Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Tuesday, April 23

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miss ellen / February 17, 2005 12:29 PM

hell ya! born & bred south sider; could never move away, but do enjoy visiting other places. i guess that's my definition, "once you're a chicagoan, you know it, and you wouldn't trade it for the world".

i couldn't live without our skyline, and riding up/down LSD just is something you can't get anywhere else.

i'm a city-girl, too. the country is pretty, mountains are beautiful. i have to live with a true pulse in my life, one that is found with many people, lots of cultures, transportation options, etc.

Shasta MacNasty / February 17, 2005 12:44 PM

I identify very strongly with my Chicago roots and am quite proud to announce it whenever I visit someplace new. To me, being from Chicago means you know about the world around you, because much of it is right here. You can move effortlessly with the folks from NYC, LA, and London, yet you still retain midwestern values that keep you grounded, approachable, and dammit...nice. :)

Alice / February 17, 2005 12:49 PM

Yes, I am a Chicagoan. Like Ellen, I was born and raised here. My family goes back many generations here. Nearly every corner of this city evokes memories of family, friends, events...

I have traveled fairly extensively and have visited a lot of cool cities, but Chicago will always be my home.

Peter / February 17, 2005 12:54 PM

What's it to you?

Fern / February 17, 2005 1:08 PM

Born in Burnside...yeah...then raised in Back a da Yards....then moved around a you live in
Margaret Mary's parish with the wyfe and kids.

Michael / February 17, 2005 1:21 PM

I think of myself as first and foremost a Chicagoan. As a Chicagoan, you recognize Italian beef, deep-dish pizza and hot dogs (Don't you dare put ketchup on that!) as the holy trinity of food. You accept cold weather as a fact of life, and recognize patio furniture as serving a dual purpose in the winter. You've logged so many hours walking under/riding/living by the El, that its cacophonous rumble now lulls you to sleep. You're just as worldly as any of those East or West-coasters, yet infused with a healthy dose of Midwestern charm and civility.

mar / February 17, 2005 1:42 PM

I agree with everyone (except Peter) so far. Born and raised on the North side; will always be a Chicagoan. Love to travel, love to come home. Love acting like a tourist on my own city on many many occasions over the years. It's such a great place to live and play - can't imagine living anywhere else.

Ron / February 17, 2005 1:53 PM

"Helen, gimme dat board. I wanta pud it on dem two chairs I put in our spot. I didn't shovel all day fer nothin."

Winterfresh / February 17, 2005 2:09 PM

Being a Chicagoan comes first, before being an American. Being born and raised here, but recently living in other parts of the states, made me realize just how different Chicagoans are. First I talk better, thereís more of a charm to my voice, and Iím louder than most other part of the US, when speaking normal, or arguing. I think I argue pretty well, even to somebody I just met. I find that I can hold a conversation without judging the person, but I will be blunt when the time comes to interject, for all the right reasons. Chicago is still a blue-collar town, so unlike places where freaking elite or snobs flourish, which they would get their ass kicked here, I donít have a chip of ďIím better than youĒ, on my shoulder. I donít live in a monarchy city; there are enough eastern Europeans, and persecuted immigrants here to make freedom an ideal life destination.

Iím not afraid of what others might think, especially when at a bar, and can make friends easy with a glass of alchi in the hand, and oblivious of Political correctness. Heck I can make friends on the streets, just by asking the time, but that just might be me. I have parks everywhere around my neighborhood, where else is that so available. Forest preserves where you can drink, and bars almost on every corner, along with delis, restaurants, and sidewalks. Some cities, they donít even have sidewalks because everyone freaking drives. Columbus Ohio is the place Iím relating to. I hate that place.

Families are closer here, but they have to be, and itís great, sometimes, theyíre so close because half of them are not fluent in English yet, and whatís the rush, there no hurry to become your typical ďAmericanĒ. The country is filled with enough idiots like that. Culture from families like this is another reason I love home. With the small cafťís, the smoked meats, liquor, the girls, ahh the girls, The Polish girls, ahh, Koham, I LOVE! I even like that we have our cars with flags hanging down from the rearview windows. From one neighborhood to the next ďCountryĒ, it seems, there is always something to see and do, and do again, because by the time you get back to it, it feels new again. Closing the last bar when the sun rises is nice; having the streets in a grid shape is a plus, and no dead ends. Alleys, ahh, great to take a piss in when driving home after a night on the town. Chicago really breathes life, plus we have a lake, the coast with the most, dunes, water, history, wind chill, dynamic skyline, and interesting people youíre ever going to meet in America.

Emerson Dameron / February 17, 2005 2:31 PM

As an American, I don't think of myself as being from much of anywhere in particular. Lifelong New Yorkers apparently require a ten-year training period for new recruits; in Chicago, I'd imagine it's closer to five or seven, on the outside. (You'll never hear the phrase, "You'll never make it in Chicago." Y'all are, for the most part, too damn nice to say something like that.) I've survived two years, so, until further notice, call me an ex-pat Southerner first, a Chicagoan second.

Tim / February 17, 2005 2:56 PM

For me Chicago has become the sum of what it is not. It is not Lincoln Park. It is no longer Old Town, or Bucktown, or any neighborhood that has been robbed of its soul and has been swept clean of any scrap of authenticity. It is not any of the blink-your-eyes-and-they-are-gone restaurants/clubs. It is not the crappy little stores with "clever" names that have about ten things in them to sell. It is not recently transplanted people who are overnight experts on the Chicago "scene". I could go on, but I won't. Chicago is a place of good, honest, friendly people who are fun and smart and not afraid of their own shadow. They are harder to find by the day.

jenny / February 17, 2005 3:08 PM

I am absolutely not a Chicagoan. I'm a Mainer, a New Englander, a Yankee who bleeds saltwater.

