When the CTA was proposing the idea for the Pink Line, they were leaning towards the name being the Silver Line. But after a write-in essay contest for Chicago-area schoolchildren in kindergarten through 8th grade, of the top three colors- Pink, Gold and Silver- Pink had received the most votes. (A $1,000 savings bond was awarded to a selected essay writer who advocated the color pink.) When the line first began operation, it was only for a trial period of 180 days. In 2008, the CTA decided to make the Pink Line permanent.
54/CERMAK: Depending on which way you are going, the Pink Line starts or ends in the town of Cicero, one of the oldest and largest municipalities in the State of Illinois and the only incorporated town in Cook County. Al Capone built his criminal empire in Chicago before moving to Cicero to escape the reach of Chicago police. Once considered mainly a Czech or Bohemian town on 22nd Street (now Cermak Road), most of the European-style restaurants and shops have been replaced by Spanish-titled businesses.
CICERO: The Cicero station is in the town of Cicero, right outside of Chicago. Mexican and Latin-American cuisine, grocery and bakeries are all over the town.
A bus ride away is Hawthorne Works Race Course, the oldest continually-run family-owned racetrack in North America. In 2009 the Horseplayers Association of North America introduced a rating system for 65 Thoroughbred racetracks in the nation. Of the top Ten, Hawthorne was ranked #8.
Located in the Hawthorne Race Course is the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame. The honorees include high-school athletes, high-school coaches, college athletes from as far away as the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Notre Dame, as well as professional and Olympic athletes associated with Chicago. Their sports include everything from baseball, basketball, football, and hockey to bowling, fishing, golf, and horse racing.
Tons of restaurants, bakeries and groceries line 26th street, and music and color decorate the buildings and sidewalk vendors.
CALIFORNIA: The California stop of the Pink Line drops you off in the outskirts of Little Village and The Heart of Italy. Just north of the station is Douglas Park, a huge, gorgeous park that has baseball and basketball fields, fieldhouses, golf facilities, paths and walkways and playgrounds. It even has a grand ball room, tennis courts,a football stadium, a water-park kids area, and a computer lab. The Park has monthly meals free to park-goers to encourage family meal time, and holds classes in dance, fitness, sports, art and theater for ages young and old.
WESTERN: Check out the beautiful art decorating this stop on the Pink Line.
DAMEN: Just a block and a half from the Damen stop of the Pink Line is St. Matthew Lutheran Church, which holds a soup kitchen for the poor and needy in the area.
North of the station is the National Museum of Mexican Art in Harrison Park. Besides the beautiful exhibits, the museum offers cultural, bilingual, arts-based programs, resources, events, and learning experiences to all ages.
18TH: From the Pink Line 18th street station, you can walk through Harrison Park, which is home to playgrounds, tennis courts, an indoor pool, baseball and football/soccer fields and the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, or, the National Museum of Mexican Art.
A couple blocks north is St. Adalbert's, fashioned in the Italian-Renaissance style. St. Adalbert has served generations of Polish immigrants and their American-born children; at its peak, parish membership numbered 4,000 families with more than 2,000 children enrolled in the school. Today the church is an anchor for the Mexican immigrants that have made the Pilsen area their home.
Check out the stop's beautiful Mexican designs when you get off and on the platform.
POLK: This stop is smack dab in the middle of the medical district of Chicago- this is where you find the John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, Rush University Medical Center, University of Illinois Chicago College of Medicine, University of Illinois Chicago Medical Center and Jesse Brown VA Medical Center. Besides that, across the highway is Malcom X College, the United Center (where Chicago's Black Hawks play) and the Mexican Consulate.
ASHLAND: Transfer to the west-bound Green Line at the Ashland stop of the Pink Line, in Chicago's Near West Side. Ashland is the closest "El" station to the United Center, home of the Chicago Bulls NBA team and the Chicago Blackhawks NHL team. It is also directly adjacent to Union Park, venue for the Intonation Music Festival and the Pitchfork Music Festival.
MORGAN: The Pink and Green Lines' NEW STOP, coming soon this year! Stay tuned- so many new places are opening in this area to accommodate the stop.
As you ride the Pink Line, remember CTA safety and Chicago safety. Some of the the neighborhoods the Pink line drops you off in are not the best, so if in doubt, never go alone.
Don't forget to check out the beautiful station art off of many of the Pink Line stops, such as 18th street, Damen, California and Western. Look around while you ride! The things you see out of the windows while you go will give you ideas of where you want to go next! Keep an eye behind you as well, as the skyline is very visible as you go and can be very beautiful during clear evenings, just as the sun is going down.
Lastly, let me know where you go and what you find! If you live off of the Pink Line, let me know of some places I should visit, eat at, walk through, check out and review. I love trying new things!
What else would you like to see?