Thursday, September 10, 2009

Chicago 2- Places I know well

It's interesting when you visit somewhere, and you see things that you haven't before. The things that catch your eye, that stand out. Sometimes they are things you have seen before, in other pictures, on the tube- the famous pictures of places we have seen, but never in person. You tend to take what is familiar, even though you don't know why you are drawn to the picture.

I did the same thing- but these are places I know well, from living there for a quarter century. I find them interesting because of their familiarity - most of them you will only see captured here and perhaps you will find them interesting as well.

When I first saw this place close up, it was a parking lot that wasn't open any longer. I walked past it almost daily for at least 4 years. It became the strangeness that is the Harold Washington Public Library.

The Loop- from the underside, watch for snow falling from the tracks when the 'L passes over

Lower Wacker. Perhaps you saw this dark part of Chicago in one of the later Batman Movies.
This is actually ground level- below the streets most travel, and that most believe are as down as it gets. There is a maze of streets down here, and for those that know, a quick way to move around town. Most car trips downtown when I was growing up, the car was parked on Lower Wacker, with coins added to the meters on the concrete walkways high on the walls.

Chicago has one River- but in two branches, and with an Island in the middle of one Branch. Sandberg called the city "player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler" One part of this are the almost perpetually open rail bridges over the river. They close to allow freight trains to pull directly into certain places.

In keeping with trains- The Howard Street line, now called the Red Line of the Chicago Transit Authority. I would ride this, and be afforded quick glimpses into the lit kitchens of apartments along the tracks as we sped through the night. Please stand clear of the doors.

Streetlights in Oak Park- blue - white light at night, not the yellow seen for most city streets

Many streets in Chicago, and in Oak Park where I grew up are cobblestone- just covered with asphalt to hide the underpinnings. Some are left out for show. 700 block north.

A factory so large, it actually had it's own train pull in as well- Idle now, with all televisions made outside of the US

Michigan Avenue. I was in this building almost every day for 7 years. I saw the Northridge Earthquake on telelvision on the 14th floor here.

House by a famous architect. A place to walk by each day on the way to High School

Above is the last apartment my parents lived in in the city itself. This is not a nice neighborhood today. This is one of the first places I have memory of.
The image below is the ash bin in the alley behind it- and oddly enough I have dreamed about it- to the point where I had to find it. It hadn't changed much in 34 years. Once upon a time, you would burn your trash, and the city would come and collect the ashes from these bins in the alley. This is called a 2-flat

I lived on the 2nd floor here in the early 90's. Gigantic 3 bedroom apartment - monsterously expensive on the gas bill in the winter- close to the Logan Square subway station. I did not own a car the entire time I lived here. This is called a Greystone 2-flat

John Greenleaf Whittier Elementary. The old section.

The Chicago river @ Michigan Avenue. Fort Dearborn stood here in antiquity

The 4 Flat in Oak Park where I spent part of the mid- 90's The train station is a block away.
The owner had a cat with nervous system problems named Weebles- as he always fell down.

This house used to be light green- on a block of all white houses. My mother, the rebel. It was re-painted white after the cracks in the paint on the front began to resemble a map of the central United States. The bushes now cover the auto parts I left behind them.

Waiting for some unknown garbage man to come pick them up. Today the plastic garbage bin must be taken to the street so the automated truck can pick them up. These have been here, in this space since the 70's

1 First national plaza- the former first national bank of Chicago- a view I would see going to work-
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