Tuesday, June 27, 2017

June 2nd, 2017 in the Windy City: My Last Full Day in Chicago Walkabout Photo-Essay Finale

The John Hancock Center as seen from E Chicago Ave and N Michigan Ave, Chicago, Ill., 5:50PM June 2, 2017.

I couldn't think of a more Chicago-y picture than this one.

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This entry contains the full collection of the photographs that I took with my admittedly low-quality flip-open cellphone camera on my last full day in Chicago -- June 2nd, 2017 -- during my four-day trip there and day before I returned home. (Recall I went there to attend a DOE workshop and stayed an extra day and a half thanks to the generosity of my former co-worker Amanda and her boyfriend Bryan in allowing me to stay at their place.)

All times -- both in the photo file names and photo captions -- are local (CDT).

The exterior of the house at 1449 W Addison Street, Chicago, Ill., 2:34PM June 2, 2017.

Here I had started my walk from the Addison Brown Line CTA ("L") station eastward. My intended destination was a bit under a mile east at the Addison Red Line CTA station since that station stop would have put me at the north end of Lake View ("Boystown") for my walkabout that is photo-chronicled in this entry. However, I screwed up and went to the "wrong" Addison station.

As I explained in the updated portion of this entry, Chicago there are THREE (3) stations named "Addison" in the CTA system -- variously on the Blue, Brown, and Red Lines, and in my first attempt, I screwed up and went to the one on the Blue Line that is almost all the way back to O'Hare Airport.

More generally, the CTA system has multiple stations with the same name -- including three "Harlem" stations with two of them on opposite ends of the Blue Line.

The reason for this state-of-affairs is that there are man-miles-long east-west and north-south-running roads that crisscross the vastly sprawling Chicagoland area and the station names simply reflect where the various lines intersect them -- meaning that names get reused.

Being accustomed to the D.C. Metrorail system, this is highly confusing since station names are never repeated including the Addison Road station on the Blue Line. (Apparently, repeating station names also happens on New York's subway system).

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Wrigley Field, Chicago, Ill., 2:57PM June 2, 2017.

It turns out that Wrigley Field is located along Addison Road -- it even has an Addison Road address (1060 W. Addison Street). (My unplanned jaunt out to the Blue Line Addison Street station and then back deep inside "The Loop" of central Chicago and out to the Brown Line one took about 75 minutes.)

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A path in Lincoln Park near the Diversey Driving Range and not far from Lake Michigan, Chicago, Ill.,, 3:46PM June 2, 2017.

Lincoln Park runs for many miles north-south along the lakefront (stretching well outside the Lincoln Park community area).

By this point, I had walked down N. Halstead Street through Boystown (in Lakeview community area) and detoured -- after making a badly-needed pit stop in a lockable, private bathroom at a teashop at the corner of North Broadway and W. Briar Pl -- over to Lincoln Park. I didn't have the time or wherewithal to explore any of "gay Chicago" -- it was still basically midday and I still had several miles to walk and wanted to go atop the Hancock Center before meeting up with Amanda and Bryan.

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The entrance to the Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, Ill., 4:05PM June 2, 2017.

I checked ahead of time and there are no hippos at the Lincoln Park Zoo, so I was not inclined to try and get in a quick visit there.

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Street view, 1500 block of N State Parkway, Chicago, Ill., 4:20PM June 2, 2017.

By this point, I had traversed Lincoln Park and into the Near North Side -- one of the 77 Community Areas of Chicago and one of the four that comprise downtown Chicago. Near North Side includes the affluent Gold Coast neighborhood and the stretch known as the Magnificent Mile.

For its part, N State Parkway -- which has a terminus point at North Blvd -- becomes N State Street at Division Street. But State Street also marks the east-west dividing line of Chicago's street grid. The north-south dividing line is at Madison Street. So the intersection of N State and S State Streets and E and W Madison Streets marks the zero point or origin of the city's grid system. (The 1500 block I noted above indicates it is 15 blocks north of Madison Street. The earlier "1400 block of Addison Street" indicated I was 14 blocks west of the State Parkway / Street dividing line.)

