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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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Friday, December 2

Gapers Block

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Archie / July 20, 2004 11:37 PM

Any corner with a Currency Exchange

Ron / July 20, 2004 11:50 PM

Roosevelt and Canal on any Sunday morning.

Benjy / July 21, 2004 12:06 AM

Clark & Addison, if a little too cliche.

Ramsin / July 21, 2004 7:16 AM

I'll say it, because somebody has to: the corner of Michigan and Wacker, of course.

Andy / July 21, 2004 7:39 AM


Steve / July 21, 2004 7:41 AM

Any corner that has both a church and a liquor store.

jennifer / July 21, 2004 8:25 AM

Jackson and Wacker, home of the Sears Tower of course.

Mike / July 21, 2004 9:07 AM

I'd like say Mil./Damen/North but I think it's a little more like Mil./Grand/Halstead. There's a really old bar that keeps track of its history, there's an el stop, there's some boarded up storefronts for no reason and there's apartments that obviously just got rehabbed. Some corners are totally unique but then there's corners like this that are a dime a dozen all over town.

Vit / July 21, 2004 9:10 AM

Kedzie and Lawrence.

Alice / July 21, 2004 1:19 PM

Michigan and Wacker is definitely the photogenic choice, but when I think of the "real" Chicago away from the Loop, I have to go with Six Corners at Milwaukee/Cicero/Irving Park.

Russ / July 21, 2004 1:55 PM

Michigan & Randolph. Always was, always will be. No matter how much the mayors try to screw it up.

amyc / July 21, 2004 2:12 PM

Fullerton and LSD -- the water, the beach, the skyline, the glory!

AlphaBettor / July 21, 2004 5:06 PM

Jarlath and Sacramento -- now and forever.

msa / July 21, 2004 5:46 PM

I never feel like a Chicagoian more than when I walk around North/Damen/Milwaukee. Hot dogs, the el, sushi, coffee shops, people of all sizes, colors and ages.

Luke / July 21, 2004 5:59 PM

A six-corner intersection with the following: currency exchange, church, bar, hot dog stand, ethnic restaurant and, alas, Starbucks.

Naz / July 21, 2004 6:06 PM

Luke - I was thinking something similar and have been racking my brains for it, I know it's out there. First one that comes close is the Lincoln/Southport/something intersection. There's a Golden Nugget, a church, a diner/bar, a Mediterranean place one storefront over and a Starbucks another store over.

Two other possible corners: Clark and Diversey or Clark and Belmont - gotta have a Dunkin Donuts somewhere.

Craig / July 21, 2004 7:16 PM

Downtown and the trendy neighborhoods where I spend most of my time represent "cool" Chicago, but to me I really "feel" Chicago at unromantic intersections like Higgins & Harlem where homely houses (with fake stone insets) line the streets and working-class restaurants (with those odd metal frameworks that hold up their signs) fill in the gaps. There's just a certain look to the urban-suburban outer fringes of this city that ain't very cosmo, but it's very Chicago.

Veronica / July 21, 2004 9:23 PM

Clark and Belmont. It feels so Chicago-neighborhood there, as opposed to Chicago-downtown. But also North/Damen/Milwaukee because of Gustave Caillebotte's Paris Street - Rainy Day. I like to pretend that painting is set at this corner, instead.

Lyle from Lisle / July 21, 2004 10:56 PM

a-huh-huh, huh-huh


why yes I *am* in junior high . . .

(they do actually intersect)

pat / July 22, 2004 8:59 AM

Any intersection that is not Clark & Ontario.

dogstarz / July 22, 2004 9:33 AM

State and Lake (I've been away for over thirty years).

brian / July 22, 2004 10:38 AM

Apparently the South Side doesn't have any typical Chicago corners?

Andrew / July 22, 2004 10:59 AM

35th and Shields, where you have a view of a ballpark, an expressway, the El, some projects and the skyline in the distance.

(Brian, I think it's more a symptom of our smaller South Side readership than a lack of typical corners.)

Kate / July 22, 2004 10:59 AM

As a long-time South Sider (8 years in Hyde Park), I was trying to come up with a South Side intersection that epitomized Chicago for me. I think there are two: 53rd and South Hyde Park (high- and low-rise apartment buildings, a corner store, a well-used city park, and a lake view), or any Southwest Side intersection with Chicago bungalows and a '50s-vintage bar, probably along Garfield/55th somewhere. But these are intersections I remember with affection: much as I hate to admit it, there is probably some sense in which Chicago is also epitomized by an intersection like 49th and Interstate 90/94.

