When you think of Chicago, you probably think of the same 10 people. I’m not talking about Mike Ditka, Michael Jordan, and Oprah. I’m talking about the people that you as a Chicagoan know, that people outside of Chicago may have never heard of.
The poster child for this is probably Ronnie Woo Woo. He gained too much notoriety and jumped the shark, but a decade or so ago, Ronnie was just the guy that everyone knew. He was a less talented version of the Bucket Boys. I once saw him crossing 119th Street in Blue Island, and was never more confused in my life. I never knew he traveled outside of Wrigleyville.
Vincent Falk isn’t a household name, but he sure as shit is a household face. I honestly (right or wrong) thought he was a mentally ill homeless dude. Welp, was I wrong. Egg all over my face. This Roger Ebert article is one of the most fascinating things I have ever read considering all of my knowledge consisted of seeing an older white guy in suits that would make Craig Sager look like a basic bitch (RIP of course).
So who are your neighborhood legends? I have the utmost respect for the people that have such a footprint in the neighborhood, but no one really knows their entire story.
Mt. Greenwood had a couple of guys. One was speed racer. This guy could walk a city block in 20 seconds flat. He leaned back when he walked, which was either an incredible strategy or a muscular deformity. He wore sunglasses 24/7, and even though realistically he was probably 6’6, as a kid we estimated him at 7’4. No one ever crossed him. He reminded us of this
Bicycle Bill just died in August. Absolute gut punch. EVERYONE in Mt. Greenwood knew Bicycle Bill. He would collect cans and hang out around 111th, every once in a while stopping inside Alternate Reality or Burger King.
We also have the Flower Guy. This guy skated free for years, setting up shop outside of Casimir’s. Glad CPD finally took him down. Get this dangerous villain off of the streets and make 111th and Pulaski safe again.
So, hit up the comments and tell me about some of your neighborhood legends. I’d love to learn of the lore and legacy these citizens will eventually leave behind, if they haven’t already.