Tag Archives: Bridgeport

Tilted Grid

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The Great Fire of 1871 never blazed south of the river. To walk through Bridgeport today is to glimpse part of a city as it looked a century ago. Many streets defy Chicago’s quadrants with their own private logic (all streets are designated “south” even though they might run east/west). My neighborhood is on the “tilted grid” set up in 1836 by Col. William Archer.

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Where I stay, I am aligned with the former buffalo path which is now Archer Avenue. The tilted grid, patterned when the canal digging began, does not follow what Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago calls the “rectilinear street system.” Rather, it follows the logic of the river and Indian trails.

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New City

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I went with New City for my recent move to the South Side. This was a beast of a move: my old apartment was on the 3rd floor of an old building on the West Side, and new place is a 4th floor walk-up in Bridgeport. Fortunately, New City provided the ace team of Richard, Cruz and Santos.

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Even with all the physical labor, these guys were still smiling and in good spirits. We were talking about how every apartment, no matter how good it seems at first, there is always “the catch”. Thank you guys for the hard work and great job!

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Mount Bridgeport

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Right down Archer Ave from the dojo is Henry C. Palmisano Park. Now covered in prairie nature, this was the former home of Chicago’s first limestone quarry.

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After almost a century of extraction, enough limestone had been carted off to create a nearly 400 foot hole in the ground: that’s what makes the park’s lake surrounded by steep limestone cliffs.

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At the turn of the millenium, designated a future park, what had become a landfill was buried under topsoil, creating a high point with spectacular views of the neighborhood that is now referred to as Mount Bridgeport.

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South Sided

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I looked for an apartment on craigslist every day but it was clearly a competitive moving time: every listing was taken within an hour of being posted. Raven and I drove around Pilsen eating carnitas, my free hand on the wheel while she phoned the numbers off of, “For Rent,” signs. We had no luck with that tactic and yet her coaching was ultimately crucial to the success of my move. Raven suggested I take a page from the old school Chicago playbook.

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When I finally saw an apartment listing that seemed just right, I jumped on it and offered a little money to see the apartment before anyone else. It was in Bridgeport, next to Pilsen, one of the South Side’s oldest neighborhoods where Mayor Daley’s family hailed from. The 4th (top) floor above a dojo on Archer Avenue, one of the original non-grid diagonals from back in the days of the Indians. I brought along a wad of cash and threw down my deposit that same day.

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Effie Esther

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One of the sweetest sisters the world has known, Effie Esther, flew out from Colorado to help Etta at the 2 day Renegade Craft Show. They woke up super early to get set up at the Bridgeport Art Center, while I slept and then headed to work myself.

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On Sunday, I rode my bike down to 35th street and met them at the show. Etta and Effie did a great job and had a big success. To celebrate, we went to Maude’s for salmon tartar, boneless ribeye, and moody instrumental guitar.

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