Thursday, October 7, 2010

Devon Avenue -- The Whole World (or a Lot of it) in Merchantile Harmony

Devon Avenue in Chicago's West Ridge exemplifies some of what's best about the United States. It is a place where everyone has something to contribute, and where people from sometimes hostile backgrounds (at least seem to) get along.

The initial draw of this commercial strip was food. I love South Asian food, which is well-represented here. I also seek out rose hip jam at a grocery store that seems to be a refuge from civil wars: Products from the former Yugoslavia, Lebanon, and other (hopefully past) scenes of hostility live together, in mercantile peace.
Perhaps the market, the dollar, binds us in good ways: Pakistanis, Arabs, Indians, Jews, as well as the aforementioned Serbs, Croatians, Bosnians, and others, tend business here.

I return to Devon for inspiration. This is America's low-bar-to-entry at its best. We don't ask much, except the desire to participate in a community. You don't have to look or sound or pray a particular way to join.

(Top photo -- North side of Devon, east of Western Avenue. Bottom photo -- New development, northeast corner of Devon and Rockwell Street.)

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