Unlike D.C., Chicago doesn't use quadrants (i.e., NW, NE, SE, and SW) but rather simply individual directional letters -- so when you're near O'Hare Airport on the CTA and you see two street names and something such as 9800N and 5200W, it means you are 98 blocks north and 52 blocks west of that zero point.

In D.C., of course, the Capitol building is the zero point (0,0).

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Sidewalk view outside 1440 N State Parkway, Chicago, Ill., 4:22PM June 2, 2017.

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Carmine's: A Rosebud Restaurant, Chicago, Ill., 4:34PM June 2, 2017.

Carmine's is located at 1043 N Rush Street in the Magnificent Mile stretch. For its part, N Rush Street "y's" off of N State Street at E Cedar Street in a south-southeasterly fashion.

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The Tavern on Rush steakhouse, Chicago, Ill., 4:34PM June 2, 2017.

Tavern on Rush is located next to Carmine's and its address is 1031 N Rush Street.

I would have liked to have tried both these places but, alas, I simply did not have time. I'd like to return to Chicago and spend a bit more time in this part of the city.

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Intersection of N Rush St and E Bellevue Pl, Chicago, Ill., 4:34PMM June 2, 2017.

I sure took a lot of pictures at 4:34PM CDT. Well, three in all.

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Street view of Hugo's Frog Bar and Fish House, 1024 N Rush St, Chicago, Ill., 4:36PM June 2, 2017.

Hugo's Frog Bar and Fish Place is another restaurant I would have liked to have visited.

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By this point, I was approaching my destination: The John Hancock Center located in Chicago's highly affluent Near North Side community area in (depending on how they are reckoned) the Gold Coast or Magnificent Mile neighborhoods.*

*By way of explanation, Chicago has 77 community areas and within them are varying numbers of neighborhoods. In the case of the Near North Side, the neighborhoods that included Goose Island, Old Town, Gold Coast, River North, Streeterville, and the Magnificent Mile (although sometimes the latter is considered just a stretch of North Michigan Avenue).

The Near North Side also includes Cabrini-Green -- making it the startling exception to all these highly affluent neighborhoods. Cabrini-Green once was the location of Chicago's most notorious tenement high rise slums plagued with poverity, violent crime, and drugs. (In popular TV culture, it's where the show Good Times was set.)  

At the base of the John Hancock Center, Chicago, Ill., 4:42PM June 2, 2017. 

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The 100-story Hancock Tower has an architectural height of 1,128 feet high, although one of its twin antennas reaches 1,499 feet. The observation deck -- 360 Chicago -- is on the 94th floor. By comparison, the Willis (Sears) Tower has an architectural height of 1,450 feet and an antenna pinnacle height of 1,729 feet. The Willis Tower observation deck is on the 103rd floor. I had gone to its observation deck the previous day.

To clarify, the Willis Tower pinnacle height was originally lower than the Hancock Center. Antennas were added in 1982 and the western one was extended in 2000 to the current height of 1,729 feet which was enough at the time to make it the tallest building in the world.

South view from the 360 Chicago Observatory, Hancock Center, Chicago, Ill., 4:52PM June 2, 2017.

The Willis Tower and the frickin' Trump International Hotel and Tower are visible in this image along with the Aon Center toward the left. From right to left, these are the first, second, and third tallest buildings in Chicago, respectively, with the Hancock Center the fourth tallest.

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I was unable to get definitive rankings of the "supertall" Hancock and Willis skyscrapers in terms of height -- I found multiple, conflicting rankings on various Wikipedia pages. According to this list of buildings ranked by pinnacle height,the Hancock and Willis Towers are 11th and 7th tallest, respectively, as of June 2017.

East view from the 360 Chicago Observatory, Hancock Center, Chicago, Ill., 4:52PM June 2, 2017.

