On Tuesday after I was done with my time at the place I was at, I drove up from the western suburbs through Chicago to the north side to view some friends who live at North Park. I intentionally drove through the city instead of taking the interstate. It was fun--tiring and taxing to drive in that traffic in the rain, but it provided for a lot of observation:
There is a stark difference between almost all the suburbs and Chicago as a whole. I know it's a huge generalization, but it seems like the Chicago suburbs are all extremely suburban and Chicago itself is very urban. The suburbs are all houses with yards. Chicago has very little grass anywhere--a lot of apartments and bungalows. You can tell immediately when you cross into Chicago.
Non-residential streets are crammed with signs and lights. Everyone wants your attention--even the city, which installed, as best I could infer, blue flashing lights at corners that had cameras for driving violations.
Chicago has to have the highest percentage of storefront churches per capita of anywhere. It's common to see two or more on a single block. The African American Missionary Baptists really got established well there. I don't know how many people attend these churches, but there has to be more M.B. Churches in Chicago than anywhere else. And all the storefront churches have black iron gates on their doors.
Two of the shops I found interesting and humorous were called: 1) I Got 99 Problems 4 Shizzle (I have no idea what that place was) and 2) Hey, Hey, Hey, It's Fat Albert (a restaurant that was home to the $.79 Obama Burger.