Stories, observations, and context
about Humboldt Park-
the community area, the neighborhood, and the park itself,
with an ecosystems view
east to west,
the present to the past,
policy to people,
and nature to civilization.

Aligning with nature,
rather than any man-made calendar,
new stories are posted with each full moon.

  • The Great Blue Herons of Humboldt Park
    The tall, foot-poised creature had a life, a place of its own in the manifold, fragile system that is this coastline; a place of its own in the universe. Its place, and mine, I believe, are equal and interdependent. -Adrienne Rich, What Is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry and Politics (2003) Thus every kind their … Read more
  • A Community Anchor in a Story Sea?
    Was Humboldt Park’s Pioneer Trust & Savings Bank Built to Last? “It was magnificent…To me it’s like stepping into a cathedral that you would see in some other part of the world, but in your own neighborhood.” -Bill Smiljanić-Pérez. Founder, North & Pulaski Historical Society “If there’s a disaster, let’s say a fire at a … Read more
  • The Literary Adventures of Humboldt Park
    June’s full moon reached its peak at 6:51 AM this morning. Historically, Algonquin tribes would celebrate this Strawberry Moon as the time to gather ripening strawberries. But perhaps the alternate name, Hot Moon, is more befitting today’s 100 degree heat. Tonight’s as good of a night as any to slow down and enjoy Humboldt Park’s … Read more
  • A Brief History of Pioneer Savings & Trust
    Tonight is the Full Flower Moon on the Algonquin lunar calendar. This marks the time of the year when flowers rise up from the earth in abundance. Nearly a century ago but long after European settlers drove most Native Americans out of the area, a five-story limestone-fronted Classical Revival building rose up on the corner of … Read more
  • The Bold and Uncomfortable Organizer Next Door
    “We have to be willing to be vulnerable, sometimes get hurt in the process, and willing to be grounded and focused in our intention. Sometimes we think we’re helping, and we are just trying to be a savior. None of us need a savior…There is no such thing. It’s going to take all of us.“ … Read more
  • From Survival to Solidarity: People Helping People in Humboldt Park
    Inside a former upholstery shop on North Avenue, a half dozen bystanders bundled in heavy winter coats jam haphazardly into narrow spaces between tables stacked with used pants, shirts, and socks. Coat racks hanging dress pants, sport coats, and winter coats line the side walls, in between shelves of shoes, infant car seats, and milk … Read more
  • Life in the Park Goes On in Winter
    Winter is a quieter time in Humboldt Park, but it’s still full of life. The park is a place where the trees, jibarito trucks, and bronze von Humboldt come together. It’s where life goes on in the trees and in nylon tents. But words cannot fully capture the story of the park. Following is a … Read more
  • Survival of the Tastiest: Kitchen Evolution in Humboldt Park
    “One night at our home, my family and I were hungry,” writes Jorge Muñoz of Plátano Loco in Aguada, Puerto Rico. “It was late and everything was closed, they wanted sandwiches but there was no bread. I went to my backyard, took some plantains from “la mata de plátano” and proceed to experiment in the … Read more
  • Creation and Destruction in the Americas of Alexander von Humboldt
    “Without a diversity of opinions, the discovery of truth is impossible.”-Alexander von Humboldt, 1828 Alexander von Humboldt crawled on all fours along a sharp ridge that ascends like a black stripe above the snow towards the peak of Chimborazo. Known locally as the “cuchilla,” or knife edge, the ridge narrowed to as little as 8 … Read more
  • Wooden UFOs and Nylon Homes in the Zone of Silence
    The word “Blast!” captions the boarded-up entrance of a vacant commercial building at Division and Central Park. The letters are bold orange, but the broken-off exclamation mark dulls the interjection to plainly, “Blast.” Seven contrails fashioned from metal-painted wood permanently suspend a hand-crafted wooden UFO blasting off directly beneath the caption. As recently as last … Read more
  • Autobiography of a Green Ash on Sawyer Avenue
    “…the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that.” -Pema Chödrön Every morning the sun rises above a red brick building next to me and lights up the sky as my leaves stretch out to … Read more
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