Today I headed out to photograph the Logan Square neighborhood, which can be reached by riding the Blue Train in the direction of O’Hare. The neighborhood is a bit difficult to decipher due to all the diagonal streets. Basically, it is a wedge that abuts the Kennedy Expressway as the Kennedy cuts a westward path.
I’ve explored Logan Square before, but not with a camera in hand. Today, I had two cameras: My Fuji GFX 100, which is a medium format camera, and my trusty Sony RX 100vii, which is a pocket camera.
After seven hours of wandering about, I had a pretty good sense who occupies this neighborhood. Quite clearly, some fairly well-off folks live along the eastern spoke that radiates from the Illinois Centennial Monument, which is located at the intersection of Milwaukee Avenue and Logan Boulevard.
The neighborhood is also hipster central. There are a lot of Twenty- and Thirty-Somethings walking dogs, pushing strollers, and lying on the grass strips that run along Logan Boulevard. Based on attire, I suspect many of these folks work with their hands as creatives or in graphics design. They also inhabit the many cafes and coffee houses that dot the main streets.
I stopped in McDonalds for a diet Coke and wifi. There I found a large contingency of eldery people speaking Spanish. The neighborhood has a high number of Hispanics.
The retail mix is an interesting one. There are a number of thrift and dollar stores, as well as resale shops, but high-end fashion boutiques and salons certainly aren’t strangers in this neighborhood. There are also lots of clubs and other gathering spots. Based on the sweet smell in the air, I would have thought that the effective date for legalized marijuana in Illinois was June 1 rather than January 1, 2020. Whether hipsters eat straight or stoned, they certainly do like good food.
What I found most appealing about the neighborhood was its low-key nature. People were quite comfortable just being themselves on a Saturday afternoon. In some cases, that meant idling away the afternoon at an outdoor cafe. In others, it meant reading in the park. And I encountered one group of people who passing a joint around on Milwaukee Avenue.
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