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Exploring with James

A Winter Day in Pilsen – Part 2

Published 2013-03-10 · By James Bursa

After crossing Blue Island Avenue, I noticed this artwork. The style is similar to Banksy.

In the background is a coal train. When I lived in the area, I often saw these trains heading east with 100 cars full of coal, and returning west empty.

“Take That, Society!” mural

Looking back east towards the Produce Terminal building. On the left is the Willis Tower. To the right is the top of a skyscraper near the lake at Roosevelt Street and Michigan Avenue.

Produce Terminal Cold Storage building from west

“Let it rain in the city” says this new mural at Laflin Street.

“Let it rain in the city” mural

Detail of the mural. Notice how the blue zig zags have spread to the metal structure of the underpass.

Detail of “Let it rain...” mural

Looking west at the next block of 16th street. More new murals await! There’s a ramp down from the tracks.

Ramp from railroad embankment

A group of weird creatures in yellow, red, and green. It was a very cold day and the leaking hydrant had frozen.

Weird creatures mural and frozen hydrant

This collection of creatures was my favourite new mural of the day.

Behind is the same coal train as earlier.

Colourful creatures mural and coal train

At the ramp is this new mural of a rat. From this side it looks healthy.

Wounded rat mural from left

But walk further to the right, and a gaping wound appears.

Wounded rat mural

I reached Ashland Avenue, which is one of Chicago’s main north-south streets. There are new murals on either side. I found some information about the mural on the right at Brooklyn Street Art.

Murals on both sides of Ashland Ave

The one on the left shows a green figure with birds hatching in a nest on his head.

“Awake” mural

The next new mural is this one at Paulina Street. It seems to reference a song called Cucurrucucú paloma.

“Cucurrucucú” mural

The “L” pink line crosses 16th Street and the railway tracks here.

“L” pink line crossing railroad and W 16th St

More to find, but a friend was waiting for me at the pink line stop on 18th Street, so I turned south into Pilsen. See later in the day for the remaining murals along 16th.

Murals under the “L” pink line

After meeting my friend, we headed south down Ashland Avenue. That’s where we noticed this on 21st Place. This image is assembled from 6 photos.

Mural with monsters, girl, and fish

We wandered through Pilsen. On Wood Street near 18th Street are these two murals. The one on the left shows famous Latinas. The Mad About The Mural website identifies them and has photos of the mural in progress.

On the right is Mexican singer Joan Sebastian, according to the Chicago Murals wiki.

Murals of famous Latinas and Joan Sebastian

Proceeding west on 18th Street, the Orozco Community Academy has these mosaics on the front.

Mosaics on Orozco Community Academy

Then on Damen we found these dummy houses painted on a wall.

Painted houses

I wanted to return to 16th Street to see the section I’d missed. The railway gets wider further west, so there’s no 16th Street for many blocks around Damen Avenue. We walked back east until we found its start at Wolcott Avenue. I noticed these brick houses that are not typical for the area. Perhaps they were built with the warehouse or factory next to them?

Warehouse and brick houses

Back on 16th Street and time to fill in the gap!

16th St along the tracks

We headed east.

16th Street sidewalk