From Buffalonian to Chicagoan

Buffalo, New York is my home. It’s where I was born and raised, and the city I’ve been wandering about since I was old enough to go out alone. I don’t feel at home here in Chicago. I haven’t found quirky little spots to go to with my friends late at night, or really found many friends either for that matter. It’s all so new and overwhelming to take in all at once. That’s why I took this course to begin with, so I could gain a better sense of the city. Well, this course has taken me to all ends of the city (literally), and I couldn’t have been more surprised at some of the things I discovered, or more intrigued to keep exploring.

“Home”

On the first day of class we walked around our new neighborhood, Lincoln Park. I didn’t anticipate the amount of walking we’d be doing despite the fact that the name of the course is literally “Walking Chicago”. Nevertheless, we walked miles around the neighborhood, and although we were walking pretty aimlessly the objective was clear. We were walking to learn our way around, and get a feel for the areas that made us feel at home.

My City

Naturally, my favorite day of the week was when we all met up downtown and progressively paved our way to Humboldt Park. The view from the John Hancock Center put the whole city in prospective for me. It was the first time I felt as though Chicago was obtainable.

Afterward, we walked towards the beachfront, then to the Gold Coast, and onward through Old Town. Old Town was my favorite location throughout the entire course thus far. Something about the location feels familiar, and I felt very in touch with my surrounding throughout the walk. Eventually, we made it to Humboldt Park and as we reflected all I remember thinking was that the walk felt like days. I couldn’t believe that I had started my day in the heart of downtown, and had somehow gotten to this tranquil park that was seemingly in the middle of nowhere.

Familiar Places

I don’t know if I was feeling particularly nostalgic the day we went to Rodgers Park, but I saw so many little things that reminded me of home. Between Michigan Lake, which reminded me of Lake Erie back home, and the restaurant we ate at which had a “Buffalo Bar” sign, and the long street we walked down named Glenwood Avenue, which is coincidentally the name of the road I grew up on. I felt like I was at a home away from home in this location.

North vs. South

Visiting Uptown and Beverly were two very different experiences, but they were alike in the fact that they were both very knew to me. In all honesty, I’ll probably never visit either of these places again, but it was an eye-opening experience. Both of these areas have a negative connotation associated with them.

Beverly is a beautifully hidden south side location, past the very last “L” stop, and beyond a sketchy bus ride into a pretty luxurious neighborhood. The neighborhood has a cute little stretch of little shops and boutiques, as well as a tree lined neighborhood with very large houses, and you can’t forget the castle!

Uptown had a very different vibe. It was like a page out of a history book. There was a plethora of old buildings, and theaters. I could just imagine how cool the strip must’ve been when the town was flourishing. However, the best part for me was visiting Uplift Community High School. The school was covered in art, and I couldn’t help but walk around and bask in the creative and uplifting (see what I did there) messages all around the building.