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Curious City

Chicago Public Media

Ask questions, vote and discover answers about Chicago, the region and its people. From WBEZ.

Ask questions, vote and discover answers about Chicago, the region and its people. From WBEZ.

Location:

Chicago, IL

Description:

Ask questions, vote and discover answers about Chicago, the region and its people. From WBEZ.

Language:

English

Contact:

848 East Grand Ave Navy Pier Chicago, Illinois 60611 888-789-7752


Episodes

Art, Protest And The Trial Of The Chicago 8

4/22/2021
In 1969, Chicago was home to one of history’s most high-profile trials. Known as the Trial of the Chicago 8 — and sometimes the Trial of the Chicago 7 — the trial pitted anti-war protesters against the federal government. Eight men were accused of conspiring to incite a riot during protests that took place in Chicago during the Democratic National Convention of 1968. Outside the courtroom, protesters and onlookers gathered. Some chanted to free the men. Some came with signs and posters of...

Duration:00:25:34

Chicago's Hillbilly Heaven

4/14/2021
Why tens of thousands of Southern migrants made the Uptown neighborhood home, only to leave a short time later. And WBEZ's Natalie Moore tells us about her investigation into the history of racially restrictive deeds and covenants, and how YOU can help.

Duration:01:21:21

How Bagels Got To Chicago And Where To Eat Them

4/8/2021
Curious City reporter Monica Eng and editor Alexandra Salomon try to help one listener who claims NY has better bagels find some good ones in Chicago. Plus, we trace the local history of the donut-shaped bread: From its arrival in the U.S. with Jewish immigrants to mass production to a renaissance of local artisanal bakers who have gone back to the traditional way of making them.

Duration:00:25:32

Three Historic Chicago Hoaxes And Pranks

4/1/2021
Chicago historian Paul Durica shares famous ruses, hoaxes and stunts pulled by (and on) local media.

Duration:01:21:16

The Environmental Impacts Of The Chicago River Reversal

3/25/2021
We dug into the Curious City archives and pulled out one of our favorites, a story about the Chicago River. Chicago’s bold maneuver to reverse the Chicago River diverted sewage away from Lake Michigan, allowing Chicago’s continued growth. But it was hardly a perfect solution. The effects of the groundbreaking engineering feat are still being felt today -- even as far as the Gulf of Mexico. Reporter Carson Vaughan has that story.

Duration:00:13:47

COVID-19, One Year Later

3/18/2021
We’ve reached the one-year anniversary of Chicago’s stay-at-home order. From schools going virtual to plastic shields lining the grocery store check-out lane, just about every aspect of life has been affected by the pandemic. To mark all the change this year has brought, we hear some essays from folks who’ve written about their experiences. Plus we look to the future and visit some vaccination sites to answer a listener’s question about what the vaccine means to people. From “cautious” to...

Duration:01:22:27

A History Of Chicago Music Venues With Musician Andrew Bird

3/11/2021
This week on the Curious City podcast we revisit a live show reporter Monica Eng hosted in early 2020 with Do312Chicago and singer-songwriter Andrew Bird. The violin playing, whistling musician asked us to tell him more about the history of some Chicago venues where he’s performed. We learn a fraternal lodge used to make their home in the Metro building in Wrigleyville. The Lyric Opera House historian ruins some of Monica’s favorite architectural gossip while busting some of the building’s...

Duration:00:22:55

Who Was Billy Sunday?

3/4/2021
This week on the Curious City podcast we dig back into the archives to share one of our favorite stories about the song made famous by Frank Sinatra, “Chicago (That Toddling Town).” The song pays homage to the partying and excess of the roaring 20’s during Prohibition. It also contains a lyric about a man who tried to save the soul of Chicago. Who was he and how did he end up in the song? Plus, we hear from several small businesses about what they’ve been doing to keep their businesses...

Duration:00:16:08

Why The Sweet Steak Is The “Most Chicago” Sandwich

2/25/2021
Though little known on the North Side of Chicago, the sweet steak has been attracting long lines of fans to South Side eateries for 50 years now. The sandwich starts with a steamed bun, piled high with grilled onions, chopped ribeye steak, American cheese, sweet pepper relish, sliced tomatoes and hot peppers — all doused in a signature reddish sweet sauce. Curious City’s Monica Eng digs into the origins of the sandwich and what’s in store for the future. Hint: it has to do with walnuts.

