Mental Geography

I’ve only lived here 5 1/2 years, so I’m still building my mental map of Chicago. I can navigate anywhere (thanks, grid system) but some places I have to look up directions again and again until I can connect it to something familiar in my head. I was visiting some friends a few days ago who, in my head, lived in the middle of nowhere. Until this time, approaching their house on foot, I noticed that they were just down the street from the Beat Kitchen, where I’ve been plenty of times, and then realized that the park across the street from their house was Hamlin Park, where I played kickball all fall. It just clicked into place like a mental puzzle piece.

4 Comments so far

  1. sabrina (unregistered) on February 1st, 2005 @ 11:36 am

    the grid system truly is a thing of beauty.

    now if i could just figure out an easy way to get over my persistent, plaguing inability to remember which street is division and which is diversey! honestly, i have no idea what my brain damage is, but i can never remember which is what hundred north, or even which one is south of the other. stupid broken brain! anyone have any handy mnemonics?

  2. Fuzzy (unregistered) on February 1st, 2005 @ 1:16 pm

    This is NOT a handy mnemonic , it’s just how I actually remember it:

    Diversey is a stop on the Brownline, and it’s north of Fullerton, which I know is 2400 N and south of Belmont, which is 3200 N, so it’s somewhere-in-between (it’s 2800 N).

    Division, then, is the other one, and it’s between North (1600 N — which I always remember because Second City’s address is 1616 N Wells) and Chicago (800 N), so it, again, is somewhere-in-between (it’s 1200 N).

    See what I mean about a mental jigsaw puzzle?

  3. nikkos (unregistered) on February 1st, 2005 @ 3:22 pm

    I always remind myself of Studs Terkel’s Chicago classic “Division Street America” wherein he laments the fact that Chicago was (and in many ways is) the most segregated city in the U.S. This is, however, a boon to the geographically challenged. If Division Street divides the city into black/white, south side/north side, then logically it must be south of Diversey, right?

    Also a helpful mnemonic for Diversey; ok, sort of an opposite mnemonic. What ‘hoods does Diversey bisect? Lincoln Park, Wrigley, etc., none of which are bastions of diversity. So, I remember Diversey is on the north side because it bisects such non-diverse ‘hoods.

    If that doesn’t help, maybe a Post-It on your dashboard or a tattoo would do the trick.

  4. tom (unregistered) on February 1st, 2005 @ 3:59 pm

    here we go:

    i live closest to division (SOUTH of NORTH. get it? ok.). i’m a very divisive person. i’m also not very diverse (white-bread suburban kid).

    now you just need to know where i live. and knowing is half the battle.

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