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As is the case from the Willis Tower observation deck, it is possible on a day with good visibility to see the Michigan shoreline directly across Lake Michigan from Chicago -- a distance of about 50 miles. Lake Michigan -- which is really an inland sea, as are the other four Great Lakes -- widens to the north and at Milwaukee, is probably about 90 miles across. It is also possible to see the entire rounded southern portion of Lake Michigan including the Indiana shoreline.

Oh, yes, that's Navy Pier visible stretching out into Lake Michigan. The larger island-like structure to the left (north) of it is the Jardine Water Purification Plant.

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Before continuing, I would like to post the image directly above -- the link to which is here taken in April 2009 from the shoreline on the other side of Lake Michigan by Flickr user "ctm800" that purports to show the Chicago skyline -- or at least the four tallest buildings to include (as now named) from left to right the Willis Tower, Trump Tower, Aon Center, and John Hancock Center. (The left to right order also marks the tallest to fourth tallest Chicago skyscrapers, in that order.)

There also appear to be a few other objects just poking above the horizon but I'm not going to try to discern which buildings they are.

The shadow of the John Hancock Center as seen from the 360 Chicago Observation deck, 4:52PM June 2, 2017.

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The next two views are facing north -- with the late afternoon shadows being cast by the towers along Lake Michigan in the Lincoln Park and Lakeview community areas:

North view from the 360 Chicago Observatory, Hancock Center, Chicago, Ill., 4:54PM June 2, 2017.

From this vantage point, you can see the beaches along Lake Michigan to include the Oak Street Beach and a bit farther up the shoreline, the North Avenue beach -- marked by the spit of land curling out into the lake.

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North view from the 360 Chicago Observatory, Hancock Center, Chicago, Ill., 4:55PM June 2, 2017.

As I mentioned in at least one entry at the time of my visit, the water in Lake Michigan is oddly deep blue -- even greenish blue -- giving the appearance of being very clean, except for the fact it is also opaque, which creates a sort of strange effect.

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There is a bar in the 360 Chicago Observatory called the Architect's Corner Bar and Café. I got the one-drink "package" ticket -- which I thought meant I could not buy a second drink while there. However, that turned out not to be the case.

Bartender Clayton, Architect's Corner Bar and Café, 360 Chicago Observatory, John Hancock Center, Chicago, Ill., 5:03PM June 2, 2017.

Clayton is from Dallas but lives in Chicago with his twin brother. He has a regular office job but landed this most unusual gig on a part time basis. He said it really is amazing to be on the observation deck when it snows -- or when there is a thunderstorm. He also said that because the Hancock Center includes private apartments -- and there is the occasional need for an ambulance call, folks can get stuck up there when the fire alarm sounds.

I would not want to be in that situation.

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Chicago Water Tower, Chicago, Ill., 5:48PM June 2, 2017.

Constructed in 1869 as a water pumping station, the limestone tower is one of the few buildings to have survived the Great Chicago Fire of Oct. 8 - 10, 1871 -- the one for which Mrs. O'Leary and her cow were not responsible. Today is houses the City Gallery in the Historic Water Tower

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Sidewalk view along N Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Ill., 5:52PM June 2, 2017.

There are very upscale stores along this famous Chicago thoroughfare.

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Street view from N Michigan Ave and E Ohio Street, Chicago, Ill., 5:57PM June 2, 2017.

That tall structure is the Trump International Hotel and Tower. I hate even spelling out the name "Trump."

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The crowded bustle of N Michigan Ave near E Illinois Street, Chicago, Ill., 6:00PM June 2, 2017.

I was heading toward Millennium Park to meet Amanda and Bryan.

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The next picture features a poignant sculpture in Chicago's Pioneer Court called "Return Visit" that was erected shortly before the (disastrous) presidential election last November. It features a 25-foot tall sculpture of Abraham Lincoln giving a copy of the Gettysburg Address to a modern-day common man wearing a sweater, corduroy pants, and sneakers.

Created by 87-year old artist Seward Johnson, the sculpture suggests that Lincoln is "explaining the tenets of the Gettysburg Address and what relevancy those words would have today," said Paula Stoeke, curator at Seward Johnson Atelier in California. You can read a Chicago Tribune news article about it here.

