St. Patrick’s Day Toodle


Connie at Native-Foods-Cafe (looking sexy)

The temperatures today were again in the low 80s. The downtown Chicago area was filled with revelers who were enjoying a Guinness Stout or two well into the afternoon hours. Green clothing was everywhere in evidence. We parked out van and headed out along Harrison Street towards Loomis and then turned north to pick up Monroe. There is a nice park just north of the Whitney Young High School where some of the best and brightest of Chicago’s youth perform at the highest possible levels in mathematics and science. We rode through the park and then along Monroe east to Wood Street.

It is nearly a “straight shot” north to the Wicker Park Native Foods Cafe where we like to enjoy luncheon on the weekends. Today was special in that they were serving a vegan corned beef on rye sandwich with your choice of bottled beer at half price (the beer that is). I chose to skip the beer and instead had a fantastic bottle of organic ginger ale.

We sat under the outdoor umbrella along with another couple and their child enjoying the atmosphere and dreading the rumble of the elevated trains along the Brown Line that passed by every few minutes. I love the food here and am noticing an increasing number of African-Americans who have found this place as well. That bodes well for the future in that fewer of us will be suffering from the chronic diseases that Southern Cooking brings with it (i.e. diabetes, stroke, colon cancers and heart attacks.) There is a very good reason that the Deep South is called the Stroke Belt.

We leave the restaurant and retrace our steps back along Woods Street. I have noticed for quite some time a building whose stone facade identifies it as the Memorial Home. On either side of the entrance are World War II artillery pieces. One looks like an anti-aircraft gun (i.e. pom pom gun) that was usually mounted on the deck of a ship with the gunner seated alongside it. The second is a more traditional artillery piece, both are painted a pale blue.

Moving further south we pass the Alcala Western Wear store and Saint George Orthodox Cathedral. I just love the domes atop the cathedral. Across the street is a police station which is destined to be shut down. But the neighbors want it to remain. It offers no doubt a comforting feeling to folks raising young children. In fact as I finish making images of the cathedral a father and two twins (around 3 years old) say hello from across the street. Both children are wearing flopping white hats and are curious about our Easy Racers Recumbent bicycles. But they are far too shy to speak much. We smile and wave and chat with the father and then head off along Wood pedaling further south.

Reaching Monroe we turn east and I stop to capture a mural along the southern wall of the United Electrical Workers union hall. My first shot is a bit far to the side so I move forward to get a “head on” shot. As I do a fellow rounds the corner on a tall homemade upright bicycle which is no doubt used on the frequent Critical Mass Rides held here in the city each month.

Once again we traverse the winding sidewalls of the small park north of Whitney Young and then make our way along Harrison towards the parking lot on the UIC campus. I capture one last image of the stairwell outside the building and then we enter the ground floor to load up our bikes and head out for coffee. The weather is a far cry from that experienced just 24 hours ago when a monsoon rainstorm rumbled through the Michigan Avenue area just after 6:00 PM.

Cyclometer Info

Distance: 8.2 miles
Time: 1h 08m 38s