Chicagoans are a fine breed -- I've been here seven years and counting, and love to explore the city, find new corners of it all the time. But every "this is why Chicago is home" listed above is a reason it will always be foreign to me. I'm grateful to Gapers Block for giving me insight into things around here but it will never, ever be home. Polish sausage, expressways with too many names, suburbs two hours away from the city, they Daleys...

Wow, you guys caught me on a homesick day.

jenny / February 17, 2005 3:09 PM

I meant "THE Daleys."

daruma / February 17, 2005 3:23 PM

ABSO-FREAKIN'-LUTELY 100% CHICAGOAN. I extol the virtues of Chicago frequently and loudly to all who will listen. I have been many places, but Chicago is my home and the best city in the world!

waleeta / February 17, 2005 3:25 PM

Ditto Tim. I live in DC now, and have been all around the world - there ain't no place ANYWHERE with nicer people, better food, such diverse culture, or so many things to do with so many different people. Chicago, one day I will return to you.....

Carol Nye / February 17, 2005 3:45 PM

If you are a Chicagoan the feeling that you belong to the "family" will never leave you.Being from that part of the midwest gives you the strength to deal with EVERYTHING. I live in North Carolina now.... it is a beautiful place, but Chicago has my heart. I visit whenever I can.

Mike / February 17, 2005 3:45 PM

I don't think of myself as a Chicagoan at all, maybe more like a Chicagoan's half-brother or something.
I'm from Minnesota (was raised all over; Minneapolis, developing suburbs, Iron Range way up north) and even though I haven't lived there for a few years, I still say "we" when talking about Minnesotans.

Chicago has grown on me a lot since I moved here about a year ago, and I guess I must be more comfortable with it because I've noticed that I can see it for everything it is, scars and all.
There are elements I love: a sense of community in the neighborhoods, the architecture (not in the neighborhoods), the million different cultures here, music, deep respect for history from some people, bars that serve 400 kinds of beer under one roof...
Ironically, these are also the source of a lot of the things I hate about the city too: "neighborhood snobs", quick n' easy condo developers building boring brick boxes, the colossal racism and prejudice (seriously, it's not this bad in NYC, hard as that is to believe), all the crappy music you have to wade through to hear the good stuff (more quantity = more quality in the end though), the disrespect for history from some people, and bars that make you feel strange ordering a High Life.

Mike / February 17, 2005 3:47 PM

PS- Char dogs are the most addictive food known to humankind.

Steve / February 17, 2005 4:08 PM

I do, but mainly because I've always lived within two hours of Chicago. Not knowing much about there, I don't know too much about how different it is from here.

I guess I consider Chicago to be the city of Goldilocks' dreams. It has some annoying aspects of sprawl and more cars than I'd like, but not the way L.A. does. Even our residential neighborhoods feature layers of living space piled one atop another, but six-floor walkups are far rarer here than in New York, where things seem oppressively tall and shadowy. Chicago is...just right.

Except for all the wrong things that we so frequently bitch about here on GB, of course.

e_five / February 17, 2005 4:23 PM

I came here 19 years ago from LA. It took me about five years to feel like a Chicagoan, even though I loved it here from the very beginning. I would never EVER consider moving back to LA, even though most of my family is still there.

Since I moved here originally, I took jobs in Seattle, Oklahoma City, and Little Rock and found myself back here in less than a year each time.

dick delicious / February 17, 2005 4:53 PM

I'm from Georgia and I think Chicago people are some of the most boring, dim-witted people I've ever met. It's hard to put your finger on it, but most of the guys, at least, are what I'd call sorry sombitches or what do you call 'em up here? ... oh, jagoffs. That's it.

christy / February 17, 2005 4:55 PM

I do and I don't consider myself a Chicagoan. I do because I've loved this city most of my life and have lived here for 14 years so far. There are a few other cities where I'd feel at home, but none other than Chicago has so much of what I love. Dense neighborhoods, public transportation (at least it exists), the Lake, an awesome small theatre scene, great neighborhood bars and dives, diverse clubs, art galleries that range from grungy to snooty. And it has two good airports where I can fly all the places in the world where I love to travel and pretend for a short time that I live there. I'm a multi-citian.

Cinnamon / February 17, 2005 5:14 PM

I adore this city. I knew the first time I visited it I would move here and almost 8 years later I'm glad I did. I was born with an amazing amount of wanderlust but that seems to have morphed into a huge desire to simply visit other places. I go away and I just can't wait to get back and then when I do I'm *this* close to shedding a couple of happy tears. I really can't imagine living any place else. Although I'd love to be able to spend a month or two every year in New Orleans.

vit / February 17, 2005 7:01 PM

I'm a first generation Chicagoan I guess (family from the east coast). I was born and raised in the south 'burbs and have been in the city on and off since 1992. I love Chicago and think it is a great place, and have pretty much been here my whole life. But I also love Boston, where my mom is from and where my extended family lives and could easily see myself living there too (to the point where I actually tried to move 3 years ago but it didn't work out).

As my grandfather from the Bronx used to say with a smile when people asked him what he thought of Chicago, "it is the biggest small town ever".

Brandy / February 17, 2005 10:43 PM

I'm undoubtably a midwesterned, and not ashamed to say it.

The second I step foot in Chicago I knew it was home. I love to travel. Will always travel and always call Chicago home. When I fly in at night and the plane breaks through the clouds, I get choked up by the beauty of the glittering grid.

Chicagoan = midwestern + urban = down to earth, no frills talk, hard working, both polite and gruff.

p.s. I love Chicago fashion. Folks have their own style vs. aping the fashion mags and they are dressed for the weather.

