How One Block Got Through It

Slate's If Then


Over the past five months small businesses in America have been undergoing a mass extinction event. Bars are closed restaurants or half empty and retail is shuttered. Full blocks are slipping away. I wanted a sense of how this is playing out in the city I live in. CHICAGO. Not The one off story of a beloved are not the frightening toll in national statistics I wanted the story of one block. So I went to seventy fifth street in the Chatham neighborhood in the heart of Chicago outside. This. Part of the South side is really pretty. There are huge street trees flowers on the steps of the bungalows brick two flats al capone used to live in one of them. Many corners have signs from block looks setting the rules of the road. No loud music no car repair watch out for children playing. Even middle class parts of the side commercial corridors have struggled. redlining big box stores, job loss and black flight have left them full of vacancies. There are signs for businesses that have been gone. So long their phone numbers don't have area codes signs for furniture stores, nurseries, food markets, stores that sold beepers. which is what has long made this stretch of seventy fifth street, just east of South, Michigan, Avenue Standout, and what makes it stand out? Even during the pandemic. There's a handful of hair salons and barbershops. There's a dentist and a daycare. There's a cycling Ju. We're one day I visit. The DJ is wheeling bikes onto the sidewalk for afternoon classes. A little bit nervous, south. Arm. Being. There is a cult favorite, vegetarian joint Zoll Veg, which always has a line inside and if famous barbecue joint limbs, which always has a line outside. Large To dry cleaners where the pressed uniforms of Chicago police and transit workers hang under plastic and a Taylor who says online ordering suits him just fine. To never going to stop because you combat it fit to perfect. You're going to need some ultra and that's why. There's a deli run by an ex COP. I went there cover in plain clothes they know who I was and I got to a fight. So, as may have started the fight, my gun thought of mine waste and me and a guy is literally fighting for this pistol. There's a bakery, a frame shop and Francis Cocktail Lounge. The Bar has been here since December thirty first nineteen, sixty five muhammed leads to drop by Michael Jordan too. So we are the Regal. Beagle. You don't know three's company. So a lot of people, it is the neighborhood where everybody knows your name and we're able to have people come out and have cocktails on the front. So that has really seemed to. Help us excuse me you got to mass. Need, you have on the bads. Jada Wilson turnball runs the place with her cousin who's mother founded it. If you can't tell, she used to be an assistant principal at a Chicago Public School can't you put on your mask plays. Thank you. So, much. Appreciate you. Working with children really got me ready for this. One reason I picked this stretch of seventy fifth street was because it seemed on paper like exactly the kind of place that would have struggled to get through the pandemic stretch of black owned family businesses in a city that has been hit hard by. COVID. Nineteen. But what I found was not what I expected. Mid July virtually every business on seventy fifth street had reopened after the initial shutdown. Some were just getting by, but many of them said in spite of everything that they were doing. Great. I'm Henry Bar and this is the final episode in our series on the future of the during and after covid nineteen. Today, on the show, one block on Chicago's south side tries to get through the storm.

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