In Studs Terkel’s Division Street: America, Division Street is a metaphor. But here in Chicago, Division Street is a living, breathing metaphor, and from time to time on this blog, I like to check in with it to see what it says about our city, our lives, our nation.
For example, Division Street separates Wicker Park from East Village (east of Damen) and Ukrainian Village (west of Damen). In last week’s Reader, Ben Joravsky described how “Dan Rostenkowski kept the villages under his thumb even after he’d gone off to Congress – and jail.”
What could be more Chicago than that?
Joravsky wonders, though, if the Rostenkowski era has finally come to an end with the arrival of Alds. Manny Flores in the 1st Ward and Scott Waguespack in the 32nd. In both wards, it ought to be noted, Machine incumbents were ousted in large measure for “haywire development” in their wards – development done at the behest of Mayor Richard M. Daley.
Somehow, though, Daley found himself on the other side of the street when voter ferment threw the bums out.
* Division Dispatch #1: “You don’t have to worry about getting mugged on Division near Damen at 10 on Friday night like you did 10 years ago. And as folks who live there will tell you, the main drag isn’t a hooker depot anymore.”
* Division Dispatch #2: “A three-block section of [Chicago neighborhood] Wicker Park that once accommodated eight families, two vintage clothing stores, a French cleaners, and a gourmet bakery has been completely razed to make way for a private livery stable and carriage house.”