EricL wrote:Yes, the top photo is most definitely looking southeast from the platform at Sox-35th. The dead giveaway is the Stateway Gardens housing projects in the background. These buildings had a different appearance than their Robert Taylor neighbors to the south.
It's one of those things. Stateway Gardens haven't been gone all that long (seven years according to Wikipedia), but the memory fades. I suppose it also doesn't help that I didn't really start using the L to 35th until about 2002. There were years I didn't go to many Sox games due to living away, and my dad always drove when I was a kid.
Here I go, veering way off of the topic of rail transit!
The Stateway project was of course less memorable to most people, since it occupied a smaller area, and was less prominent to passers-by. Anyone coming up the Ryan (or the Rock Island) had a distinct and long-lasting view of the two-mile stretch of the nearly identical Taylor buildings. The only variation to them was that some were clad in red brick, while others were finished with an off-white color.
Stateway persisted slightly longer before demolition, as during the final years, it came to have a stronger resident council. Of course its closer proximity to "better" areas like the ballpark, IIT, De La Salle, etc. couldn't have hurt either. The buildings themselves were marginally more well-designed and attractive, imo, than the subsequent Taylor buildings. (For one of my sociology classes, we actually took a 'field trip' across the street to Stateway, to make a cursory tour and talk with the resident council... this was more of a deliberate set-up than an authentic experience - it was meant to provide a first-hand subtext to Sudhir Venkatesh's book - but it still made a lasting impression upon me.)
I, too, did not make any good use of the L before my IIT attendance in 2003. Most of my memories of the 'old' Dan Ryan line were, indeed, from driving along it. My family used to make several-times-weekly trips from Evergreen Park up to Children's Memorial Hospital, via 87th St, the Ryan, and Lake Shore Drive. I'd often enquire to my mother - while sitting in morning traffic - what are those trains over there? Why can't we just take those? Of course it was not obvious to me, as a youngster, why such transport might be deemed unfit for use by a white suburban mother traveling alone with her two kids.
The first time I even heard the term "L" was on a day when my grandpa was serving as substitute driver. As we passed under the (then closed for rebuild/1994) Englewood line, I enquired to him, what's that high bridge up there? It used to look so old and rusty, and now it looks nice and new, but still I've never noticed anything passing over it? He replied, simply, that it was "the L"... no mention of that that letter meant or its significance. Thinking maybe I misheard, I asked him again, "what?" and again he snapped, "the L!" I remained puzzled. What did "L" mean? I knew it was for trains, since I had previously seen the remnants of the old Wentworth station up there before (which were mostly removed with the rehab.) But the whole system remained a mystery to me until fall '03, when I enrolled at IIT, and the 35th Street station of the Green Line became my gateway to the entire city...