Sally Nemeth (salgal99) wrote,
Sally Nemeth

A Tourist at Home

The Place of Wild Onions, City of Big Shoulders, Hog Butcher to the World, the Windy City, My Kind of Town.

Whatever you call it, for me, Chicago is HOME.

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I was there for a wonderful whirlwind anniversary, and in the next entry I'll talk about THAT, but since I had Dave in tow and he'd never really spent time in my hometown, I decided to play tourist just a bit, but of course a tourist with CLASS.

For instance, THIS Chicago girl has always wanted to stay HERE:

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How many times did I head south on Lake Shore Drive past the Gold Coast on a wintry day and see the red (now purple) sign above The Drake and think to myself, "Someday, I'm gonna STAY THERE."

So for my birthday, Dave burned a gazillion Hilton Honors points and got us a suite with a view of MY LAKE.

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Well, it's everybody's lake, but I spent so many years working on boats I feel a bit proprietary. And speaking of boats...

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Why yes, that's Dave sitting in the bow of Chicago's First Lady.

There are many river boat tours, but THE one to take is the one given by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, with volunteer docents who REALLY know their shit about the three distinct schools/eras of Chicago architecture, one of the greatest architecture cities in the world. That fire was good for something, and the something was that the city got to be planned from the ground up, leaving the lakefront open for ALL to enjoy.

So let us begin.

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The lovely white terra cotta of the Wrigley Building (1924, designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst & White) facing the dark gothic spire of the Tribune Tower.

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The 61 story twin towered Marina City, (1960, designed by Bertrand Goldberg), and fondly referred to by Chicagoans as "the corn cobs".

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Not particularly architectural - unless you count the classic Chicago trunnion bascule bridge - but I used to do this every spring. As soon as the ice in the harbors had broken up, I'd bring the sailing school's boats from the boatyard to their moorings. Chilly good fun.

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More bridges, with the Sears Tower (1974, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill) looming ahead. Try as I might, I cannot bring myself to call it the Willis Tower, though Dave of course does.

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333 West Wacker Drive, (1983, Kohn Pedersen Fox). I love how the curved green exterior reflects the river and the buildings across from it. Prime example of contextualism.

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And finally, as we made our turn back toward dock at the lake lock, the Coast Guard and Chicago Fire Department stations. These photos just scratch the surface of the tour, but I cannot recommend it more highly, even if you're a resident.

Next it was off to Millennium Park, where the psychedelic Sistine Chapel underside of the famous Bean gave Dave vertigo.

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And we marveled at Chicago's Frank Gehry, with the Standard Oil Building (Edward Durrell Stone, Perkins and Hull, 1974) rising behind the stage.

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Then it was off to visit the lions. Along with The Metropolitan in NYC and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the great comprehensive museums of America.

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But for me, being at the 'tute was a homecoming. As a young woman, I worked at the Goodman Theater in the box office and when the weather turned nice, would take my lunch outside, dine at the feet of the lions and think grand thoughts, like having a PLAY produced at the Goodman. Which brings me around to why I was in Chicago in the first place.

The 25th anniversary production of MILL FIRE, which debuted at the Goodman in 1989, was being produced by Shattered Globe Theater at Theater Wit on Belmont, directed by my old friend Sandy Shinner and designed by another old friend Jeff Bauer. And THAT I could not miss.

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So next entry, I'll write ALL about that. But in the meantime, spring was just beginning to arrive after a long, brutal winter.

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And when I lived in Chicago, seeing daffodils and crocus push up from the ground while trees began to bud, that was always a joy well earned.

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