Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Big day for the...

...Name of the Day: Greg McKegg plays center for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Sounds like he should be president of the Delta house.

The other Name of the Day...

...belongs to Louise Sunshine, a real estate professional and founder of the Sunshine Group.

Needless to say, Ms. Sunshine lives in Florida.

The Name of the Day...

...belongs to Stockton Malone Shorts, a high school basketball player in Utah.

The first big test...

...for Democrats (and Republicans) could come as early as seven weeks from today. Al Hunt writes in Bloomberg that according to James Carville (my emphasis):

There’s a test coming for whether the grass-roots outpouring of the past 40 days is translating into voting power. That’ll be a special election set for April 18 for the suburban Atlanta congressional seat of Tom Price, who left the House of Representatives after being named Secretary of Health and Human Services. The district hasn't elected a Democrat in more than four decades, and Price won last November by almost 25 percentage points. But Trump beat Hillary Clinton in his district by less than two percentage points and Democrats are pouring money and energy into the contest.

"This is the kind of Republican district we have to win if Democrats are going to do well in 2018," Carville said, predicting that an upset victory would send shock waves through Republican congressional ranks.

Monday, February 27, 2017

As regular readers...

...of this blog must surely know, I almost never miss the New York Times Obituaries. It's one of my favorite parts of the paper. Each one is its own little biography, always well-written and often very interesting. And I know I'm not alone; my mother and grandmother were big obit readers too. Haven't you ever heard of the obituaries referred to as the "Irish Sports Page" or the "Irish Funnies"?

But there's a difference, you know, between the obituaries and the death notices.

An obituary is considered a news article that reports on the recent death of a significant person along with an account of that person's life. I think I read or heard once that to get your obituary in the New York Times you must have been mentioned in the paper at least once before in a news article.

A death notice, on the other hand, is a paid memorial advertisement usually written by family members or friends, perhaps with assistance from a funeral home. And for a few extra bucks, I imagine, you can enclose a picture of the loved one.

And that's the point of this post. While I never miss the obits in the Times I rarely look at the death notices. Rarely. On Sunday I couldn't help noticing a few of the pictures that were submitted for publication.

The first was of a man named Roland Finkelman, of Lincolnshire, Illinois. As you can see, he has an eyepatch. While "Rif," as he was called, possessed "a great heart and a wicked sense of humor," he was also "a voracious reader and movie buff with a prodigious memory." A "treasured brother, a phenomenal father, and a beloved grandfather," Rif will be missed for "his love and caring, his wise counsel, his laugh, and his unique and particularly effective use of all the prosaic, profane and creative words at his disposal." But nowhere does it say anything about him losing his right eye. Was that eyepatch just an example of his "wicked sense of humor"?

Next is a Dr. James Currin, of Stamford, Connecticut, "known to friends and family as 'Doc'." Really? A pipe? That's the picture you wanted to appear in the Times? You don't have a good one of him without that device to inhale burning tobacco sticking out of his mouth? He must have gone everywhere with that thing.

Finally there's Barbara Walsh Freehill of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. It's hard for me to make fun of this woman since she met her husband at "a St Patrick's Day Dance." But why does she have her hand in her hair? Didn't the photographer tell her to put her hand down? Or did he say, "Put your hand in your hair and say 'cheese.' "?

Anyway, may they all rest in peace.

The Name of the Day...

...belongs to Terrance Terry, the new head football coach at Plainfield East.

Of all the names his parents could have given him they chose Terrance? Really? Seriously, does he go by "Terry" Terry?

Hat tip: Kevin in Flossmoor.

Is John McCain a maverick?

Image result for john mccain imagesThat's what a piece in FiveThirtyEight asks this morning. (It also links to another piece, the title of which sums up my feelings on the subject quite nicely.)

It's unclear whether or not Sen. McCain is really a maverick, but I would argue: Who cares? What the Republican Party needs right now -- more than ever -- is a leader, not a maverick, and John McCain is clearly not a leader. 

But isn't McCain a genuine Vietnam war hero? Absolutely. The guy spent five years in a Prisoner of War camp! Doesn't that make him a leader? Not necessarily.

