Stories by Jay Shefsky

Augmented Reality App Offers New Look at Eastland Disaster

A remarkable new app brings us face-to-face with the 1915 Chicago tragedy.

Local Crafting Group Knits Refugees, Immigrants Together

Bahra Puskar

Immigrant and refugee women find joy, companionship and healing in knitting. Jay Shefsky takes us to their workshop.  

Global Garden Cultivates Hope for Refugee Farmers

Displaced farmers–refugees from other countries–get more than food for their hard work at an urban garden in Chicago's Albany Park neighborhood.

Bleacher Bum Turns Passion for Baseball into Art

A story from the Wrigley Field bleachers, where one fan's love for a beer vendor turned her into a baseball artist. 

For Elsa Harris, Playing Music About Preaching the Gospel, Healing

Elsa Harris has played in Chicago churches since she was 12 years old and has performed around the world. Jay Shefsky has a profile of this “legend of Chicago gospel.”

Gourmet Mushrooms Grow in Old Meatpacking Plant

In this food-crazy town, more and more chefs are looking for locally grown produce for their menus. Now they can get gourmet, specialty mushrooms grown in the heart of Chicago. Jay Shefsky went to check it out.  

Storytelling Gives New Strength to Couple Dealing with Alzheimer’s

A couple dealing with Alzheimer's finds strength and rekindled love in a storytelling workshop for dementia patients at Northwestern University. 

Chicago Family Band Makes Beautiful Music as Cielito Lindo

Remember the very musical von Trapp family from “The Sound of Music”? Last summer, my daughter and I met a group you might call the Chicago von Trapps. Together with their father they call themselves Cielito Lindo, which means “beautiful heaven.”

For Elsa Harris, Playing Music About Preaching the Gospel, Healing

Elsa Harris has played in Chicago churches since she was 12 years old and has performed around the world. Jay Shefsky has a profile of this “legend of Chicago gospel.”

Gourmet Mushrooms Grow in Old Meatpacking Plant

In this food-crazy town, more and more chefs are looking for locally grown produce for their menus. Now they can get gourmet, specialty mushrooms grown in the heart of Chicago. Jay Shefsky went to check it out.  

China's Ancient Terra-Cotta Army Invades the Field Museum

One of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th century comes to Chicago: ancient soldiers from an army of Chinese terra-cotta warriors.

Sailing Lake Michigan Aboard a Tall Ship

Ever wondered what it’s like to sail Lake Michigan aboard a tall ship? Jay Shefsky found out on his voyage aboard the Lynx.

Chicago Family Band Makes Beautiful Music as Cielito Lindo

Remember the very musical von Trapp family from “The Sound of Music”? Last summer, my daughter and I met a group you might call the Chicago von Trapps. Together with their father they call themselves Cielito Lindo, which means “beautiful heaven.”

World’s Most Expensive Spice Puts Afghan Farmers, Chicagoans to Work

Ninety percent of the world's opium originates in Afghanistan. In Chicago, three war veterans are hoping to give Afghan farmers a viable alternative to growing poppy for opium. Learn how their business, Rumi Spice, is connecting farmers to the international marketplace.

Company that Helped Rebuild After Great Chicago Fire Now Closing Doors

Next month, one of the Chicago area's oldest manufacturers will shut its doors after 145 years. Haeger Potteries, a fourth-generation family business, played a key role in helping the city rebuild after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Jay Shefsky takes us inside.

Vivian Maier Legal Tangle May Be Resolved Soon

Self-Portrait of Vivian Maier (c) Vivian Maier / Maloof Collection

A settlement appears to have been reached over the celebrated photographs of the Chicago-area nanny whose stunning street photography came to light only after her death.

A Behind-the-Scenes Tour of Chicago’s Largest Prop House

A giant Bridgeport warehouse is home to the city's largest collection of vintage props for movies and TV. Jay Shefsky takes us inside.  

Local Crafting Group Knits Refugees, Immigrants Together

Bahra Puskar

Immigrant and refugee women find joy, companionship and healing in knitting. Jay Shefsky takes us to their workshop.  

Upscale Resale: Glencoe Shop is Designed to Donate

Jay Shefsky visits an upscale consignment shop on the North Shore that has generated nearly half a million dollars for charity by selling designer clothes, accessories and furniture.

Inside the New Chicago Cubs Clubhouse

The Cubs have a new clubhouse, and it's one of the biggest and fanciest in all of baseball. Jay Shefsky takes us inside the the state-of-the-art facility.

Chicago Veterans Aim to Cultivate Peace in Afghanistan Through Farming

Could a spice help rebuild Afghanistan? Could it decrease the production of poppy for opium? Meet three Chicago war veterans who have started a business with these goals in mind.

Book Uncovers Story of Spreading Hate Across America

In 1920, the Ku Klux Klan was a small, disorganized group with just 3,000 members in Alabama and Georgia. Then a public relations firm saw an opportunity to make a bundle by building the Klan. Dale Laackman's book, "For the Kingdom and the Power: The Big Money Swindle That Spread Hate Across America" tells the little-known story.  

Curt's Cafe Serves Up Job Training, Food for Thought

Every discussion of crime, poverty or high incarceration rates points back – in part – to jobs. For the last three years an innovative restaurant job-training program in Evanston has been providing support and practical experience to young men and more recently, women. Jay Shefsky went to Curt's Cafe to learn more.

A Look Inside Chicago's Largest Prop House

A giant Bridgeport warehouse is home to the city's largest collection of vintage props for movies and TV. Jay Shefsky takes us behind the scenes.  

China's Ancient Terra-Cotta Army Invades the Field Museum

Terracotta Warriors (© Shaanxi Cultural Heritage promotion Center and emperor Qin Shihuang's Masoleum Site Museum)

One of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th century comes to Chicago: ancient soldiers from an army of Chinese terra-cotta warriors.