we think this home at 1908 South Louis Parkway in Chinatown is probably the city’s best, or at least most interesting, townhouse. Wedged into a development of seemingly identical townhomes just west of the Chinatown Gate, this home is festooned with faux luxe.  From...

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