Tuesday, December 30, 2014

30 December 2014: Holiday Scenes from Philadelphia

City Hall and holiday shoppers on Market Street

Christmas display in the former Wanamaker's (now Macy's) department store.

Holiday window display at Macy's
featuring a model of the famous Wanamaker eagle

Irish Pub patrons wondering why i'm taking their picture

The new Rothman Ice Rink outside Philadelphia's City Hall

Skaters enjoying the Rothman rink

City hall courtyard with Christmas tree

Thursday, December 18, 2014

18 December 2014: Wile E. Coyote Gets Edumacated

The semester is over. The students have all gone away.
Time for the coyotes to come out and play.  

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

17 December 2014: Another One Bites the Dust

Adios, Mor-Way!
This happened quickly--i'm sure i saw people doing their laundry at this laundromat in the ugly little strip mall at Morse and Wayne just a couple of days ago. The little cell phone store in the same strip has also closed within the past few days. The only business still open there is the pharmacy. 
This strip mall was an eyesore when i moved to the neighborhood nearly fifteen years ago, and it hasn't improved with age. I hope that someone has a plan to develop that corner into something attractive and/or useful.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

16 December 2014: Back to the Beach

It was relatively warm and just a little foggy on Monday morning--perfect for a walk to the beach. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

11 December 2014: Meanwhile in Lincoln Square….

Lincoln Square is one of the few Chicago neighborhoods that i like almost as much as my beloved Rogers Park. It's one of the best places i've found for patronizing high quality, independent businesses like the Book Cellar, Gene's Sausage Shop, and Merz Apothecary; it's also a great place to eat like a German (though i still mourn the demise of the extraordinary Delicatessen Meyer). Here are a few views of the 4700 block of N. Lincoln Ave. all decked out for the holidays. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

4 December 2014: Lunch on Wheels

Food trucks are a lot less common in Chicago than in other cities where  i've lived,
but this one is a beaut! I got a nice chicken sandwich from an even nicer man
on this truck on the near west side yesterday. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

8 November 2014: Jurassic Ballpark

It looked almost like a pair of fierce dinosaurs were tearing into the east side of Wrigley Field this afternoon. I went a little snap-happy taking pictures, many of which are posted on my newest blog, Watching Other People Work.  

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

28 October 2014: The Falling of the Year

This tree at an undisclosed location in Rogers Park is a favorite of mine
 at any season. The lower part of its trunk grows almost horizontally.
I am always afraid that one day it will be chopped down as a nuisance,
but i really hope not.  

Thursday, October 16, 2014

16 October 2014: Chicago Fashion Week

It's Chicago Fashion Week, and if you walk from the Red Line to the Blue through the Block 37 concourse, you are bound to encounter something far different from the usual array of business suits, Bulls caps, and Blackhawks jerseys. 

Pictured here is a design by Alexander Knox of Columbia College Chicago, 
who was a contestant on this season of Project Runway
To be perfectly honest, i'm not the most fashion-conscious person out there, 
but this was definitely a lovely, whimsical design 
(I only wish i'd been able to get a better picture on my phone). 

Monday, October 13, 2014

13 October 2014: Welcome to Rush Hour

As much as i love Rogers Park, occasionally i have to leave in order to earn
my daily bread. Being packed into the L at rush hour is no fun at all. 

But fortunately, our many excellent buskers always help to lighten the mood.
These guys were among the best i've heard. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

27 September 2014: Open for Business!

Philly's Best is open for business, and yours truly is happily busting her diet on an authentic Philly cheesesteak -- made with Cheez Whiz, of course -- with a TastyKake Butterscotch Krimpet for dessert. Business was looking pretty good when i was there, and i hope they will do well in this location. It's always great to welcome a new business to the 'hood, but it's even better when it's a place that serves one of my favorite guilty pleasures. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

25 September 2014: What a Shame!

The former Chase bank at 1425 W. Morse Ave.
I usually try to keep things positive and focus on the good things in Rogers Park whenever possible, but this is a disgrace! The Chase bank closed less than two weeks ago, but already the property looks like something out of a post-apocalyptic nightmare. There are still two active businesses at this location--a laundromat and a Family Dollar--so why isn't the property owner even bothering to empty the trash? 
Given the larger problems in the neighborhood--including yet another gunfight just around the corner from this location in the middle of the day today--this may seem like a minor problem, but it makes this commercial stretch look abandoned and dangerous. This is definitely not what we need if we are going to keep our community vibrant and welcoming. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

24 September 2014: Philly's Best

The sign on the chalkboard said "Private Party" and the place was full of cops, so i didn't try to force my way in and demand a cheesesteak, but Philly's Best Sports Bar definitely looks like it is ready for business. 
Woohoo! Bring on the provolone cheesesteak hoagies! 
Bring on the TastyKake Butterscotch Krimpets! 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

6 September 2014: Meanwhile in the Loop

This little man was fascinated by a pair of drummers playing on State Street.
The guy in the picture called him over, handed him a set of drumsticks,
and invited him to play along. And what a joyful noise! 

6 September 2014: The Flora & Fauna of Rogers Park

Doesn't this unofficial rodent mascot of Rogers Park
look like he's poised to attack me?
PS. He didn't.
When i spoke to the gentleman who lives here a few months ago
and he told me he was training melon vines to grow up the garage wall,
i had my doubts. But if you look closely, you will see one nice,
juicy, and tenacious melon all the way up near the roof.
Hooray for vertical gardening! 

Close-up of the aforementioned melon.

Monday, August 25, 2014

25 August 2014: Sunset

After a day of dramatic weather, from sweltering heat to torrential rain, 
the sun sets behind Tobey Prinz Beach.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

23 August 2014: It's Good to Be Back!

It's been an eventful month, dear reader, including a move that should have been easy but wasn't, a few weeks with only limited internet access, and a very long train ride to a very nice place. But i'm back at last with a few pictures of what was happening on this late-August Saturday in Rogers Park.

The morning was foggy, the lake and the seagulls barely visible. On mornings like this, the beach seems strange and otherworldly.

Even the Saturday morning fitness class in the park looked almost like an impressionist painting, the coach's voice counting off reps seemed gentle, distant.

After a stormy afternoon, the weather cleared and this exuberant group put on an impromptu staging of "Singin' in the Rain" while waiting outside the Mayne Stage for the Queerpocalypse show to begin. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

2 August 2014: Early Saturday Morning

In principle, i'm still on my break from blogging, but i couldn't resist posting this picture of a pair of weary souls on the Morse L platform early this morning. 
Looks like it must have been a wild Friday night.

Friday, July 25, 2014

25 July 2014: Gone Fishin'

Dear Reader,
I am taking a break from this and my other blogs for the next couple of weeks to focus on personal and professional matters. I hope to return by mid-August. In the meantime, talk amongst yourselves.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

23 July 2014: Surf's Up!

Lake Michigan is flexing her muscles this morning,
doing her finest impersonation of an ocean. The surf is roaring,
the wind is blowing, the swallows are swooping,
and the air is clear and cool. What a morning!
Drop everything and head to the beach:
days like this are as rare as they are wonderful.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

22 July 2014: A Bumper-Crop of Fungi

It might seem frivolous or escapist of me to focus so often on the small quotidian details of life in Rogers Park at a time when our neighborhood seems to be under siege. Each day brings news of yet another shooting, and i've even wondered if maybe i should leave this place i love. But ultimately, the fact that i do love this neighborhood -- fiercely -- makes me reject that notion. We've been through hard times before; hopefully this latest wave of violence will soon be resolved, and life in our beautiful community will return to normal. In the meantime, i will continue to celebrate the beautiful, the strange, the charming, and the inexplicably weird elements of life in Rogers Park. It's just my way of reminding myself and my readers what a precious place this is. 

On that note, here is a chronicle of the latest crop of bizarre fungi growing on a lawn on the 1400 block of W. Farwell. The cool weather and heavy rains this summer seem to be especially conducive to the proliferation of fungi. Doggie Demeanor has graciously lent her assistance in providing a sense of scale to the pictures; admittedly, she is a very small dog and objects placed next to her may appear larger than they would if shown in juxtaposition to a Bernese Mountain Dog, but these are some huge 'shrooms!

NB. I know absolutely nothing about mushroom identification and, as a rule of thumb, assume that these, like any fungi  that i haven't bought in the market, are poisonous. 

Sunday, 20 July: What looked like four giant golf balls perched on their tees emerged on the lawn. 

Monday, 21 July: The "golf balls" have developed into classic mushroom shape 

Tuesday, 22 July: The caps have flattened a bit and gotten even larger. To the naked eye, they are a pure, bright white; the photos make them seem to be glowing in a strange otherworldly way.

Yikes! It looks like Doggie Demeanor is pooping UFOs!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

19 July 2014: Lotuses

The lotuses in the pond in the Hare Krishnas' garden
are just about ready to bloom. I confess that i never
noticed them before today, but isn't it nice how they
blend with the painted lotuses on the sign?