Thursday, August 11, 2011

Oh I am back in the Midwest!

And so here I am (post written on Tuesday) in Chicago, city of broad streets, where I remember some things about our country:
- sometimes it is 80 degrees and humid
- public water fountains are really lovely
- sometimes people are not white
- we love our concrete

Yes yes yes yay. It's this last one that causes me to wax particularly nostalgic for a little bit of this post-industrial concrete wasteland, a little reminder of our country's gritty past (if you're rich) or present (if you're not). It's awful, it's dirty, it makes heat ten times worse, but it is the city that I grew up in and the city I came of age in, and it is one distinct type of landscape, with its own rusted, chunky beauty.

And you can find this grimy appeal particularly on the Bloomingdale Trail, an abandoned rail line near I think Wicker Park. Here's more info, and here's a photo or two.

The highlight of my stay, of course, was getting to spend some time with my good friends Erik and Dave. But more interestingly to you: The zoo is free. The city is so flat with a nice lakeside trail, so biking is quite a pleasure. Intelligentsia is apparently *the* coffee roaster, but a couple others whose names I forget are making an appearance. Pour-over coffee is big, figuratively and literally (16oz?!). And the Museum of Contemporary Art is one of the better museums I've been to recently.


  1. " Chicago, city of broad streets, ... but it is the city that I grew up in and the city I came of age in...."
    Hey, when did you grow up in Chicago?

  2. Oh no, and apparently I went to school there too! Then whose diploma do I have?!

    (in retrospect, I suppose this is quite unclear for readers who know me less well! I'm talking about Cleveland and Pittsburgh. and no, I wouldn't call them concrete wastelands as a whole, but it's the most distinctive feature of the terrain. this isn't a value judgment.)