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Exploring with James

A Winter Day in Pilsen – Part 3

Published 2013-03-12 · By James Bursa

Continuing from the last part on 16th Street, I saw this art on a train standing on the embankment.

Mural on train car

This recent looking mural has a musical theme. It was near Wood Street.

“La Voz Es Poder” mural

These strange red figures or creatures were a short distance further along.

Red figures mural

Then there was a long row of murals next to each other. First a praying figure or saint, then a face with “Vampire” written in the bottom left, and then a girl in front of the skyline with “Love Chicago” beneath.

Praying figure, vampire, and Love Chicago murals

After that was this long black and white mural with many televisions. Some are showing ominous images, while others have animals, faces, or eyes popping out of the screen.

Televisions mural

Next was this one, with a Mayan pyramid, the Willis and Hancock Towers, and the text “Chicago’s Our Home”.

“Chicago's Our Home” mural

Right after that was this dramatic owl face.

Owl eyes mural

Some geometric shapes under the “L” bridge.

Murals under the “L” bridge

A colourful mural of shapes and patterns with a face emerging on the right.

Colourful shapes and head mural

That filled in the rest of 16th Street, but I wanted to show my friend the rat, so we kept going east. Here I am in front of it, wrapped up against the freezing cold wind.

Inside the rat

By this time the cold wind had got to me despite my many layers, so we decided to head inland (south into Pilsen) to find warmth. Here’s a weather update from my phone during the walk (temperatures in Fahrenheit).

A cold day for exploring

On 18th Street just west of Blue Island Avenue we saw this mural of superheroes, also new since I lived in the area.

Superheroes mural

Here it is in more detail.

Superheroes mural detail

On the other side of the street is this mural that I’d seen before about immigration.

“Declaration of Immigration” mural

On Carpenter Street at 18th, we saw a new mural. “Another Day, Another Hustle, On That Every Day Struggle” it says. The creature next to “Hustle” looks similar to those on the “Let It Rain” mural from earlier in the walk; perhaps the same artist?

“Another Day, Another Hustle” mural

Finally we got to Simone’s bar at Morgan Street where we got some warming drinks.

Mural on Simone’s bar

After warming up, we headed out again to see what else we could find. We went back to 16th Street, and this time we walked up one of the ramps to the track level to look at the view. Here it is looking north towards the Produce Terminal Cold Storage building. A double-stacked container train is standing on the railway.

View across the tracks

Looking west across the tracks. In the foreground are former industrial buildings, now residential. In the distance are downtown’s skyscapers.

Willis Tower across the tracks

And here’s the view east showing the ramp and a mural I saw earlier.

Ramp to the tracks

Here’s a typical view along the 16th Street sidewalk. In some places along the crumbling embankment wall, water draining or leaking out had frozen solid.

Ice spewing from the viaduct wall

I missed this simple art of various animals that I must have passed earlier in the day.

Squirrels and rabbits mural.

I also noticed this mysterious drawing next to the text “Viva Le Revolucíon Del Surreal”.

“Viva Le Revolucíon Del Surreal” mural

For some reason this mural was painted over. The only thing remaining was a name and two dates. A search revealed that it refers to Saint Toribio Romo González.

Painted over mural of Saint Toribio

Our final destination and reward for exploring in arctic conditions was this store on Blue Island Avenue.

Don Churro

Don Churro produces churros (fried dough strings) filled with various flavours.

Fresh churros at Don Churro

A delicious way to end our exploring.

A churro at Don Churro

You can see all these photos on a map at Flickr.

Some great websites with information about Pilsen murals that I found while writing: