The Belmont Cragin community on Chicago’s Northwest Side exemplifies the ethnic shifts that have swept across the city in recent decades. Once largely Polish, Belmont Cragin is now known for its large Latino population. The newer residents have been transforming the neighborhood–including its businesses–bringing their own identity, needs and traditions.
Neighborhood residents and their guests enjoy live music at the second annual BC Fest, a three-day neighborhood festival held at Central and Belmont avenues.
Nestor Bordon teaches an English as a Second Language class at Onward Neighborhood House on Diversey Avenue. Adult Education Coordinator Santia Lopez says the demand for adult education services, like ESL and GED classes, has noticeably increased.
Manuel Concua, Jorge Castellanos, and Silfredo Gonzalez (from left to right) enjoy lunch at the popular Cuban eatery Señor Pan on Fullerton Avenue., which opened in 2008.
Evangelina Alcarter talks to a customer at her produce stand on Belmont Avenue on September 16, 2015.
Martha Vittore (center) participates in training for school parent mentors at the Northwest Side Housing Center at New Life Covenant Church. In addition to helping area residents find housing and prevent foreclosure, the agency does community organizing.
Victor Garcia, 4, drives his toy car on West Schubert Avenue at a block party. Eugenia Garcia, who lives on Schubert, organized the block party with the Northwest Side Housing Center to engage people in community activities and promote togetherness on the block.
A mother and son detangle a fishing line at the Riis Park Lagoon.
Veronica Rodriguez places conchas into a display case at Viva Cake Bakery on Central Avenue. The bakery, which has been open for a year, occupies a space that used to be a Polish bakery. Owner Eder Albiso said he chose the location for his first business after 20 years as pastry chef because of its Hispanic customer base.
Jesus Gonzalez (right) helps Christopher Giles with a job placement at Labor Pool Advanced Skills Division on Fullerton Avenue. Labor Pool helps prepare employees for manufacturing jobs with resume building, testing and hands-on training.
Two-flat brick homes seen on Oakdale Avenue are part of the Falconer Bungalow Historic District, which dates back to 1915.
Shops seen along Belmont Avenue on the far north end of Belmont Cragin on September 26, 2015.
Friends Yolanda Velazquez and Melissa Hernandez (left to right) take advantage of a sunny day to work out at the neighborhood’s largest park, the 56-acre Riis Park.