Curbed Chicago is in the final round of Curbed Cup, a contest to select Chicago’s best neighborhood of 2011.
The finalists are Uptown, which won last year’s Curbed Cup, and West Lakeview.
West Lakeview? To add an element of whimsy (absurdity?) to the contest, Curbed included an amorphous neighborhood which may or may not exist, depending on who you consult. Here’s how Curbed describes it:
West Lakeview, including Southport Corridor and Wrigleyville, is an esteemed shopping and boozing destination, that much is known.
What isn’t known is what turf Curbed includes in its West Lakeview boundaries, since you’ll often hear disputes about the boundaries of both the Southport Corridor and Wrigleyville and Curbed hasn’t given its definition of either. For all the years I spent studying neighborhood boundaries in Chicago I never heard anyone – other than Curbed – refer to Wrigleyville as being a part of West Lakeview.
Here’s the little bit I know for sure about “West Lakeview” – it doesn’t exist, even remotely, in the sense that Curbed uses it.
I’m familiar with two versions of West Lakeview. One is a largely-abandoned attempt by real estate agents to rebrand a part of North Center bounded by Diversey Ave (2800 N), Addison St (3600 N), Ravenswood Ave (1800 W) and the Chicago River. We’ve made inconsistent references to that West Lakeview in the past. The other is the area served by the West Lakeview Neighbors group: Belmont north to Addison, Racine west to Ravenswood. Few outside of the area, and not all of its residents, refer to it as West Lakeview.
If you Google the term, the most common references are to the North Center variant of West Lakeview.
You won’t find West Lakeview on the City of Chicago’s semi-official neighborhood map (pdf).