Stories

A New Era for Chicago’s Bronzeville Neighborhood

If the walls of Chicago’s Michael Reese Hospital could talk, they’d beg for purpose: August 31st will mark the medical center’s 13th year of vacancy. This, obviously, was not the plan.

A Taste of Central Asia in Central U.S.A.

On a sweltering summer afternoon, I want nothing more than a hot bowl of laghman noodles to slurp and savor; to chew through endless noodles and wash it down with spicy broth; to chase the broth with a glass of ice-cold kompot; to inhale the deep fragrance of cumin sticking to my clothes and to smell like it for hours – I want it all.

Paseo Boricua: The Rise of Chicago’s Puerto Rican Promenade

Visit Chicago and you’ll likely find its Chinatown, Greektown and Little Italy on your list of must-see sites. But swing by the lower section of Division Street in Humboldt Park, and you’ll see two, larger-than-life Puerto Rican flags enveloping one of Chicago’s most vibrant Puerto Rican communities...

The Ave: The Wilted, Other Magnificent Mile on Chicago’s South Side

"The Avenue" was once a vibrant commercial district fit to rival the luxurious shopping centers downtown. Today, the street bears the familiar scars of crime, poverty and divestment that have become synonymous with Chicago's South Side. The Ave, however, has a rich history and cultural memory that has not yet decayed — photographs and testimonials memorialize its better days, and locals look toward a future where The Ave will once again be in full bloom.

Kao Kalia Yang’s Journey as a Hmong American Author

Last summer, when Sunisa Lee won the women’s all-around title at the Olympics, Minnesotans roared with tearful joy, and a simple — perhaps tardy — question emerged on Google: What is Hmong?

Hooked on Seafood, the Midwest Is Balancing Quality and Sustainability

Since 1989, Bill Dugan has been running one of two freestanding fish markets in Chicago.   The Fishguy Market aims to provide fresh seafood to the...

The Mystery of Blue Moon Ice Cream

Blue moon ice cream, identifiable by its tongue-staining, Smurf-blue hue, is nothing if not a mystery.  “It seemed so strange,” Nara Schoenberg, the journalist who...

Against the Odds, Chicago’s Chinatown Continues to Flourish

For almost 50 years, Chicago’s Chinatown gate has stood on South Wentworth Avenue, extending a warm welcome to visitors and holding the promise of a safe haven for those who call this community home. The phrase “天下為公” is hand-painted onto ornamental tiles: “The world is for all.”

Cow Culture and the Elsie Dairy Festival

Three years ago on a hot day in early July, I was spray painting small cows and arrows onto the streets of Elsie, Michigan...

Tomato Juice: An Ode to Ohio’s (Controversial) State Beverage

It may come as a surprise that a little over half of U.S. states have designated a state beverage. The state hospitality beverage of South Carolina is SC-grown tea. Florida honors its iconic oranges.

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