Austin is not only Texas' capital city. It also happens to be the name of one of the streets that form part of Chicago's west border, separating Chicago proper from Oak Park, its nearest West suburb. Its the 3rd to the last stop going West on the Green Line El, and the 5th to the last stop West on the Blue Line. The dilapidated expanse of section 8 hood that sprawls from Austin Blvd towards downtown for miles to the South, North and East is also named Austin, after its bordering street. This hoodie, also known as Austin Village, is the main area constituting Chicago's infamous West Side.

I grew up in Oak Park, a few blocks in from Austin Blvd, and spent my fair share of time trapesing around Austin Village. After all, there was business to be done there. Austin was the perfect place for a 13 year old white girl to get unlimited booze without the slightest hint of a fake ID. I frequented corner liquor stores like K&K, Cut Rate, Glade's and Prestige. I would buy things like Cisco, 40 oz bottles of Crazy Horse and St. Ides, pints of Wild Irish Rose, Boones Farm and the occasional kiwi flavored Mad Dog. Then I'd go to the benches, tressult, Oak Street Beach or a park, drinking like a fish all the while.

When I was in high school, I thought it was cool going to the dimebag spots in Austin. Let me give a shout out to Spauling, Laramie and Dina's house on Grand, to name a few. We'd go to the preset corners and alleyways, aquiring handfuls of teeny ziplock baggies stuffed to the breaking point with crappy city chronic. Back in the car we'd divy em out and start rolling honey blunts and sit around feeling like bad asses. What dorks we were.

When the weather is nice, the streets of Austin are like filled with a zillion people. On the side streets the porches are so filled you'd think they would collapse. On the busy streets they don't really have yards so people just sit out on their folding chairs, drinkin and barbecuing right there on the sidewalks. People just walk carelessly in front of traffic like it aint no thing. They let their kids just run around, even on the busy streets. Some of them hope to get hit, try to even, cause it means a lawsuit; it means free money. You gotta watch out for those people, stepping right in front of your car.

Aus"tin (?), a.

Augustinian; as, Austin friars.


© Webster 1913.

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