WBEZ | Metra Electric Commuter Rail http://www.wbez.org/tags/metra-electric-commuter-rail Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en A trip on the Metra Rock Island reveals vast emptiness on the South Side http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/2011-03-29/trip-metra-rock-island-reveals-vast-emptiness-south-side-84407 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-March/2011-03-29/untitled shoot-022.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-March/2011-03-29/untitled%20shoot-022.jpg" style="width: 599px; height: 330px;" title=""></p><p>Travel through some parts of the South Side these days. The emptiness is startling.</p><p>The void is particularly noticeable along the Metra Rock Island line. I&nbsp;take this line daily between downtown and my house. The ride begins at LaSalle Street station at Congress at LaSalle, where tall buildings peer down on the train platform and ends 20 minutes later in the Beverly neighborhood. In between--largely between Gresham station at 87th and the Illinois Institute of Technology campus at 35th--there is a breathtaking void.&nbsp;</p><p>And not just vacant lots. That's <em>so</em> 1980s. These days, there are entire sections of neighborhoods, ripped up, grassed-over and gone. The now-demolished Robert Taylor and Stateway Gardens housing projects occupied two miles of this space and new housing has been slow to reemerge there. The 2010 demolition of Kennedy King College at 69th and Wentworth left a crater in the city grid (see the photo above) two-and-half blocks wide and three blocks deep. In other areas along the ride, bits and pieces of neighborhoods just ebbed away...</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-March/2011-03-29/untitled shoot-032.jpg" title="" width="507" height="380"></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-March/2011-03-29/untitled%20shoot-038.jpg" style="width: 640px; height: 298px;" title=""></p><p>The much-discussed 2010 U.S. Census disclosed the city lost 200,000 people over the past decade. That's like the entire population of Little Rock AR, or Des Moines IA just packing up and leaving.&nbsp;The view from the ground not only shows what some of that loss looks like; it underscores the need for something to be done about it as well.</p></p> Tue, 29 Mar 2011 12:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/2011-03-29/trip-metra-rock-island-reveals-vast-emptiness-south-side-84407 A real life snowglobe: Winter comes to the Pullman neigborhood http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/real-life-snowglobe-winter-comes-pullman-neigborhood <p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="377" width="503" class="size-full wp-image-14443" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//1071771.jpg" alt="" /> <code> </code> <br /><em>Hotel Florence, 111th just east of Cottage Grove (photo by Lee Bey)</em></p><p style="text-align: left;">A blanket of snow has fallen on the city. S0 take a drive--better yet, a ride on the Metra Electric commuter rail--to the city's historic Pullman neighborhood on the far South Side.&sbquo;&nbsp; Few places in Chicago are as picturesque after a snowfall.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="336" width="512" class="size-full wp-image-14448" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//1071779.jpg" alt="" /><br /><em>111th Street Metra Electric platform looking north. <br />Pullman Clocktower on the left (Photo by Lee Bey)</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><!--break--> <img height="350" width="500" class="size-full wp-image-14455" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//P10768471.jpg" alt="" /> <code> </code> <br /><em>(Photo by Lee Bey)</em> </p><p>The neighborhood was originally a planned industrial town--America's first--built in the late 1880s by railroad car magnate George M. Pullman.&sbquo;&nbsp; The former factory was nearly lost in a spectacular extra alarm fire more than a decade ago,&sbquo;&nbsp; but has been almost rebuilt, down to the functioning clock tower (even if the time isn't quite correct). The town pretty much stands looking&sbquo;&nbsp; the way it did in the 1890s, with its sturdy brick home and rowhouses in remarkably good condition.</p><p>This <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/travel/destinations/2008-04-30-chicago-pullman-district_N.htm">USA Today story</a> gives a pretty good primer on the area.&sbquo;&nbsp; Better still,&sbquo;&nbsp; my pal Geoffrey Baer at WTTW takes a walk through Pullman beginning at the 15:40 mark of his <a href="http://video.wttw.com/video/1348295180/chapter/3/">Hidden Chicago 2 </a>documentary. And the neighborhood makes an appearance in the 1990's Harrison Ford film &quot;The Fugitive.&quot;&sbquo;&nbsp; Ford's Richard Kimble makes a call from a Pullman row house at 112th and St Lawrence, and the coppers pull up in front of historic Greenstone Church looking for him. No snow, but you get the idea..</p><p style="text-align: center;"><object height="300" width="500" classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0"><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="src" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/Tp_nLl3q5k4&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;" /><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><embed height="300" width="500" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/Tp_nLl3q5k4&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed> </object></p></p> Tue, 09 Feb 2010 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/real-life-snowglobe-winter-comes-pullman-neigborhood