ChicagoSouth Side

A drive down the Non-magnificent Mile

by Joe Zekas on 12/12/11

It’s Partee Time, and Partee Wesley takes you on a drive along the Non-magnificent Mile, Michigan Avenue’s doppelgänger in Roseland and West Pullman. While marveling at the devastation and the sea of corrugated security doors, Partee drily notes: “I’ll tell you one thing, though. There’s a lot of room for improvement.” In a separate nighttime drive he sums it up: “Creepy. Creepy. Creepy … Things that you never thought you’d see.”

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

KarmaPolice December 12, 2011 at 8:30 AM

I love the fact that the only notable car was a Hummer.

It speaks volumes on SO many levels.

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carlosd December 12, 2011 at 12:42 PM

Entertaining…and very sad. South Chicago is so close to being Detroit. I’d love to have a solution but I don’t.

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Brendan December 12, 2011 at 2:46 PM

This gentleman was driving through the south side of Chicago along a run-down section of South Michigan Avenue. He was not driving through South Chicago (which is the name of a specific neighborhood).

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Levois December 12, 2011 at 6:32 PM

He probably means the south side.

This guy is very silly, finding humor in a very bleak area. It’s thrilling to see an area I’m familiar with on YouTube. Hard to believe this area has seen better days. The scene at night along Michigan Avenue makes this area seems like the country.

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IrishPirate December 14, 2011 at 6:12 PM

As a wee lad I knew that commercial strip well. My family moved out of Roseland in 1961. The neighborhood went from virtually all white to being virtually all black in about a two year period around 1971.

Into the early 70′s that stretch of Michigan Avenue was a vibrant commercial strip. Department stores, one screen movie theaters, Veteran’s Barber Shop with about what seemed liked 100 chairs to my young eyes, family restaurants, independent stores, Nino’s Pizza and more.

Then white flight, the regional mall phenomena, and the loss of blue collar jobs in the factories east of there harmed the neighborhood. It was an almost ideal walkable community.

I haven’t been down there in over 20 years, but well into the 80′s it was still a somewhat vibrant commercial strip. Different that it was in say 1970, but still people and open shops.

The type of shopping area that was really doesn’t exist anymore, anywhere that I’m aware of. At least this side of the third world. Business districts begat regional malls which begat WalMart and Target. Which begat despair for urbanists such as myself.

One of my older brothers remembers farms being in Roseland into the 50′s. It was some of the richest farmland in the country. I am far too young and vivacious to remember that. About 15 years ago he figured out that the per square foot price of land in Roseland was then cheaper than farmland in the distant counties. Alas.

If the depopulation continues unabated in Roseland and neighboring hoods Levois and I will have to don some overalls and buy a tractor. Then assuming he doesn’t have any aversion to pig farming I will purchase an oinker and name him Arnold Ziffel.

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SheridanB December 22, 2011 at 11:37 AM

Would you really want to buy produce grown on former industrial or residential land? I think the whole “urban farming” thing is all a bit iffy.

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Joe Zekas December 22, 2011 at 12:21 PM

SheridanB,

I don’t think it’s iffy at all – I consider it flat-out insanity.

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SheridanB December 22, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Yeah, Brownfield Farming, when there isn’t yet a shortage of good cropland, is doomed to failure.

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Eric Rojas December 15, 2011 at 2:17 PM

Pretty cool that he did this. I like this guy.

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