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the backbone of Chicago
December 31, 2010 8:22 PM   Subscribe

"It's a stretch of pavement both enriched and torn apart by class and ethnic divisions. When you go over a bridge or under a viaduct on this street you've left one country for another. It's the American melting pot at full boil." Halsted Street USA. (1995, 56 minutes, Color)
posted by flapjax at midnite (13 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
Holy shit, Studs Turkel and Halsted? This is awesome!

*goes to actually watch*

(Lived near Halsted in both Bridgeport and Boystown. Though to me Western was the most quintessential long-ass street in Chicago.)
posted by kmz at 8:33 PM on December 31, 2010


Yep, took many a bus up and down that boulevard.
posted by NoMich at 8:37 PM on December 31, 2010


I think this is awesome.
posted by Dmenet at 12:02 AM on January 1, 2011


Great street documentary, in a hundred years it will be even better. BTW I think this film was begun in 1995 and completed in 1997 or 1998. Too bad the original 1932 Conrad Friberg film isn't online (that I can find).
posted by stbalbach at 12:08 AM on January 1, 2011


I think Chicago Avenue is more representative. Of all the streets they decide to not keep paved, it seems like Chicago always gets the shit end of the stick.

It also hooks up to Lakeshore Drive, and the traffic light there always messes up an otherwise awesome highway.
posted by Evilspork at 12:33 AM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Loved Halsted. I lived at Halstd and Grace, and used to bike from there down to UIC every day in the late 90's/early 00's. That meant that everyday I got to experience Boystown, Lincoln Park, Near North, Greektown, and Near West side. Within 30 minutes I'd go from project high rises to multi-million dollar townhouses, from check cashing joints to Crate & Barrel, and from views of the Sears Tower to the crowd at Roscoe's. It was, and is a great street.
posted by scblackman at 6:15 AM on January 1, 2011


You're right, stbalbach. I was really confused about that, because I moved to Chicago in 1997, and I could have sworn that I got there right after the Lenard Clark beating, which several people alluded to. It turns out I'm right: it happened in March, 1997. So at least the Englewood and Bridgeport stuff was filmed in the summer of 1997.

Anyway, that was great.
posted by craichead at 6:17 AM on January 1, 2011


I show this in my Chicago History course. This is a great documentary and my students (usually) love it.
posted by Hop123 at 8:35 AM on January 1, 2011


I can't find much about it online, but in the 1930's Conrad Friberg made a short film called "Halsted Street," on which this was based, which was created by mounting a camera on a wagon and traversing the length of Halsted Street from end to end. It's a really beautiful view of Chicago at the time. We watched it in one of my classes but it doesn't seem to be widely available.
posted by mai at 12:35 PM on January 1, 2011


Though to me Western was the most quintessential long-ass street in Chicago.

Agreed. But somehow less interesting to make a documentary about- as I write this, I think Halsted is what romantics would like to think is quintessential Chicago, while Western does all the hard lifting of *being* Chicago.
posted by gjc at 6:20 PM on January 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Evilspork: It also hooks up to Lakeshore Drive, and the traffic light there always messes up an otherwise awesome highway

YES. This. The Chicago / LSD junction blocks up the flow of traffic and can be dangerous during rush hour.
posted by LMGM at 3:14 PM on January 2, 2011


…but this video is awesome, anyway. Useful teaching tool, for those who do work/teach in urban studies, scene studies, cultural studies, etc.
posted by LMGM at 3:15 PM on January 2, 2011


I liked reading John Greenfield's story of walking the entire length of Halsted (at least the part in Chicago). He's done the same for a bunch of other streets.
posted by Sand Reckoner at 9:12 PM on January 2, 2011


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