2009-04-28

Sweet Home Chicago – Part 1

I wasn't born here.  But I've lived here for 21 years, so it may not be my hometown, but it is my home.  I really love this city.  And over the course of the next few weeks (who am I kidding, months), I'm going to try to share my love of this city with you, in hopes that you will consider coming here for a visit sometime in the future.

Chicago Theater SignChicago is a big city and a city of neighborhoods.  It makes sense like few cities of it's size do.  The roads are a grid and the street numbers actually mean something.  We have two geographic features: The Lake and The River.  And the river is mostly ignored.

Mountains?  Not even in Mt. Prospect.  Hills?  Maybe in Hillside but not really.  Flat as a pancake.  Seriously, what other city would create a "nature park" on a man made peninsula called "Northerly Island" even when there aren't any other islands?  The same city that reversed the course of its river.

Spring is finally here.  We are entering the 6 months that explain why we live here.  It certainly isn't for the winters.

Millennium Park

So today at lunch, I walked over to one of our  newest attractions: Millennium Park.

What used to be some open space over some rail tracks (the train station is still there.  It's the blue floored place Batman road thru in The Dark Knight) and some unimpressive park space was turned into a beautiful new gem.

The Bean

Bean There

Officially known as 'Cloud Gate', but not by anyone who's not an official, this is a giant stainless steel bean.  I had a view of this new city symbol going together.  It's made out of a whole mess of sheets of steel (freakin' Google it yourself, you know that if I provide the link, you're not going to click it anyway) ground down to a seamless mirrored finish.  How shiny?  I circled myself taking the picture.  Yup, see that red spot just left of dead center?

Navel Gazing 
I then went under The Bean, and looked up the omphalos.  It does a really cool fun house effect.

Crown Fountain

Crown Fountain
Speaking of a fun house, this is one half of the very popular Crown Fountain.  There is an identical obelisk facing this one.  Yes, it's spitting.  In the summer, there will be a pack of kids out getting soaked by the periodic spray (it only fires off ever 15 minutes or so) or getting splashed by the water cascading over the edge.  Those are LCD video screens, so the faces are animated, blink, pucker, and change.

Red Head Lurking

Don't tell Cora, but I saw this other redhead hanging out in the park.  I hear that it is visiting from even further west than her.  Or is it east?

It's part of a contemporary Chinese sculpture exhibit going on at the park all summer.

There's lot's more to see and do at the park, but I didn't have enough time on my lunch break to shoot them all.  The Pritzker Pavilion and the BP Bridge designed by Frank Gehry, and the Lurie Gardens.

If you're interested, and I'm not available, there is a free audio tour podcast that you can down load for HERE if you want to know more.

17 comments:

Cora said...

Oh, fine. Hang out with other redheads in the park on your lunch break then. Go ahead. Be that way.

*grumble, grumble*

*pout*

This is fascinating, Scope. Can't wait to see it all in person - even your redheaded lunch companion! ;-)

mo.stoneskin said...

I really want to go have a pint under the Bean.

Nice banner, freaked me out, thought for a moment I had clicked on teh wrong blog...

Sass said...

Someday I'll visit and see YOUR Chicago...because I still associate Chicago with hospitals and people who drive really really fast. ;)

Lisa said...

I shall be happy to visit you in Chicago sometime very soon!

Now that I can head out for long weekends and not worry about my house burning down or becoming an underage teen party haven!

Cowguy said...

Nice lil' tour but more importantly... started my day off with an EXCELLENT tune!

Cora said...

Awww on the quick hits, btw.

Nikki said...

I have a friend in Waukegan(sp?) and he is totally the weirdest person I know so I think of Chicagoans as creepy strange people. Just saying.

Love the pics though.

SkylersDad said...

Nice tour, I look forward to this. I would give you a tour of my sleepy little neighborhood, but our big attraction (the homeless guy with Tourettes) moved away.

Dr Zibbs said...

My Uncle the surgeon used to live there and I spent a few Summers out there as a kid. Did you know some people call it the "Windy" city?

Actually, Corpus Christi TX is the windiest city in the Cont. US.

Or so I'm told.

Soda and Candy said...

That bean thing is cooool. It reminds me of the Lockheed Lounge chair.

J.J. in L.A. said...

I love the fountain...who doesn't want to be spat upon by an over-sized head?

Candy's daily Dandy said...

The bean totally rocks. And the spitty fountian, that's very cool.

I could so be persuaded to visit if a trip to Wrigley Field were included.

Morgan the Muse said...

that red blob is you? Wowza.

~E said...

I have tons of family in Illinois, some in Chicago. The last time I visited there was a few years ago and we mostly took in Second City and Navy Pier...it was mid-march so it was too f-ing frigid to do much else.

I should consider visiting there again soon.

mike said...

you know what SUCKS about Chicago? The Bulls. Enough already. And Derrick Rose is NO Rondo, not even close.

Sassy Britches said...

You've started a movement! Let me know if these people take you up on your invite...I'll tag along!

Fancy Schmancy said...

I loved Chicago, but never wanted to go back after staying with some crazy people for a couple of days! At least the view from penthouse on South Shore Drive was nice!