Brandy / February 17, 2005 10:51 PM

Mike - I was raised in MN, edumacated in IA and now in IL, thus my proudly claiming to be midwestern. I was amazed when my Minnesota family told me my accent had turned Chicagoan. Now that's nuance.

tony / February 17, 2005 11:28 PM

Being a Chicagoan is like being in a secret club. But it has its quirks. There was a line in a West Wing episode rerun not too long ago on Bravo where Jed Bartlet comments, "Why is it that people from Chicago are always eager to point out that they're from Chicago, but when I meet them they're almost always never in Chicago?" I think we can transplant easily enough, but we know where our roots are and we're proud of it. Chicago, the Second City, but second to none. An architectural showcase, city in a garden, jewel by the lake.

I lived for four years in New York, one in Pittsburgh, and currently make my home just outside of what would properly be called Chicagoland, but at no time do I doubt that I will come home when it comes time to settle down. Being a Chicagoan is knowing where home is, though the neighborhoods have changed so much that you can barely recognize it from fond childhood memories. It's toughing it out during the bitter chill of winter, and when the winds blow off the lake during the summer it warms you on the inside.

Incidentally, I think the classic Chicago accent has largely disappeared. The last time I remember anyone I knew with the accent was back in grade school--my assistant principal had it. It's not a Midwestern accent either that people have (I'm thinking "Fargo" here) but generic, standard American English. If anything, my speech has traces of a New York accent from hanging out with too many kids from Brooklyn/Queens/Long Island...

Bohdan P. / February 18, 2005 3:08 AM

My family came to Chicago in the 50's. Being Ukrainian, my father was called a DP or "displaced person." I think the city was kind of rough on him, but it was rough on everyone. Now, I live in California, waiting for that "straw-that-broke-the-camels-back" reason to come home. Here, I am a DP.

Last October, I came home for my grand fathers funeral and noticed how familiar everything felt. Living in Los Angeles can leave you jaded. Going back to Chicago made me remember who I was and what I was missing.

What makes me a Chicagoan?

Telling people in California my home is Chicago and meaning it. (Not from the suburbs, like most people claim when they say they are from Chi-town)

Saying the word Polish Sahhhhsage, Wiscahhhnson, or the name Rahhhb (Rob)...with the accent on the ahhh.

Seeing the atypical-thick-Chicago-Cop (pronounced Cahhp) mustache and smiling to myself about it.

Knowing that it is sacrilege to put Ketchup on a hot dog.

Knowing the address of Wrigley Field.

Telling Hollywood jerkoffs my biggest claim to fame was my dad playing football with Dick high school.

Remembering, tearfully Comiskey Park and Chicago Stadium.

Knowing all the locations in the Blues Brothers film.

Asking a California driver at a stop light "hey you waiting for a better shade of green, or what?"

Drowning my sorrows in an Irish pub...remembering the first and last flight I ever had at Meigs Field. And, cursing that SOB Daley.

Knowing where my attitude problem came from.

Knowing how to get anywhere, anyway, and anytime on the L. (Even after being gone 10 years.)

The Chicago accent is live and well. Ask any policeman, fireman, steel worker (if you can find one), or cabby. You'll hear it.

Bohdan P. / February 18, 2005 3:26 AM

Oops, I forgot to mention:

Dick the Bruiser, Moose Cholak, Baron Von Raschke, and Moose Cholak.

Ben's Auto Sales Commercials starring Moose Cholak in the 70s.

Waking up to Dr. Don Rose, Gigglesnort Hotel, or the Ray Rayner show.

Harry Carey or Jack Brickhouse.

Need I say more...

Maureen / February 18, 2005 8:41 AM

I currently live abroad, in an Arabic speaking country, and when people first meet me and we're speaking in Arabic, for some reason they think I'm from France or Belgium. Never the U.S. So when they ask me where I'm from, they're always surprised. However, I've taken to saying that I'm from Chicago, not the U.S. because I identify more as a Chicagoan rather than an American.

And when I was considering which university to go to five years ago, everyone said go to New York for an art education. But no, my midwestern nationalism dictated that I stay in Chicago because ours is a world city and why should all the culture-makers leave.

Chicago is deeply flawed yet totally its own beautiful city. It's not a clone of New York or any other world city. It's one that I miss and am proud of as well!

Tony / February 18, 2005 8:44 AM

I'm a Chicagoan - born and bred - and agree with most of the above. But what it means to me is when I'm traveling and meet someone from Chicago, I ask what Parish or what part and they say "Naperville", I take pleasure in scoffing at them and telling them, then you're not from Chicago, you're from Naperville or wherever.

Michael / February 18, 2005 8:49 AM

Being a Chicagoan means recognizing "5-8-8-2-300" and "Where you always save more money!" And for that matter..."Rock-a-bye your baby!"

michael / February 18, 2005 8:51 AM

I'm with Mike and Brandy here. Growing up north of the cheese curtain in good ol' Wisconsin, I can most certainly say I'm a midwesterner. Having spent the last 10 years in Chicago, I would love to say I'm a Chicagoan but I can't. With Algren, Dybek, and knowing my way around the city (North South and West sides y'all) I can't imagine being more in love with a city than I am with Chicago, but, alas, I'm a Cheesehead!

eep / February 18, 2005 8:53 AM

I was born in Florida, but I don't really count it. I've lived in the Chicagoland area since first grade, and while I'm from the burbs, the Chicago attitude has seeped into my blood and become a part of me. I have an unnatural dislike for all things cheesehead, I can navigate my way around the highways by nicknames alone, and I refuse to call US Cellular Field by its name. (It's Comiskey, dammit.) I'm don't understand cities whose skylines don't consists of at least a dozen skyscrapers, and I pride myself on viewing the crazy Chicago weather as a character builder. I argue with my sister that by moving out of state, she has no right to call herself a Chicagoan any longer, especially seeing as how she thinks the Loop is the place to hang out on weekends. While I know that by never having lived inside the city limits makes me less of a Chicagoan than most of you, I'm still fiercely loyal to Chicago and wouldn't think of living in any other city.

eep / February 18, 2005 9:02 AM

I'd like to add: I agree with Tony above. If you're not from Chicago itself, you say you're from Chicagoland. Naperville ain't Chicago. Mokena ain't Chicago. Wheeling ain't Chicago. Say you're from Chicagoland, but don't claim you're from the city itself. It just makes you look like an ass when a real Chicagoan asks you for a neighborhood.

vit / February 18, 2005 9:21 AM

I go back and forth saying I'm 'from chicago' because while I grew up in the 'burbs, I've lived in the city for almost 10 years. When I leave town of course I'm from chicago, hell, I live six blocks from the "el" but when I'm talking to people who grew up in the city, it gets a bit fuzzy there. That being said, the city has always been part of my life, I spent many a childhood day at Lincoln Park and on the beach during the 80's (my parent's favorite way to spend a saturday was to pack a picnic lunch, drive downtown, and hang out on the beach and at the zoo).

