In Thursday’s post about places, I wrote about the soul of a single building, the Sydney Opera House. There are buildings all around the world with their own soulful character. When thinking about the ones that are among the most beloved, a large percentage are in one place as if they were meant to create a brilliant constellation closer to terra firma.
Some folks may *heart* New York, but I love Chicago.
I’ve loved the city from the time I was a girl, when my family lived near the shores of Lake Michigan close to the Indiana and Michigan state line. My first train ride was taking the South Shore Line from Michigan City to Randolph Street Station in Chicago when my mom and I went to see the animated Christmas decorations at Marshall Field’s, Carson Pirie Scott, and other stores along State Street. My first concert was as a kindergartener when my dad and I went to a performance by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at its home on South Michigan Avenue, near the Art Institute, yet another one of my favorite places. Chicago upheld the ideal because of its cultured sophistication and all those great buildings that lend their elegance to the city. When I graduated from college, my sights were set on working in Chicago and that’s just where I went.
Chicago was the hub … the epicenter … Ground Zero … for just about everything during the first half of my life. If it was an important milestone, it probably happened in Chicago.
Mentally walking the streets of Chicago for the past day, I realized how much I love the spirit of the city, filled as it is with soul-satisfying, stunning architecture. Stroll along the Illinois River on Wacker Drive and you’ll see a crazy mix of styles all blending seamlessly into the wonderfulness of the Windy City. Walk up Michigan Avenue from the Loop to Water Tower Place and it’s impossible not to feel a bit like one of the Beverly Hillbillies gawking at the skyscrapers, but it’s also impossible not to walk a bit taller, too, urged toward more graceful carriage by the surroundings.
Cue up Sinatra for this paean to Chicago: