A Convergence Project by Journalism Students at Roosevelt University

Shoreline sights and sounds

Story and Video 
by Daria Sokolova


    Esteban Ortiz looks at the sinuous ripple the Shoreline Taxi leaves in the water of Lake Michigan. His eyes are fixated on the boat until it blends in with the jagged Chicago skyline. As the boat goes out of sight, Ortiz starts singing his rhymes, trying to boost the dwindling number of customers -- the first hint of the ending season at the "Shoreline Sightseeing". Established in 1939, now the largest touring fleet in the City of Chicago, "Shoreline Sightseeing" became a family for over 300 seasonal crew members who work for the company from March through November. "I know one thing, we all have the same shirts on. You can see us from miles away," says Greeter Tom Manuszak. Dressed in a radiant neon polo -- the "Shoreline" signature uniform, he sticks out from the crowd of suit – clad folks headed for lunch.

On this street corner, a unique sound

By Latricia Cherise Wilson

     Here on the corner, street hustlers yell, “Loose squares!” Others yell, “Good Reggie,” or “Loud,” advertising a potent brand of marijuana that while illegal is part of the commercial trade here. Call it the hustle. Single cigarettes at 50 cents a pop and two-for five-dollar marijuana bag sales. Middle-aged hustlers dominate the corner, occasionally feuding over their corner turfs for cigarette customers and marijuana buyers. From nearly sunup until way past sundown hustlers stand on the corner or always with an eye out for a potential customer and another one for the Chicago police.

For Chicago's Bucket Boys, the beat goes on

Story and Video
By Alesia Wright


             Just off the Dan Ryan expressway on the South Side, the commotion of car horns and police sirens fills the air. A husky dark-skinned man wearing a black fitted cap with the word “Chicago” stitched in white letters on the front and dark aviator sunglasses over his eyes strides gracefully through the traffic selling cold bottles of water, two for one dollar. “Ice cold,” he yells.
            Here at this intersection of 47th and LaSalle Streets, above the squeaking car breaks and the stew of sounds of the Bronzeville neighborhood, the rhythmic resonance of drums that can be heard from at least four blocks away rises above it all, becoming the dominant notes in the air.  And on the east side of the intersection, in the middle of 47th street, sit two young men with their dreads and Vic Firth drumsticks alike, whipping through the air with such zeal and ambition.

This "chaos" is "musical"

By Taylor Massa
Sid Yiddish, 51, playing outdoors
for a public performance.
Strange happenings hide in the most normal of places. A lonely violin whines in the background, as a man smokes a cigarette on the rusty fire escape stairs. A cracked floor and a maze of hallways is decorated with everything from mannequins begging to be graffitied, to an anarchist library gifted from the disheveled Occupy Chicago movement. The back room is a vast corner filled with windows displaying the city skyline. Here, at 1000 N. Milwaukee Ave., sits what appears to be an abandoned office building.  The weather is greyscale and the smell of fresh sawdust and drywall fill the first floor, as contractors have begun the long process of construction. Most who frequent the space MuliKulti are more colorful than the next. This is where Sid Yiddish, 51, practices music with his band The Candystore Henchmen.

Snap, crackle and pop; the sound of vinyl lives on in the city

By Brandon Ousley  
   On a warm Friday afternoon in Bridgeport, Chicago, the boisterous buzzing of electric drills and wails of car horns loom around the community. The clashing chimes of beer mugs and excruciating laughter from a nearby sports bar and restaurant, Schaller’s Pump, are fixated against the lively chatter and blaring guitars that creep into the streets from an open pathway. Enter Let’s Boogie Records & Tapes on 3321 S. Halsted St. Synthesizer plinks and booming rhythms fill the age-old atmosphere, while magazines and artifacts lie across every diameter of the room. Rows of vinyl sprawl around the life-size promotional cut-outs that are placed on top of display cases full of cassettes and 8-track tapes. A phone rings near a paper-filled desk inside.

More to his cooking than clanking and knives

By Todd M. Freimuth
   The swinging kitchen doors pass and clatter against each other, allowing brief murmurs to sneak in from The Pumping Company dining room in the Edgewater neighborhood. The kitchen’s order printer screeches out another itemized ticket and Kevin Green rips it from the machine. The paper crumples in his hand and he adds it to the end of a growing line. The lone cook in the kitchen’s feet patter on the rubber mats from one end of the kitchen to the other. Oven doors whine open and slam close, a timer goes off and ceramic plates scrape against one another. The frialator’s oil hisses and pops as Green cautiously navigates around its corner. “This kitchen is too damn small, man,” Green quips.

These are the sounds of the city

By John W. Fountain
Photo by Brandon Ousely
Air brakes hiss in the evening rush hour fray. City buses squeak and squeal. The L winds around the track above Wabash Avenue, rumbling and roaring, steel on steel—drowning out conversations with a deafening familiar sound. And yet, it is music, of sorts, with a decidedly urban flavor—fluid and sometimes static, a resounding river of humanity.
If I listen closely, I can hear the march of feet up and down the street—some more hurried than others. The horns of taxis are more conspicuous, even if less angry than the darting, blaring taxicabs of Midtown Manhattan. This is Chicago.

At the Corps rings the sound of hope

By Brandon Ousley
  Inside the dim-lit corridors of the educational building of the Paul Simon Chicago Job Corps Center, silence floats amid the hard slam of doors. It’s 8 a.m. The gigantic front door swings open with students rushing to their classes. The patter of feet, laughter, chatter, and even hip-hop rhythms from cell phones permeate the large hallways, shunning out the still silence that existed moments earlier. It’s a scene that resembles the cluttered hallways of some public high schools.
“All right, let’s get to class, ladies and gents!” Brigitte Saffold shouts in her typical commanding voice, over the escalating voices and giggles that fill the entire hall. Saffold has been the administrative assistant for the deputy director of the center.

That's the sound of a man at work

By Daria Sokolova
Carlos Marcado counts the remaining magazines
Every morning, a man with the deep brown eyes and a stack of magazines in his hands stands on the corner of Adams and Wells Street. His deep, husky voice greets the rushing office-goers and floats above the financial district of Chicago where he sells StreetWise magazine every day. Carlos Marcado is one of 200 active StreetWise vendors predominantly scattered around downtown and North Side of Chicago who sell the magazine daily. Like most of his co-workers, Marcado used to be at risk of homelessness and struggled to make enough money to cover the necessities but found help at StreetWise, a social service organization that provides its vendors with employment, housing stability and financial assistance.

Sounds of life blend at neighborhood L stop: Hustle and bustle and peace and quiet

By Todd M. Freimuth
The metal shutter door of the Granville L Newsstand rattles open and echoes off the walls inside the small train station’s entrance. At 5:30 a.m., Feroz Sundrani’s day begins by organizing newspapers and tidying up the small shop his uncle rents monthly. He slides open the doors to refrigerators and quickly stocks assorted beverages before letting them slowly hiss shut. There are a few still moments before the station comes alive. Shortly, though, the early morning tranquility shatters as the rush hour commute begins around 6 a.m. Soon groggy commuters approach the stand and pick up their papers before they chime through one of the station’s three turnstiles and pack onto the elevated platform.