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Best classic el station 

Sheridan on the Red Line

By classic, we're talking gritty and dramatic. This grubby station has a pulse: it opens onto a bodega to the north and a coffeehouse to the south as well as a street where hissing buses idle. The tracks above are serpentine—trains from north and south screech around sharp turns and appear at the last second, the Purple Line trains hurtling past on the outer tracks while the Red Line trains deign to halt. The immediate view is of downtrodden back porches, but if you know exactly where to stand on the inbound platform there's a peek at the lights of Wrigley Field. But here's the frisson that truly puts this station over: the final step on the main stairs up to the inbound platform is higher than all the others; anyone racing up them to catch a train runs the risk of hitting the platform flat on his face. Once it happens to you, you're in the brotherhood. —Michael Miner

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