Wednesday, January 18, 2006

FC1 Western Ave. Stop 20: Emptiness

Right around I-290, there are new construction condos and townhouses sprouting up along this mostly decrepit city street. But I didn't stop to take pictures because, well, we all know what new construction residences look like. For the most part, though, for several miles, Western is the heart of the ghetto. Stray a few blocks east or west and you're in the murder capital of the city. While many old businesses have vanished, there's always a place to get some alcohol. Between 50th and 80th, plenty of old buildings reveal a storied past. Wonder when this old Schlitz bar will disapear.

It's amazing that this is the same street that is absolutely booming just a few miles to the north and south. Here, in the middle of the city, glorious old buildings are closed up, businesses empty. Where do people go on the weekends, in the evenings? Where are the people? Back on the North Side, I wondered why the city doesn't have a train or streetcar that runs the length of Western. It sure would be convenient in the affluent neighborhoods. But then again, I'm sure those affluent residents wouldn't exactly welcome such easy access for people from this neighborhood.

Still, no matter how run-down the neighborhood, Western still has plenty of car dealerships. At 7600, anyone can get credit.


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