Devon Avenue is a mini-Kashmir

National Bank of Pakistan

Weather permitting, I like to take willing tourists on a walking tour of West Devon Avenue. Chicago is an international city, with more variety than simply Millennium Park and Museum Campus, it just takes a little energy to seek out this aspect of Chicago.

Roshni Boutique

Mr. Kagdi’s shop is located at one of Chicago’s more unusual street corners. Neighbors who inhabit the red and yellow brick walk-up apartments that surround the store come largely from an area of the world that fights over the Kashmir Valley, which lies in the middle of the rivalry between India and Pakistan and where people of different religions attack and kill one another.

But here on the corner of Western and Devon Avenues, many of the approximately 200,000 Chicagoans of Indian and Pakistani descent live side by side. They make a living driving cabs, selling electronics and telling fortunes. They drink Taj Mahal beer, read The Urdu Times and eat halal goat, chicken and fish.

Instead of squaring off against each other over the decades-old British division of their native lands, most residents of this blue-collar area on the city’s North Side share the unifying power of adversity: nearly everyone is suffering from the slumping economy.

[Click to continue reading Street Corners – Shedding Old Rivalries and Pulling Together –]

Next time you are in town, let me take you there…