Common Scents

Zorayda Ortiz–perfumer, owner of Pilsen Bike Tours, community gardener, and former medical researcher–stands in front of a mural by Alejandro Medina on the corner of South Blue Island and Cullerton. She hoists her bicycle in the air.

On Commuting

When I first moved downtown, I tried to bike to campus a few times. Unfortunately, I always forget that I am a really sweaty person, and I quickly learned why biking would be a bad idea.

A Public Self

While the imminent possibility of the end of the Obama presidency was not widely welcome on the South Side, it raised another: namely, the chance to host a presidential library. Since election night 2008, Hyde Park has been widely considered…

Driven Back into the Past

The Don of Diesel, the Maharaja of Motor, the Shogun of shot brakes. Patrick Lay–owner of Hyde Park’s Foreign car hospital–is a man whose career and devotion to foreign automobiles has spanned over half a century, from the OPEC embargo…

Taking the Stairs

When I suggest to Bill Michel, executive director of the University of Chicago’s Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, that we walk and talk, he hesitates, fiddling with the cuffs on his lilac dress shirt and glancing at…

A Timely Conversation

Norma van der Meulen says that she is getting old, that she can’t quite remember as well as she used to. She is modest, seated in front of a pot of tea in her Hyde Park apartment. Her eyes come…

Closer to Home

April 26 marked the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl power plant explosion in northern Ukraine. Eight days prior, on April 18, a crowd gathered at the Henry Moore Sculpture to Atomic Energy on the University of Chicago campus.

Cracking the Code

The show has left many wondering whether the Chicago Police are really the superheroes in the SUVs, and why they should be portrayed as such if they are not.