This is the window of the Army/Navy Surplus store on Broadway near Leland in Chicago’s Uptown Neighborhood. Even though I took this shot in the mid-1970s, the store is still there today, still selling P-Coats and discounted tents. As I was walking by it in 1974, a sign in the window caught my eye. “Rent a Tent.” I’ve often wondered if this promotion ever succeeded.
Theoretically, renting a tent could have been even less expensive than a night in Uptown’s famous Wilson Club Hotel for Men, which advertised rooms for 75 cents per night. The only problem: there was no safe place to pitch a tent. Teenagers would often attack winos who fell asleep in public places. Of course, the promotion could have been geared to people who wanted to escape the city for a weekend, but few people in Uptown could afford getaway weekends. Getaways were usually to the corner tavern.