Monday, January 05, 2009

My Kind Of Town, Chicago Is!

If you go across the street from the Tribune Tower, towards the Wrigley Building just a block north of the Chicago River on Michigan Avenue, and . . . descend. Below street level, down to the edge of Lower Wacker Drive, and then through a bright red door shining out of the murk, onto another flight of steps. You drop into a warm place where a man in a greasy apron waving a spatula at you starts to shout, and then tells the man with his back to you at the grill, no matter what you just said, "Cheezborger, double."

You've reached the Billy Goat Tavern, the heart of more Chicago lore than the Historical Society could hold, and twice as tasty. (Yes, we went some other places if you scroll on down.)

We took a look at the Walnut Room and the Great Tree in what i still call Marshall Field's on State Street, but the new Macy's overlords saw fit to put Uncle Mistletoe and Aunt Holly in a glass case off to one side, and not atop the tree itself.


Anyhow, up in Streeterville, you can see the view from our room down a side street towards Michigan Avenue, with the Hancock Center astride the center of our window.
The Lovely Wife was a bit disconcerted by the echoing wail of sirens on and off through the night, and the sporadic, ominous, resounding booms that may have been dumpster lids swinging shut, or could have been giant footsteps pounding slowly down the alleys. I slept like an innocent babe through the long-forgotten, still familiar sounds, but to be fair, it does all seem a bit peculiar from certain vantage points.

As you can see above.

Ah, i did love it all. A wonderful weekend, and i think everyone got some pleasure if not relaxation out of it. And i got to tell a story in the wedding homily about Maria & George Wellington Streeter, twelve stories above the spot where the Reutan ran aground in 1882. What joy!

"My kind of town, Chicago is
My kind of people too
People who, smile at you

And each time I roam, Chicago is
Calling me home, Chicago is
One town that won't let you down
It's my kind of town"

("My Kind of Town" Cahn/VanHeusen, 1964)

This picture is of George & Maria's second houseboat/grounded steamer; they refloated the Reutan to ferry passengers to the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893, and lived in this one for the next few years, right where the Ritz-Carlton Four Seasons hotel sits today atop Water Tower Place.

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