"Return Visit" sculpture, Pioneer Court, Chicago, Ill., 6:02PM June 2, 2017.

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Continuing with my walk ...

The Chicago River looking east from the DuSable Bridge, a.k.a., the Michigan Avenue Bridge, Chicago, Ill., 6:04PM June 2, 2017.

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Paying the respect due the man and his crooked and compromised Russian-funded real estate empire ...

Trump International Hotel and Tower, Chicago, Ill., 6:06PM June 2, 2017.

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The Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Chicago, Ill., 6:17PM June 2, 2017.

There was a local gospel choir performing. The first thunderously loud song was wonderful. The next four or five as I waited for Amanda and Bryan were just thunderously loud.

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I finally made it to the Cloud Gate sculpture -- a.k.a., "The Bean" -- in Millennium Park. Apparently, this sculpture Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor was inspired by a drop of liquid mercury ...

Reflection of Yours Truly in the polished stainless steel of Cloud Gate sculpture, Millennium Park, Chicago, Ill., 6:21PM June 2, 2017.

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People taking pictures at Cloud Gate sculpture, Millennium Park, Chicago, Ill., 6:21PM June 2, 2017.

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The concave chamber ("omphalos") underside of Cloud Gate, Millennium Park, Chicago, Ill., 6:22PM June 2, 2017.

According to Wikipedia, this is the "omphalos" -- a "warped dimension of fluid space" in which "solid is transformed into fluid in a disorienting multiplicative manner that intensifies the experience," and that "is emblematic of Kapoor's work to deconstruct empirical space and venture into manifold possibilities of abstract space.The experience is described as a displaced or virtual depth that is composed of multiplied surfaces."

OK, then.

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The reflection of nearby buildings in Chicago's Loop area in the stainless steel plates of Cloud Gate, Millennium Park, Chicago, Ill., 6:24PM June 2, 2017.

The Aon Center is visible in this reflection.

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I met Amanda and Bryan at Cloud Gate around 6:40PM.

A young couple (presumably going to their prom) take a selfie at the Cloud Gate sculpture, Millennium Park, Chicago, Ill., 6:33PM June 2, 2017.

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The three of us discussed where to get dinner before heading out on the CTA to the Ravenswood neighborhood for the evening's planned events -- and while trying to decide, a placed called Rudy's Bar and Grille appeared right before us.

This was precisely the sort of place I was seeking on my first night in Chicago -- but could not find because it was a bit too late for me, I was tired, and I don't have a Smartphone that would allow me to find such places.

Blurry picture of the interior of Rudy's Bar and Grille, Chicago, Ill., 8:01PM June 2, 2017.

While we got a table, this is precisely the kind of place where I enjoy sitting at the bar and having dinner. I was happy both with the food and service. 

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Thereafter, we took the CTA Brown Line up to the Ravenswood stop in the Ravenswood neighborhood in Chicago's Lincoln Square community area. We went to a curious little private club to which Bryan belongs known as Rodam to see a performance by a jazz band. We stayed there until about 12:30AM -- and took an Uber back to their apartment. That was quite an enjoyable high-speed, late-night ride through Chicago on mostly empty thoroughfares with a good conversation that also involved the driver.

First of two blurry pictures at the Rodam club, Ravenswood, Chicago, Ill., 11:08PM June 2, 2017.

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The driver found my political commentary kind of funny, especially the part about if Chicago were ever to go the way of Detroit (barring some national calamity, not likely in the present era), it could (much like seems to be underway in Detroit) just be purchased by a few random libertarian billionaires and have a dome put over it.

Second of two blurry pictures at the Rodam club, Ravenswood, Chicago, Ill., 11:59PM June 2, 2017.

It seemed appropriate to take this picture at 11:59PM -- the last minute of my last full day in Chicago -- and to conclude this particular post with it.

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OK, this concludes my June 2nd Chicago pictures. It also concludes this entry. If I discover and typos or syntax errors, I will correct them as I find them.

My planned next entry will not be until Thursday or possibly Friday.

--Regulus

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