James Porter, pictured above, is one of Chicago’s foremost authorities on getting around the town without an automobile. As a music journalist, singer, harmonica player, and one half of the DJ duo East of Edens Soul Express, he travels from his home in the Mid-South neighborhood of Chatham to every nook and cranny of the city to get to record stores, concerts and gigs, usually by walking, bus and train. Last winter he contributed an essay about his experiences as an expert Chicago Transit Authority rider. Here’s another story from James about some of the colorful characters who help keep the CTA interesting.
He was a dapper brother. In the 1990s, on my way to New City magazine (where I was working at the time), I’d see him all the time. Waves in his hair, double breasted suit, and like the master orator he was, he worked that northbound Red Line like it was Showtime At The Apollo. But his real intent was to turn the morning train into church.