Tag Archives: Chicago

In Silicon Valley, Transportation Innovation Is a Flat Circle

A customer on one of Leap Transit's luxury buses in March 2015. The company would file for bankruptcy six months later. (Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

Ride-sharing app Lyft has a new service available in Chicago and San Francisco that they’re calling a “shuttle.” According to Lifehacker, it works like this:

Lyfts can add up fast and Lyft Line, while less expensive, can take you out of your way and make your travel time much longer.

Lyft Shuttle addresses both those issues by having you walk to a nearby pick up spot, get in a shared car that follows a pre-designated route, and drops you (and everyone else) off at the same stop. So, basically, you share a ride with other people (most of the time) so your ride price is lower, but you know exactly how long the ride will take because you’re on a pre-designated route.

Sounds… familiar. Wait a second.

Read more…

The Biblical Rheology of Deep-Dish Pizza

Matthew Gavin Frank | The Mad Feast: An Ecstatic Tour Through America’s Food | Liveright | Nov. 2015 | 11 minutes (2,839 words)

The following is the Illinois chapter from Matthew Gavin Frank’s exceptional new tour of signature foods from fifty states, excerpted here courtesy of Liveright Publishing.

Get the Book


If frostbite is just another kind of scalding, then let’s imagine this earth as a dish, or—even better—a platter, something capable of containing the thickest of our dinners, the cold cut, as if geologically, with the orange grease of the mozzarella, the pepperoni’s fat char. Let’s pretend that all winters can be spatula’d into our mouths in easy triangles, that, if we take too big a bite, if we don’t blow the world cool, our mouths will fall lame, and we will make only weather sounds.

Uncle sprinkles crumbs of parmesan and crushed red pepper over his slice. Outside, on the window, a child leaves his hand in the frost, and the pizza whines as Uncle bites it. You think of crying, of fallow fields, of—just south of the city—some awful crow choking to death on some kernel of frozen corn. Here, in Illinois, our corn is better. Better even than the birds.

The crust uplifts the sauce. In this is some kind of offering, sacrifice. The pizza cries for its mother. The ovens gasp. This, Uncle says, tracing his pinky over the imprint of the child’s thumb, trying to measure up, is what your aunt and I used to call Baby-Making Weather. Read more…

This Is Living — an Exclusive from Loitering: New & Collected Essays by Charles D’Ambrosio

Illustration by Kjell Reigstad

Charles D’Ambrosio  | Loitering | November 2014 | 25 minutes (5,836 words)

Download .mobi (Kindle) Download .epub (iBooks)

Loitering: New & Collected EssaysFor our latest Longreads Exclusive, we are delighted to share “This Is Living,” an essay from Charles D’Ambrosio’s Loitering: New & Collected Essays, published by Tin House. Subscribe to Tin House and check out their book titles. Buy the book

I was seven and had a leather purse full of silver dollars, both of which, the purse and the coins, I considered valuable. I wanted them stored in the bank. At the time, the bank had an imposing landmark status in my map of the world, in part because it shared the same red brick as the public school, the two most substantial buildings in our town. As a Catholic school kid I did a lot of fundraising in the form of selling candy bars, Christmas stamps and fruitcakes, and my favorite spot for doing business was outside the bank, on Friday afternoons, because that was payday. Working men came to deposit their checks and left the bank with a little cash for the weekend. Today, that ritual is nearly gone, its rhythms broken, except for people on welfare, who still visit banks and pack into lines, waiting for tellers, the first of every month. But back then I’d set my box of candy on the sidewalk and greet customers, holding the door for them like a bellhop. Friends of mine with an entirely different outlook on life tried to sell their candy at the grocery store, but I figured that outside the supermarket people might lie or make excuses, claiming to be broke; but not here, not at the bank, for reasons that seemed obvious to me: this was the headquarters of money. Most of the men were feeling flush and optimistic, flush because they were getting paid and would soon have money in their pockets, optimistic because the workweek was over and they could forget what they had done for the money. On their way in I’d ask if they wanted to buy a candy bar and they’d dip a nod and smile and say with a jaunty promissory confidence that I should catch them on the way out. And I did. I sold candy bars like a fiend. Year after year, I won the plastic Virgin Marys and Crucifixes and laminated holy cards that were given away as gifts to the most enterprising sales-kids at school. I liked the whole arrangement. On those Friday afternoons and early evenings, I always dressed in my salt-and-pepper corduroy pants and saddle shoes and green cardigan, a school uniform that I believed made me as recognizable to the world as a priest in his soutane, and I remember feeling righteous, an acolyte doing God’s work, or the Church’s. Money touched everyone in town, quaintly humanizing them, and I enjoyed standing outside the bank, at the center of civic life. This was my early education into the idea of money. Read more…

Reimagining the Student Publication: Our College Pick

This week’s College Longreads selection is as much for the publication as it is for the story. Richie Siegel’s article about a Japanese street food restaurant in Chicago called Yoshu is mostly a profile of the owners, with a little bit of a restaurant review on the side. Siegel, a sophomore at NYU, is an ambitious writer whose work will mature well. He published the article in a digital magazine he founded called Seersucker, which is produced by and for Millennials. The low barrier to publish is both the beauty and curse of today’s digital tools. But Siegel’s magazine looks and reads with more sophistication because he and his team took the time to think about how the site would work and how the articles should read. We can hope for no less from the next generation of writers and editors.

The Couple Feeding Chicago

Richie Siegel | Seersucker Magazine | March 2014 | 15 minutes (2,722 words)

The demolition of the Cabrini-Green housing project in Chicago was supposed to open up new opportunities for low-income families. But the community has disappeared:

The fifteen-story high-rise was known by its address, 1230 N. Burling. Already stripped of every window, door, appliance, and cabinet, the monolith was like a giant dresser without drawers. The teeth tore off another hunk of the exterior, revealing the words I NEED MONEY painted in green and gold across an inside wall. Chicago was once home to the second-largest stock of public housing in the nation, with nearly 43,000 units and a population in the hundreds of thousands. Since the mid-1990s, though, the city has torn down eighty-two public-housing high-rises citywide, including Cabrini’s twenty-four towers. In 2000, the city named the ongoing purge the Plan for Transformation, a $1.5 billion, ten-year venture that would leave the city with just 15,000 new or renovated public-housing family units, plus an additional 10,000 for senior citizens. Like many other U.S. cities, Chicago wanted to shift from managing public housing to become instead what the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) called ‘a facilitator of housing opportunities.’

“The Last Tower: The Decline and Fall of Public Housing.” — Ben Austen, Harper’s

More from Harper’s