Sunday, September 05, 2010

Chicago' Rainbow Beach - Once an Urban Spa, Now a Shooting Gallery



Four shot near Rainbow Beach on South Side
Comments
September 5, 2010
Sun-Times Media Wire
Four people were shot Saturday night while attending a barbecue in a park near Rainbow Beach on the South Side.

About 9:20 p.m., the victims were at a barbecue in a park in the 2900 block of East 77th Street when three gunmen approached and begin firing, police said.

A 20-year-old man suffered a gunshot wound to the lower back and was taken in “stable” condition to John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, police said. A 39-year-old man was shot in the right side and taken in “stable” condition to Stroger.

A 34-year-old woman was shot in the buttocks and taken in “stable” condition to Stroger. A 18-year-old man suffered a gunshot wound to the right arm and was taken in good condition to Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

No one is in custody.

Calumet Area detectives are investigating


Mid to late 1960's South Side Chicago:

The 79th Street eastbound bus to Jeffery once ferried pale wiry Irish kids laden with blankets, transistor radios and brown paper bags of Velveeta and bologna sandwiches. At 79th & Wood Streets scores of teenagers would board the CTA green limousines for the Urban jostle to the end-of-the-line and a walk of several hundred yards to Rainbow Beach. I used to take the less traveled 75th Street bus, with Terry Smith, Al McFarland, Jimmy Shea, Larry Fiscelli and his Italian cousins and pals from St. Mary of Mount Carmel and Justin Martyr parishes from north of the tracks, Joe Prizzi, Tony DiPolito, and the Angone brothers to South Shore Drive, passing the Synagogues and great corner stores on Yates and Jeffery. As we got older and way cooler, a trip to Astro Lounge on 79th Street might add a couple of cans of Drewrys to our loads.

Take on The Mountie!

The South Shore landmarks for both the 75th Street and the 79th Street approaches were

THUNDERBIRD MOTEL – 75TH AND SOUTH SHORE DRIVE
PEACH TREE RESTAURANT – 79TH AND SOUTH SHORE DRIVE
7000 SOUTH SHORE DRIVE HOTEL
THE SOUTH SHORE RAIL TRACKS


Italo-Hibernian harmony solidified as the bus would cross the racial DMZ at Halsted and the black neighborhoods would dominate our concerns for a race-heated confrontation on the bus that almost never was realized. More Italians, would get on the bus at Grand Crossing on 75th and finally Jewish kids closer to the Lake. In the late 1960's Jewish kids going to Hirsch or South Shore, or Hyde Park tended to dress in the manner similar to the Italian kids from around 69th & Ashland - Greaser Habiliments - black, grey and fawn colored Dago Knit, skin tight black Levis, Rat Stabber ( pointed toes) Stacey Adams shoes and boots and girls in alluringly slutty tight-fitting tops and shorts with cotton-candy Big Hair. We Micks tended to affect the more staid looks of Big Ten Athletes and Jane College sweethearts - Princetons (just barely enough hair to make part), Flat Top or Buzz cuts on boys and Mary Tyler Moore flips for the young Deirdre's and Molly O'Malleys.

Rainbow Beach was a Rainbow of skin tones ( olive, black, tan, ruddy and bone white) and yes there were African American teenagers and families enjoying the Sun and Sand without incident or violence. I remember meeting a bunch of Jewish Kids who attended South Shore and we camped with them on the sand, on a tight patch not dominated by dead Alewives. We crowded together to share the Lord's blessings of the day, in the hope of coaxing a make-out session with a beauty out of Walter Scott's Ivanhoe a Rainbow Beach Rebecca to our 79th & 69th Street Templar Knights -Brian de Bois-Guilbert- what lives by the tracks.

Alewives were a Lake Michigan herring-like fish that turned into Fish-Jerky and stunk up the beach. Seagulls -flying rats were everywhere and Stuka'd more than few french fries from the chubby mitts of toddlers and teens. The huge pavilion served burgers and fries and sun tan lotion - we Irish used Quaker State, as an Irish Tan usually went from Nuclear Pond Scarlet to bubbly crisp brown scabs, followed by weeks of pealing dry epidermis layers and then a return to the full alabaster.

The Jewish kids were great and funny and hip. The Italian kids were very hip and we Irish we about as hip as a Mitch Miller album. Naivete suited us Harps like a Carrol's Red Hanger wardrobe. Beverly Irish dressed better - Lyttons, Baskins & etc. North of 87th Street Irish were more blue collar wallet sizes and we decked out from the Red Hanger at 63rd & Kedzie. We, also, listened to WVON - "You're Standing TALL with the Butter Ball!" WVON - the Voice of Negro - because the tunes were better. No Beach Boys, thank you. JJ Jackson, Sly Stone, Wilson Picket, Soul Survivors, Four Tops and Watts 103rd Street Rythm Band - Do Your Thang!

One Jewish girl who had redder hair than Maureen O'Hara said, to her friend over the blanket, indicating the Goyim Golums sharing the spot -ikh hob moyre which I think meant - "These Guineas and Potato eaters are creepy" - was reassured by by the Pepsodent smile of Tony DiPolito, who looked like James Darren, "We don't even go to church much . . . they do," indicating Smith, McFarland, Shea and Hickey. Ecumenism and WVON! Dipolito eventually coaxed the Redhead into a stroll to grassy park just east of the beach. He took a later bus home to 71st Street.

Rainbow Beach was a wonderful place. In our Post Racial America it is another shooting gallery.

God help us.

2 comments:

Jack Schmermund said...

Hi,

Just found your blog after searching for Rainbow Beach.

I went steady with Larry Fiscelli in 1970 for a minute, and never knew the name of those stinky fish in the sand and water. Maybe I should not have mentioned both in the same sentence. (Wink)

I am enjoying your writing style and intend to search your past blogs and also keep up with your current blogs.

I grew up on 69th and Wood right across the street from the Calabrese's. Loafers, Little, Loafers, and the Irish, Murray Park Boys. Harper High was my school.

I can still recall the Parades every Summer originating at St. Mary's of Mt Carmel, when it was carnival time. Every weeknight at 6 they set off a Dago Bomb to let you know the carnival was open.

Later on from 82nd and Hoyne. Where I met Fiscelli, maybe at Dawes Pk. or McDonalds??

Thanks for the blast from the past and the excellent blog.

Karen
Santa Rosa, CA.


Jack Schmermund said...

Hi,

Just found your blog after searching for Rainbow Beach.

I went steady with Larry Fiscelli in 1970 for a minute, and never knew the name of those stinky fish in the sand and water. Maybe I should not have mentioned both in the same sentence. (Wink)

I am enjoying your writing style and intend to search your past blogs and also keep up with your current blogs.

I grew up on 69th and Wood right across the street from the Calabrese's. Loafers, Little, Loafers, and the Irish, Murray Park Boys. Harper High was my school.

I can still recall the Parades every Summer originating at St. Mary's of Mt Carmel, when it was carnival time. Every weeknight at 6 they set off a Dago Bomb to let you know the carnival was open.

Later on from 82nd and Hoyne. Where I met Fiscelli, maybe at Dawes Pk. or McDonalds??

Thanks for the blast from the past and the excellent blog.

Karen
Santa Rosa, CA.