I'll grant you that John McCain is an American hero. (Although I've always wondered how someone who showed such profound courage in wartime could demonstrate so little political courage in his long career in Washington.) And we can argue about whether or not he's a maverick. Neither of which is important. What is important is that what the #NeverTrumpers need, more than anything else, is a leader -- beyond Evan McMullin. Who? Exactly.

And leaders, unlike mavericks, have followers. John McCain appears to have only one: Lindsey Graham. When McCain speaks the next sound you usually hear is crickets. No one in the Republican Party, or Washington, or the rest of the country, seems to care what John McCain is saying. (Maybe because it usually has to do with sending American troops somewhere.) A true #NeverTrump leader in Washington would gather supporters -- beyond just one other senator -- behind him to challenge President Trump and hold him accountable.

So far, the "leaders" of Congress, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, have taken on the role of "Vichy Republicans," mostly collaborating with the new chief executive in the hope they can control him. (Good luck with that!) Will they ever change their tune? Of course; just as soon as Trump's approval ratings start to impinge on theirs. But by then it may be too late.

I don't care if McCain is a maverick or not. What the country needs right now is a Republican leader. And that he is certainly not. 

Bill Paxton died...

...at the (increasingly young) age of 61.

If you haven't heard or read this remarkable story about the Texas-bred actor, his obit in The New York Times tells it like this (my emphasis):

When he was 8, Mr. Paxton and his brother, Bob, were taken by their father to see President John F. Kennedy on the morning of Nov. 22, 1963, in Fort Worth, hours before his assassination in Dallas.

“It was amazing to see President Kennedy, because God, I had mostly seen him on television in black-and-white, and there he was in living color,” he recalled in a 2013 interview.

“I remember just a really euphoric crowd. I was a bit young to really understand later the consequences of the event.”

There is a photograph of Mr. Paxton from that morning, perched on a stranger’s shoulders.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Remember 1501 West Roosevelt...

...Road from a few days ago? I can't believe I missed this!

...If you look closely there's a sign to the right of the door that says (you have to squint a little):


It's almost a palimpsest.

How long has it been there? Well, the election of 1972 was almost 45 years ago. Both George McGovern and Sargent Shriver are long dead. Was there something covering it up until recently? How long will it be there?

It reminds me of this (before) sign from Western Avenue which I posted last week.

The other (after) side looks like this.

There are plans to develop this stretch of Roosevelt Road; they've been in the works for at least ten years. But someday that building and that sign will be gone.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Michael Rainey, in whose...

...London men’s boutique shopped the Rolling Stones and others, died at age 76.

From his New York Times obit:

Mr. Rainey was married at the time to Jane Ormsby Gore, an editor at Vogue magazine whose father, David, had been the British ambassador to the United States (and proposed marriage to the widowed Jacqueline Kennedy in 1968 but was rejected, as revealed in a letter discovered last month). Ms. Ormsby Gore knew the Rolling Stones and has been cited as an inspiration for their song “Lady Jane.”

P. S. That's Brian Jones, who died in 1969, playing the Appalachian dulcimer in the foreground of that video.

James Stevenson, cartoonist...

...for The New Yorker, died at age 87.

The Name of the Day...

...belongs to Kaci Kullmann Five, a former Norwegian political leader, who died at age 65.

At first I thought that was the name of a new jazz quintet.

On this week's...

...Urban Hike with Mike we saw the most beautiful views of the Chicago skyline I have ever seen in my 36-plus years of living here. Really. I wish my wife had been with me to see them. I also wish Ryan had been along with his fancy camera to take some shots. My humble iPhone was simply no match for the spectacular vistas that were on display Wednesday night.

Oh, well. It was a great evening anyway -- much better than I had anticipated. We ventured out onto the Museum Campus and Northerly Island and I have to admit, it was more from a lack of new ideas than any brilliant inspiration on my part. But we were lucky -- it was unseasonably warm on Wednesday (in the 60s!) and we were joined by a small cadre of other Chicagoans (and their dogs) on a serendipitous "midsummer night's eve" in February.

