Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
[This coming] weekend is the fourth annual Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (that “C2E2″ thing I won’t shut up about) at Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center, which my wife and I will be attending for our third time. As a tribute to this fascinating city, and an intro to C2E2 newcomers to provide ideas of what else Chicago has to offer while they’re in town, a few of this week’s posts will be dedicated to out experiences in the Windy City when we’re not gleefully clustered indoors with thousands of other comics and sci-fi fans.
That was written last April. To date we’ve visited Chicago for three C2E2s, five Wizard World Chicagos, one stopover on a previous family road trip, and one group outing with my employers. We’ve shared photos here from each of those trips in intermittent installments, either when they became relevant or when they popped into my head as a fun thing to revisit for an evening.
In this instance, my wife and I have another one-day Chicago trip planned for this weekend, so it’s at the forefront of my thoughts just now. Today’s presentation, then: parts of Chicago (and one related suburb) that were held back from previous installments for whatever reasons. The “architecture” category in the title covers the gamut well enough, including the realm of landscape architecture. Exhibit A: the flowers of Millennium Park. Look beyond them and you can see into the heart of the Loop, the Magnificent Mile’s significantly less glossy sibling.
At the south end of Millennium Park is the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago, opened in 2009 as an extension of the original building.
At the north end of Millennium Park is the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, opened in 2004 an outdoor showcase for large-scale performances and the unique stylings of architect Frank Gehry.
Gehry’s distinct handiwork can be seen from blocks away, with Lake Michigan acting as horizon and backdrop. This shot was taken from the roof of the narrowest, most overpriced parking garage that’s ever gouged me.
Also down in the Loop is the Harold Washington Library Center, which looks as aged to me as the New York Public Library, but it’s only been in business since 1988.
When we visited in 2009 with a local friend acting as our tour guide, we had our first chance to ride Chicago’s Metra system. Indianapolis doesn’t have commuter trains, so it was a rare opportunity for us, as well as an excuse to peek inside Chicago’s own Union Station. Indianapolis has its own Union Station, but it’s minimally used, bordering on vestigial.
We rode into town from the suburb of Riverside, whose train station is located next to the Riverside Water Tower, a peculiarity built in 1869 in Swiss Gothic style.
Not all Chicago’s suburbs and neighborhoods are charming, curious, or good for your health. We’ve not yet stumbled into Cabrini-Green or anything like that. If you do the research before commencing with your blind wandering, though, you’re bound to luck into some interesting sights. Even a mundane McDonald’s lobby can be eye-catching if enough imagination was allowed into the design process.
This coming Saturday’s trip has one planned stop at one place we’ve never seen inside before. Beyond that, we may be winging it the rest of the day. Updates and photos as they occur.
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For those who missed the rest of the series, previous installments are linked below for catching up at your leisure. You can also follow the “Chicago” tag for previous reports from C2E2 and Wizard World Chicago. The most studious diggers might also unearth my photo-free screed about last year’s employer outing, written into the wee hours after we returned home. Thanks for reading!
* Part 1: Up and Up and Up
* Part 2: the Views from Above and Around
* Part 3: Art About Town, Present and Past
* Part 4: a Few of Our Favorite Little Places
* Part 5: the Museum of Broadcast Communication
* Part 6: Art from a Present Century for a Change
* Part 7: Art of the Navy Pier
* Part 8: Little Details off Michigan Avenue