Street Smart Chicago

Checkerboard City: Chic Cargo

Checkerboard City, Green, North Center No Comments »
Hozinsky hauls passengers during PumpKarve-Go. Photo: Steven Vance

Hozinsky hauls passengers during PumpKarve-Go. Photo: Steven Vance

By John Greenfield

On the streets of Amsterdam and Copenhagen, parents transporting kids in “bakfiets” box bikes, and delivery riders hauling goods on two-wheeled, stretched-out “Long Johns” are a common sight, but hardworking utility bikes are still a relative rarity in this city. Ezra Hozinsky, owner of Green Machine Cycles, 1634 West Montrose in Ravenswood, is trying to change that. Full disclosure: Hozinsky is a former coworker and bandmate of mine.

“Having more of the larger cargo bikes on the street is useful in terms of making cycling a viable form of transportation,” he recently told me over pints by a roaring fire at the nearby Fountainhead tavern. “The positive aspect is that it starts to even out the size discrepancy between bikes and motor vehicles, making cyclists seem less vulnerable because it’s obvious they’re operating a machine. It may also be helpful for drivers to see more families on bikes. It can have the same effect as a ‘Baby on Board’ sticker on a car: a civilizing influence on the pace and aggression of traffic.” Read the rest of this entry »

411: Redheaded Stepchild No More

Events, North Center No Comments »

The onetime popularity of the sultry seductress on “Gilligan’s Island” notwithstanding, the redheaded among us are apparently neglected and poorly treated, for one reason or another. Accordingly, Mrs Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro, 3905 North Lincoln, (773)248-3905,  has decided that it’s high time to do something for the forsaken ones, when it throws its “Ginger Fest” party on August 28, 8pm-11pm.

“As it so happens, our general manager here has red hair and largely feels under-appreciated, I suspect,” spokesperson Sue Pitkin says. “So we decided it was a good idea to have a celebration of it.”

There will be all things red-related, including red velvet cupcakes. And to feel even more legitimized, those who embody a “height of gingeriness or perhaps a height of attractive gingeriness or even unattractive gingeriness” sufficient to satisfy this general manager, will be crowned King and Queen Ginger.

This will be the first Ginger Fest, but depending on the success, Pitkin says there could be another in the future, “if we get a lot of redheads, real or fake.” (Both will gain half off the $20 admission being charged the blonds and brunettes, which includes select beer, wine, mixed drinks and appetizers.)

But whether a firey mop can be found upon your head, or you just wish it did, with live music from The Boils, the atmosphere will surely be lively. “Any excuse is a good excuse for a party, isn’t it?” Pitkin says. (Lindsey Kratochwill)

Bohemian Rhapsody: University of Chicago profs study the migration of hipsters and other urban phenomena

Andersonville, Bridgeport, Bucktown, City Life, Edgewater, Humboldt Park, Hyde Park, Irving Park, Kenwood, Lakeview, Lincoln Square, Little Village, Logan Square, News etc., North Center, Pilsen, Roscoe Village, South Shore, Ukrainian Village, Uptown, Washington Park, Wicker Park, Wrigleyville No Comments »

By Sean Redmond

Entering Wicker Park by the Blue Line, you emerge into the intersection of Damen, North and Milwaukee to a long-familiar sight. There’s the Double Door across the street, Flash Taco and, until just recently, the façade of Filter, Wicker Park’s former hipster coffeehouse extraordinaire. These staples, like many along these primary roadways, fade into the background with repeated visits; yes, you know you can find Reckless Records and American Apparel and the venues and art galleries in the surrounding area, but getting where you want to go requires little thought once you’re situated enough to put your eyes to the sidewalk and your feet into autopilot. But then one day, you get off the train and, surprise, the boarded-up shell of Filter is replaced with an expansive Bank of America, and your mind jolts back into motion. Suddenly, a wave of thoughts bursts forth: “Man, there are a lot of banks in the area,”or “Wicker Park really is getting commercialized,” or  “Maybe I need to start spending more time in Logan Square.”
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