Vit / July 22, 2004 11:32 AM

brian -- I wouldn't presume to talk about what I don't know. I grew up in the south 'burbs and occaisionally hung out around Beverly with family friends, but other than that, all of my Chicago (proper) living experiences have been on the north and northwest side of the city. Nothing against the south side (my father worked on the south side and a lot of people in my neighborhood growing and my school moved from the south side), just not as familiar with it.

haydn / July 22, 2004 12:03 PM

Downtown-State and Washington-Field's, Walgreen's, a newish Borders and an essentially vacant lot.

North Side-Devon and Western for pure bustling, grimy, flower planter-free Chicago

West Side-Madison and Pulaski's shopping strip

South Side-95th and Ewing for the Skyway hot dog shack, houses below grade and a view of the Calumet River.

miss ellen / July 22, 2004 12:05 PM

i wanted to list a few south side intersections, but i just figured they would be lost in the north side shuffle.....

i'd say any intersection with western ave, like 79th street, for example. you get dock's, st. rita high school (formerly quigly semenary), a mcd's, and various other local flavor. it's been a little while, though.

somewhere like this, to me, is very chicago. but, i grew up on the south side, so it's not very known to those that don't get down there & explore.

driving western avenue from top to bottom is is a very good exercise in all things chicago....IMO.

AlphaBettor / July 22, 2004 1:04 PM

Not only do Paulina and Lunt intersect, they do is right outside St. Jerome's Catholic Church.

My favorite south side intersection is 95th and Commercial, the heart of South Chicago.

I also like Belmont and Central, because it looks like it hasn't changed since Richard J. Daley won his first election. It's one of those old neighborhood mini-downtowns with a men's clothing store.

daruma / July 22, 2004 1:20 PM

I thought everyone would say State & Madison, cuz that's the 0 starting point for the street numbering system. I vote Clark & Belmont though.

Vit / July 22, 2004 1:22 PM

miss ellen - sure is. I remember driving home (Park Forest) down Western Ave. from the Loop with my father once when I was a teenager when the expressways were snarled due to some accident and of course construction, took forever but it was a great trip.

tony / July 22, 2004 1:45 PM

I believe the correct answer is the intersection of Broadway and Addison, made famous by the opening shot of "Perfect Strangers."

Cinnamon / July 22, 2004 2:02 PM

I'm going to say Broadway and Wilson. Why? Cause right after I moved to Chicago I would explore the areas along the train line by getting off at one stop and walking to the next stop north. I got off at this stop and saw three younger guys face down on the pavement with a gaggle of Chicago's finest standing around them smoking cigarettes and talking about how stupid kids these days were. I proceeded to walk north and before I could get past Popeye's on the corner I was asked for money twice, saw a woman lifting her skirt to a man in a car parked across the street, and I saw a little kid with no shoes running around trying to kick pigeons. A couple years later it's also the where I saw my first victim of a shooting.

brian / July 22, 2004 3:39 PM

For me it's pretty much any corner where I can look out at 3am and see the long horizon of streetlights stretching off. It's humid and each of the lights has a small halo suggesting that Chicago's a better place than we all know it is.

mar / July 22, 2004 5:03 PM

Corners of my life:
Foster and California
Irving Park and Southport
Clark and Cornelia
Richmond and Montrose

ekim remark / July 22, 2004 5:44 PM

Western and Garfield Blvd

There's this ern-like thingy at the point where the boulevard system makes it's turn. I like to imagine what it looks like on the original plans for the street system. I bet it was a great drawing. There is also Gage Park there. It's this cool park with neiborhood kids playing basketball, little league baseball, and a bunch of older guys playing hand ball on this crazy cinder block wall structure (painted brown and grey)

Steve / July 22, 2004 10:50 PM

Ashland and Montrose
Damen and Addison
Berteau and Wolcott
Western and Lawrence
Damen and Irving Park

'cuz I've lived at each of these intersections during my eight years in the city. And I am Chicago.

Vit / July 23, 2004 10:06 AM

Well, as long as we are listing corners we've lived at as quintessential Chicago, here it goes:

Grandville and Winthrop
Albion and Clark
Belmont and Leavitt
Kedzie and Sunnyside
Lawrence and Wolcott
LaSalle and Division (dear God what was I thinking, it sucked)
Damen and Chicago

jimbo / August 13, 2004 6:36 PM

I went to grammer school at St. Lukes which was at Belmont and Greenview, and the place we all headed for after school was Lincoln, Belmont and Ashland.
The places I remember most were the Belmont Theatre, Meyers Durgstore and Goldblatts Department Store. The time frame was 1954 thru Graduation in 1960.

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