You Were Never In Chicago


What is it with Chicagoans and their penchant for exclusion? Insecurity? "Second City" status? The documentary on the Chicago punk scene is entitled "You Weren't There." I like Chicago, but geez. Although I guess a lot of people might respond that Seattle can be the same way at times...
That was a truly great excerpt. The book is now on my list.
I'm just impressed at Mr. Steinberg's restraint at going through that entire passage without once mentioning the word "nimby."

Love that last line: Oh, and the views from their apartments would be ruined. The irony. The unintended irony.

This reminds me of that alarmist article this week in the Seattle Times about the apartment building boom in Ballard. I couldn't resist going through the even more alarmist comments on the story just for the sheer masochistic entertainment. One of my "favorites" came from one "mrs hansen":
Oh My! It took Mr. Hansen and I about 45 minutes to get from I-5 to our house by the Locks... it felt like LA! Mr. Mayor - no more!

I'm sure those people who preceded the Hansens or their ancestors in Ballard were crying "No more!" at their arrival.
The title, by the by, is from a post-card sent to AJ Leibling after writing "The Second City." An offended Chicagoan informed him "you were never in Chicago." full post shortly.
what's up with the Thursday letter?

it shoudl be noted that Chicago's population is about 1M less than it was in 1980. they must of been putting some great sticks in the ground...
That passage is beautiful.
Eh. If I wanted to live in a shithole, I'd move to New York. At least they do it right. As it is, I'm quite content to live out the rest of my life in a relatively quiet spot where nothing too exciting ever happens.

On my list - thank you! My few years in Chicago left me with vivid memories, not least of the delight of having two - two! - dailies worth the candle.
Wonderful excerpt! It makes me want to attend a zoning board meeting, good stuff. My cousin lives in Chicago and I remember him talking about the various lawuits new highrises are invariably hit with by people in high rises built the year before. Everyone wants their lakefront view.
Tony Bourdain has it right--for a true city-city, that's big and resolutely urban in feel and scope, in the US there's only two--NYC and Chicago.

And am I right in guessing that the editor Chicagofan is in fact our very own Dan Savage?
@12, actually, I believe chicagofan is Dan's brother.
Fifty-two-eighty- "nothing too exciting happens". I guess you're no where near Denver then, are you? Plenty of excitement there...
1)Neil Steinberg: ". . . in September of 2005 he was arrested for striking his wife and subsequently did a stint in rehab for his alcoholism."
2) So jealous of a much better columnist, Bob Greene, that he wrote anonymously about him.
@14: Not to worry. We've been called far worse by far better. Though it does bring to mind Herb Caen's barb about how nice it is that the sort of people who prefer LA live there.
Dan, you had to single out the paragraph with anti-prostitute vitriol? The vast majority of sex workers are fairly normal folks who are not pitiable caricatures of drug addicts.
As long as we are recommending books, give a peek at THE SEASON OF THE WITCH by David Talbot. I have no connection to him, just that I heard about the book on NPR. History of San Francisco 1967-85. A delightful read and totally relevant to the present.
@17 He's a night shift reporter. The kind of sex workers he runs into are not running off of BP or CL.

"The vast majority of sex workers are fairly normal folks who are not pitiable caricatures of drug addicts. "

On the south side of Chicago, 80% are exactly that.

Also, it's not Dan.