ABOUT: Who am I?                                                                         

DO DIVISION: About the evening that inspired me to start this blog.

ONE STRANGE BIRD: A story of the unique store and its creator

WHY DIVISION? My reasons to put the energy into this dynamic street

VIA CARDUCCI: One of my most favorite restaurants ever

THE YELLOW PAGE HANDYMAN: Things you didn’t know about Division

JOE’S WINE CELLAR: Neighborhood wine guy and great wines and counsel

TRUE LOVE:  Actions speak louder than definition

PODHALANKA: Down home taste of Krakow cuisine

WICKER PARK WEIRDO: There are times you run into some really interesting people during a simple walk – some of them weird but harmless.

LETIZIA’S NATURAL BAKERY: Down home neighborhood mother and son café.

MARIA OF DIVISION STREET: Having just turned 96, there is one and only Maria.

PAPA’S CACHE SABROSO: The story of the best rotisserie chicken in the city.

THE MAN CALLED PARIS: Surveilling the street with a smile on his face and keeping kids from getting into trouble before and after school.                

SHIVA INCARNATE ON DIVISION: It’s one thing to watch the snake charmers in downtown Mumbai, and quite another to see one right off Division Street in Humboldt Park.                                                                                      

 GANGSTERS’ CODE OF ETHICS: Gladys Lopez, lifelong Division Street dweller shares with me what it was like growing up around here in the rough and tumble days.

NELSON ALGREN: The man who put Division Street on map of the world and not his close friend and fan the writer Studs Terkel in his book titled America Division Street. Algren and his characters lived and breathed Division Street.                  

AN IMPROBABLE LOVE STORY: No two people can be more different than the “Frenchie”, the sophisticated feminist, the writer and the philosopher Simone de Beauvoir and the toughie Nelson Algren. However improbable, seventy years later their trans-Atlantic intense love affair still remains one of the most fascinating tales in the world of international literature.                              

LOVE HURTS: It is said that after you reach a certain age and don’t feel some aches and pains here and there, how would know if you’re still alive? And what could be better than even with those aches and pains, you can walk to the neighborhood Athletico Physical Therapy greeted and treated by the professional friendly faces?

ANOTHER STRANGE BIRD: As dynamic and thriving the stretch of Division Street I am writing about is, the sad reality is that there are also a few shuttered store fronts. I have always felt sad to see a store close its doors for whatever reasons. Just a year ago, with then owner Nicole Northway moving to Florida with her family, One Strange Bird too seemed headed towards the same destiny. That would have made me extra sad. Then Emily Gloekler appears on the scene out of nowhere, taking over in a seamless transition that we still have what had become to be one of the landmarks on Division.

BUCK TOWN BEATS BEST OF BORDEAUX: When you think of the best wine in the world, you don’t think of the near north side neighborhood of Chicago’s Buck Town. Or of a home town Polish wine maker. How could I have not thought of Warren Winiarski whose Stag’s Leap Cellar’s 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon beat the best of Bordeaux in the 1976 blind wine tasting of Paris?  An event that put California wines on map of the world. What’s more, forty three years later, at 91, he is still active, growing grapes and making wines at his Arcadia Vineyards!                    

HELLO….GOODBYE…. : You have sure heard of the alien who recently was found floating around in the beautiful lagoon of Chicago’s Humboldt Park. For those of you who don’t live around here, once the glory of the west side of the city, in its recent history, Humboldt Park had fallen into a not so desirable category. There were of course reasons. But how do you change an image so deeply imbedded in people’s minds? Of course us residents can happily spread the word. Not much you can fix with a million dollar image changing campaign. Lo and behold! There appeared an alligator in our small lagoon, which literally captured the attention of the world. We couldn’t have done it for a million dollars, what a small alligator appearing in our waters was able to do it eight days.  

MY DREAM DIVISION STREET: Did you know that up until scant twenty years ago, it was illegal to open an outdoor café in the city of Chicago? Because the Daley clan – both the father and the son, Richard J. and Richard M. disdained the idea of people sitting outside to eat and drink. They considered eating outside to be unhealthy. And Richard J. certainly didn’t want it to become like New York!!!! Whatever, I sure am happy to have come back to the city that is full of alfresco places. Especially Division Street with it’s extra wide width and spacious sidewalks. And I can’t help but imagine what the street could one day become! Since my interview with Warren Winiarski, I have often imagined it to be turned back into the street embedded with bright red stones and no vehicular traffic, just you and me strolling leisurely, potted flowers cordoning each establishment and another raw of trees planted in the middle of the street.        

THE MERCHANT OF MEMORIES                                                                                              Your Family Is Art                                                                                                                           1944 ca.BABY HARESH 300                                                                                                                                           That’s me at around five years. In addition, I have my parents’ photo taken around the same time. And that’s where the images of my childhood end. Now that I have just turned BIG 80, how I wish that there were more, albums full with pix of all of us eight siblings,  and our parents – we  can point at look at you, laugh and cherish what would be our childhood. That is something now the family photographer Michele Taylor wishes for herself too.  Though it’s too late for both of us, Michele decided to help young families out to do just that. Set up a studio that specializes in photographing young families, their kids and pets. She loves to photograph babies – especially new borns, as young as two weeks old and creates memories for everyone to cherish not only through their own life times, but something that would be passed down from generation to generation.