I love it all: embroidery, canvaswork, quilting, crochet. So much to do, so little time.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Neighborhood Tour

Good Afternoon Dear Blog Readers,

I love Chicago.  It's my favorite city in the entire planet.  (It's a good thing I live closeby, huh?)  Yesterday, DH and I went on a Neighborhood Tour of Bridgeport and Back of the Yards.  For those not familiar with Chicago neighborhoods, Back of the Yards refers to the area directly adjacent to the now-gone Union Stockyards.

All that's left of the stockyards is this original gate--it closed in 1971.  Today the land on which the stockyards once stood contains an industrial park which employs about 10,000 people.  The sculpture that you see beyond the gate is The Fallen 21.

On December 22, 1910, 21 firemen lost their lives fighting a fire in the stockyards.  Their names are inscribed on this side of the sculpture.  On the other sides are the names of all Chicago firefighters killed in the line of duty.

Bridgeport is probably most famous as being the home of the late Mayor Richard J. Daley.  His son, soon-to-be-ex-Mayor Richard M. Daley, grew up in Bridgeport but no longer lives there.  There were actually 3 other Chicago Mayors, in addition to the Daleys, who hailed from Bridgeport:  Kelly, Kennelly and Bilandic.

One of our stops was at St. Barbara, a Polish Catholic church.  The church building is 100 years old and is octagonal, which is very unusual for a church.

Although you can't see it from these photos, much of the interior paint is peeling.  The cost to repaint the church will be between $400 and $500 thousand dollars.  There are only about 600 parishoners on the books, and roughly a third of them show up on a regular basis.

We stopped at Benton House which started as a day nursery in the early 20th century and soon became part of the settlement house movement.  Today it provides many social services for members of the Bridgeport community.  These paintings, which line the wall of one of the main rooms on the first floor, are estimated to be about 60 years old.  That is not old at all, is it?  (Shake your head from side to side in agreement.)

Historically, Bridgeport was predominantly Irish and blue-collar, but now it is one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the city.  There has been a sizable influx of Chinese Americans, who are expanding out from Chinatown, also nearby.  An unscheduled stop was the Ling Shen Ching Tze Temple, formerly a Polish Presbyterian church and now a Buddhist Temple.

The main chamber houses the statues of many buddhas and bodhisattvas.  There were many colorful tapestries which were embroidered with gold.  (Not hand embroidered--I asked.)

There is even new housing for the Yuppies (does anyone even use that term anymore?).  You can purchase a one-bedroom loft starting in the mid-200's.  And Bridgeport is close to the Loop for commuters!

Here is art you will hopefully not have a compelling reason to see:  this 3-dimensional wall hanging is on the wall of the police station in the 9th District.  The 3-digit numbers are beat numbers.  This was another unscheduled stop for those of us who were interested.  (Our guide was rather zany.)

Last but not least, although we didn't stop here (it's technically not in Bridgeport), I just had to take this snap from the bus window.

"The Cell"
Chicago is one of only 3 cities to have 2 major league baseball teams.
Unfortunately, our other team hasn't done much in the past 100 years.
GO SOX!!!!!

There are many different Chicago neighborhood tours being offered from now until November.  If I have piqued anyone's interest, you can find out all about them here.

I have been stitching, too, and am turtling along on my blackwork piece.

I'm always nervous about putting a close up of my stitching here on the blog.  In addition to being crooked most of the time, you can see every little weird thing that may or may not be wrong with the piece.  Notice how the black squares set on point are attached to the square eyelets (for lack of a better term) on all sides except for the east?  It's shown that way in the chart (consistently), but it's making me a little goofy.  OK, a little more goofy.  I haven't decided if I want to attach that square on the east, or just go with the flow.

Talk about a zany design!  I think I saw something like this in a drawing of an atom in a class I took in school.  Was it the electron?  (I wasn't very good in the sciences.)

That's it for this installment.  Hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

1 comment:

Lelia said...

Hello Southpaw Stitcher: DH + I went into Chicago on Friday and it rained. Everytime we go into Chicago it rains!

We visited the Art Institute of Chicago and enjoyed the John Marin watercolors. Never mind the terrific lunch at Shaw's Crab House, walking the mag mile, and enjoying the day together.