The Museum Campus, as any self-respecting Chicagoan knows, is a 57-acre park along the lakefront adjacent to Northerly Island that contains four of the city's most notable attractions: the Field Museum of Natural History, the Shedd Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium and Soldier Field. The Campus officially opened in 1998, when the northbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive were rerouted west of Soldier Field creating a scenic pedestrian-friendly area.

After dinner at Pita Heaven on South Michigan Avenue (where everyone -- Michael, John, Nicco, Alan, Jake, Jack and me -- agreed that we got a lot of value for our money), we crossed over the train tracks on Roosevelt Road and then under Columbus and Lake Shore Drives through the pedestrian tunnel in Grant Park.

When we emerged, the first thing we saw was the brilliant Field Museum to our right, illuminated for the passing LSD traffic. (That's a view of the southern entrance.) The Field Museum dates back to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition when it was actually located in Jackson Park on the South Side. Originally known as the Columbian Museum of Chicago, it was renamed in 1905 after its first major benefactor, Marshall Field, and moved to its current site in 1921.

The neoclassical design of the Field Museum, which borrows from both Greek and Roman temples, is echoed in the other structures on the Campus.

We then walked north and east along the Lakefront Trail, skirting the Shedd Aquarium. (That's a view from the east.) The Aquarium was the gift of another local retailer and protégé of Marshall Field, John G. Shedd. Although Shedd only lived long enough to see the architect's first drawings, his widow cut the ribbon at the official opening ceremony in 1930.

(Full disclosure: my cousin's fiancee is a real live marine biologist at the Shedd. No kidding!)

Among the many interesting tidbits mentioned on the Shedd's Wikipedia page is:

In 1930, 20 railroad tank cars made eight round trips between Key West and Chicago to transport 1,000,000 gallons of seawater for the Shedd's saltwater exhibits. 

From there we walked farther east, along Solidarity Drive, to the Adler Planetarium. It was here that we saw the most breathtaking views of the evening. The Planetarium was also founded in 1930, by Max Adler, a former executive with Sears, Roebuck & Co.

Field, Shedd, Adler -- what's with all these retail guys?

(Another full disclosure: my grandfather, my father, and one of my uncles all worked for Sears at some point so the Chicago company has an almost mythic place in my family's history.) 

Rounding the Planetarium, we made our way to the small but charming 12th Street Beach, which dates back to the 1920s. Julie, John and I discovered this hidden gem on our bikes last summer (or the one before). The city has so many interesting nooks and crannies!

To the south of the beach is the bulk of Northerly Island, which is not an "island" per se, but actually a 91-acre peninsula. To be fair, it was originally an island, albeit a man-made one, that was part of Daniel Burnham's "Plan of Chicago" which called for a chain of five islands between Jackson Park and 12th Street. The plan was scrapped, however, during the Great Depression, and Northerly Island was ultimately connected to the mainland through an isthmus.

Home to Meigs Field Airport from 1946 to 2003, the rest of the island now consists of an outdoor concert venue and a 40-acre park featuring a trail for walking and bike riding, a lagoon, and landscaped wildlife habitats. It closes at dusk so we weren't able to check it out, but Julie, John and I rode our bikes out there once and it has some great views to the south. I promised the guys we'd be back this spring or summer after the clocks change.

Finally, we turned back toward the mainland and walked between the Field Museum on our right and Soldier Field on our left. The Field Museum, although the best-lit of the bunch, afforded some haunting -- almost spooky -- photos, above.

Soldier Field, of course, is home to the beloved, if inconsistent, Chicago Bears. The stadium opened in 1924 as Municipal Grant Park Stadium, was later dedicated as Soldier Field in 1926, and famously (or infamously) renovated in 2002.

(Full disclosure No. 3: I first saw the Bears play in Wrigley Field in the 1960s.)

