Monday, September 20, 2010

gnat looks at buildings. a lot of buildings. really excellent buildings.

but first, my first ever dim sum experience! crawfie, who shares my earth, wind, and fire birthday (tomorrow), was in town this weekend with friends and they were kind enough to let me tag along for some of their adventures. one of them involved steamed buns in a multitude of sweet and savory flavors at wow bao. yeah, you're reading that right.

unfortunately the following photograph fails to capture the variety of fillings this collection of seemingly identical little packages contained. just take my word for it - they were delicious.

now on to the buildings! i had long known/heard/read/suspected that chicago architecture was kind of a big deal. the city basically started from scratch after the 1871 fire, so chicago became a breeding ground for architects who saw it as a blank canvas. having formerly aspired to be an architect (if the whole medicine thing didn't work out) and having read the fountainhead about once a year since the tenth grade, i'd made a conscious effort to appreciate the architecture of chicago since arriving here. and as excellent and intriguing as this may be:

it's difficult to grasp the scope of just how excellent it really is if you don't know what you're looking at. enter the chicago line architectural cruise. (those of you who have seen my best friend's wedding may recall a scene where julia roberts and rupert everett are on a boat talking about her crazy plan. that boat is the chicago line architectural cruise).

basically you hop on this open top boat which takes you up and down the chicago river while a tiny, adorable older lady from the chicago architectural foundation tells you everything you ever wanted to know and more about each of the buildings along the river. you spend most of the hour and a half craning your neck upwards looking at buildings like this:

(trump tower, second tallest building in north america)

and this:
(marina city, otherwise known as the corn cob buildings)

and of course, this:
(sears tower, actually willis tower now but whatever. tallest building in north america. has a built in system so that it can clean itself four times a year. guess i don't blame window washers for not wanting to tackle this beast.)

you get the opportunity to look at a view like the one below and fully appreciate each individual piece of the puzzle that is the chicago skyline. each of the buildings has a story and is magnificent on its own, but even more beautiful as it is part of a collection.

i emerged from that hour and a half feeling just a little bit prouder to live in this beautiful city.

the night before the architecture tour, i knocked another item off my to do list which also involved looking at buildings, albeit from a little bit higher up. i joined crawfie and friends at the hancock signature lounge, which is on the 96th floor of the john hancock building just a block or two from my apartment.

to get up to the lounge, you cram into a little elevator with about nine hundred other people that jam in so tightly you're pretty sure the thing is not going to make it up 1,200 feet into the air. but it does, and you yawn several times during the trip because you're ascending so quickly that your ears keep popping.

then you get up there and you walk into the ladies room (unless you're a dude, in which case you wait in a reeeaaaallllly long line to get into the actual lounge) and this is the view from the window:

i'd say that isn't half bad, for a restroom.

the hancock is, i think, one of the defining features of the chicago skyline. looking out at the city from the signature lounge you can't help but feel like something is missing, and it's because something very big is missing - you're on top of it. still, i couldn't complain. the photo above doesn't begin to do the view justice.

1 comment:

  1. Now that you're in Chicago, Lilly, you should take the Ferris Beuller Tour.

    And if anyone tries to stop you, tell them you are Abe Froman, The Sausage King of Chicago.