Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Saturday, July 13

Gapers Block

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Andrew / October 17, 2003 11:40 AM

I like the guy who tells bad jokes to the people heading to the Art Institute. He's got to be their top-grossing vendor.

Niki / October 17, 2003 2:36 PM

There's a super friendly bloke in front of the Walgreen's on Fullerton Avenue. Never feel pressured & always feel appreciated.

pedrag / October 17, 2003 9:42 PM

The guy who stands in front of the Med in Hyde Park and occassionally sells pro-America magnets in addition to streetwise. may not exist anymore.

Marc / October 19, 2003 1:39 PM

The one on Rush St. (I don't know what I was doing down there either) that called me a 'motherfucker' when I told him that, "Normally I would but I don't have any cash on me right now."

Oh wait, no, that's my *least* favorite one.

Kate / October 20, 2003 3:44 PM

I like the guy who usually stands in front of the Hyde Park Bank or across the street in front of Blockbuster. He always has a cheery smile despite what seems to me to be a depressing job. And he has a pleasingly gravelly voice. Oh, I am getting nostalgic for Chicago. Thank god you guys are keeping up the good work here.

Hey, why aren't there comments to the Detour section? I wanted to point out that in "Signs of the Times" the fifth storefront from the bottom is not advertising that they accept ATM cash, but rather W.I.C., the federal government's supplemental nutrition program for Women and Infant Children (or Women, Infants and Children). Basically they give you a check which you can spend at selected grocery stores for a specific list of foods (milk, bread, fresh veg and fruit, non-sugary cereals etc.). There must be some incentive to the grocer because all the shops in my DC neighborhood which accept WIC have huge signs in the front window saying, basically, "Spend your WIC funding here!"

Phineas / October 20, 2003 10:17 PM

There used to be a lady hawking Streetwise by the Century Mall who would tell *everyone* going in to 'have a nice workout'. Yes, there's a Bally's there, but still... Anyway, I haven't seen her since they remodeled. They must have turned her in for a newer vendor.

Ian / October 21, 2003 8:39 AM

Fullerton/Halsted/Lincoln. I call him Keith. Shockingly well-dressed. Once saw him talking to a parked car.

jima / October 21, 2003 9:10 AM

The guy who was selling Streetwise on the Red Line one afternoon, and interrupted his spiel to ask me if I needed a job.

Greg Greene / October 21, 2003 10:18 AM

I had great conversations all the time with the guy at the corner of Fullerton and Sheffield, but I don't know whether he does that corner nowadays ...

lena / October 21, 2003 3:52 PM

there's a guy in lincoln square who announces what the lead article in the paper is during the sales pitch. he's usually near the starbucks or the davis theater on lincoln ave. i love that guy. he's just so nice and smiley. when i see him while i'm running, he's like, "have a good run and come back for a paper." he's so affable and personable i wonder what he did before he was homeless and selling streetwise.

Naz / October 21, 2003 5:17 PM

My favourite is the little old lady outside the Walgreens at Broadway and Waveland. In hardcore winter and hardcore summer she's always got a puffer jacket on and she's sweet. She's a little out of it I think but sweet. She's always saying "Streetwise, helping the homeless, every weekdaymonth" real quick like followed by "hi there" to anyone who passes by and if four people pass by, she'll say "hitherehitherehitherehithere". She's on the ball.

Mike / October 21, 2003 6:26 PM

The man who used to work the area on Main St. in Evanston outside the White Hen. He used to be at the Walgreens, but his spot has been usurped by a woman. I see him commute almost every day.

Hollie / October 23, 2003 10:23 AM

There is a friendly guy at Diversey and Halsted in front of the Walgreens with a great bit:

"Streetwise!...we don't want it all...!"

Michelle / October 23, 2003 11:26 AM

I have to second the Art Institue comedian. He always makes me laugh.

april / October 23, 2003 3:41 PM

Belmont/Broadway Walgreens~late at night. Skinny, black, older gent with a graying beard. He runs all of his sentences together as he comments to the people walking in and out of Walgreens. I got a "StreetwiseLikeYourShoesTheWayYouCombYourHairMaybeOnTheWayOut,Miss" going in and a "StreetwiseHaveABeautifulNightBeCarefulCrossingTheStreet" going out last night. Great guy!

Greg / October 24, 2003 3:32 PM

I'm seconding the "hi there" lady at Walgreens on Broadway in Boystown. Every time I see her it's "happy-day-happy-day-happy-weekend-now!"

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