[Featured Photo: St. Stanislaus Kostka overlooks the green expanses of Pulaski Park.]
Named for the eponymous park at the center of the neighborhood, Pulaski Park is one of the value neighborhoods in greater West Town. Bordering Wicker Park and East Village, Pulaski Park offers its residents easy access to all of those neighborhoods’ amenities while remaining somewhat lower-priced due to physical infrastructure issues.
Pulaski Park itself is definitely the highlight of the neighborhood. Designed by Jens Jensen in 1912 to offer green space and bathing facilities to the primarily working-class residents of the area, it now includes a swimming pool, baseball diamonds, and a gorgeous classic fieldhouse for community events.
Overlooking the park is St. Stanislaus Kostka Church. Built in 1881, this monumental church leads the Polish Catholic contingent in the archdiocese of Chicago. When the Kennedy Expressway was built in the 1950s, the original plan ran right through the church, but the Polish community came together and convinced the city to curve the highway and save the church.
On the west side of the neighborhood is the Polish Triangle, another remnant of Pulaski Park’s strong Polish roots. Formerly the center of the “Polish Downtown” that ran up Division Street, the Polish Triangle is now a community meeting space and provides access to the Division Street Blue Line stop. The Triangle is also the fulcrum where Wicker Park, East Village and Pulaski Park come together, meaning that Pulaski Park residents have easy access to the array of dining and shopping options west on Division and north on Milwaukee.
True to its industrial working-class roots, the neighborhood lacks some of the tree-lined charm of surrounding areas. That said, buyers can get stretch their home-buying dollar a bit further, while still enjoying proximity to all that Wicker Park and East Village have to offer.
Pulaski Park is primarily composed of vintage workers’ cottages and three-flat condo buildings. Unlike Wicker Park and East Village, there was less demolition in the neighborhood. Because the streets are narrower and the sidewalks generally lack parkways, green space is limited, making views of Pulaski Park itself a desirable amenity. Proximity to the highway also creates some unusual angles and lots where it intersects the neighborhood.
Sea Dog: A solid BYOB sushi option with a great back patio for the summer months. Definitely try out the massive Sea Monster roll!
Podhalanka: Step into the past at this classic Polish restaurant facing the Polish Triangle. The décor may be no-frills, but the food is hearty and true to the area’s Polish roots.
Dining on Division Street: Directly to the west of Pulaski Park, the restaurants on Division in Wicker Park, including Machine, Via Carducci, Smoke Daddy, and many others, offer an array of culinary options along with some of the best outdoor seating in Chicago given Division’s extra-wide sidewalks.
Red Star Cobbler: Renew your favorite kicks at this old-school shoe repair shop overlooking the Polish Triangle.
Chopin Theatre: Many of the city’s top store-front theater groups call this classic theater on the Triangle home. The venue also hosts multiple Polish-language events throughout the year.
Many neighbors in Pulaski Park are involved in the Polish Triangle Coalition, a group formed to improve the environment at the Polish Triangle, working to ensure that the public space can reach its full potential as a community asset. They also sponsor Tuesdays at the Triangle, a weekly music and food event bringing the community together for an evening of fun.
Pulaski Park is well-served by both buses and trains, and readily accessible to most major highways. The Blue Line is the primary mode of transportation, with the Blue Line Division Stop on the Polish Triangle at Ashland/Milwaukee/Division the primary transit hub. The 9 and X9 Ashland buses provide convenient north/south travel.
It’s a little tough for me to be objective here since I bought my four-flat on the 1000-block of Winchester back in 1993 and opened up Ask Nagel Realty at 1919 W. Division in 2013, but East Village’s vibe is laid-back yet trendy, with a tight neighborhood feel. Its easy accessibility to downtown makes it an ideal spot for people who want all of the amenities of the city, yet like living in a place where they know their neighbors. If you’re interested in learning more about East Village or are looking to sell there, you should definitely contact Ask Nagel/ Neighborhood expertise matters, and you won’t find anyone with more expertise in this neighborhood.