I decided to look into why Sinatra is linked to arguably one of the most iconic songs about Chicago. What exactly led the man of New York (slash New Jersey) to sing about our historic city in his classic, “My Kind of Town”? Turns out, this song was written for the film, Robin and the 7 Hoods, a musical staring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Bing Crosby.
The musical is basically Robin Hood transferred to a 1930s Chicago mob. Sinatra plays lead man Robbo a straight-laced mobster who starts charities for orphans and continuously refuses the advances of his fellow mobster’s daughter Marian’s evil ways. Yes, this film exists and I’m not sure how I’ve gone this long without seeing it.
“My Kind of Town” debuts after Robbo (Sinatra) breaks free from prison and joins the crowd waiting for him outside. I’ve posted the clip below. Make sure to note the New Orleans horn band and dancing cops as everyone rejoices that their savior Frank has been freed. It’s corny, it’s catchy and it was up for an Oscar but lost to Dick Van Dyke’s “Chim Chim Chr-ee” in Disney’s Mary Poppins.
Personally, I’ve always loved this song. It embodies Chicago perfectly. Chicago’s the glamour of the Wrigley Building, the reality of the union stock yards, and the Midwestern hospitality of people smiling at you.
If you’re ever lucky enough to cruise across Lake Michigan or down the Chicago River, play this song and you’ll understand exactly how great and magical the city of big shoulders can be. Is that corny? Absolutely. But truly what’s wrong with things being a little corny every now and again?
July’s always a fun and busy month in Chicago with something to do each day and each night. The real estate market didn’t rest either. Listen in as John D’Ambrogio highlights the top hits from this month’s State of the Market.
Holding up the north side of Chicago’s lakefront is the very real and very cool community of Rogers Park. This area is not just some El stops before you get to Evanston. Rather Rogers Park is a vibrant community. For me, it’s one of the few lakefront communities that still has life-long community members. Members who were born there, grew up in their family’s home, and stayed there through their adult lives. This isn’t to say Rogers Park isn’t home to many newcomers. It’s actually one of the most diverse communities in the city.
One of the major perks of Rogers Park is that it’s not beaches, lakefront parks, local joints (none of which are overcrowded) all surrounded by a culturally diverse set of residents. They say (well these guys say) that 80 languages are spoken among 60,000+ residents. I believe those guys.
A big presence in Rogers Park is Jesuit Loyola University. The lakefront campus is one of Loyola’s six campuses throughout the country. Loyola is a major employer and a major presence in this community. Not to be forgotten, the 1962-1963 Loyola Ramblers are the only basketball team in the state of Illinois to win the NCAA championship. A true pride for our city. The Ramblers defeated the top ranked two time defending champions, Cincinnati, in a legendary underdog story. (Think what Butler almost did in 2010.)
Just nine miles north of downtown, Rogers Park is connected by the Red Line and a number of bus lines making it a very affordable, very accessible community where you can live without a car and still easily get to where you need to go on a daily basis. You’ve got great stock in both Victorian homes and vintage condos. They even have a surviving FLW home – The Emil Bach House (not open to the public unfortunately).
Not surprisingly the community is a bit more compact right along the lake in East Rogers. Head out further west you are looking at single-family homes on decent sized lots. Just another great example of the diversity of housing you can find in a small area.
Great food choices include Heartland Cafe, Candlelight pub (on the west end), Gulliver’s for knock out pizza, and the CLASSIC Cap’n Nemos for subs!
Rogers Park may not have the panache or popularity of some of the sister neighborhoods to the South but when you’re there you know you’re in a real live Chicago ‘hood.’
Some comments from Baird & Warner’s Elizabeth McGrath and Molly O’Neill
Now that the flowered headdresses and fanny packs from a successful Lollapoloza been put away, Chicago’s other highlights are on the top of our minds. We’ve compiled the top activities and events happening in the city over the next few weekends. There’s a lot of summer left and, as always, a lot to enjoy in Chicago.
Broadway in Chicago- (August 5th) Tonight you can sample the best of Broadway wile relaxing under Pritzker Pavilion. Headlining the evening is the cast of Once, Evita, and Million Dollar Quartet and many more.
Chicago Air and Water Show – (August 17-18) Catch the high-flying acrobatics from basically anywhere in the city. Haul that lawn chair on to the roof of your building, grab the family and sit by Buckinham Fountain, or just stroll down the lake shore and watch spectacular feats on land, air, and sky.
Clark After Dark – (August 15th)The River North festival offers great live music, local homemade food and more. What makes this festival special is that funds support Illinois troops and their families.
A Clown Car Named Desire- (Check their website for dates and times) This Second City show has been described as a spectacular night of illusion with multitasking mothers, hyper hipsters and long term monogamous couples. Hilarity is ensured to ensue.
Free workouts in the Park – (Saturdays, 7-11 am)Saturday morning kick your weekend off right with a workout among iconic architecture in Millennium Park. Classes are offered every hour from 7 am through 11 am.
Thursday Night Family Nights – (August 8 - 15) The Morton Arboretum hosts a family friendly concerts and a chance to explore the Arboretum after hours. A happy, easy way to spend your evening.
Just a few things we would suggest checking out. Of course there are dozens of other events happening every day in any of the neighborhoods, towns, streets or parks. If you have any suggestions feel free to let us know! We’re always looking for what’s going on in the city.
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photographic images courtesy of the Chicago History Museum and the Evanston History Center. Images may have been altered in cropping, tinting or detailing.