Chicago––the city where a myriad of skyscrapers stretch toward the sky. Tall architectural wonders erected in a petite New York that give way to business potential beneath their artful frames. A destination where shopping stretches for a mile, restaurants sizzle with taste, theatre wanes dramatic and architectural buildings beg to be seen. Chicago, you are my favourite travel destination. Magnificent Mile––you never disappoint.
Chicago’s downtown buildings are an Architectural sight to behold. I carry my camera and capture images of the Tribune Tower, Trump Tower, the Wrigley Building, and my favorite; the John Hancock Center with its cross bracing and observatory.
I love the way the black structure rises upward to embrace the sky a hundred storeys high, towering above me like a modern medieval fortress. The visit to the observatory will earn you an amazing 360-degree view of the Chicago skyline. Big John offers a fine dining experience in the Signature Room at the 95th floor. Or dine casually at the base in the Cheesecake Factory, which now has a slim menu. Jamba Juice is perfect for the morning exercise enthusiast with their delicious and healthy smoothies. Ask for the Gummy Bear!
The Tribune Tower––a gothic wonder, houses the Chicago Tribune newspaper. I captured pictures of quotes etched within the interior walls. (A big thank-you to the security guards.)
Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press
And that cannot be limited without being lost.
Robert McCormack, a war correspondent and eventual Tribune publisher, brought back historical fragments from his journalistic travels and asked future correspondents to also bring home to the Chicago Tribune, pieces of famous buildings by honourable means. Today, nearly 150 historical artifacts are cemented within the base of the limestone exterior. I walked around the Tribune building taking pictures of individual pieces of a roman ruin, the Notre Dame Cathedral and even a brick from the Great Pyramid of Giza from Egypt. I imagine each historical stone shares a silent story. If only time could talk.
Across the street, the Trump Tower and Wrigley Building stand together. My eyes follow a line of blue glass and white limestone upward to a beautiful blue sky. Despite the wind that causes my eyes to tear, I marvel at the beauty of new and old architecture and how their different ages seem to merge and mold together into one distinct form.
I take a deep breath and stroll onward, to what I really came to this city for––the shopping.
On the surface my recent trip to Chicago might appear like a shopping spree to the friends that know me well, and yes I did support the American economy. I’m addicted to shopping like an addict with a needle in the vein or the cup of coffee that requires a sip every morning. (Starbucks) I have a wallet full of American credit cards and nothing feels better than laying them down on the counter.
Macy’s, Nordstrom Rack, and Ann Taylor are my must visit stores. I like to be spontaneous, so when a make up artist asks if she can paint my face, I say yes. She is especially excited about the Photographer smashbox has hired; Steven Khan, who will be taking my picture after the makeup and hair are done. All I have to do is buy $75.00 worth of product. I’m giddy––a steal of a deal.
I reflect now that in one moment I walked the Magnificent Mile and snapped pictures of buildings. In the next instant, Steven Khan, a celebrity photographer, snaps pictures of me. He asks me to smile while looking through his lens. Cynical, I wonder what he sees through his viewfinder? “Smile Shelley,” he asks again. Why? Is there something wrong with a serious expression? I think someone needs to teach me how to lift my lips upward into a feigned moment of happiness, because I feel like my smile is forced. And my face, my poor face that too soon witnesses tired eyes and wrinkled skin, might crack and break. But Steven Khan captured my imperfections perfectly. Sigh! I imagine the celebrities shine younger under their illuminating lights.
My day ends with a mouth-watering taste of Gino’s East deep-dish pizza. The small size gives my husband and I an ample serving of sinful cheesy tomato crust. There is no better pizza than Gino’s East and I love the graffiti environment that provides something to read while you wait the 45 minutes for your Pizza to cook. If you are ever in Chicago, you must visit! If you’re thinking about a great Chicago hot dog, Portillo’s is the place, but think twice about the chocolate cake milkshake.
All good things must come to an end and after four nights and five days, it was time to return home. Chicago, I can’t wait until I can visit again!