We are head-over-heels, obsessively in love with Chicago. There, we said it. Not that it wasn’t already painfully obvious. Our mission here at UPchicago is to introduce you to our city, or for those of you who are already well-acquainted, to help you get the most out of the multitude of opportunities the city offers. Whether you’re trying a Chicago-style hotdog for the first time, or grew up watching ‘da bears’ and eating deep dish, we hope that we can awaken a new love for this great city and show you a new side to its never-ending possibilities.
Between the two of us, we have lived in six major metropolitan cities, and we just can’t get enough of urban life.
Urban Philosophy is a way of thinking that you develop when you’re a true city person. Whether you’ve spent your whole life living in Manhattan, or you just moved from small-town Iowa to the city of Chicago, the longer you stay, the more you come to understand what it means to live in a city. Our Urban Philosophy is that no matter who you are, where you are from, and what your likes and dislikes may be, there’s something for everyone in city life. Though some people may say “the city will make you hard,” we feel that cities foster a unique kind of bond between residents and visitors alike. And with this bond, we as individuals make a city what it is.
We’ve chosen to spread our Urban Philosophy in Chicago first because it’s our home, our passion, and what we know most about. And, as they say, write what you know. So, that’s what we’ll be doing, all the while putting into everything we do our distinct philosophy about urban living.
| Jackie Berkery
Co-Founder, Marketing Director
With a strong phobia of cubicles and those three little words (“nine to five”), I am thrilled to be working on UPchicago from the comforts of my own couch at three o’clock in the morning. I love to write. I love Chicago. Hello, dream job.
I went to school at Boston University, studied abroad in Valencia, Spain, worked in Buenos Aires, and then fell in love. With travel, that is. So when we set out on the Urban Philosophy project, I knew there was no better place to start than in my hometown of Chicago — in my opinion, one of the best cities in the word. Wrigley Field is my happy place and I’ll never pass up an Italian Beef Sandwich. Oh, and I pronounce the letter ‘a’ kind of obnoxiously. But let’s just pretend it’s endearing and move on.
Also on my list of semi-decent qualities are amateur photographer, avid Cubs fan, slightly pathetic excuse for a guitar player, impulse shopper, and obsessive list-maker.
Co-Founder, Content Manager
There is just something about that feeling when you have been away — maybe for a weekend, a month, 6 months — and you’re driving into Chicago and that first glimpse of the city skyline appears. It just always makes me smile. I grew up in Lincoln Park before it was the gentrified yuppie haven it is today (I say that lovingly) and can’t imagine growing up anywhere else. After attending the University of Iowa and accepting a hard-parting with my much loved Iowa City, I ventured to Buenos Aires to work, where UPchicago was born in a little apartment on Avenida Cordoba at 1a.m. UPchicago has South American roots, so just ignore us if we throw in a Spanish word every once in awhile.
So with this almost unhealthy obsession with Chicago it was inevitable, and lets face it, who is a scarier boss than yourself? Yikes. When not found at my kitchen table cranking out UPchicago greatness, I can be found eating peanut butter by the spoonful, taking visitors on a real Chicago eating tour, and biking along the lakefront.
|David Frankel McLean, Staff Writer
I’ve been thinking philosophically about Chicago since I was jaywalking the streets at the age of 10. Not only do I want to know what every building and piece of retail is but I want to know what it once was and what it might be in the future. I don’t root for both baseball teams and I don’t put Ketchup on my hot dogs. When someone says they’re a Chicagoan they are speaking of a heritage and a doctrine, not just a location. What that doctrine is I’m not entirely sure, it’s constantly changing with the growth of the city and I’ll spend my entire life trying to figure it out.
|Gene Wagendorf III, Staff Writer
Gene is a writer who has spent his entire quarter century of life as a resident of Chicago. When not exploring the city he can be found wandering flea markets and garage sales or having a cigarette between classes at Northeastern Illinois University, where he hopes to acquire a degree in the next quarter century. Despite living on the north side of the city he is a devout White Sox fan. His favorite smells are old books and bowling alleys. He likes the beach, but dislikes the water. Go figure. His poetry (how embarrassing!) can be found in issues of Kill Poet, Ditch, Word Riot, O Sweet Flowery Roses and Vowel Movements.
