Wicker Park Fest, a Cubs game and Wicker Park Fest

Trip Start Jul 23, 2009
Trip End Jul 27, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Illinois
Saturday, July 25, 2009

Suzanne got up early today and left for Wicker Park. I slept in a little later and ventured over to meet Rob and Ian at Bon Bon Vietnamese Sandwiches. Rob and Ian are aspiring travel bloggers so we all got along well. From there, we ambled over to the festival, which was more of a street party than an actual festival. I was a little disappointed, and decided I'd be back later on.

Rob had to go play golf, so he left and Ian and decided to get some deep dish pizza. One of Suzanne's friends advised us to go to this REALLY touristy pizza place, which was fine, as long as the pizza was good. It wasn't that good. Anyway, Chicago deep dish pizza, check.

Ian's friends were at the Cubs game today, so I tagged along and went down to meet them. They were all very nice and we witnessed the craziness of the Cubs fan phenomenon. It's not a playoff game or anything, but people were just FREAKING out, getting hammered, dancing like crazy, all before 3 p.m. Very interesting cultural experience...

Anyway, we hung out around there, met up with some more people Ian's friends knew. After that, we went our separate ways, Ian to the Sears Tower and me to Wicker Park again. Wicker Park was a little better than in the day time. I watched a nice little punk band, and then hung out with Suzanne for a while at her vendor tent. I was complaining that my feet hurt in my flip flops and she immediately gave me the keys to her house AND $20 for a cab ride back to her house.

I didn't use the cab money, I just took the bus back. I asked a man (who didn't LOOK crazy) if the bus stop was for the bus going north. He looked at me frantically, and didn't answer. Luckily the woman beside him realized I needed help, and she said yes, and that the bus was indeed on its way. Now, we were having this conversation OVERTOP of this person. He looked at me again, with that frantic look...

"Could you PLEASE have your conversation somewhere else. You seem a little slow, and I don't like you talking around me like this."

"Umm, OK..." I didn't think it was a big deal so... whatever I changed and then stood beside the woman, talking about the bus. After a while, I sat down in beside the crazy man. He immediately moved to the end of the bench. Weirdo.

"So, I hope the bus comes because I COULD take the subway but it would take forever."

"YEAH TAKE THE SUBWAY, THE BLUE LINE IS RIGHT OVER THERE, GET ON IT!" And he got up and sauntered into the night.

Wow...weirdo. So then I caught the bus and found my way back to Suzanne's. Minus the crazy man.
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lauren.warnecke on

Oh, Chicago...
Wow. Drunk cubs fans in the middle of the day and overpriced mediocre pizza... Looks like you got a pretty authentic 'Chicago Experience'! Drunk cubs fans represent perhaps 40% of the reason that I like to travel.

gildo on

Looks like you had awesome weather for the game and the fest. Awesome!

ottawacubbie on

Canadian Cub Fan

You may not remember, but I am a huge Cubs fan. Although I tend to remain slightly more sober than the ones most people tend to encounter at Wrigley.

As much as I love the Cubs, you are right about the 'interesting cultural experience'. You probably noticed that there is a cool slightly artsy neighborhood just to the southwest of Wrigley. There is a reason for that. Wrigleyville is a terrible example gentrification of a once culturally rich area. I think it was in the 70s and 80s that a bunch of yuppies and hipsters decided that the place to be was in and around the greatest baseball park in the world. Day baseball and big bonus cheques seemed to mesh well with a quick commute on the El and day time drinking. However, in a short matter of time the Hispanics who had previously made up the area were priced out of the area. The community was supposedly a pretty cool place to be in the 50s and 60s, but slightly dangerous area as well. The Latin Eagles made the area home, but I think this has probably been blow out of proportion by the media. The thing that kind of makes me feel bad about being a Cubs fan is they were very supportive of brining in new neighbors with fatter wallets, much to dismay of their previous fans and I am sure racism played some role in it all.

I have read quite a bit about it in some history books and according to one biography of Jack Brickhouse he recalls fondly when Wrigley was home to a rainbow of true baseball fans before it became a frat house for overprivledged kids and nostalgia seeking tourists (I guess that I am in the latter group). In my three games in 'the Friendly Confines' I noticed a lot of true and knowledgeable fans, probably similar to the guys you went with, who die a little every fall just to be reborn in the spring. However, the Cubs do seem to draw a larger number of people looking for a place to drink and something to yell at even if they aren't totally in tune with what is happening on the field.

That said, I do love Chicago. I love how seriously they take their sports, something Canadians don't really have, in my opinion, even in hockey. The city has a great arts community and decent transit. Although your experience seems less than satisfying.

I hope you have a safe trip back.


starlagurl on

Re: Canadian Cub Fan
I did know you were a big Cubs fan, Matt!

That's some interesting history, and yeah, I guess these people weren't 'real' fans that know anything about the history or the game, but who's to really say what a 'real' fan is right?

Re: Gentrification
I guess wherever there's money to be had, people without money will be given the short end of the stick, no matter where you are.

It's all complicated.

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