I won't go into the whole controversial history of the renovation (Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin dubbed it the "Eyesore on the Lake Shore") except to say that I must be the only person in Chicago -- no, the world -- who actually approves of the new design. I know it looks like "a spaceship landed on the stadium," but how else were they supposed to improve the interior while maintaining its historic, neoclassical facade? What was arguably the worst stadium in the NFL to watch a game became arguably the best -- overnight. And, fittingly, the lead architect was a guy named Dirk Lohan, a grandson of Chicago architecture legend Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

Besides being home to the Monsters of the Midway since 1971, Soldier Field hosted the College All-Star Game from 1934 to 1976. Hard to believe now, but the previous year's NFL champions would face off against a team of college all-stars in a preseason exhibition game in August. Sound like a mismatch? It wasn't initially; the first five games were actually close, with the collegians taking four of them! The professionals soon found their footing, however, and ended up winning the last twelve in a row. The series ended, mercifully, when a blowout was called late in the third quarter in the midst of a driving thunderstorm.

(Full disclosure No. 4: I'm pretty sure I was at that game.)

The stadium has also been home since 1937 to the Prep Bowl, which features the champion of the Chicago Public League vs. the champion of the Chicago Catholic League. In the inaugural contest, Austin defeated Leo, 26-0, in front of 120,000 spectators -- for a high school game! The IHSA began its state tournament in the 1960s, and the Prep Bowl has since evolved into more of a consolation game.

(Last full disclosure: the greatest day of my dad's life was probably without question when my oldest brother played for Loyola Academy in the 1965 Prep Bowl. The Ramblers easily defeated CVS -- Chicago Vocational School, not the pharmacy chain -- with over 70,000 fans in attendance.)

After turning north and walking past the Field Museum from the west, we bade farewell to the Museum Campus, crossed Columbus and Lake Shore Drives again and boarded the No. 12 Roosevelt bus for home.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

1501 West Roosevelt Road...

...is a lonely, forlorn-looking greystone that sits by itself on the south side of the street between Laflin and Ashland.

It looks even more forlorn on a cold and gloomy February afternoon.

Why is it all alone? What happened to all the other buildings on either side of it? Surely it wasn't always this way. Built in 1898, I imagine it was once part of a bustling commercial or residential stretch of Roosevelt.

A closer look reveals a name up near the roofline: Thos. Fitzgibbons. (Interestingly, it has a period at the end.) "Thos." was short, of course, for Thomas. This was a common practice in the early part of the last century. Thus "Jos." (as in Jos. A. Bank) was short for Joseph, "Jas." was short for James, "Chas." was short for Charles, "Hod." was short for Harold, and so on. (By the way, my father-in-law, Harold Froehlich, was nicknamed "Hod," or "Hoddy," and I'm sure this is where it came from.)

So who was this Thomas Fitzgibbons fellow, anyway? Does anyone know? Was he the owner, the builder, the architect, what? Was this building a business of some sort? A residence? Was Mr. Fitzgibbons some local big shot? He was big enough to have his name on a building. And whatever happened to him and his family? Do any of his descendants even know of this structure? And will it survive another hundred years? Does anyone even care?

This is the latest in a series I began just this morning. Click here to see the first installment.

What is the opposite...

...of a "pet peeve"? I Googled it and came up with a whole bunch of bad answers.

"Pet pleasure" sounds a little sexual in nature. "Soft spot" sounds like you're referring to a defect in your cranium. "Hobbyhorse" is defined in one place as "something you can't stop talking about," which sounds like something someone with OCD is suffering from. "Penchant" isn't too bad, but sounds like a cross between pretentious and trenchant. I can just hear people saying, "Huh? What?"

So until I come up with something I like I'll just have to use [opposite of pet peeve].

And one of my [opposite of pet peeve]s are those seemingly random, nondescript buildings with names featured prominently on them. I feel like I see these all the time but haven't been photographing or calling any attention to them until now. (This could be a recurring feature in this blog.)

The first one is of a building now called Kingsbaker Court, at 900-910 W. Van Buren in the West Loop. I passed it yesterday while walking my dog and couldn't resist capturing the word "Kingsbaker" chiseled in, what? What is that, limestone? (I don't know enough about architecture.) I couldn't find out too much about it, except that it was completed in 1904 and is a "heavy timber seven-story office building."