As for that stupid accent. It isn't dead, my cousins in Boston accuse me of having it, as if they have room to make fun of how I talk ;)

w / February 18, 2005 9:48 AM

People get to identify themselves, not the other way around. What happens to those of us who spent their young life in chicago, teen years in the suburbs, and college and the rest in Chicago? I never felt I was from the suburbs because my family never fit in - we were never white enough for our neighbors - who have yet to speak to us. Schaumburg never felt like home the way the city did. Every weekend was spent in Rogers Park with our family. Our house was vandalized by young, white, suburban kids, but no one ever looked at us funny or called us sand ni**gers walking around the Northside.

In our case, being in the suburbs shows just how chicago you are. The second my brother (who writes for this fantastic Chicago publication)and I turned 18 we moved back to our city - Chicago. So I don't say I am from "Schaumburg", because I never was, even when I was there. I say I am from Chicago. I say I am a Chicagoan.

Bohdan P. / February 18, 2005 10:12 AM

That should be another topic...

How do you know when you have earned the right to say you are a Chicagoan?

I say, you know whether you earned it and then it is an integrety issue cause real Chicagoans know whose faking it! It's not a time period, its an acquired attitude.

BTW, Empire carpets is nationwide, its here in Los Angeles. I worked with the animator that did one of the parts in the commercial where they guys rolls out the carpet for the lady.

How About the Phone Number...HUdson three - two seven hundred. Who was that???

DCE / February 18, 2005 10:13 AM

Chicago is corruption and cronyism in city government. It is an institutionalized and unspoken segregation between black and white, rich and poor. It is a public education system with a budget of billions that fails thousands of its students.

Being a Chicagoan requires a thorough understanding of unconditional love.

Michael / February 18, 2005 10:22 AM

Bohdan P.

You are correct--although Empire Carpets is a national company, it grew from a family-owned Chicago-based business. The Empire Carpet guy is also a Chicagoan...I know this because he docks his boat at Burnham Harbor next to someone I work with.

RH / February 18, 2005 10:36 AM

I grew up in Minnesota and feel a lot of affection for the state as a whole, but Chicago is far and away the city I love the most. I've been here five years now, but I feel like I've connected more directly with this city-- the neighborhoods, the lakefront, epic trips on the CTA-- than I ever did with any particular town or city in Minnesota.

Alex / February 18, 2005 10:43 AM

Pilsen, born and raised. Although (don't kill me) I would consider moving to London. Still, of all the cities in the U.S., I'm glad I'm raising my kid in this one. And in his room will be my Cubs memorabilia I collected as a kid and a brick from the original Comiskey Park.

Too bad he'll never get to see the MagiKist lips of the expressway...

vit / February 18, 2005 10:50 AM

"Too bad he'll never get to see the MagiKist lips of the expressway"

No kidding. I pity any poor child who gets stuck on the Dan Ryan breathing fumes with their family on a hot summers day in an unairconditioned car who doesn't have that to look foward to as I did.

Veronica / February 18, 2005 10:53 AM

I've lived all over the States - my father was in the military - but Chicago is the one place where I feel like I could stay forever. I moved here when I was 17 and I have no intentions of leaving any time soon. Whenever I'm told I need to move to NY to get crackin' on that writing career, I think, but I don't want to leave this place! The El, MSI, Grant Park, Powell's and Unabridged, Belmont, the lake, Diversey, 57th St., La Creperie...I could go on about what I love here. For many years New Mexico was home by default. Then I realized that I'd made a new home all on my own.

emily / February 18, 2005 11:22 AM

Born and raised on the East Coast, once I moved here I knew Chicago was actually my home. I consider myself a Chicagoan in my definition: that I love and appreciate everything about this city and can't imagine living anywhere else. I still have to ask for directions sometimes, and I can't eat deep dish more than once a year, but I love this place and don't have any intention of ever leaving.

I don't think you have to "earn" the right to call yourself a Chicagoan. Technically, anyone who lives in the city is one, whether they like it or not.

Thurston / February 18, 2005 11:43 AM

I consider myself a Chicagoan, having lived in the city for about four years now. That's about as long as I've ever lived anywhere. I definitely do some bragging about Chi-town to my out-of-town friends. I have a pretty strong peripatetic impulse, so I doubt I'll be here forever, but I'll always know it's the best big city in the US. NYC is great, but too expensive, and there is such an ironic arrogance to many New Yorkers, who think they are so worldly despite not knowing anything about the world outside of Manhattan (and not being able to afford to leave Manhattan with their 4-figure rent bills). Chicago, while perhaps not as cosmopolitan as cities like London, Sao Paulo or Hong Kong, can still hold its own in terms of diverse cultural resources - opportunites for exploration most any area are available here to those who are passionate enough to look. What makes Chicago so great is the perfect medium it offers between the East Coast snootiness of Boston, NYC and Philly, and the West Coast flakiness and materialism of LA, SF and Seattle. Chicago is a place where you can actually buy a decent pad in a good neighborhood and not need a million dollars to do it. It's a place where you can go to a cultural event for a reasonable cost, and not be priced out by scenesters looking to be seen. It is also probably the most segregated big city in the country, and though getting better all the time, it is a city that often fails its citizens miserably. But blemishes aside, it strikes a balance of the best of urban life and livability that no other metropolitan area in the US offers. When I leave it, it will be a sorrowful departure.

