When I’m asked to describe the neighborhood we live in, I like to say the phrase that our good friend Joe Ewing* once used for it:  “Welcome to the weird part of town.”

I have to agree with him.  The longer I live here, the more I realize it is a weird part of Chicago.  For those of you wondering where exactly in Chicago I’m talking about, I’ll be referring to the area of Lincoln/Western Ave. north until about  McCormick Ave.

I’ve heard some people call it K-Town (Korean Town), Budlong Woods, or Far North Lincoln Square.  When I tell people where we live, many people ask me, “What do they call that area, anyway?”

Well, where should I start? I guess I’d like to thank Lincoln Ave. for a majority of the weirdness.  That particular stretch north of Foster on Lincoln has no idea what it wants to be.  Severe identity crisis. On some parts, you have the worn-down, seedy, (yet still somehow charming!) pay-by- the-hour motels from the 1940’s that I imagine are only used for drug deals and love makin’.

On other parts there are new condos that start at $450k with Eastern European-owned storefronts attached on the bottom.  Most of those have names that must not have translated correctly over from Bulgaria and Bosnia. Names like Rehab Salon and Muppet Cafe.

There’s Hub’s, which is a very good Greek style restaurant that once inspired a Saturday Night Live skit in the early 90’s.  They painted the entire inside walls with odd Greek-like murals of Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, Norm McDonald and other SNL actors  performing the skit of,  “Welcome to Hub’s.  You like-a da juice?  Da juice is good.”  Which is extra funny because they don’t even say that at Hub’s when you go there!

Remember thsi skit?!? Yea, neither do most people.

There’s a new restaurant called The Money Shot that just opened up and I’m not even going to talk about that because I don’t want to make this blog X-rated.

Then there’s just odd little Korean restaurants, bookstores, wholesale shops and tailors strewn about.

One building has a sign that reads “Korean Y.M.C.A.”   Now that’s a building I really would like to go check out. Would they let me in? What kind of sports are being played in there?  I bet it’s something fantastic that I’ve never seen before.  Something like Mathball or a really amazing, intense form of Badminton.

Our neighbors on our block are very nice and unique.  Yesterday our tough-as-nails Hispanic lesbian neighbor showed me our other neighbor’s pigeon shacks. He wasn’t home but we went to his backyard anyway and she showed me these weird different colored pigeons with big feathers on their feet.  The birds all live in these custom built coops/shacks he built.  When I asked her what does he do with them and does he use them as messenger pigeons, she replied, “I dunno.  He just comes out here and looks at them. Sometimes he sits inside with them.”

Awesome.  Also, I found out through her that he owes the restaurant Cafe Sarajevo on Lawrence Ave. which is very good.  I just know that I won’t be ordering any pigeon when I go there again.

* Name has been changed to protect his identity.

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