Tuesday, January 3, 2006
I drove into the office today, and in a money saving move decided to park at Millenium Park. I drive down the lake shore to get to work, and I had a little extra time on my hands anyway, so I figured the walk from the park would do me good.
Usually, I'm like everyone else, bolting from the train into the office, eating lunch at my desk and then bolting back out of the office to catch the 6:31 home. It's amazing what happens when you take a little extra time to just enjoy the moment and that is what I did today. It was weird.
I felt like my dad.
I don't know how to explain it other than I just had this odd sense that I was seeing Chicago through his eyes today instead of mine. My dad always thought this was the greatest city in the world. Admittedly, he hadn't been many other places save for a month long trip to Europe when he got out of the army, but none-the-less he was sure of this fact. We have great museums, fabulous public transportation, and the entire city waterfront was saved for the public use. As Alyotta, Haines and Jeremia put it in the late seventies, "it starts up north in Hollywood, water on the drivin' side". Specifically they were talking about Lake Shore Drive, but they just as easily could have been referring to the parks to the right of the street or the beaches to the left.
Then of course there is also the architecture. Although the city has been a bit loose with some of the design standards in recent years, few cities in the world can claim so many monuments by the greats. From Burnham, to Sullivan ("God is in the details"), to Meis and others Some of the best examples of Gothic, Neo-Classic, Modern and Post-Modern are right here in da wunnerful city.
My life has taken me all over the world. I've dined in the best restaurants. Water skied off the coast of Malaysia, swam in the South China Sea with an island bar be que afterward, and killed a man in Reno....just to watch him die.
Ok, that last one is not true.
The point is that I've been around, and there was a time when I thought dad's opinions on Chicago were a bit quaint. Yet here I was today, admiring my city and seeing it for what it is. Beautiful, incredibly livable, and populated with possibly the friendliest people that I have met anywhere. As I was walking back to the car tonight, I remembered my camera was still in my briefcase as a result of my recent vacation. So as I was walking through Millennium Park, I snapped a few pics.
The one above is looking north from Millennium Park down Michigan Avenue. See the building with the quadrangle lights on top? When it was built, the Stone Container building was considered one of the most advanced in the world (It's computerized!). Probably it's greatest claim to fame is the chase scene that takes place on it's roof in the highly underrated, "Adventures in Babysitting".
The Prudential building right next store was at one time the tallest in the city. My folks used to go to the "top of the rock" for dates. On a clearer night the Wrigley Building would be visible further down the road.
Maybe what they say is true. To really appreciate what you have you have to let it go, leave it behind and look at it from another's perspective. I had to do that, and I now find myself glad that I had the opportunity because, of course, I have it back.
Dad didn't have to. He knew what he had all along.
UPDATE: Crap. Picture isn't loading. I'll try later. Still, you gotta love the sentiment.
UPDATE II: Got it.