Mike / February 18, 2005 11:43 AM

I am really fed up with the snobby girls (and guys for that matter) that move to Chicago from Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin or where ever, have lived here a year or less and consider themselves Chicagoans and act like they know it all.

Putting on a Cubs hat, renting a studio apartment in Lincoln Park, drinking at the Gin Mill and riding the L doesn't make you a Chicagoan.

I always challenge them to one of the following questions (Which they fail to get right!):
-Name the two seasons in Chicago
-Name 5 other neighborhoods besides Lincoln Park and Wrigleyville
-Name the highways by name not number
-Name other Chicago culinary institutions besides Giordano's and Pizzeria Uno
-Don't you think 26th and California is a great place to hang out?
-What is the lake effect?

These people need to shut up and quit acting like they own the place! Live here for a few years, get to know the city, the politics, experience the lake effect and take in all there is.

Peggy Gallagher / February 18, 2005 11:47 AM

And, any real Chicagoan knows it's "dese, dem and dose", NOT "these, them and those" (hoity-toity pronunciations). No real Chicagoan would try to be something they're not by talking in a hoity-toity manner.

Also, all real Chicagoans know that the only place to live is the South Side. Ain't nobody living on the North Side, it's only for the tourists and for fake Chicagoans like Oprah.

Tom Harlengen / February 18, 2005 11:48 AM

Kudos to you Mike, for bringing up a long standing peeve of mine. Transplants have been getting my nerves since well since I started working in the loop in '87.

One of their most annoying traits, in my opinion, is their tendency to move to LP/Lakeview, and know nothing else whatsoever about the metro area than what they see in and along the brown/red lines to and from their loop jobs. The "better than you" attitude, which is the main source of humor on this site, gets real old after about 10 seconds of talking with them.

Go Blue - hah! More like "Go Home"!

Michela Kennedy / February 18, 2005 11:49 AM

I would just love to meet a transplant that actually has positive things to say about where they came from. Or even better yet, someone who actually says something to the effect when asked where they are from: "I'm originally from Wisconsin, but I've lived in Chicago far over 2 years...".

The real shame of it is that when I travel to where a lot of these people are from (WI, MI, etc.) the people THERE really are kind of nice. Its just the ones who come here that get that phony urban attitude. I really think Chicago has gotten to be a collection point of people from rural backgrounds that are/were very ambitious and were very bright in their grammar/high schools. They are the ones that were college bound and they MADE it by coming to the big city. They then cop this smug, 'holier than thou' attitude because they've been watching "Friends" for years and they assume thats how "big city" folks act. I assume, when they go home for the holidays (ever go to LP on Thanksgivings or Christmas lately??) they tone it down and revert to their true personalities - which are probably for the most part pretty cool. Its too bad, because a lot of these people COULD be a lot of fun to get to know if they would just drop the pretense when they're here and be themselves.

Rob G / February 18, 2005 11:50 AM

"Fake Chicagoans?" You may not love the young pros but they are just as much part of Chicago and its history as anyone else. The only group that changed the landscape of the city more in such a short span of time were the Irish in the early part of last century. I would say the yuppies have had a comparable impact.

They completely revamped Lakeview, Edgewater, Bucktown, Wicker Park, Lincoln Square, Ukranian Village, parts of Lincoln Park, the South Loop, the West Loop, Roscoe Village, Albany Park, and I could go on and on. They tore down Cabrini Green. The people they displaced caused massive changes in many suburbs.

Was this good? Well, that's a whole 'nother issue. But to call them "fake Chicagoans" is incorrect.

Jen McFinnegan / February 18, 2005 11:53 AM

Aren't Michigan and Wisconsin part of "The Chicagoland Area?"

Ashley Johnson / February 18, 2005 11:56 AM

Uh, like this is so unfair and just shows the snootyness and how mean the natives are. They treat us like crap. I have Illinois Plates on my Jetta, have an Illinois Drivers License, a Chicago City Sticker and pay taxes in Illinois. I am a Chicagoan!!!!

Brad McDuffy / February 18, 2005 11:57 AM


Ashley! Way to go throwing out $75 bucks on avehicle sticker! Real Chicagoans know that city stickers are a joke and don't buy them! You got had! hahaha

Eric / February 18, 2005 12:10 PM

Yeah... I wasn't born here, but I got here as fast as I can. Grew up in Texas suburbia, but it is no longer home. For 8 years now, I'm proud to be "from" Chicago.

I guess it means the obvious: you know what a Chicago hot dog is, and what kind of pizza to get. You have "your" restaurants, and your pub as well. You know the names of at least a dozen neighborhoods (and where to find them), and you have a crazy story about (a) the El, (b) the cops, or (c) the homeless. You take the parking prohibitions seriously (I never did that until I moved here).

Love it here.

w / February 18, 2005 12:12 PM

thanks to the trixies, yuppies, and "poseurs".. you pay more so that I can pay less... you live in neighborhoods that I never would! Welcome to Chicago and tell your friends about it!

Anyone who loves this city and the people in it belongs here. I love hearing new chicago patriots and how much they love the city - you have learned its secret!

Ethan / February 18, 2005 12:16 PM

I've lived here for about eight years, and it was only this year while I've been thinking about moving to NYC that I realized how much I love Chicago.

I guess I've been a closeted Chicagoan for some time, but I'm Out now, baby!

haydn / February 18, 2005 12:27 PM

Who the hell do you think founded Chicago, after the swamp was drained? Fake Chicagoans!
Seriously, everyone attacking transplants is completely lacking in historical perspective.
We sniff our noses at people who move to Lakeview from Ohio or out east (the very people who founded the city!) and act like their existence is somehow less authentic than moving to Pilsen or Little Village from Mexico.