But who, or what, was Kingsbaker? The original company that owned the building? The architect, or builder? As far as I can tell, it's been lost to the mists of time. Perhaps it was some thriving family business and the Kingsbaker clan was a big deal at the turn of the last century. Are there any family members left? Anyone named "Kingsbaker" still living in Chicago? Do they know anything about this building? Do they ever drive by and tell their children about their illustrious ancestors who built the structure?

Was it a prominent building at one time? Did people merely have to say they worked in the "Kingsbaker" and everyone else would just nod in recognition? "Oh, the Kingsbaker! Sure, over on West Van Buren. I know it well. Nice building." I imagine today people don't even mention the name when asked where their office is. I'll bet they just give the address and say something like, "It's an old loft building in the West Loop. It has a sign over one of the doors -- Kings-something-or-other."

But whoever it was who put that there intended for it to inform later generations of someone or something called "Kingsbaker." Now we have only the sign.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Larry Coryell, a guitarist who...

..."was among the first musicians to bring a rock sound and sensibility to jazz," died at age 73.

I have to confess, I had never heard of Mr. Coryell before. From his obit in the Times (my emphasis):

Most established jazz musicians regarded rock with suspicion if not hostility when Mr. Coryell arrived in New York from Washington State in 1965. But a younger cohort, steeped in the Beatles as well as bebop, was beginning to explore an approach that bridged the stylistic gap. Mr. Coryell, who had grown up listening to a wide range of music, became one of the leaders of that cohort.

He initially attracted international attention in 1967 with the vibraphonist Gary Burton’s quartet, which some music historians call the first jazz-rock band. But he had been experimenting with what would soon come to be called fusion even before then.

In 1966 he recorded an album with the Free Spirits, a short-lived rock band that mixed radio-friendly melodies with adventurous stretches of instrumental improvisation. Most of the group’s members — including the drummer Bob Moses, who would also join the Burton quartet, and the saxophonist Jim Pepper — had jazz backgrounds.

Remind you of anyone?

Okay, if I can work a reference to Seinfeld into an economist's obituary I can surely bring up the Doors today, right? (The news is slow.)

Ray Manzarek*, who was an excellent storyteller (you can see a lot of him on YouTube), explains in this video how the Doors came up with the hit song, "Light My Fire." Both he and drummer John Densmore had backgrounds in jazz (although I would say Manzarek owed more to Chicago blues) while guitarist Robby Krieger had specialized in flamenco guitar (you can hear it in his solo on that song, can't you?).

For someone like me who doesn't know anything about music it's really interesting to hear exactly how a song like that was created. And Manzarek makes reference to two jazz greats, Vince Guaraldi and John Coltrane, as well as Bach and others. (In another video -- which I can no longer find -- Manzarek admits, "we'd steal from anybody." Which reminds me of that famous quote, " the good ones borrow; the great ones steal.")

Now I know what you're thinking: "Light My Fire" wasn't released until 1967; Coryell's obit mentions he "arrived on the scene" back in 1965. Yeah, but the Doors were founded in the summer of 1965 and "Light My Fire" was recorded in 1966, and may have been written as early as 1965. So it's essentially a tie. Either way -- great song, great video.

* And, yes, I've been to the house in which Manzarek, a St. Rita grad, grew up in McKinley Park on the Southwest Side. Read all about it here.

Kenneth Arrow, Nobel Prize-winning...

...economist, died at age 95. From his obit in the Times:

Professor Arrow was widely hailed as a polymath, possessing prodigious knowledge of subjects far removed from economics. Eric Maskin, a Harvard economist and fellow Nobel winner, told of a good-natured conspiracy waged by junior faculty to get the better of Professor Arrow, even if artificially. They all agreed to study the breeding habits of gray whales — a suitably abstruse topic — and gathered at an appointed date at a place where Professor Arrow would be sure to visit.

When, as expected, he showed up, they were talking out loud about the theory by a marine biologist — last name, Turner — which purported to explain how gray whales found the same breeding spot year after year. As Professor Maskin recounted the story, “Ken was silent,” and his junior colleagues amused themselves that they had for once bested their formidable professor.

Well, not so fast.

