How to Get to Sesame Street in Chicago

IMG_9276a

Every city has them – the day care centers with the window-paintings of popular childrens’ cartoon characters, slightly misproportioned, festooning large storefront windows or walls, cheerfully waving at passersby.

IMG_9298a

These creatures assure us that the place within is welcoming, friendly, comfortable, familiar – all the things a parent would want their children to have while they are away at work.

IMG_3276a

Their ubiquitous nature says a lot about the commonality of children’s television programming. Elmo and Dora the Explorer are popular favorites, though Big Bird remains the king.

IMG_1595a

IMG_5521a

IMG_3279

IMG_0750a

IMG_1400a

Also of note, they’re mostly seen in lower-income neighborhoods. I could speculate on a number of possible reasons why – perhaps the TV is a more common babysitter. Maybe there’s just less money for decoration. Maybe they’re fighting harder against an unpleasant built environment. Maybe these things aren’t seen as very classy in higher-income areas, or are prohibited by ordinance. Maybe they just aren’t as worried about using trademarked characters. Maybe small daycare centers just aren’t as common. But it’s all just speculation.

What’s remarkable is how universal the artistic style is. There’s almost always something a bit… off about the portrayal of Big Bird and company. I’ve noticed this for years.

IMG_1423a

The photo above was taken near the boundary between Chicago and Oak Park – right where incomes are starting to rise. And perhaps not coincidentally, it’s a rare example of the characters not looking slightly mutated.

IMG_3278

And finally…. all I can say here is that Mickey looks awfully excited by Minnie’s tush. Yikes!

Advertisements

One thought on “How to Get to Sesame Street in Chicago

  1. I think you will find fewer stay-at-home moms in the poorer neighborhoods, so there is a higher demand for daycare. However, most of these places are run by small businesspeople who decorate as best they can. In better areas there are national daycare chains, like KinderCare, who prefer to set up their own brand, and do not wish to court a capyright suit from Disney, et al. The mutation in the images comes from amateurs doing the work.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s