The Chicago Sun-Times, in a moment of sanity, ran an editorial describing how the once-great Michigan Avenue in the heart of the Windy City has turned into a hellhole.  Beggars, pot smoke, reckless drivers and skateboarders, homeless, dried vomit and on and on and on.

The author, Carol Felsenthal, describes how so many high-end stores she remembers from her younger years have long-since fled the crime, corruption and high taxes of doing business in Chicago.  The “corruption tax” simply proved too much.

But there’s great news for the residents!  The woke Mayor Brandon Johnson is on your side.  Or so he says.

Brandon Johnson’s on your side, working class people of Chicago. Why he’s so much on your side, he’s busy reportedly impregnating white women (okay, only one that we know of) and getting kicked out of the family home by his angry (black) wife. Rumor has it he’s not even living in Chicago city limits now. WBEZ photo.

Here’s the op-ed with our own commentary.  From Wayback Machine to avoid the Sun-Times paywall.

When I was growing up in West Rogers Park, we never went to Michigan Avenue — too fancy for our family.

In 1976, back in Chicago after college and grad school, working for the American Library Association, the avenue became my lunch-break street. I’d window shop at Saks, I. Magnin, Bonwit Teller; I’d browse Stuart Brent’s bookstore, the last three stores long gone.

Yeah, I remember going to Watertower as a 16-year-old, by myself.  As an armed 56-year-old, I wouldn’t go there if they were giving away $100 bills for walking through the door.

Today, we’re treated to regular stories like this one about a woman savagely attacked (by savages) on Michigan Avenue.

Years later, Michigan Avenue existed only as the end of my walk from our house in Lincoln Park to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for doctors’ appointments. During COVID-19, I couldn’t see expressions under pedestrians’ masks, but I sensed they were as grim as mine. Window shopping? Not much, as many stores were closed, and remain closed today, their windows covered by butcher paper. Blocks of “scarecrow” police cars, stock still on the median, blue lights flashing, hogged my attention.

I remember the pedestrians, lots and lots of pedestrians.  They all stared at the ground in front of them, almost like automatons.  It’s as if they were afraid to make eye contact with anyone.  I called the sheeple back then and still do.

I walk five miles most days, from Oak and Michigan, where my husband and I now live, to 12th Street, a few blocks south of the hotel I’ll always call the Conrad Hilton.

What could possibly go wrong walking on sidewalks in residential neighborhoods today.  Oh wait, those bad things always happen to other people in other places.  Welcome to the denial response.

Post-covid, the avenue has perked up, and I have come to appreciate its mix of characters and activity — and its reminder of Chicago’s intractable problems: homelessness, mental illness, a preposterously wide income gap.

Amen, times 3.

The Biden administration economy rates poorly in polls, but the people I watch, many tourists from abroad, are buying big-time, clutching shopping bags from HOKA, Tiffany’s, Levi’s, American Girl.

In other words, she votes for Biden, Pritzker and Brandon Johnson.  She doesn’t think Bidenomics are bad for America.

In other words, she’s one of the people responsible for putting people in leadership positions in government that gives us this “America last” economic and trade policy.

And to those wealthy tourists from abroad?  Does this woman think they are supposed to typify the average American family?  At my kids’ school, most of the families are at best working class.  Some look as though if they missed a couple of paychecks they would be homeless.  Me dressed in 5.11s, black boots and a collared shirt places me among the best dressed outside of the impeccably dressed principal.   Our family is nowhere near among the 1%.  Top 50% yeah.  1%?  If only.

On the dark side of the divide, Venezuelan women sit on cold, wet sidewalks, toddlers and babies in their laps, selling boxes of candy. The children are often sleeping, at times when children would not normally sleep, as if sleep is the sole relief from misery. A Venezuelan man stands on the sidewalk facing the American Girl store, holding his daughter’s hand. She stares longingly at the dolls through the ground-floor window.

So why haven’t they relocated back to Venezuela where the cost of living is undoubtedly a fraction of that of Chicago?

Homelessness, mental illness, crime on display

I rarely walk a block without passing men pleading for money, some missing legs. One sits at the curb, his stump wrapped in an elastic bandage.