|Andrew Hertzberg, Staff Writer
If identity is an illusion, I’m a magician in training. And although Emerson was right in pointing out that “with consistency, a great soul has simply nothing to do” the one constant I don’t mind in my life is Chicago. Yes, even the boredom of her suburbs couldn’t suppress the glow of the city, my attraction as a moth to flame. The future is unwritten, the characters are ever-expanding, and the plot is a perpetual foray through rising actions, conflicts and falling actions; the setting, however, remains the same.
|Molly Tranberg, Staff Writer
Molly Tranberg is a Michigander fairly new to city life, and although she’s been here over a year, she’s still discovering new things in Chicago–especially all of its wonderful food. She is a freelance writer and editor currently working on her MA in Writing & Publishing at DePaul University. Her dream is to one day ride a segway around the city and heli-ski in Alaska. When she’s not at school, she’s usually watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, crocheting, or finding a new place to eat outstanding brunch.
|Jessie Stegner, Staff Writer
Jessie has been living in Chicago since 2007 and loved every minute of it. Her only setback is, due to growing up in Sierra Madre, California, she can’t feel her toes between the months of November and June. With a degree in Theatre from the University of Colorado at Boulder and training from Second City and Improv Olympic, Stegner can usually be found on a stage somewhere trying to make people laugh. She enjoys falling asleep to the sound of the El train, drinking Blue Moon, jogging on the lovely streets of Ravenswood, eating Thai food and watching White Sox baseball.
|Dan Bush, Staff Writer
After college, Dan spent a year traveling in a van performing volunteer work around the country, otherwise known as, AMERICA. A South side of Chicago native, Dan now feels smug when he argues with people in bars that Chicago is the greatest city in the world. The Bears, brats, John C. Reilly and Comiskey Stadium are things that Dan thinks rule about Chicago. Go White Sox.
|John Paris, Staff Writer
Born in Cincinnati, raised in California, John has lived in a lot of great cities — Montréal, San Francisco, Boston — but now calls Chicago home sweet home, and has done so longer than anywhere else. Leaving the hills behind, he has found comfort in the flatness of one of the largest grids in the world. Neighborhoods divided into quadrants, divided into city blocks, divided into equal rectangular plots would seem to be a recipe for a grim, constricted civic culture. Not so, says John — we Chicagoans are blessed by our situation. As inhabitants within the template of boulevards, and streets, and avenues, we dance on a perfect dance floor. The swirling, tumbling activity of circular pegs amused by square slots is the real creative genius of this fair city. Onward circular pegs!
|Erin Nederbo, Staff Writer
Erin is a current writing major at Columbia College and a native of Chicago’s Jefferson Park. Surrounded by Cubbie blue, she is often hassled by friends for being a White Sox fan. During winter, she keeps warm by eating Italian beef, dreaming of 16 inch softball, and reading Sandra Cisneros. Her creative writing can be found in Hair Trigger 33 magazine.
|Patrick Howard, Junior Staff Writer
Patrick grew up in Jefferson and Norwood Park on Chicago’s northwest side. He spent most of his childhood playing sports, but when he wasn’t holding a bat or shooting free throws he found he needed a creative outlet for his thoughts. He found he had a love of storytelling and how it brings people together. So, he started writing creatively and talking to people… a lot. He attended college at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota where he graduated in May 2011 with degrees in journalism and English. He soon returned to Chicago where he is currently working at a career as a journalist.
|Erin Kelly, Junior Staff Writer
Erin is currently a Writing Intensive and Broadcast Communications major at Marquette University. Born and raised on the South Side of the city, she can remember running around the block at a young age banging pots and pans when the Bulls won in ’96, ’97, and ’98. Ironically, she did the same thing when the White Sox won the World Series in 2005. Her favorite place in Chicago is Second City, with Union Station as a close second. She loves mashed potatoes, libraries, George Harrison and Conan O’Brien, not in that particular order though. She will defend the Chicago White Sox and the way she says “Chi-caaago” and “saaa-usage” until the day she dies.
Past staff writers:
Brittany Clingen, Staff Writer — Articles by Brittany
Max Wolod, Staff Writer — Articles by Max
Jamie Hansen, Staff Writer — Articles by Jamie
Jason Shough, Staff Writer — Articles by Jason
Mary Margaret McSweene, Staff Writer — Articles by Mary Margaret
Phil Kranyak, Staff Writer — Articles by Phil
Cheryl Thomas, Staff Writer — Articles by Cheryl
Natalie Scheid, Staff Writer — Articles by Natalie