Tool maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation’s
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:
We had a great time in the City of the Big Shoulders – who doesn't like Sandburg's wonderful poem? We went to a museum; we went on a boat tour; we ate at a real restaurant; we overpaid real money for real small ice cream cones. We did it all. We even did Hamilton. Well, we didn't actually see the show (not at $400 per), but we did stay in the hotel that is over top of the theater where Hamilton is playing. That's pretty good.
Anyway, here are some highlights from a boat tour of the Chicago River and an evening's stroll about the streets.
While in Chicago we took an architectural boat tour of the city, cruising the Chicago River with our heads tilted up listening to our tour guide. Chicago is a lovely city, and it was a delightful tour. When it was over we left the boat with both a new appreciation for these tall buildings and slightly sore necks.
The photos here are representative of what we saw on the tour. I did not label them because, honestly, I can't remember the names of many of them. That's okay because while some have recognizable names such as Wrigley Building or Sears Tower (although actually the Willis Tower these days), most just have some sort of generic label such as 100 South or some other banality.
So without names or labels to worry about, take a trip through town on the Chicago River and enjoy looking up at some of the city's skyline and the tops of some of the more iconic buildings and architectural wonders. I promise you won't get a crick in your neck. Just rest your cursor on the photo and slideshow will begin. Enjoy!
What's better than a block party on Saturday night in May? Millenium Park is the gathering place for the community of the Loop area of the city, and on weekends it seems to be one, big, giant block party. Everyone is there. Everyone. This was especially true over the Memorial Day weekend when temperatures were setting record highs and the cool waters of the waterfall towers and reflecting pool were calling.
Millenium Park. It is a place of restaurants and bistros, water, music, grass and trees, art, and people. Lots of people. And many of those people can be found enjoying one of the main features of the park, the Crown Fountain. Crown Fountain is a reflecting pool with 50-foot rectangular waterfall towers at either end.
When it is hot the fountain's reflecting pool is more for cooling than reflecting as folks are wading and splashing about in it and just having a grand time. And each of the towers is a waterfall-like fountain perfect for standing under when the heat is on.
What is really special about the two towers is that they project faces that continuously change. Each face will go through several expressions before a new face appears. One of those expressions will have water spitting out of the face's mouth. Great stuff. From what I understand, the images are not models, but everyday Chicago citizens. That makes it even more fun.
The faces on the towers are just total greatness as are all the folks enjoying the waterfall fountains and the reflecting pool. This is really a park for the people.
Like most large cities, Chicago celebrates art, not only in its museums, but with sculptures and mosaics and murals outside, in its parks, and along the streets and avenues for everyone to enjoy.
Many pieces of art are on the streets, in front of buildings, not in a park or other special place. Picasso, Miro, Chagall, Calder, and Dubuffet. Works by these artists, along with those in Millennium Park were all within a short walk of our hotel. Here are some photos of the wonderful stuff I saw on my evening's stroll.
Since the first Cows on Parade, cities the world over have raised charity money by having artists paint fiberglass cows or other objects. I recall the Bush Library in College Station used steam locomotives.
The untitled sculpture on the left. has been part of Chicago since 1967 and has become a tourist "must see." Picasso did not name it, so it is known everywhere simply as The Picasso. You can get an idea of the scale of the 50 foot tall sculpture from the people in the photo.
Miro's Chicago is directly across the street from The Picasso. Joan Miro's work is considered surreal or experimental. And while I like much of Miro's work, I do not like this. To me it is just ugly; a failed experiment.
This mosaic, The Four Seasons, by Marc Chagall wraps around all four sides of this rectangular box. It is 70 feet long, 10 feet wide, and 14 feet high and made up of an untold number of pieces of glass and tile. I would love to go back sometime and try to photograph the entire piece in panorama showing all four sides as a single long strip. This piece was a short two blocks from our hotel.
Flamingo and Monument with Standing Beast
Flamingo by Alexander Calder sits in a plaza surrounded on three sides by rather generic federal office buildings. Flamingo is in the familiar "Calder Red" that many of his outdoor stabiles are painted. The plaza is a large open space and seems to be a favorite place for skateboarders in the evening, jumping benches and zipping in and out of the flamingo's legs.
Monument with Standing Beast is a 30 foot tall white fiberglass thingie (sculpture) by Jean Dubuffet. It can be viewed from any angle (and there are many angles), and somewhere in the piece there supposedly are a standing animal, a tree, a portal and an architectural form – just don't ask me where.