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Old 02-21-2019, 06:40 AM
 
Location: Chicago
6,359 posts, read 8,824,213 times
Reputation: 5871

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I thought it might be interesting to have a thread about the main parts of Chicago: the city's core (greater downtown area), the North Side, South Side, and West Side.

I know unfortunately race defines Chicago and is always the 800 pound gorilla in the room. But I'm hoping that this thread would steer away (as much as possible) from the issue of race. Chicago is large enough that it could be made up of separate cities. Some the type of comparisons I'm thinking of might be in comparing, let's say, Dallas to Ft. Worth or Mpls to St. Paul, or even SF to Oak to SJ. What makes them tick. How do they differ? The Twin Cities are direct neighbors and could in fact be consolidated into one (it has been considered) and if so done, than comparing the Minneapolis to the St. Paul parts of the city is something fairly easy to do. And obviously it could be very easy to make comparisons between Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island.

First off, I mentioned the city's core. I said "greater downtown area" but I really wanted to avoid the idea of "downtown". I'm going more for the nerve center of the city, the area of centrality. In comparison, I'm thinking about the part of central Chicago that might be akin to the lower 2/3 of Manhattan (I guess just qualifying how I might see things.....and this is strictly personal....I'm comfortable including Old Town as part of central Chicago, but not Lincoln Park (to me, anything north of North Ave. is hands off).

As for the three sides of Chicago.....how do you define the differences? They can, of course, feel like different cities as I previously mentioned. What is the characteristics of each.

And related to this: does the West Side hold up to the other two in terms of identity? We tend to think north south (certainly along the lines of Cubs, Sox, but other ways as well). Do we need to organize Chicago in our minds as three sides or would it perhaps be more appropriate to think of two, North and South, with Madison being the dividing point (obviously I'm excluding the city's core from this).

In summary, I'm looking for...

1. How do you define Chicago's core....not in terms of just downtown, but what areas are part of Chicago's centrality?

2. How do the three sides differ from each other, compared in a way that you might use to compare two cities?

3. Does the West Side hold up its part of the bargain. Is it really a "thing"? Is it best to see it as our current paradigms indicate or would it be better to split it off in two parts: one to the north, the other to the south?
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Old 02-21-2019, 09:22 AM
 
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
4,630 posts, read 3,244,563 times
Reputation: 3906
edsg25, my friend ALL I can say is, after driving from Milwaukee (and traffic can be thicker at sometimes more than others), just give me the FAR North side, say cut off north of Montrose Avenue, before all the other traffic from I-90 joins it to add to the thickness! I can, at least, maneuver fairly easy on side streets if I want to get off I-94, and those areas tend to have relatively easy to find parking.... For me the area on the far north side is its own city (aka the suburb-like areas in the city) so that Edison Park, Norwood Park, and Forest Glen is an area unique to itself... Clean, safe, easy parking, a lot of families, more green areas, etc. If I ever move down here, I would certainly seek out those areas! With, of course, my other favorite area LINCOLN SQUARE, being a close call! Master Jay in Milwaukee
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Old 02-21-2019, 11:51 AM
 
Location: Southwest Suburbs
4,593 posts, read 9,191,133 times
Reputation: 3293
The west side is still very much a thing. After all, there is the WEST suburbs. The only problem is there isn't a consensus on the boundaries. There is a great disconnect on what people perceive to be part of the west side and official boundaries made by city leaders. And yes, I do believe a lot of it has to do with race and class(for a lot of people, the west side is just the poor black neighborhoods, which excludes a large population). It cuts off a lot of wealth and diversity that the west side truly has in order to compete with the north and south. But I think this side of town should somehow include being defined as North ave. to its north and the Chicago river to the south. The other thing is in recent decades some of this has been absorbed into the greater downtown center. So maybe, west of Ashland ave is where the west side starts in relations to "downtown", and that way the United Center is still west side(just as Northside has the Cubs, and Southside has the White Sox).

Last edited by Chicagoland60426; 02-21-2019 at 12:11 PM..
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Old 02-21-2019, 11:57 AM
 
Location: Illinois
3,208 posts, read 3,543,450 times
Reputation: 4256
To me, the West Side is everything south of Grand Avenue, west of the Kennedy, and north of the Canal.
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Old 02-21-2019, 04:00 PM
 
Location: Chicago
6,359 posts, read 8,824,213 times
Reputation: 5871
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicagoland60426 View Post
The west side is still very much a thing. After all, there is the WEST suburbs. The only problem is there isn't a consensus on the boundaries. There is a great disconnect on what people perceive to be part of the west side and official boundaries made by city leaders. And yes, I do believe a lot of it has to do with race and class(for a lot of people, the west side is just the poor black neighborhoods, which excludes a large population). It cuts off a lot of wealth and diversity that the west side truly has in order to compete with the north and south. But I think this side of town should somehow include being defined as North ave. to its north and the Chicago river to the south. The other thing is in recent decades some of this has been absorbed into the greater downtown center. So maybe, west of Ashland ave is where the west side starts in relations to "downtown", and that way the United Center is still west side(just as Northside has the Cubs, and Southside has the White Sox).
I actually did think, like you said, about the west suburbs...being a huge area. And, yes, there are those natural links: North Side/North Suburbs, West Side/West Suburbs, South Side/South Suburbs.

You raised a very valid point.
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