Sunday, September 30, 2007

Chicago, Chicago! I'll Show You Around. . .

Ah! Beautiful downtown Chicago!

Especially on a gorgeous fall day with a fresh breeze blowing out of the northwest, clear skies, low humidity, and temperatures in the 60s.

The shot below of the new Trump Tower (left, under construction) beside the Chicago river will give you an idea of the kind of weather we enjoyed.

Carol and I and daughter Elizabeth took a roughly 7-mile walking tour around the Chicago loop and Streeterville. I'll show you a few of the highlights.

We found a children's park and playground that was tucked away in a neighborhood very close to the downtown skyscrapers. That was unique in itself, but we couldn't resist this drinking fountain.

Daughter Elizabeth simply adores anything to do with turtles and tortoises (she can tell you the difference -- in fact her one pet is a Mediterranean marginated desert tortoise named Brutus).

Below Elizabeth poses with the sculpture.

And here it seems she and the happy tortoise are sharing a funny joke.

We were intrigued by some of the acrhitecture of the Chicago town homes we found. In the picture below each has a different style, color, and surface for its facade. But to further delineate where one stops and the next starts, they aren't quite parallel to the street. Rather, each one angles just slightly toward the street, and then the next one is offset back about 3-4 feet and again angles forward.

It's an interesting effect.

You'd never know you were within a few blocks of the bustling downtown business areas.

The house in the center below is another example of a unique facade, color, entryway, fence, and roof.

Take a closer look at the fence. Fancy, no?

We had walked quite a long way north from the river to the edge of Lincoln park, and then turned back south along a different street.

Once back in the downtown area we walked along LaSalle Street for a number of blocks, and at one point passed not far from the city's huge public library. It's the red building below with the greenish roof.

I thought the sculptures at the roof's corners were gargoyles, but they're not. Have a closer look.

We continued south on LaSalle until we reached the huge Chicago Board of Trade building, with the statue of Ceres (the goddess of grain) on top. The we turned east on Jackson Street to head back towards our starting point near the lakefront.

As we walked along what we thought was Jackson Street, Carol snapped the shot below.

Can you read the sign on the building?

If not, here's a close-up.

We stopped. We had been walking on LaSalle street before, and then we had turned on Jackson. We thought!

We turned around and walked several blocks back the way we had come. When we arrived at the place we had turned, sure enough the intersection was plainly marked and we HAD come south on LaSalle and we HAD turned east on Jackson.

Confused, we turned around and retraced our steps on Jackson, checking the street signs at every corner. Then we found the LaSalle St. sign on the side of the building again. This time we ignored it and kept going. We still have no idea why it's there.

The last photos are taken along Michigan Avenue shopping district, known as the Magnificent Mile.

Along the sidewalks are huge fenced-in planting areas in which the city each year plants all manner of gorgeous non-native flowers and shrubs that seem to thrive during the summer.

See Below. . .

Daughter Elizabeth (pictured at the far left in the shot below) told us that each fall as the temperatures begin to drop and all the plants would otherwise freeze, the city sends out trucks to take them all out of the planters.

What to they do with them? I have no idea.

In many of the planting areas were (somewhat strange, in my opinion) displays like the one below.

It's a partial manikin with a leather top and a skirt made from textbooks.

Either art, or a new back-to-school look.

I think I'll go with art.

End of tour. Hope you enjoyed Chicago.

We certainly did!


Shesawriter said...

The turtle is my favorite. It's sooooo cute. :-)

kenju said...

Very good photos, John. They took a looooong time to load! Chicago is a beautiful city, but it's too darn cold in the winter!

r.e.wolf said...

Love that city! Excellent photos!

southernbelle said...

I just loved the photos. Thanks Carol for being such an enthusiastic photographer. Two cities I would love to visit - NY and Chicago and hopefully one day I will be able to cross the big pond and do just that. What I enjoy most is seing the You Knighted States through the eyes of its peoples - not just what I see on TV or through professional photographers.

What I noticed very clearly was how clean the streets are - no litter, no cigarette butts, no plastic shopping bags or paper fluttering in the breeze. What a contrast to the cities here.

Viki said...

well, southernbelle, as much as I love my city, I have to say that not all areas are that clean. ;)

And John, were you here THIS past weekend? Because I spent Saturday walking from Streeterville down to Millenium Park and back up via State Street.

We probably walked right by each other.

M.E Ellis said...

The buildings in the first pic are scarily tall. I've never seen a building like that in real life.


Karyn Lyndon said...

Thanks for the walking tour of Chicago!

Badabing said...

Great pics John...Chicago is a great walking town...I just love the architecture.

Candace said...

I had no idea Chicago looked like that! Except for the tropical plants and the "art," it looks just like London - no kidding. Those houses, the fences, the modern architecture mixed with old, the clean streets, the street signs chiseled on the buildings (especially if they're WRONG), all looked just like London to me.

Peter said...

Does marinated Tortoise taste like chicken?
Beautiful photos of the windy city John.