Sunday, January 29, 2012

Western Avenue Series

Mile 17: Division-Armitage
This sketch is a part of my Western Avenue Series, through which I'll be making 24 watercolor paintings, one to document each mile of Western Avenue, in Chicago.  I started this project because while it is not considered to be among the most “beautiful” of Chicago’s streets, Western Avenue is a perfect place to document the humanness of Chicago, the positive and the negative. In the words of Stuart Dybek, "Western, with apologies to State Street, is a great street,  Unlike State, it is a street that goes to the interior, the heart of the city, as it glides and glows through a United Nations of neighborhoods."  Check back next Monday to see the painting completed based on this sketch.
As I continue my way down Western Avenue, I am beginning to reach portions of the Avenue which are more familiar to me.  The stretch between Division and Diversey continues to be heavily commercial though there is a smattering of residences. 
I was particularly taken with this small single family home, whose future seems to be in jeopardy.  It's quaintness is accentuated by the contrast with the adjacent commercial buildings and larger residential structures. 
Certainly, my favorite place to visit along this stretch of Western is Margie's Candies.  Margie’s an old-fashioned ice cream.  It is notable for having been patronized by Al Capone in its early years and, in 1965, the Beatles after having played a concert at Comiskey Park.  Especially, it just has great ice cream.  I almost always get a chocolate malt and find the waffle cookies they give you on the side strangely wonderful.  The menu is quite extensive, with over fifty varieties of sundaes, including the the twenty-five scoop Royal George (named after founder George Poulos).

Do you have a favorite sundae at Margies?
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