Duration:00:57:52

To Chicago, With Love: What Do Transplants Love About The City?

2/18/2021
One Curious Citizen wanted to know what people who moved to Chicago love about the city. From fireflies to the way people walk, we hear what transplants say makes Chicago so special. Plus Curious City’s Monica Eng helps answer a question from another Chicagoan who's frustrated that the city’s playgrounds are still closed while so many other restrictions are easing up.

Duration:00:15:18

What’s Up With All Those Billboard Ads For Lawyers?

2/11/2021
Curious City took a road trip and counted almost a hundred billboard ads for lawyers along I-90/94 on the border between Illinois and Indiana. Audio producer Steven Jackson investigates why there’s so many of these billboards in this area, especially for personal injury attorneys. He shares insights from lawyers, marketers, and historians. (Features a cameo appearance from President Lyndon B. Johnson.)

Duration:00:25:34

From Plastic Bags To Hot Potatoes: Hacks For Staying Warm This Winter

2/4/2021
Chicago winters can be long and brutal. Curious City’s Monica Eng spoke with postal workers and other Chicagoans who spend a lot of time outdoors about how they dress for warmth during the winter. Also, we hear from a listener who asks what happens to the colorful landscaping along Michigan Avenue during the winter months.

Duration:00:14:14

Why You Should Skip Delivery Apps And Other Ways To Support Local Businesses

1/28/2021
A listener wanted to know some practical things he could do to support struggling businesses. Monica Eng shares tips from industry experts on how to support small businesses like bookstores and music venues. She also talks with chef Beverly Kim about how female restaurateurs in Chicago have been supporting one another during the pandemic.

Duration:00:14:50

Why You Should Skip Delivery Apps And Other Ways To Support Local Businesses

1/28/2021
A listener wanted to know some practical things he could do to support struggling businesses. Monica Eng shares tips from industry experts on how to support small businesses like bookstores and music venues. She also talks with chef Beverly Kim about how female restaurateurs in Chicago have been supporting one another during the pandemic.

Duration:00:12:56

Why Are There So Many Thai Restaurants In Chicago?

1/21/2021
This week we hear why Chicago has so many Thai restaurants and a renowned Thai chef offers up some tips for how to get the full experience of Thai cuisine. Hint: no chopsticks.

Duration:00:14:45

Did All Chicagoans Support The Civil War?

1/14/2021
In this week’s episode we revisit a question we first answered in 2018. What was Chicago’s response to the Civil War? Chicagoans support for the war was actually quite varied and changed as the war progressed. To answer the question we focus on the experience of Irish Americans and African-Americans and look at how the war went from popular to controversial in Chicago in just a few years.

Duration:00:16:23

Why The 1992 Loop Flood Is The Most Chicago Story Ever

1/7/2021
On April 13, 1992, Chicago was struck by a man-made natural disaster. The Great Chicago Flood of 1992 occurred completely underground and, fortunately, nobody was hurt — but several factors make it one of the most Chicago stories ever. In this episode from the archives, hear how clout, corruption, and construction without permits led to half the Loop being evacuated.

Duration:00:14:26

Here Are The Winners Of The 2020 Haiku Contest

12/31/2020
It’s the last day of 2020, which means we’re revealing the winners of our 2020 Haiku Contest. Plus, hear an interview from our friends at Reset, WBEZ’s daily talk show. In a multimedia project titled “The River Speaks,” a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago gives a unique personality to each of the six branches of the Chicago River.

Duration:00:24:20

A Different Perspective On Our Story About The Walnut Room

12/22/2020
In a response to our recent episode about the Walnut Room, listener Joyce Miller Bean shares her family’s experience of racism and discrimination when visiting Marshall Field’s in the ‘50s and ‘60s.

Duration:00:15:52

What’s Up With All The Geese In Chicago?

12/17/2020
Maybe you find them annoying or maybe not, but one thing is certain: Chicago’s got a lot of geese. So this week we’re taking on your geese questions, from why they’re here to techniques for controlling their population.

Duration:00:12:30