Guess what. Both groups are moving here for one reason, economic opportunity that doesn't exist back home. Ever hear of the brain drain? Seriously, read a little Sherwood Anderson.

And don't give me any line about the Ohioites not knowing the city. Do you really think Bosnian immigrants in say, Rogers Park are familiar with good taquerias at 93rd and Commercial?

Go back and read the Gold Coast and the Slum and read all about the urban bohemia of Towertown. It was called Towertown, you might remember, because it was in the shadow of the Water Tower. And hipsters might still be hanging out there today instead of Humboldt Park if something called "large economic forces beyond individual control" hadn't moved in and forced them elsewhere. Or read Street Signs Chicago, which postulates that neighborhood stability was always illusory.

I could go on and on about the 19th Century accounts of buildings being torn down every ten years to make way for something new, but I don't have the time.

As someone whose family has lived in Chicago proper for over 100 years (and who used and, okay, problably still does hold holier-than-thou attitudes about Lakeview and Lincoln Park, neighborhoods I would admittedly never live in) I'm tired of all the territorial b.s. Displacement, yes, is terrible, but so is stagnation.

I need only look at my beloved Morse Avenue to recall a strip that 20 years ago had a Greek diner, a health food shop, a decent record store, a major grocery store and several decent and cheap clothing stores, along with the greatest five and dime known to man, Charles ValueVille.
All signs, I know, of terrible yuppie infiltration, only it had been like that on Morse for several decades.
Now it's all dollar stores and liquor stores. It's just sooooo authentic, and while I've never felt unsafe on Morse, there isn't a single establishment west of the el where I would spend my money. Not for lack of trying; I went to all of the above until they slowly disappeared.

I know Rogers Park is an anomaly, but don't bother enjoying all those Middle Eastern restaurants in Albany Park THAT WEREN'T THERE 10 YEARS AGO!

Do you want to know what makes Chicago Chicago, and always has? Explosive, difficult, chaotic, hectic and constant change that often sucks. Move to Wisconsin if you can't deal with it, and talk until the end of your days about the fictitious old neighborhood.

Meg / February 18, 2005 12:30 PM

The question of authenticity is interesting - how/when is it okay to claim Chicagoan status. Here's how I handle it:

When asked by someone in Chicago where I'm from I say, "I grew up in small town Michigan, and I've been living in Chicago for 9 years."

If I'm outside of Chicago, but not in Michigan, and someone asks where I'm from I just say "Chicago." Only if the person says something along the lines of "Oh, I used to live in Lincoln Park" do I feel like I need to clarify that when I say Chicago, I really mean the south side. (Pilsen)

I'm not sure the theory that the Lincoln Park/Lakeview transplants are all bright rural kids who want to make it in the big city holds up, exactly. My own personal bias is to think that those folks are *not* rural at all. (My own rural sensibility would never allow me to pay that much for rent to live in a "neighborhood" that consists almost enitrely of recent transplants.) Rather, I tend to think that they are from small cities, or more likely, suburbs of other states.

The reason that I feel at home in Chicago is precisely because I grew up in a small, rural town (population 1800). People here are attached to where they live/grew up, folks tend to know their neighbors (at least in the places wehe I've lived so far), and small talk and eye contact are the norm here, more often than not.

It wasn't until I left Chicago for a while that I realized that I really am, at this point, a Chicagoan.

vit / February 18, 2005 12:44 PM

Good points about the ultimate danger in mocking those transplants a bit too much. We should be happy that our city is not struggling with the brain drain, stagnation, and decay that so many other rust belt cities have. If that means I have to put up with a few Jetta driving Trixies, so be it, and if you think other thriving cities are different, then I must ask, how many transplants can you count in Manhattan, or Los Angeles. That people (even if you don't like them) want to live here is a good thing.

paul / February 18, 2005 1:03 PM

I wasn't even going to answer this question since I'm from NJ and I live in Evanston (I'd be proud to call myself an Evanstonian, but it sounds dorky).

Yes, I love this city and am proud to show it off to outsiders, but I know a real Chicagoan when I see one 'cause I've been here for 15 years. They are always real people who give the city character - not the other way around.

And the stupid questions people are always coming up with to test 'fake-Chicagoans' are so easy that my relatives in Jersey can answer them. How about testing them real with real questions like "which is the fastest Sect. of State driver's license facility?" or what's the fastest way to get from the Congress to Navy Pier?" or "name 3 chicago streets that ryhme with vagina".

Tony / February 18, 2005 1:45 PM

Paulina, China and Oneida

And real Chicagoans say Troop - don't pronounce the H. And we call it Crawford, not Pulaski because we remember when it changed.

Michael / February 18, 2005 1:50 PM

As I heard the's Paulina, Melvina and Lunt.

John / February 18, 2005 1:51 PM

As a lifelong Chicagoan, I don't see the point of this insistence on neighborhood authenticity. I'm white, college educated, and I have a partner who happens to make a lot of money, so I live in a big new condo in Lakeview. I like it here precisely because the neighborhood is full of people like me and I can walk to everything I need and want -- good restaurants, cafes, movies and bookstores.

Like seeks like, folks. That's the story of Chicago. I happen to like yuppies and transplanted suburbanites because they're generally smart, civil, and hardworking. If you don't, then knock your socks off in Marquette Park (where I grew up)or Little Village. But stop begrudging us our little fucking sliver of the city.

Eamon / February 18, 2005 2:13 PM

My rule of thumb for weeding out the Chicagoans from the non-Chicagoans is simply the response to one simple question: "Isn't Chicago the best city on earth?"

Conservative Chicagoans answer "yes", Liberal Chicagoans answer "yes, but", and everyone else just hasn't spent enough time here.

