Sunday, August 05, 2007

Photos from Chicago

On my trip to visit Jen in Indianapolis back in June, we drove up to Chicago for the weekend, our first visit there. It was a real blast. Chicago is a genuine big city, with a downtown where the are like canyons between skyscrapers, some great public spaces along the lakeshore, ethnic neighborhoods, traffic, expensive parking, etc. You can see the complete set of photos here.
Some of the best views of the city are from the bridges crossing the Chicago River, which, weirdly enough, has been engineered to flow backwards from its natural direction. I thought it was interesting how downtown, just about every street that approached the river had a bridge across it, instead of only every half mile or so, which would be more typical.

We didn't take the famous architectural tour up the river, but we did admire a lot of the buildings downtown. This is the Chicago Tribune building:We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel, which opened up a few years ago in what was once the Carbide and Carbon Building (on the right), a cool old 37-story office building that had been redone into a fairly swank hotel.Employees' name tags also listed their favorite recording artist, so the valet staff had Tego Calderon and The Game, the doorman had The Mars Volta, and the front desk guy represented for David Bowie. We were on the Elton John floor, where the hallway had one of Sir Elton's jackets and a big photo of him. Our room had a snakeskin chair (dunno if it was real), a comfy bed, a lot of mirrors, a complimentary copy of Rolling Stone, a picture of Gene Simmons on the wall, and a picture of John and Yoko in the bathroom. One floor had "the object" (actually, #803 of 1000) from the cover of Led Zeppelin's PRESENCE on display.

You know those scenes in The Blues Brothers where their hotel room is right up against the El? I had never fully appreciated that until walking underneath the El and hearing it... my God, that's the loudest thing on earth.

Sunday in Chicago we went to Navy Pier, which was touristy, but had good views of the city, especially from the Ferris Wheel. There was also an entertaining mirror maze/funhouse thing called "Amazing Chicago" that was fun. We also drove along Lake Shore Drive and past Wrigley Field, where a game was starting, and I resisted the urge to tell the Cubs fans what idiots they were.I already wrote about the food we ate a while ago here, so I present to you Mr. Beef and his "elegant dining room."
Monday we walked down to the Art Institute, which is humongous, and loaded with famous and wonderful paintings.On our way back we checked out "The Bean," A.K.A. the "Cloud Gate" sculpture at Millennium Park, which is really neat.If you check out the more close-up photos in the web album, you can play "Where's Waldo" trying to figure out where Jen's and my reflections are in each photo.

That was pretty much it; we only spent two nights in town. We deliberately only saw a few of the things we wanted to see, since we knew we'd be back sometime next year.

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