Saturday, November 26, 2005


The Windy City

I am currently spending my Thanksgiving vacation with my sister in Elm Grove, WisCONSIN, a mundane suburb of west of Milwaukee. Brew Town! Though downtown Milwaukee has actually become a destination of sorts ( I checked it out back in September, good things are happening here), I decided to hop on the Amtrak today and head for Chicago, a city I have not seen since I was nine. After being stuck in provincial Ann Arbor for 2 months, I was uber excited to experience a large (and succesful, sorry Detroit) urban environment again.

It was not long after the train rumbled past the southern Milwaukee suburbs that we entered the northern edge of Chicagolopolis. The feeling was more tangible, as my innate city sense could feel the pull of the loop from 25 miles out. It was almost like being back in the arms of a loved one. The weight of my final papers, projects, and exams lifted. It was a welcomed feeling, it was time to explore.

After deboarding at yet another Union Station (my third Union Station this year) I headed due east towards the lake. The weather was frigid and I was not dressed properly, but I couldn't have cared less. Walking from Union Station through downtown Chicago at 9:30 am on "black Friday" was not all that inspiring... the streets were dead. I conjectured that most people were either already in their offices, or they were taking the day off. However, I soon found out that they were all shopping on Michigan Avenue, the home of the Magnificent Mile, a midwest shopping mecca. It was also the only thing that seperated me from my first destination of interest, Millenium Park.

Since its official opening, I have heard nothing but positive comments about this urban gem. Parks can either be incredible amenities, or be urban voids. Millenium Park is certainly the former. Before I continue to sing its praises, I must admit that I was a little skeptical of the "BP Bridge" and the "Jay Pritzker Pavilion," both designed by Frank Gehry. It's not that I totally disregard Mr. Gehry's work, I just typically feel his blob-itecture is is much more disorientating than inspirational or space defining. However, the Pritzker Pavilion makes me feel that Mr. Gehry should just focus on performance art venues! Forget musuems, forget academic buildings, just music venues! His incredible creativity seemed to flow perfectly with the creative nature of music. Of course, there was no concert being performed in the 10 degree weather, but staring at the stage from the middle of the pavilion field the music in my head was only enriched by my surroundings. Nice one Frank.

Okay, my two year old niece Fiona is asking me to play with her, so I will continue this entry as a photo essay when I return to Ann Arbor tomorrow. Cheers!

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