Every few minutes, another siren screams — ambulances, firetrucks, police SUVs. Ten CPD cars and around 30 uniformed officers gather in front of Saks at Superior and Michigan. A scared 16-year-old is wedged against a squad car. I read later that he and an adult had a backpack full of ammunition and firearms.

The avenue seems more like a boardwalk than a commercial corridor. I inhale smoke from so much weed I wonder why I don’t feel high. Adults, apparently mentally ill, scream on street corners…

Jacked-up cars missing mufflers speed by. “Why doesn’t a cop stop that driver?” I wonder. Men ride backfiring motorcycles, some blast music and do wheelies. At least they’re on the street.

On the sidewalk, teens on skateboards show off by barely missing pedestrians; others speed by on bicycles and electric scooters. I’ve yet to see one of them stopped. “Is it legal to ride on the sidewalk?” I ask myself.

In other words a near-total absence of law-and-order.  Leading to scenes like this.

During the Richard M. Daley regime, Michigan Avenue looked like a page from a landscape architect’s advertisement. No longer.

Indeed.  Act like a fool in old man Daley’s Chicago and you would get a complimentary hickory shampoo.  Today, what few cops remain will look the other way.

Plastic bags, food wrappers, Styrofoam cups blow about. Sidewalks are stained with what looks like old vomit, and spit-out chewing gum leaves behind black spots. Pigeons poop on sidewalks and heads. Graffiti sticks around, inviting more graffiti.

Signs that the locals have no respect for or pride in their city.

The Democratic National Convention this August will force a cleanup. Mayor Brandon Johnson might believe that the rich avenue can afford its own upkeep, but he’ll see to it that it looks sparkling for celebrities and important politicians. Once they exit, messy Michigan Avenue will return.

Of course.  Until law-and-order returns.  But if I was a betting man, I would never take the bet that it will.  Not when generations of corruption and one-party rule have gutted the place.

I describe the dishevelment to my husband. “So, walk on another street.” I ignore his advice because the avenue’s disarray and unpredictability bear watching, as it progresses, backslides, changes.

Walk on another street?  Great idea hubby.

Maybe she could take an alley.

What could possibly go wrong?

Carol Felsenthal is a Chicago writer of biographies and magazine profiles.

At least her residence wasn’t like this one.

Or this one:

Here’s a better idea… move.

You don’t get these (video below) in communities outside of Chicago.

UPDATE:  Comments at WirePoints are priceless.

 6 hours ago
Hello, Indiana!
 6 hours ago
7 thoughts on “Sun-Times runs editorial lamenting how Chicago’s Michigan Ave has turned from picturesque to a dystopian hellhole”
  1. I left Chicago over 20 years ago when they stole my last car. “They” as in… the city …yeah when you know that the city government is as corrupt as corrupt gets then what hope have you to be safe from the criminal class?

    Chitcago is a third-world shithole, and has been since old man daley. He was as crooked as a dog’s hind leg; it’s just a different class of criminal so whom do you favor , the Capone type or the Jesse Jackson Jr type?

  2. If I had a 16 year old they damn sure wouldn’t be going to Chicago. Hell I won’t go to that shithole.

  3. Remember the socialists’ ultimate goals:
    Corral everyone into a packed-and-stacked “community.” +
    Standardized gov’t issued allowance (pittance). +
    Strictly limited mobility with constant surveillance of our POVs, streets, taxis, bus, trains and air travels. (Don’t forget phone and media “sneak-and-peeks.”) +
    Control of water, appliance and HVAC power consumptions. +
    No tools or mechanisms of personal defense. +
    Carte Blanche for the predators and disregard the winnowing of the weak. =
    More cities like Chicago, or will it become governmental sanctioned Stockholm Syndrome?

  4. Adopt the view of the Chinese Youth; “Bai Lan” meaning “LET IT ROT”
    Let Chicago Rot ! Do not try to save the Bolsheviks !

  5. The city formerly known as having big shoulders. Is now the city of shootouts and shit stains. It is beyond repair.

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