Wicker park neighborhood that was once one of chicago’s sketchy spots, started being occupied by young starving artists in the nighties for its cheap rent. It was transformed by galleries and small cafes and it’s old industrial loft buildings were not only resided by them but also became underground music venues from punk to hiphop transformed which I also was a resident of in my early immigration years. In recent years, the wealthy investors started eyeing this area. These days wicker park is not what it used to be and all is left is nostalgia of those days and a few old galleries and loft spaces. Chain boutiques and fancy restaurants and luxury condos have changed its once thriving identity. Wicker park kids have moved further west but haven’t retreated fully from its streets yet and haven’t given it all away to the soldiers of the glass towers. Last night I was hanging out with a friend in front of her gallery loft when a girl who was accompanied by a man pushing a stroller came up and asked if I wanted a pot browny. I said no. For obvious reasons I’ll leave the names out, she was 19 and her husband who was an amateur musician was 27 and their kid was born in chicago. Her 75 year old dad is a well known blues man who was born in Mississippi. He moved to Europe years ago and she was born in London and spent most of her childhood traveling with her dad on tour around the world. A few years ago, he suffers a heart attack and stroke and half his body gets paralyzed. They come to chicago for treatment and to raise support. Here she gets married and starts working odd jobs. It looked like they were both tripping on the brownies and before photographing them she asked if I was a cop. I said: with a beard like this I’m more likely to be a terrorist than a cop in this county. She said come on buy one. I finally budged in and her husband said they will buy baby formula with the cash tonight. Before heading to my friends loft, I stopped a hustler dude and asked: Bro you want a free pot brownie?
Chicago – Fall 2014