DAY 20 – CHICAGO, IL
After the small excursion to Lake Michigan it was a straight shot into Chicagoland. I have never been to Chicago, and I’ve always wanted to go, especially because of it’s reputation as a comedy mecca, so this is a part of the trip I was really looking forward to. The approach to the city is pretty much like the approach to any major city, more and more development until you eventually hit a wall of traffic, then you’re there. As we entered the city it was already getting dark but we managed to snap a few photos before we completely lost the light. In Chicago it was Airbnb to the rescue again. It was more pricey than usual, but it was worth having a space like the one we reserved when in an unfamiliar urban land. It was an old turn of the century house in a decent neighborhood called Pilsen. What a great place, it creaked like the creaks from my childhood memory, the ones that were borne from the old wooden stairs in the converted farmhouse my grandmother used to live in back in PA.
After finding parking and unloading our stuff we walked around the neighborhood a bit, got some hot dogs and finished shooting a short film, outside and in our room. Josh had the idea to film a Detroit hip-hop daydream when we were there and we still had to grab a few more shots for me to be able to put it together. So part of it is filmed in Detroit, the other part is in Chicago. Per usual Josh went to sleep and I stayed up ruminating and working on the site. In the morning we were late again but left at a semi-decent time. We headed down to University Village to grab some Al’s Beef sandwiches. I also grabbed some coffee, biscotti, and this amazing lemonade water ice thing with pomegranate in it. Quite refreshing.
We headed downtown, found parking for an exorbitant amount of money and headed over to Millennium Park. I was told if I was only able to do one thing in the city of Chicago I should go to Cloud Gate, so that’s where we headed. It was pretty much the coolest sculpture I’d ever seen and one of the most beautiful urban parks I’ve ever been to. We walked around for a while, went down to the water where the yacht club was, and stared admiringly at the skyline. I just cannot get over how stunning the city was, and besides it being just a bit windy, the weather was perfect. We went over to the Sears Tower but it was a 2 hour wait to get up top and we didn’t have the time, so we just walked around the city some more.
I wanted to check out the Marina Towers because I’m a Wilco fan and an architecture buff, and also see a view of the city looking down the Chicago river. Unbelievably picturesque. I was just blown away by Chicago, what a great town. The cultural offerings (of which we heard of but didn’t get to experience), the buildings, the parks, but only absorbed over the course of a few hours. This is a place I need to return to and spend some time. I also like the fact that when I was downtown, I could see the edges of its heart. I didn’t feel trapped like I sometimes feel in New York. While the skyline is vast, it doesn’t feel oppressively infinite like New York, and it doesn’t leave you wanting maybe a little bit more like Philly. It’s just right. After snapping some more pictures, grabbing some coffee at Intelligensia, and retrieving the car from the garage we were on the road again, preparing to cross Illinois and the entire state of Iowa, fun!