Tales of the City

Tales of the City

I have a great view from my office. It doesn't make it worth showing up to work, but it helps. I face east out to my former residence, the Del Prado Apartments, and to Lake Michigan. I also overlook the Metra tracks and the 53rd Street viaduct which runs underneath them. This is where today's tale takes place.

The Viaducts of Hyde Park

I took a peek out the window and there was a man, probably in his 40s and extremely wobbly, wearing a red jacket and greyish-brown pants. He was facing the wall at the mouth of the viaduct. After a moment of wondering what the hell he was looking at, it became evident that he had the slightly bent posture of a stoned public urinator. I say stoned because he wasn't lurching enough to be drunk, yet if he had even a handful of synapses firing correctly he would have had the sense to take himself underneath the viaduct to do what needed to be done. After a minute or so more he turned to face the world. We, my co-worker and I, were looking frantically to see if he had been pissing by trying to spot a wet spot against the wall (that's the kind of corporate culture we have here - nurturing a bunch of piss-gapers). There was none. Odd. Maybe he was just trying to not fall down. Or not. The front of his pants were a distinctly darker shade than the sides. Evidentally, he hadn't bothered to actually unzip before relieving himself. And then all he did was stand there, waiting to become a sopping tale of the city.


At 10:26 AM, Anonymous Rev Transit said...

The Del Prado Apartments used to be the Del Prado Hotel and it was the place most visiting American League teams stayed when they came here to play the White Sox. The evil Yankees were one of those teams.

For many years, the GM of the Yanks George Weiss avoided signing black players but during the late 50s, he finally had to relent and he signed Elston Howard. Casey Stengel, by the way, was all for integrating the team. He just wanted the best players he could get and after Howard, a classy gentleman but slow-moving even for a catcher, made the big club, Stengel complained that Weiss had finally gotten him a n-----, but the only one who couldn't run.

In any case, the Del Prado Hotel was segregated in those days and for a year or two Howard was not allowed to stay with the rest of the team here in Chicago as well as several other cities. The Yankees did little to correct this travesty until some New Yorkers threatened a boycott. Then the Yankees finally pressured the Del Prado and they changed their policy, allowing an intergrated hotel.

At 1:46 PM, Blogger evandebacle said...

Thanks for the info. I knew a little bit about the history of the Del Prado as "the Finest Residential and Transient Hotel in the Middle-West," but I didn't know about its place in baseball lore.

Today, as those who've heard my stories about living there know, the place is a bit odd. There were some characters in residence there, though they will be slightly less visible with the recent move of the Hyde Park Art Center. Good times. Gave me many tales to retell over a good bottle of wine. And my view of the Lake couldn't be beat.


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