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Friday, March 3, 2017

While Out Riding the Pulaski Bus

On Wednesday, I dropped off an application for senior housing at North Park Village, located at Ardmore and Pulaski in Chicago. To get there, I took the Peterson bus from Western to Pulaski, then walked to the entrance at Ardmore, a mere two blocks.

After dropping off the application—a little before 1 pm—I decided to continue walking south on Pulaski, six blocks from the Village entrance, to Foster Ave., where I knew there was a small mall with a Jewel-Osco. For someone without a car, it’s important to know how far the grocery store is from where you live.

Now for most of my adult life in Chicago, I lived within walking distance of either the Red or Brown lines, which made getting around the city fast, easy, and convenient, especially given their very generous hours of operation.

That all changed with the 2008 recession and the rising rents in Chicago, especially along L lines. And so in 2012, for the first time, I had to move farther west, along Western Ave., which meant I was now dependent on buses to get me to the L, and often buses with very limited service hours.

And so I considered this when applying at the Village, which meant knowing more about the #53 Pulaski bus. It runs between Peterson and 31st street, and is the major north-south route to get to and from the Village.  After going on-line, I was happy to see that the service hours were more than generous: 3:55 am – 1:00 am, seven days a week. Plus which the bus stops at three L lines that intersect with Pulaski: two Blue Line stops; a Green, and a Pink.

Learning this, I knew that after I dropped off my housing application, I’d have to take an exploratory ride on the #53, which I did, following my visit to the Jewel. A bus quickly showed up at the Foster and Pulaski bus stop, and notebook in hand, I boarded at 2:20 pm.

And what pleasant surprises as we headed south: first, an Aldi, Dollar Tree, and Walgreen’s, barely a minute south of Foster, stores I frequent where I currently live. Then, at Lawrence, L&P Liquors and Tap Room. Now, as a fan of dive bars, I imagine I may want to stop in the Tap Room on the occasional early evening for my standard “one and done” of whatever lager is, well, on tap.

At Elston & Pulaski, there was the Northside Grill, offering, as the modest sign reads: Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner. Next to dive bars, local breakfast joints are a particular favorite.

I wasn’t sure how far south I’d keep riding, but was glad to see the easily accessible entrance to the Blue Line at Irving Park, the train I’d be taking downtown when needed. We arrived there at 2:30 pm.

Finally at Addison there was the LaVilla Strada Restaurant and Brudder’s Sports Bar & Grill, both not far from Windy City Produce at Milwaukee. It was now 2:35 pm.

Now these stores and other establishments may not be to everyone’s liking, but knowing they were there—and reachable by bus at any hour I’m likely to be out—made me feel very good about living along the #53 route.

So should my application at North Park Village be accepted, I know I'll find plenty to keep me entertained while out riding the Pulaski bus.

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