‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Bridgeport

Last week, it was freezing when the Cubs had their home opener on the North Side

And the White Sox were stuck with rain all day Thursday for the South Siders’ home opener.

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Both teams are limited in the number of fans allowed in their ballparks; at Guaranteed Rate Field — or perhaps still Comiskey to many Chicagoans — everything is cashless. No purses and bags are allowed.

Masks, on the other hand, are required.

Before the game, WTTW News caught up with a bunch of Sox fans keeping dry at Shinnick’s Pub, serving beers in Bridgeport for some 83 years.

Interactive map: More from our community reporting series

“The bar, it started with my grandparents back in 1938, George and Mary. And then in 1965 my mom and dad took over, and then by 1988, after we had lost my mom, my dad passed the bar onto the nine children, so right now nine of us own it,” said Celine Shinnick, who was tending bar Thursday afternoon to a decent crowd before the game.

It really is a family affair at the pub; Jill Duddleston, one of the Shinnick grandchildren, had a prime pregame seat at the bar.

“It’s not even just about the ballgame, it’s the atmosphere, it’s the fans, it’s our regulars, it’s everything, all come together being here again,” said Duddleston. “We’re still in this pandemic a little bit, but we’re on the way out, and you can feel that around.” 

A few blocks away were more die-hard Sox fans — the owners of The Stockyard Coffeehouse.

Sisters Myra and Guadalupe Carranza opened the cafe just two years ago, but it’s quickly become a neighborhood staple.

The sisters, who both live nearby and moved to Bridgeport about a dozen years ago, love coffee, and wanted a coffee shop they could walk to.

They say they love their neighborhood: the easy commute to downtown and being tucked between Chinatown and Canaryville.

“It’s becoming a lot more diverse now. We have a lot of new young families moving in, and we also have…it was traditionally an Irish, Italian neighborhood, so we still have families,” Myra Carranza said. 

“The neighborhood is just growing and changing ... we’re hoping a lot more businesses come into the neighborhood,” said Guadalupe Carranza. 

For another taste of the changing Bridgeport, there’s Bridgeport Bakery 2.0.

It’d had been a local staple, especially for its Polish paczki, for nearly 50 years — until it closed in late 2019. 

Some months later, in January 2020, the bakery reopened, with new owner Can Lao.

“I’m from Bridgeport, and a lot of people were so sad when this closed. I wasn’t expecting that much support from the customers. [They’d say] ‘Oh my God, you’re open?’ and they keep giving suggestions,” Lao said. 

Offerings range from Italian cannoli to Polish kolacky to Mexican concha and now, Chinese shumai dumplings —flavors and desserts as varied as Bridgeport’s residents.

The last community data snapshot of Bridgeport showed the Asian population to be nearly 40%. That’s a jump of 50% in about 20 years’ time.

Meanwhile, about 33% of residents are White and 23% are Latino. 

While sections of Bridgeport were part of Chicago’s COVID-19 vaccine priority ZIP code program, some resident are pushing for a mass vaccination in the neighborhood, perhaps at Guaranteed Rate Field. 

“There’s been a lack of social services in the city and especially in the neighborhood,” said Anna Schibrowsky, a member of the community group Bridgeport Alliance. “We’ve seen that other neighborhoods have mass testing sites and mass vaccination sites, and we haven’t had that despite having a huge stadium where it could take place.”

Video: Watch our full interview with Anna Schibrowsky.

Meanwhile, in the southwest corner of the neighborhood, the Chicago Maritime Museum is about to celebrate their fifth anniversary in the basement of the Bridgeport Arts Center. 

Curator Dylan Hoffmann says they’re hoping to reopen sometime this summer after being closed for the past year due to the pandemic and also a severe flood — the space looks over the infamous Bubbly Creek. 

Video: Watch our full interview with Dylan Hoffman.

Community Reporting Series

“Chicago Tonight” is expanding its community reporting. We’re hitting the streets to speak with your neighbors, local businesses, agencies and leaders about COVID-19, the economy, racial justice, education and more. See where we’ve been and what we’ve learned by using the map below. Or select a community using the drop-down menu. Points in red represent our series COVID-19 Across Chicago; blue marks our series “Chicago Tonight” in Your Neighborhood.

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