Friday, July 15, 2016

Chicago vs. DC: Similar Neighborhoods Names

After living in Chicago for more than 10 years, I still get tripped up on the names of some of the neighborhoods here.  My confusion stems from the fact that I also lived in DC for 10 years and some of the neighborhood names there are similar to some of the ones in Chicago.

Lincoln Park, DC                  Lincoln Park, Chicago
When I first moved to DC, I lived on Capitol Hill in a hood called Lincoln Park. The largest park on The Hill, Pierre L'Enfant included it in his original 1791 plan for DC, intending it for public use and planning it to be the point from which all distances in North America would be measured, although it was not ultimately utilized for this purpose.  It's also been historically known as Lincoln Square.  It is the first pubic site to bear the former President's name.  When I lived there, the hood consisted mostly of young white couples who were parents to children and/or dogs, and some empty-nesters.  It was primarily residential with not much by way of shopping and restaurants

Chicago has both a Lincoln Park and a Lincoln Square.  We currently live in Lincoln Square and it took me the first year of living here to stop calling it Lincoln Park.  Lincoln Square is a cozy northside hood whose population mirrors that of Lincoln Park/Square in DC, but offers much more to do than just live in your home.  Row houses, single-family homes and some condos share space with bars, restaurants and shopping.  On the other hand, Lincoln Park in Chicago is one of the more affluent neighborhoods filled with established mature couples and families, and where a recent college grad will share a small, expensive apartment with 3 other people just so he/she can be in a predominantly white neighborhood that's loaded with bars.

In DC, I also lived in Logan Circle.  When I first moved to DC in 1995, Logan Circle was mostly a place for hookers and drug addicts.  The neighborhood was peppered with run down townhouses and abandoned garages and warehouses.  During my 10 years in that city (as well as since), Logan Circle has become was Lincoln Park in Chicago is.  As is usually the case, the gays moved into the blighted area and revitalized it.  Soon, straight women follow, then straight men, then couples, then families.  You can set your calendar by it.  Contrarily, Chicago has Logan Square even though the park from which the neighborhood gets its name is actually ovular and not square.  I lived in Logan Circle in DC and now I work in Logan Square in Chicago.

Logan Circle, DC                                                                               Logan Square, Chicago

I finally have the Lincoln Park/Square thing under control, but it's going to take a while to get the Logan Circle/Square thing managed.  But I'm getting there.

My brain's a mess.