Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Scenic Route

I've always been enamored with the city. 

I first fell in love as an 18-year-old flying into Chicago for the first time (I would say, at the time, that it was also my first foray beyond the Mississippi River. This was before I learned about Midwestern geography.) to visit colleges.

Whilst in college, I so look forward to the moment when the skyline first became visible from the Metra tracks those many weekends I went downtown to do my homework, shop...or just "be" in the city.

I relished my days off during the week my first year out of college, traveling downtown via the 147 in a mere 15 minutes, to do the same things (minus the homework. Okay, mostly just to shop). During that same year, despite terrible commute times and horrendous stopandgo traffic, the sight of the city skyline (especially at night, or in the fog) never failed to make that commute thismuch easier.

My first few weeks months of working in the loop, I adored getting off the bus everysingleday by the river, gazing out at this view from my window, and having immediate access to Millennium Park.

I still have those moments, but as my commute got longer, work days got busier, my social calendar larger - the view became normal. That's a shame - I won't be working/living in this glorious metropolis forever.

So I took that "newness" back one morning as I rode the Brown Line all the way around the loop, only to find out it became an Orange Line to Midway. Instead of thinking "now I have to walk 30 more minutes?!?!" I thought, "oh, hey, there's ____ that I haven't seen in a while!" And thus it became my scenic walk through the city.

On that first trip, my father ran through this plaza screaming "This is where they filmed that scene in Blues Brothers! You know, that scene!"
Me: "I've never seen Blues Brothers."
Father: "What? You've never seen Blues Brothers? It's a classic!"
[To be repeated every year for the next six years until I actually watched this movie.]

I know this picture is blurry, but I think it's awesome. One of those things that people see everysingleday, but don't notice and/or don't care about. But it's an old-school CTA logo plus a mural with a bus/train (oh how I love the bus!) As much as I dislike the commute, I really do enjoy riding CTA/public transportation every day. It allows me to be in community with other people, to be a part of something bigger, grander, that every one else is a part of, without necessarily talking to anyone. [I feel the same way about commercials! Weird, yes. I am aware.]

This is the view from the end of my block. How awesome is that? I usually eat through lunch, but I think I'll start taking a walk every day, just to get a glimpse of this glittering (okay, okay, fine. too cheesy) skyline every day while I'm lucky enough to have a job that pays me enough to live and work down here.

And of course this is Aqua, the building right next to mine (even if mine wasn't already super ugly, this is just the icing on the cake. But I suppose it's acceptable since this is what I get to look at, rather than being in the pretty building but having to look at all the ugly buildings.)

And here's a monument at the fire station in between Aqua and my building. I've never spent a lot of time looking at this monument, but I think the piece on the left, with the hat, boots, and coat, is remarkably well done and evokes a certain bittersweet everydayness that impacts me more than just a statue of a person that I didn't know - much like the unmarked graves at Arlington. (To which I've never been, but I can imagine that they would impact me in this way.)

And that, folks, is the end of the tour. For now. Stay tuned for more scenic walks through my hangouts as a) I take more time outside and b) I get a new phone with a better camera!

(First world problems, I know.) So today, make sure you get out and notice something you're always too busy to notice! And share it with me. 

1 comment:

matt said...

awesome post. More city tours, please!