Category Chicago

Arrows in our chandeliers: Native American-themed decoration in late 1920’s Chicago

Chicago was originally the domain of Native Americans, including the Pottawatomie, Illinois, and Miami nations.  In fact, in the name Chicago comes from a Native American word for wild garlic, which apparently grew all over the place (as a garlic fan, I wish it still did).  When the area was invaded by Europeans, native people were […]

The Yale Building of Chicago: atrium under the influence of cat figurines

The Yale Building is a survivor.  It was built in 1892 in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood to house visitors to the World’s Fair Columbian Exposition, but unlike the lame neoclassical architecture from the World’s Fair, the Yale Building is has an unexpected and exciting interior design. Sure, the exterior is a handsome but not particularly thrilling […]

Chicago’s St. Benedict the African and the Four Strong Black Women in glorious stained glass

  We stepped inside St Benedict the African—thoroughly drenched from an apocalyptical rain—through a wooden door with an adorable stained glass portal and whoooooooaaaaaa holy mother of all immersion pools! Nope—I totally did not expect to find a full body immersion pool inside a Catholic church.  This was just one of many delightful surprises St. […]

An all true and terrifying list of crimes committed by my immigrant and refugee neighbors

The 45th president of the United States recently created a new homeland security department called VOICE (Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office).  VOICE launched a hotline last week specifically for Americans to report crimes “committed by criminal aliens”.   On learning that many concerned citizens have been calling the VOICE hotline to report aliens of the flying saucer […]

The Baha’i temple reminds me of….something

The first time I visited the Baha’i Temple, about ten years ago, I said “Wow!  This building is so symmetrical” and then didn’t think much of it afterwords. I’d like to believe that my architectural frame of reference is more sophisticated these days, so I made another visit to the temple.  This time my reaction was “Wow! […]

Argyle Street Chicago: get on the train for authenticity and ass cake

I recently asked for some advice from fellow blogger Sophia Hsiao, whose gorgeous nature photography has me longing to visit Taiwan.  In response to my inquiry about Taiwanese cities to visit, Sophia recommended a few and added “Each city has its streets”.  Sophia then listed the best streets in her recommended cities. As a smart traveler, Sophia knows you can’t just show up […]

We are the change that we seek: Chicago’s New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church

From around 1910 through the 1970’s, Chicago was a destination for many African Americans from the rural South who moved here seeking better opportunities in an urban environment.  This movement, known as The Great Migration, resulted in a cultural and demographic shifting of communities. New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church, located in Chicago’s West Garfield Park neighborhood, consciously […]

Our Lady of Peace, South Shore’s street art, and Minister Farrakhan doesn’t like us

Our Lady of Peace, a Roman Catholic church in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood, is a neo-Renaissance class act. Completed in 1933 during the depression, the church was initially meant to be Gothic in style—the turn towards Renaissance was a money saving measure.  The finished church doesn’t seem like a compromise to me, however, because wait until […]

Walking the West Rogers Park eruv, the invisible spiritual city on Chicago’s North Side

Look closely.  See the long, black rectangle hidden in the mural below, beneath the red arms?  That’s a door to a invisible city. An invisible city, or perhaps more accurately, an enclosed spiritual zone, known as an eruv.  I’ve been  traveling through the West Rogers Park eruv for years, unaware of its existence, until a few weeks […]

In which the art of Thomas Kong swallows a bodega in Rogers Park

I’ve been walking by Kim’s Corner Food in Rogers Park on Chicago’s far North Side almost daily for 14 years. I went inside a few times to have keys copied.  The proprietor, Thomas Kong, was always kindly and soft spoken. About five years ago this sign appeared.  God is good.  You are special.  Fudge Brownies. Soon after, […]