Sunday, July 27, 2014

Wandering down Clark Street in Andersonville

vintage arrow shaped sign in Andersonville
storefront near Clark & Foster (sign now removed)

Today I went down to Andersonville. I needed some more blank cards for mailing my artwork off in, and some more summer clothing. I don't know what it says about our society that I have to go down to Boys' Town or Andersonville to find used clothing that skinny people once wore.

old water tank near Clark & Foster (also since removed)

This used to be the area primarily settled by Swedish immigrants, with related businesses stretching down from Foster to Kimball. Now, there are only a few restaurants left and the Swedish-American Museum.

Former funeral home at Clark & Gregory

This is also a center for the LGBT community, probably best represented by Women & Children First , an excellent local specialty bookstore. There is also an outpost of The Brown Elephant, a great non-profit thrift store that helps people get needed medical services.

audience participation
Inside of The Brown Elephant, looking toward the "stage"

Besides being the best thrift store in the area, I also like visiting to admire what's left of the Calo Theater's former glory. This space was originally home to a movie theater, built in 1915. Many of the original murals and decorative elements are still intact.

employees only
Brown Elephant, looking toward the projection booth

After finding some great deals, I wandered up and down Clark Street. It was a bit difficult, partly due to the sidewalk sale that was going on, partly due to the insistence of many people to push giant baby buggies through the crowds. I watched one woman with a single child in a double stroller push tables and boxes out of her way, mashing into people with abandon. Metaphor for upper-class privilege, I guess.

chicago eagle
facade of Hamburger Mary's, once the Calo Restaurant. note the Chicago "Y"

I also stopped at a new resale shop, Good Deal Garage, which I found interesting because it IS operating out of a former garage. This one was probably built for the apartment building at Clark and Olive.

Good Deal Garage
interior of Good Deal Garage

After all that walking in the sun, I stopped at the decidedly non-vintage Coffee Studio. It's a bit pricey, but definitely offers higher quality drinks. I had a nice mocha in which I could actually taste the wonderful bitterness of the espresso, where most coffee shops would drown it in sugar.

coffee studio
Lounging in the hip, modern Coffee Studio

And that's kind of the story of Andersonville, now. Many of the little stores are too expensive for me to even walk into, though there are still many oddballs here and there. And I always recommend walking down Clark Street just to admire the classic retail architecture. Just watch out for the strollers.

flower spirit
detail of building at Clark & Bryn Mawr

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