Craig / February 18, 2005 2:15 PM

Yes, but based on reading the entries here I would say Chicagoans are also defined by low tolerance for change and high levels of anti-intellectualism. Why can't defining yourself as a Chicagoan be more of a positive expression of pride instead of an assertion of authenticity through negativity?

vit / February 18, 2005 2:41 PM

Craig - Well put.

Eamon / February 18, 2005 2:51 PM

Craig, anti-gentrification sentiment is not the same as anti-intellectualism. Your fancy-pantsed Ivy League book larnin' should have taught you that.

Rick Stratton / February 18, 2005 4:27 PM

Why can't we all just enjoy some of Lincoln Park's best Irish Pubs?

Rick Stratton / February 18, 2005 4:27 PM

Why can't we all just enjoy some of Lincoln Park's best Irish Pubs?

d4ve / February 18, 2005 5:03 PM

Tony said:"I'm a Chicagoan - born and bred - and agree with most of the above. But what it means to me is when I'm traveling and meet someone from Chicago, I ask what Parish or what part and they say "Naperville", I take pleasure in scoffing at them and telling them, then you're not from Chicago, you're from Naperville or wherever."

word Tony...but usually it goes like this:

me: where ya from?
them: chicago.
me: oh yeah? me too! where 'bout?
them: schaumburg
me: oh
them: where you from?
me: irving & pulaski (i never knew neighborhood names till i went to college)
them: where? *blush* oh you mean downtown?
me: uhhhhh wtf, no....

anyway, i don't scoff at them cause they're already sticking their foot in their mouth by that time. It's no biggie though, whatever..if it makes em feel good.

I sometimes hear that people in chicago are mean or cold but i think most of that is attributed to transplants who come in and hole themselves up in their safe little bubbles, condos and cliques. (Them gated condo communities are killing me!) Growing up here i found most people to be warm, friendly, nice and down-to-earth. I think people from other communities should be just as proud of their own but what do i know, i grew un in chicago's easy for me. ;)

So yeah i'm a Chicagoan. I used to be embarrassed of it until i started visiting other cities. I guess that means i appreciate what we got but i think it could be much better.

Bohdan P. / February 18, 2005 5:36 PM

Your a Chicagoan if...

you have a very low bullshit threshhold.

paul / February 18, 2005 6:21 PM

Real Chicagoans know that the best Irish pubs are on the southside.

Just kidding.

Bobby / February 18, 2005 7:32 PM

It appears as though some of the mentally challenged from the lptrixies site have brought their miserable selves over here. Do you sad pathetic actualy think you're funny?

Leelah / February 18, 2005 8:59 PM

I've lived on the north side, and now I live on the south side. I teach in CPS. I remember the Wrigleyville Tap and Augenblick. I hate deep dish pizza, I don't eat meat, and I hate it when people mark their parking spots with chairs. I hate the weather. I love the lake. People ask where I'm from and I say Chicago, but I'm not sure I'm a Chicagoan!

chris / February 19, 2005 12:12 AM

Yea, I am a Chicagoan (even though I technically don't live in the City limits). I am actually from the South suburbs. I consided moving far far away a few times in my life. I think I would miss Chicago too much though. hmm You might say that I am "Chicago-whipped" hehe...bleh. When I do finally earn a few bucks, I hope to buy a condo and move to Hyde Park (right off of the lake at 55th street). I love that place.

Bein a "Chicagoan" means being tough but fair. Also not being a sissy.

st / February 19, 2005 10:08 AM

i love chicago for all its contradictions and consistencies. i try to embody it all.

roseland - lp
gold coast - k-town
brighton park - hermosa
evanston - burbank
harvey - schaumburg
aurora - blue island

d4ve / February 19, 2005 3:53 PM

i love deep dish, put ketchup on my notdog, don't eat meat either and also hate the parking space saving.
people who go by some ridiculous list of what makes a chicagoan...well, are suspect. ;)

Leelah / February 19, 2005 9:24 PM

I don't know about that ketchup on the hot (or not) dog thing. I never saw that done UNTIL I moved to Chicago!

vit / February 19, 2005 9:56 PM

Saving parking spots with old furniture isn't unique to Chicago either, they do it in Boston too. It is annoying either way.

rosie / February 20, 2005 7:57 AM

i love chicago !!!!!!!!!! bottom line I'm a real south sider born (south shore) and raised (hegewisch) i miss the magikiss lips and the way that lake shore drive used to be before daley started his revamping of a city that didnt really need it. yes chicagoians may not like change why you may ask because this is home, this family, this is life. sadly most of the change that has been happening isnt like your sister having a baby. with that said we a city of great food great arts and great people ( good and bad)someone mentioned earlier about this being the "biggest small town ever" they were right and we are probably the happiest. being a chicagoian is more than just knowing that there were 4 chicago airports (ohare, midway, meigs, gary/chicago) or knowing that the bishop ford was the calumet or even knowing what the "hip" is. being a chicagoian is more than just its secrets its knowing its heart. for all those transplanters and even some suburbanites take advantage of where you are soak this town up for all it has to offer. those of us endemic to chicago have made it strong enough to hold us all

Ted / February 20, 2005 12:09 PM

Hey Mike!

-- Winter and construction

-- Clearing, Jeffery Manor, Riverdale, Edgebrook, Belmont-Cragin, etc. etc.

-- Edens, Kennedy, Stevenson, Eisenhower, Bishop Ford, Reagan

-- Mr. Beef and Gibson's off the top of my head. I'm not much of a restaurant guy. My favorite hot dog is at Skyway Dog House, 95th and Ewing, in East Side.

-- 26th and California, site of the Cook County Jail and the courts that supply it, is the most depressing building I've ever entered in my life.

-- The Lake Effect brings us snow, although not as much as the east side of Lake Michigan.

