A team of researchers did its research, I followed up with visits to all the neighborhoods, grabbed a bite (or two, or three) in just about every one, andtalked to folks to get a real sense of things on the ground.
Then I wrote. Carefully. Then what I wrote was very carefully reviewed, and on the advice ofeditors who understood sensitivities better than I did, I tweaked.
Do these essays contain everything I know, or learned, about the 77 neighborhoodsfeatured here? No. There are no lies or deliberate misrepresentations—every neighborhood isn’t touted as The Greatest Neighborhood in America—but together, theresearchers, editors and me, we were able to find reasons to visit each of them.
Yes, some things are deliberately downplayed or omitted. Eliot Ness gets amention, but not his nemesis. The Biograph is in here, but not the man who made it famous. Other stuff. Why? I don’t have to answer that, do I?
And withrare exceptions, rather than dwell on population shifts and clashes and their impact, we chose to concentrate on neighborhoods as they are—what’s here, rightnow, today.
Look, it’s not 1955. The waterfall is gone, and the Bobs, and we’ve lost Dinah and Uncle Ned and Hank Sauer, and Andersonville isn’t all thatSwedish anymore.
But I still love this city—after this project, more than ever. I even like the White Sox now.
So explore with us. I’ll tell you whereto find a great taco, or goulash wrapped in a potato pancake, or a church that will humble you.
And let me tell you about Hegewisch. It’s pronounced… — A.S.
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