The highlight of our second day in the city was riding bikes along the Lake Michigan trail. We rode over 25 kilometers round trip south to the University of Chicago campus. I love the Great Lakes and swimming in the cool, fresh water was invigorating. We stopped at one of the numerous beaches for a quick dip. In the summer, in my opinion, Chicago rivals Miami and other coastal cities with its proximity to the water. Beaches do not come to mind when one thinks of Chicago and perhaps they should promote them and invest more into developing them. There were not a lot of people using them. A beautiful summer day in a city of 7 million people, I would have thought there would have been more people on them. I love bike paths and parks and this part of the city abounds with them. The rental bikes were good quality but expensive. We stopped heading south in part due to the amount of crime in the south part of Chicago.
We stopped heading south in part due to the amount of crime in the south part of Chicago. The city has the largest number of gangs in the USA and a murder rate much higher than LA or New York, but not as much as other smaller cities like Detroit or New Orleans. In reflecting upon the crime statistics, it is a symptom of poverty and lack of opportunity. Most of the victims and perpetrators are African American young adult males. Lowering the crime rate would need a huge investment in the poor neighborhoods to make a whole-scale culture and economic change. NPR’s This American Life did an excellent podcast on Harper High School, which is close to Hyde Park, where we stopped our bike ride yesterday. They really define the daily challenges faced in the crime-ridden sections of Chicago.
Last night we had dinner at the Saigon Sisters which is owned by a childhood friend of mine. His family belonged to our parish in my village and it was great to see him after such a long time. We had a delicious meal and I recommend it. Thanks to Dan for the special treatment! It was another example of people from my village moving to cities and doing quite well. It is sad that economic opportunities are not available in small towns anymore.