Humboldt Park 2019

Humboldt Park, one of 77 designated community areas,  is on the West Side of Chicago. The Humboldt Park neighborhood is known for its dynamic social and ethnic demographic change over the years. The Puerto Rican community has identified strongly with the area since the 1970s; Humboldt Park is also the name of a 207-acre park adjacent to the community area.

The official community boundaries established by the City of Chicago include Bloomingdale Avenue to the north, the Union Pacific railroad tracks to the south, the train tracks running between Kostner and Cicero to the west, and Humboldt Park proper to the east (to the East side of California Ave). In contrast to the Humboldt Park Official Community Area, the Humboldt Park Neighborhood's borders include Western Avenue to the east, Pulaski Road to the west, North Avenue to the North, and the Union Pacific tracks to the south. The railyards southeast of Grand and Sacramento are also part of the community area. There are two distinct areas of Humboldt Park (the neighborhood): East Humboldt Park (In the West Town Community Area) and West Humboldt Park (In the Humboldt Park Community Area), divided by Sacramento Boulevard.

Humboldt Park has some very colorful and political murals that makes for a great walk along Division Street. My first mural was John Pitman Weber and Josue Pellot's 'Unidos Para Triunfar (Together We Overcome)' mural on the side of Folklore Argentine Grill. Next was Jasmine Petersen’s ‘Fast Girl’ mural in a doorway. But my favorite mural in Humboldt Park is the powerful ‘Sea of Flags’ by Gamaliel Ramirez, Star Padilla, Moncho, Luis Ortiz and Melissa Cintron.  Walking further along Division Street, I photographed John Vergara's '79th' mural, which is a symbol of the Paseo Boricua Humboldt Park flag. Another mural, which I read has been up for years, is Danny Torres' mural of 'Puerto Rican Reverend Jose Alberto 'El Viejo' Torres and his wife, Alejandrina Torres, which is on the side of Ciclo Urbano Bike Shop. A very popular mural in Humboldt Park is JC Rivera’s ‘Forever Champ’ mural. Other murals that stood out were: Hector Duarte's 'Honorinig Boricua' mural, John Pitman Weber's 'Breaking The Chains' mural and Gamaliel Ramirez and Jose Samuel Sepulveda's 'Birds Of Latin America' mural.

Christian Roldán's 'Repression, Resistance and Resilience' mural is divided into five sections covering the history of the Puerto Rican people, beginning with the indigenous Taínos people and ending with the 1966 Division Street riots, which was sparked by a police officer shooting and wounding a Puerto Rican teenager. B. Martin, N. Rosales, E. Rampino and Christian Roldán's mural of 'Ramón Frade' and Christian Roldán's mural of 'Oscar López Rivera' are popular as well. But a mural by Ivan Valenzuela and students at Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School called 'Today Is Tomorrow' is a ‘statement mural’ that everyone in Chicago hopes for…no shootings for a day!  John Vergara, John Pitman Weber, Patricia Perez, Alisa Scott and YSVP youth volunteers Jacob Jimenez and Jelani Davis' ‘Legends’ mural honors poet Salima Rivera, poet David Hernandez, artist and muralist Gamaliel Ramirez and poet, visionary and revolutionary Julia De Burgosis.  The most powerful mural in Humboldt Park is Luis Raúl Muñoz' ‘Our Story Of Resilience’ mural, which depicts people from the Young Lords Party...a Puerto Rican political movement founded in Chicago that mirrored itself on the Black Panther Party, holding a Puerto Rican flag and marching.