And yet - you look again at these streets where Chicago lives
and the town turns out to be full of householders with careful
lawns. And maples and honey locusts on secluded streets. All the
streets run straight to infinite horizons and too many of them
are gap-toothed, but the good ones use every inch. And there are
places that look like townhouse London or moneyed Manhattan or
Kansas City or Milwaukee, and some perhaps look better, and there
are great streaks of beauty, and isn't that amazing?
The town is rich in rugged brick buildings, made to last. And,
everywhere, hardy people, weathered, solid - citizens in forest
of stone and steel. A place at once vast, familiar, strange, ferocious,
sprawling flat but enduring, and always itself, with sweat and
history in every sidewalk.
And then you begin to sense that the blur is untangling. The
town sorts itself into neighborhood spaces, into social classes,
into languages and nationalities and colors, into parishes and
school districts and shopping streets and block clubs and bus
routes. And into hopes and dreams, for that matter. It's a dreamers
town, for all of it's harshness. Some of it is writhing, some
waiting, some being reborn. It's passé, it's fresh, it's
gone and it's coming, and as it sheds one skin, it grows another.
It's a town that never stops, a neighborhood for the world.
The best place to put your finger on it's pulse is on the streets
where we live. Many of them are described and defined with loving
insight in this historic guide to a city of purposes and abundant
life, mingling its yesterdays and tomorrows in a throbbing here
M. W. Newman