Grew up in Michigan, moved here from Central Illinois in 1995. I am a Midwesterner. Chicago is my capital city. What makes it America's greatest city is its dynamism. It's always attracting newcomers, not just yuppies but Mexicans, Bosnians, Jamaicans, Poles, etc. If you want "natives only" move to Lovington or Effingham, where people turn up their noses at you unless your grandparents were born in town. You people are right, though, that too many transplants are ignorant of anything off the Brown and Red Lines. I love driving around the outer neighborhoods myself.

Mr. Smith / February 21, 2005 10:37 PM

I don't mind the folks that are newly transplanted to Chicago and live in Lakeview. Most of 'em don't know any better (I sure didn't). But it's when you know there's more of the city out there and you choose not to explore it...that's what keeps you from being a vital part of the city, not just someone who lives here.

I grew up in the 'burbs. When I travelled and people asked me where I lived I said "Chicago." Why? Because I lived in Lansing. So people always assumed I lived in Michigan which got pretty irritating after a while. But I figured out the error there too.

It takes living in the city proper to understand why certain people have such a chip on their shoulder about those in the 'burbs. Personally, I think it's a right I've earned by inhaling the smell of urine every morning when I step on the red line rather than settling into a comfy seat on the Metra.

312 Forever...

Brian / February 22, 2005 2:26 PM

I was born at LaGrange General, only because mom's OB/GYN moved out there at the last minute. I grew up first at Grand and Major, then Wicker Park (long before the gentrification), and then at Humboldt Park. When I was a young teen, my family moved to the south (no, not the south side, the south). I still have family all over the city and out in the suburbs. My uncle was both born in and died at Illinois Masonic.

For the record, I lived off the Milwaukee-O'Hare line (before it was the Blue Line), I remember the A and B stations, my family always called Pulaski Rd by it's first name, Crawford Ave., and they called the Eisenhower the Congress Expressway. I didn't know where the hell the Bishop Ford Freeway was until someone finally remembered it was the Calumet Expressway, and the Reagan Tollway? Please. It is indeed pronounced Troop, minus the H. Stoplights and stop signs around Cabrini were mere suggestions. If you needed a cop, you could find them at a Winchell's. I vividly remember the Blizzard of '79 because my folks ran a snow plowing business, and for 3 days continuously we lived in the trucks plowing parking lots for such fine establishments as Cragin Federal on Fullerton, several hot dog stands up and down Armitage and Western Ave, and even the Vienna store. The Sox will always play at Comiskey to me. We had one of the pirate boxes for ON TV and Spectrum. The best pizza in town is Congress Pizza on Milwaukee. And if you got an italian beef without peppers, you might as well have ordered tofu for all the stares you were going to get.

Yeah, a lot has changed with Chicago. I've lived a lot of places since I've been gone, and find myself currently in Indianapolis. But in all the places I have lived, I've never felt at home in them. But I always feel at home when I'm in Chicago. I am a long-lost Chicagoan who is ready to come home for good.

Eva / February 22, 2005 5:10 PM

I was born in chicago and lived here for a few years. My family then moved to the suburbs and that is where i have been living for the past 20 sum years. I am proud to be called chicagoan. I love this city!
When i was in the dominican republic a couple years ago on vacay, the locals asked me where i was from. i told them from chicago. you know...from all of the people that i met in that country told me that they are Sammy Sosa's cousin. Boy, he must have alot of cousins! but anyways i was just happy that chicago is well known not only in the U.S. but other countries as well.
Chicago Rules!

smallfry / September 26, 2006 4:41 PM

although im still young, 14, i have lived in chicago all my life, parents been her since 2 and on and off since 20. Most of the stuff posted above i knew but never realized or catogarized as being chicagoan. i don't do the ketchup thing, have the 'stupid, little' accent at times (noticed when i went to camp in Minnisota with some NY kids) say Troop, ride the El (what would i do without those unreliable guys :) )... i guess i am one and don't plan on leaving chicago , because its just so ........GREAT!!!! My dad lives in IND and brother in 'burbs but its too boring to me Chicago I love and always will stay, but only time will tell.....and oh lighting up on the 'transplants' although i do know they are ignoring (a trail of them on Sox game days, crowding the red line) but hey they will learn like we all have when time passes

John / October 6, 2008 5:13 PM

Just because you're born or live in Chicago proper doesn't make you a Chicagoan. You can be born in Beverly or Mt. Greenwood for all I care and I'll still consider you a non-Chicagoan, or *gasp* a suburbanite. Once you learn to navigate your way through the city, the good parts and the bad, learn the history, and stop drinkin' the "_____ Side better ," kool-aid I'll give you a chance. Heck, some people who grew up in Cicero or Oak Park know more history and are more street smarts than some that grew up in the city proper. Bottom line: do your homework and live and breath EVERYTHING Chicago has to offer.

Chrisd / May 24, 2009 10:19 PM

I am a first generation Chicagoan. My father was born in Southeastern Missouri and my mother immigrated from the Philippines. I have lived in Chicago and the Chicagoland area my entire life. I live in a south suburb which is surrounded by the city; even so, I consider myself a Chicagoan.

Recently I have taken my children into the loop as tourists and get to experience the beauty and diversity of our city through my children's eyes.

I will be visiting Arizona and was looking forward to visiting their museums. I was told to skip them because of the world class museums in Chicago.

Having lived here my entire life, there have been many times that I have taken our cultural places for granted. But not anymore.

I am proud to be a Chicagoland Chicagoan. And you might be interested to know that there are many people on the southside who put ketchup on their hotdogs and don't think twice about it.

Dave / January 3, 2010 1:34 AM

I agree with John and the quote from West Wing that Tony brought up is funny and true. My friend and I were talking about it.

My favorite things about it are the food, Sox vs. Cubs and the CTA which made the city easy to travel for this native Oak Parker.

I'm glad to find this post, I was trying to narrow what makes us different.

I heard another interesting line about our fair city. It went "Chicago is great because it represents a lot of the country. We can relate to the fast go-go nature of the East Coast, the family values of the South and the laid back culture of the West Coast."

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