Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Malling of Halsted Street

I went down to Lakeview to putter around today, but I guess we all just call it Boystown, now. There are official rainbow pylon thingies everywhere that kind of demarcate the neighborhood (and stand as a memorial to how Daley would court "minority" voting blocks.) Not that there aren't communities of gay men or women elsewhere in the city (Old Town, Andersonville), but this is where all the theatrical stuff happens. Well, once a year, anyway on pride day.

The public's idea of Halsted Street (DC Comics Database)

color appliance
actual, typical view on Halsted (my photostream)

There's also the Wrigley Field part of Lakeview, which is pretty theatrical in itself, but only amusing if you're a frat boy drinking a six pack of Bud Light. To the rest of us, it's a touristic hell-hole that makes public transit on the north side impossible on game days.

At least 100 years ago there were no T-Shirt vendors (PBS NewsHour)
Anyway, I stopped at the Center on Halsted, where a lot of the LGBT non-profit groups provide local services and classes and such. There's a giant Whole Foods built into it, which has a great coffee stand. There's a bit of spill-over into the Center's lobby, where one is free to sit, munch and do some people watching.

or contemplate the cold, steel-grey Chicago sky. (my photostream)
I'd really come down to say good-bye to the old Brown Elephant. They're moving out of the cavernous Halsted garage to a new location up north on Lincoln. There wasn't much here to browse through; obviously they've started clearing out already, but that's all right. I had an interesting scrounge yesterday at their competitors, the Green Element.

Five dollars worth of fun! (My Facebook feed)
The Brown Elephant is a huge non-profit that provides health services for the LGBT community. With the loss of the flagship store, Halsted is starting to look like a giant strip mall. Sort of an adjacent tourist trap for the people wandering away from Wrigley Field. Even the community center I mentioned above is only visible from the street as a Whole Foods. Bring the kids to the game, buy a souvenir at Gay Mart (which was closed for remodeling) and take the train back home to the suburbs. Ah, gentrification.

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