The back porch is where we store the evidence of the dirty side of life.
It’s where you sit next to the wet mop, crack open a can of beer and wait for the floor to dry. It’s where you shake out that dirty rug or smoke a cigarette.
The Westside is Chicago’s back porch. The Westside is home to the working poor. It’s the part of the city that you leave, if you can afford to go somewhere else. You go to places with grocery stores and big box retailers. The Irish came and went to the suburbs. Blacks migrated from the south and moved on up to the Southside. Guys lucky enough to get into a union moved their families to suburbs with better schools. The Westside is where taxi drivers, musicians, drug dealers, and housekeepers live.
You don’t see much in the news about the Westside, unless there’s a murder or a fire. Just like no one talks about the back porch and the wet mop and that old chair that you just leave out there because you don’t care if anyone steals it.
Prostitution and open air drug markets flourish on this side of town. If we were Amsterdam, these activities would be on Michigan Avenue. However, we Chicagoans store the evidence of the dirty side of life on the back porch, the Westside.