East Garfield Park
When a thriving working-class community gets pushed out by the juggernaut of gentrification, it’s an urban tragedy. But when a largely deserted, burned-out and crime-infested place like East Garfield Park shows signs of life, it’s worth rejoicing. A straight shot west of the Loop, with good public-transit access and a magnificent urban park centered around the “rediscovered” jewel that is the Garfield Park Conservatory, East Garfield Park is a natural. And with the front lines of gentrification already closing in from both the north (Humboldt Park) and the east (Near West Side), the odds are even better. So good, in fact, that Business Week earlier this year singled it out as one of “America’s Next Hot Neighborhoods.” And since the neighborhood lost two-thirds of its population between 1960 and 2000, there’s plenty of room for everyone.
Best audience comment: “I’d like to see some degentrification happen, somewhere along the lake. I’m a poor artist, part of the problem.”
Best of Chicago 2007