Thursday, February 05, 2009

R.P. in the Reader

I’ve only lived in Rogers for a few years and I don’t feel I can call it “my neighborhood” (I don’t feel that way about any neighborhood in Chicago, but rather about a series of them, considering I’ve lived in so many, though if I had to pick a place in Chicago that feels like “home” it might be the strip of Archer Ave. from Harlem to Damen, as that reminds me of my first sojourns out of the suburbs as a young man awed by that sprawl of urban oddity), but I do feel a certain fondness for it, mixed, of course, with revulsion. Edgewater was more agreeable, and though I’m a stone’s hard throw from there, it feels like another city altogether when I cross Devon.

In re: the R.P.: check out this week’s Reader and it’s all Rogers Park issue (not really). Dan Savage, born and raised in R.P. and residing now in Seattle where he writes the wonderful sex advice column, Savage Love, writes of his returns to the city and his avoidance of the vanishing neighborhood, while his brother, Bill, who still lives in the area and even tends bar at my favorite local watering hole (when he’s not teaching at N.U.), manages to find the one line from that Carl Sandburg poem that actually sums up the experience of living in the ol’ Chi. Bill Savage also writes a nice article about the formation of the area (and West Rogers Park, previously, and officially—though no one cares—known as “West Ridge”). While Savage sticks to historical bits, he avoids what Ben Joravsky focuses on: the ongoing debate that colors the hood, with our Alderman, or to some “Alderscum,” Joe Moore in the center. The week I moved to the area, I saw a protest parade running from Devon north toward, I assumed, Moore’s headquarters. The chant: “WE DEMAND A SAFE NEIGHBORHOOD!” God love the 49th ward.

And, of course, there’s a lot of about bars and food and all that stuff.