Day 20: Chicago


The big story today was the weather.  I think I know at least partly why they call it the Windy City.  I’ve never seen such fast-moving clouds.  It was raining and miserable until around 1pm.  So most of the photos I took were pretty lousy and won’t be appearing at Flickr or the blog tonight.  But I guess they’ll be good enough for documentation purposes at the website for now.

I have never seen so many cloud variations.  Pretty whiter than white ones and evil black bad ones.  It would get nice and then 20 minutes later change again, get dark, and then more rain.  But most of the afternoon was gorgeous and I really tried and failed to finish up Chicago proper.  Still have a few more stops and then lots of suburbs which should eat up probably the whole day.  Missouri is definitely not happening.  Kansas is now a maybe.  Here’s an afternoon shot downtown which doesn’t do the scene justice. The clouds look flat here but were magnificient and flying by.  You can see how wet it was as it had only stopped raining a few minutes prior:


In the morning, the dogs got a good illegal romp in at a huge grassy patch of land near the Brookfield Zoo.  Much later, I checked out the Belmont Harbor dog beach.  Much smaller than “Montrose” so that’s where we went instead.  Everybody had a great time.  Though the water seemed pretty cold as Nik could only take a few minutes of it.  It was awfully crowded since it was warm and about 6pm.  We are usually there in the mornings when it’s much nicer and less chaotic.  A nasty Rottweiler kept coming after Nik for his toy.  He would snarl and growl and pretty much deck Nik and take it right out of his mouth.  It was scary and escalating and then it would take ten minutes for the owner to get the toy back.  We kept going off to a different part of the beach but he would come find us.  The owner had no control and didn’t really comprehend what was happening. 

Sorry no beach photos — I didn’t want to take a chance with the camera and the sand & water.  I already had a close enough call earlier in the day. While stepping backwards to get more into a shot and with a couple of guys all scary “miss, miss, miss, you got thirty cent?!”, I stepped on a bump and felt myself going down.  Right on my ass with camera unscathed thank goodness.  Material instinct kept it far from the ground.   I’m a little sore and have a scrape on my left elbow but otherwise fine.  Will be more careful, you bet.  Yeah, no, my pals did not come to my aid or inquire if I was okay.

Chicago is just loaded with spectacular, architectural wonders.  I’ll just post some snippets here of three different buildings:




Another unique architectural phenomenon in Chicago, or maybe not unique but it’s gotta be more plentiful than anywhere else, is the integration of stone, or should I say rocks.  I could’ve shot variations of these rock buildings all day and never gotten any work done.  Maybe another time.  I’d like to come back to Chicago for a month or more someday.  Anyhow, this example is fairly typical of residential architecture — but sometimes the rocks would be where it probably would’ve been nicer to have a window.  Many of these small houses and apartments buildings also had these small round windows.  Sometimes the rock work was much more nicely done or plenty worse.  The rocks were just as frequently used for commercial buildings, churches, you name it.


Here are some rocks, more of a bricky type, used at a barber shop.  But what I mostly include this photo for are the metal barber pole signs (see an entry in an earlier post/photo on this trip for an example).  I have never seen them used back to back before in true simulated pole fashion.  I doubt this was the original use in this case — it probably had a much heavier store-name sign above in the heavy-duty frame.


Some more bricky rocks at the Naples Bakery in Evergreen Park.  Do these wedding cakes count as a food shot — or does it have to be my own food?


More faux food — birthday cake suggestions from Roeser’s Bakery.  Hannah Montana is everywhere!


A fun painted wall sign.  I saw at least two other painted Walker’s Monument signs during the day but this was the biggest and nicest:


One other thing that sure seems unique to Chicago — though other cities must have had them.  Maybe they were just more frequently used here or maybe they just have more left.  In any case, I’m not even sure what you call them — “sign supports” just doesn’t seem descriptive or catchy enough.  Giant metal hangy things with chains mounted on rooftops to support the gigantic and heavy steel signs below.  I’m gonna call them steel skeletons because in so many cases, the signs are long gone.  You can see blocks and blocks of these things.  Very sad but it challenges the imagination of what once was.


Here’s one still in use.  And an example of all the wonderful light bulb signs in Chicago:


And one more giant bulb sign to close with today:


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