Before leaving, Professor Arrow muttered, “But I thought that Turner’s theory was entirely discredited by Spencer, who showed that the hypothesized homing mechanism couldn’t possibly work.”

P. S. By the way, "The Marine Biologist" was one of Jerry Seinfeld's favorite episodes. At about 3:13 of this clip, Seinfeld explains that he and Larry David wrote the scene above "late, late that night before . . . We gave (Jason Alexander) this three-page monologue" about an hour before the scene was shot. As it was being filmed, Seinfeld remembers, "I'm looking at Jason and the only thought in my head was, 'I can't believe he's getting this all right. He memorized the whole scene in an hour!' "

The Unfortunate British Name...

...of the Day belongs to English actress (not porn star) Kim Tiddy. (And I'm pretty sure that's her real name.)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Here are some scenes...

...and chants from yesterday's "Not My President's Day" rally on Wacker Drive, directly across the Chicago River from Trump Tower.

The newspapers said there were about a thousand people in attendance. Everyone was well-behaved and the cops were friendly. Kind of a snore, actually. Some of the signs were pretty clever, though; I wish I had focused more on them. I also wish I had brought a sign of my own, which would have read:


"Hey hey! Ho ho! Donald Trump has got to go!"

"Hands too small! Can’t build a wall!"

"No hate, no fear! Immigrants are welcome here!"

"Show me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!"

"We need a leader, not a creepy Tweeter!"

I got down to the rally a little after noon, stayed for about an hour, and then ducked into the Billy Goat Tavern on Lower Michigan for a double cheeseburger. It was a beautiful day!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Norma McCorvey, the "Roe"...

...in Roe v. Wade, died at age 69.

It's been 44 years since the famous 1973 Supreme Court decision, and abortion is still the most controversial issue in America. (I would maintain that it ultimately put Donald Trump over the top last November.) Abortion, in fact, is the only issue I know of that divides even hard-core Libertarians.

It's a tough one. Is abortion the taking of an innocent life? And when does a fertilized egg become a human life anyway? Is it always and everywhere wrong to take an innocent human life? Who really knows the answers to these questions? I think President Obama put it best when he said it was "above my pay grade."

Like Ms. McCorvey and many others, I've been all over the lot on the subject during the course of my life. My (current) thoughts can be found here.

A young man told me recently...

...that he and a friend walked the entire 26 miles of Western Avenue in one day. Beginning at six in the morning in the southern suburb of Harvey, they walked for either eleven hours (with food and bathroom breaks) or until eleven at night (I can't remember which) up to the northern border of the city at Howard Street. According to him, Western Avenue is the longest street in the United States, and there's only one in North America, in Toronto, that's longer.

I love stories like that!

According to Wikipedia:

Western Avenue is the longest continuous street within the city of Chicago at 23.5 miles in length. Western Avenue extends south as a continuous road to the Dixie Highway at Sibley Boulevard (Illinois Route 83) in Dixmoor, giving the road a total length of 27.38 miles.

So the road actually begins in Dixmoor, which is adjacent to Harvey. But the Wikipedia page doesn't say anything about Western Avenue being the longest road in the United States or the second-longest in North America.

So what -- it's still a good story! And I knew there was a Sunday hike in there somewhere for my son John and me. But 26 miles in one day? No way! How about if we just tackled the portion of Western Avenue in the city and broke it down into, say, three eight-mile hikes or, better yet, four six-mile hikes? That would be more like it. So I ran it by John and of course he was game.

We set out at noon sharp yesterday for the first leg of the journey. (My wife decided to join us for at least part of it.) Catching the Blue Line at Racine, we changed for the Red Line at Jackson and rode up to Howard, arriving in Rogers Park at about one o'clock. We then hiked about a mile or so west to Bill's Drive-In at the corner of Howard and Western. It's actually just north of Howard in the very southern tip of Evanston (suburbia!), where Western magically turns into Asbury. Neither my wife nor my son had ever been to Bill's (can you believe it?) and we all fortified ourselves with cheeseburgers and fries. (Good call!)

After lunch we crossed back into the city at Howard and commenced our march down Western Avenue. At 2400 west, Western was actually the far western border of the city from 1851 to 1869. While I thought we were in Rogers Park, it was actually the community area of West Ridge, which begins -- surprise! -- west of Ridge Boulevard. (On some maps the neighborhood of East Rogers Park is in the community area of Rogers Park while West Rogers Park is in the community area of West Ridge -- very confusing.)

The first picture I took on Western Avenue itself was of this light blue glazed brick on a background of beige brick on a mid-century modern storefront. I don't particularly care for it, but it's typical of the architecture in that part of the world. Robert Powers, the author of one of my favorite blogs, A Chicago Sojourn, loves it and writes about it a lot.

After that I noticed a number of signs which indicated the Islamic flavor of the neighborhood. (And saw many people in traditional Islamic dress.)

We passed Warren Park.

I liked the terra cotta detail on this building in particular.

And at the corner of Western and Bryn Mawr, across the street from Rosehill Cemetary in the neighborhood of Budlong Woods, is the appropriately-named Western Bryn Mawr Building. (This is also where West Ridge ends and Lincoln Square begins.) The only thing I could find out about this terra cotta gem is that it was built in 1930 and contains the letter "Y" hidden in a colorful floral design. This "Y"-shaped figure, which represents the three branches of the Chicago River as they come together at Wolf Point, can be found on structures all over the city.

A little farther down was the actual neighborhood of Lincoln Square within the community area of Lincoln Square (I told you it was confusing), across the street from this statue of the 16th president (his name escapes me right now). It was here, after about four and a half miles, that my wife decided to hop on the Brown Line at Western and Lawrence and head for home.

John and I then passed Welles Park.

And came across the extremely charming Jeri's Grill at Western and Montrose in the community area of North Center. (Can you believe I've never been here either?) I told John to take a good, long look at the counter because places like this are not long for this world. I sure hope I'm wrong.

Another building "not long for this world" was Western Automatic Music on the west side of the street, which features this World War II-era paneled storefront. (Despite the less than optimal light, I couldn't resist taking a picture.) By the way, what do you suppose "automatic music" is, anyway? Player pianos?

When John ducked in to get a Gatorade I just had to take this shot of a Tudor Revival apartment building. (Even all those dishes couldn't ruin it for me!)

This is just a beautiful tan brick Chicago building with nice details in the late winter sunlight. They don't build 'em like that anymore!

This unusual structure is the Waveland Bowl, built in 1959 and the largest bowling alley in Chicago with 40 lanes. John had a good question: Isn't a bowling alley an odd place for a "quiet zone"?

Next came a sign advertising hamburgers (before) on one side and a used car lot (after) on the other.

Now I know what you're thinking: How come no mention of Riverview? Or pictures of Hero's Subs on Addison, or Lane Tech?

Riverview was an amusement park which opened in 1904 and closed in 1967. It occupied 74 acres east of Western Avenue between Lane Tech on the north and Belmont on the south. I don't think I ever went there but Riverview had an almost mythic place in our family's culture. The "Bobs" wooden roller coaster, built in 1924, was practically the Holy Grail. (Who, though, would name a roller coaster the "Bobs"?)

As for Lane Tech and Hero's Subs, it was really just a matter of the fading afternoon light. We walked south on the east side of Western to take advantage of the unseasonably warm February sunlight. But it made for taking pictures on the other side of the street problematic. Lane Tech, by that time of day, was shrouded in shadow. But I've written about the legendary high school elsewhere in this blog.

When we reached Diversey we had covered seven miles since the Howard el stop and it was time to go home. We walked east on Diversey to Ashland and caught the number 9 bus to Harrison. Including that last leg it was a good eight miles in all. I was tired but it was worth it. What a beautiful day in Chicago!

In all we had walked through three of Chicago's 77 community areas, West Ridge, Lincoln Square and North Center, and umpteen unofficial "neighborhoods." (I didn't see a banner, or any sign, for West Ridge.) Next time we'll go back to Western and Diversey and walk south another six miles or so to about Cermak on the Lower West Side. Maybe next Sunday.