November 4, 2010
As I recently mentioned, I’m working through moving from one phase of my great Chicago Adventure to another. The Genesis of this transition was a couple of weekends ago, when a friend was in town and invited me to a house concert in Pilsen. “Sounds great!” I said. “See you there.” I’d never even heard of Pilsen.
Pilsen, it turns out, is a large neighborhood southwest of downtown. So I jumped on the L and headed further out from home than I’d yet gone. The apartment where I was ultimately headed was a 15 minute walk from the station, so after getting off the train, I found myself strolling down a street unlike any I’d yet seen in Chicago.
After just a brief glance, its obvious that Pilsen is a predominantly hispanic neighborhood. The restaurants, shops and storefronts were all lined with Dia de los Muertos decorations, the sides of buildings were beautifully painted in huge, distinctly urban-hispanic murals, and the sweet scent of Mexican bakeries filled the evening air as I passed block after block dotted with art galleries and handmade craft shops. From the brief experience I had, it was a lovely, charming neighborhood.