Good Example Of Essay On Wicker Park
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Wicker Park, located on Ashland Avenue north of Milwaukee in Chicago, is best known for the activities in its vicinity. As Lloyd puts it, the park today cannot be compared with five years ago due to the changes that have occurred to suit the intentions of the park management. However, a tour of the area reveals the major differences between history and today.
I took an afternoon walk in the park and noticed some of the changes Lloyd discussed. Through observation and discussions with a few residents around the park, I realized the evolution of Wicker Park is related to the people living there. While Wicker Park and the buildings built in the area were originally intended for business, many of the major structures fell into disrepair when that element relocated to other parts of Chicago. Unfortunately, most of the area became a refuge for derelicts and the criminal element. However, a different type of business personality has come into the area associated with the artistic community. These were discussed by Lloyd in his book.
The surroundings are filled with residents who initially did not reside there in the past the five years. Americans are scarce compared with the international residents who settled there. This has motivated people to establish pop-up shops to enable them sustain their livelihood. These shops are usually owned by young adults in their 20’s.
In terms of the buildings themselves, I researched photos of the Flatiron Building when it was originally built in 1903. It continues to loom above the surrounding buildings like a Greek column or the monolith from “2001, A Space Odyssey”. The city has not grown up around it as in many cases with large structures; it continues to stand alone in the neighborhood. Today, the Flatiron Building is once again being used as an office building. It’s unusual shape, only six feet across at the narrow end, sets it apart from the surrounding architecture. The exterior is limestone and terra cotta, which has been maintained as first constructed. The original cast-iron birdcage elevators have been replaced with modern electric elevators and renovations to the lobby and there are some shops on the main floor now which were not there when the Flatiron Building first opened.
A visit to the North Avenue Baths Building was stunning. The blue-and-white exterior is ornate and remains true to the style of the 1920’s, it was a bath house for socializing and, well, taking baths. It became so run down the city of Chicago was ready to demolish it, but renovators stepped in to restore the building. I didn’t go into the building itself, but as I walked by pairs of terra cotta fish invited me to visit the North Avenue Baths Building.
The Noel State Bank Building is now called “Walgreen’s”. When I entered the building, I looked up at a ceiling with creatures in the plaster! Functioning as a bank over the years, Walgreen’s has changed the old vault into a vitamin storage area. The old-fashioned locking gears can be seen on the door as it stands open. The rounded exterior faces “Six Corners” and there is even a stained-glass window intact. This is some Walgreen’s!
Wicker Park is currently described as Bohemian or similar to Greenwich Village, with many small bars and restaurants where artists practice and perform. Pleasantly dilapidated, the buildings in Wicker Park continue to serve the people of Chicago as an urban neighborhood constantly in transition.
Lloyd, Richard Douglas. Neo-bohemia: art and commerce in the postindustrial city. New York:
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