Thursday, August 28, 2008

Chicago Blues

"Junior's Sports Lounge *724 W. Maxwell St.) Game night's not just for the old folks' home anymore. Kick back in the University Village hangout."

"Five bars to show off your Wii mastery this week," Time Out Chicago, August 21-27, 2008, Issue 182

Some old folks actually remember this hallowed ground as a part of the original Maxwell Street Market, designated a public market in 1912 by the City of Chicago. This Eastern European Jewish market evolved into multicultural flea market with blues bands on the corners, pork chop sandwiches on the grills, and plenty of stuff.

Maxwell Street took a lot of punches and survived urban renewal and all the rest but not Mayor Daley 11 and the expansion of the University of Illinois up the street -- a university famous for destroying interesting neighborhoods. A good fight was put up on behalf of grassroots economics but advocates, small businesses, and consumers lost.

In Nonprofit Leadership I talk about the positive power and resilience of messy markets. Maxwell Street got moved a few blocks over to Canal Street and became a cleaner, more upstanding, but no less engaging, public market. But different. How long will it last given new development closing in from all directions?

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