By: Sean Hemmersmeier
Chicago is made up of 77 distinct neighborhoods that all have different qualities that help make the city what it is today. Which is an eclectic city that recognizes its flaws but does not let those flaws define it. The best example of this comes from the cities nickname ‘The Windy City’, which is not referring to the wind of lake, but rather how the politicians are so full of wind no one can trust them. Chicago has an ugly past but it doesn’t shy away from it, the city doesn’t make excuses and that is what makes it a great town. Not many sports team name themselves after the biggest disaster in the city’s history, but that didn’t stop the Chicago Fire from doing it.
Everyone in the world tries to better and learn from their mistakes, and this is true for Chicago as well, but too often when moving forward people try to forget the bad parts of their past. But Chicago does not do that, even when that past involves the racial segregation that happened during the Great Migration of the 20th century that still is responsible for the great inequality within in the city. Or the Machine politics that may or may not still be around. Or how as long as the violence that has made Chicago one of the murder capitals of the world stays in low-income neighborhoods no major changes will be made to curb it.
But Chicago is aware of its bad history and makes sure that the history is not forgotten but remembered in a way that will help the city grow in a way, the city and its citizens don’t deny their past. It’s a city that has many terrible short comings, but it also has a lot of great attributes. That includes great architecture, it’s hard to find any skyline that beats the Chicago one when looking out from a plane flying into O’Hare. Chicago also has one of the best food scenes in the country that ranges from classic American fare to authentic world cuisine that comes from every culture.
Each neighborhood of the city has its own history and that history may be ugly or less than perfect but each neighborhood doesn’t shy away from it. Rogers Park is a great example of this since it has been one of the most diverse neighborhoods throughout the history of Chicago. Rogers Park started as a village for Irish Immigrants but as time went on everyone was welcomed. But like any middle to low income neighborhood it has many problems such as being a non-priority in the eyes of Cook County and the City of Chicago agencies. The core of Rogers Park is its diversity and that is what makes it great which is seen by driving down Devon Ave. where one can see a wide variety of stores and cultural centers that include Indian, Muslim and Jewish influence. Chicago will always change but it will never forget its roots.