Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Introducing Forbidden Chicago: An AntiGuide to the City

One of my many billion-dollar ideas that I never did anything with was what I was going to call Forbidden Chicago: An AntiGuide to the City (or should I say the AndyGuide ...). The idea was this: There are plenty of sources that travelers can turn to for information on where to go and what to do. But there's nothing out there telling them what to avoid. Whenever I travel with a handy Lonely Planet or Rough Guide in hand, the best advice I get is when locals or fellow travelers say, "Oh, you don't want to go there. It's too touristy/ expensive/ boring/ crowded. Go here instead." Usually they're right. Forbidden Chicago (or FC for short) would be just that: A place where locals tell others what sucks and/or what isn't in the guidebooks. Anyway, like so many of my ideas, I never got this one off the ground.

Well, I'm never saying never to one of my ideas again. If it makes sense in the moment of inspiration, I'm trying it and seeing what happens. That said, today's rather lengthy entry is my inaugural attempt at FC. You'll need a one-day CTA pass for this one ...

10 Comments:

Anonymous jenska said...

Thanks for the tour. I was happy to see Opart as a stop along the way. It's one of those reliable places...it's nice to find new restaurants and seek out hidden gems, but sometimes you just want to go somewhere like Opart. You know what you're going to get, you don't expect great service, but the price is great and if you want to call up your friends to meet you there, no one will need directions.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i thought this was supposed to be the places to avoid...

2:31 PM  
Blogger ap said...

Yeah, I thought so too. I set off onto Western to photograph the gridlock and suburbness of the street, but quickly realized that it's one of my favorite streets in Chicago. I don't know, maybe "Forbidden Chicago" is meant to be ironic. I bitch about the places I love ...

3:08 PM  
Anonymous art attack said...

that makes sense. it is the places most tourist avoid and when you live nearby you don't claim ownership of the area but you end up doing everything and loving it because it is there.

One thing that I think would make the street better would be street cars. It would open the street up for punlic transport, doesn't have the stigma of the bus and much cheaper to implement then building another subway or el as the city is proposing to do. Think about it, a streetcar system would bring more residential buildings, more foot traffic and een bring in tourists and suburbanites as they traverse the city's longest and most diverse street.

Also, love all teh photos

3:49 PM  
Anonymous jenska said...

I agree with Atr.

3:54 PM  
Blogger ap said...

thanks! ... I agree with atr too ... and just so you guys don't think I spent the whole day in front of the computer, check in later (or tomorrow) for pictures I took today. you'll know I took them today because of the blue sky

3:58 PM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

It has been argued that Western Avenue is actually the longest city street in the world. I think that Western owns this distinction only if the criteria of "within a single city" is applied.

Anyone care to guess what Chicago's shortest street is?

4:37 PM  
Blogger ap said...

Great question ...
I want to say Alta Vista near Wrigley Field. If that's not the shortest, it's definitely got some of the coolest architecture.
A really weird street is Lovejoy ... it's where Foster does this weird curvey thing near Milwaukee and Central. There's a stop sign, you turn and you're on Lovejoy, then half a block later, another stop sign, you turn again and you're back on Foster. I'd say Lovejoy but I'm pretty sure it continues elsewhere ...
Hey come back tomorrow with the answer, OK? I promise not to look it up.

4:50 PM  
Anonymous kevin said...

According to Streetwise Chicago: A History of Chicago Street Names by Don Hayner, Longmeadow Ave at 31.6 feet is Chicago's shortest street. I must confess I had to look this one up and after some limited research my understanding is somewhat buggy.

Longmeadow is better known as a north-south street in Lincolnwood at 5000W. On the Chicago side of the Lincolnwood border at Devon Ave(6400N), Longmeadow for the most part is named Lenox Ave. A search result at the Chicago Streets Database web site claims that Longmeadow in Chicago extends from 6375-6400N. You can view a satellite image of this junction here. If we trust this information to be accurate then it would appear that the short section of Lennox between Ionia Ave and Devon is actually named Longmeadow.

I only wish I knew about the origins of this quirk. Sounds like a good investigative project for the Daley Show, Andy.

11:25 AM  
Blogger ap said...

Investigation? Please! The only thing I want to investigate is how this blog can help me meet some cutie. (Actually, I'm kidding, sort of ... I am thinking about doing an investigation, but I need it to snow for what I have in mind.)

4:59 PM  

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