Blogs from Chicago, Illinois, United States, North America


North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago March 16th 2022

With so many people and the closure by the police of bridges Mike was having problems getting a good signal spot, we saw the boats arrive and the river starting to turn green. So glad Mike preserved and managed to find another spot where we had great views of this phenomenal event. Turning the Chicago River green for St. Patrick's Day first began in 1962. As St. Patrick’s Day grew in popularity around America, each city came up with its own way of celebrating. Starting in 1962, the city of Chicago dyed its eponymous river green. The inspiration for the stunt came from pollution-control workers, who used various chemical dyes to trace illegal sewage discharges. The first year, the city dumped 100 pounds of dye into the river, which left it green for an entire week. ... read more

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago February 2nd 2022

The first wave of Chinese immigrants arrived around the 1849 Gold Rush. As the Chinese population moved eastward over the next few decades, along with the trans continental railroad, Chicago’s first Chinese community emerged downtown, around Clark and West Van Buren Streets. But as Chicago’s population swelled from 500,000 to over 1 million between 1880 and 1890, the growing Chinese community needed elbow room and a place to call its own. Many moved to the near southwest portion of the city, around South Wentworth Avenue and Cermak Road, establishing what has today become Chicago’s thriving Chinatown, a densely packed, 30-block area with 27,000 residents and over 400 businesses. A prominent building in the Chinatown streetscape has a colorful history. In the 1920s, a group of Chinese community leaders known as the On Leong decided that a ... read more

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago January 19th 2022

Navy Pier Mike explained in detail how The Pier has evolved over the years. Navy Pier opened to the public in 1916, originally named “Municipal Pier". It was officially renamed Navy Pier in 1927 as a tribute to the Navy personnel who were housed at the Pier during World War I. During World War II military personnel trained at the pier. In 1946, when the military moved out, the University of Illinois at Chicago moved in, a place to house all those GI Bill students. The campus on Navy Pier was meant to be temporary but it stayed on the Pier until 1965. In the 70’s Navy Pier was designated a Chicago landmark, positioning the Pier as an unforgettable destination in the city and across the globe. Navy Pier underwent a major redevelopment in 1994 In ... read more

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago January 11th 2022

Chicago River Walk is made up different coves and with Mike and all his knowledge we learnt so much about this beautiful walk. Strolling along it’s hard to imagine that it was once a shipping channel — and a smelly one at that. The multilingual mural was created by local Ojibwe artist Andrea Carlson. Bodéwadmikik ėthë yéyék/You are on Potawatomi Land.” The Marina was fascinating to see boats moored below the high rise twin corn cobs buildings. The Jetty with floating wetland gardens must look very pretty in the summertime. The River Theatre - So many places to sit and enjoy the river views. Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza Dedicated in 2005 to honor those who gave their lives during the Vietnam War. A River Museum under one of the bridges. So many interesting things to see ... read more

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago December 13th 2021

Chicago Architecture 101 (Part 4) - Mid-Century Modernism Another very interesting tour with Mike the buildings he featured on this tour Everett McKinley Dirksen Building houses Federal Courtrooms and was named after the Republic Senator from Illinois.The Inland Steel Building, the first Chicago high-rise built after the Great Depression, Inland Steel changed the way towers were constructed, and helped transform American office culture during the second half of the 20th century, and the single storey Post Office building. We also had the chance to view Four Seasons, a mosaic by Marc Chagall & The Flamingo, created by Alexander Calder that was unveiled in 1974. read more

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago December 6th 2021

Art Deco architectural style is all about streamlined surfaces, linear and geometric shapes, symmetry and a dose of glamour all beautifully explained by Mike. The Chicago Motor Club building now a hotel but still retains its art deco features. Not only was it a “monument to the progress of motordom,” it was a monument to the progress of capitalism and the prosperity of the 20’s. Everything about the building screams money, power and progress, especially the lobby. On the wall is a 29-foot mural depicting the important national highways and cities of the time, with many of the routes leading to Chicago. The Carbide & Carbon Building designed by the Burnham Brothers and completed in 1929. Supposedly it was designed to look like a champagne bottle, with its golden top and green-tinted terracotta facade. The gold-leaf ... read more

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago September 6th 2021

Why Not? I think it is one of the great American cities. It is much more manageable than NYC, and certainly less expansive than Los Angeles. But the options for what to see and do seem limitless. I may have told you that my parents lived here during the end of World War 2. They were allowed to leave the Relocation Center in Gila, Arizona if they went east and worked in factories that supported the war effort. Most of my family worked for Curtiss Candy Company. My Dad worked in an auto shop (Wood Brothers), getting his start on his future vocation. The lived on Addison Street, also home to famous Wrigley Field. I first started visiting Chicago in the 70s, mostly on business. I learned the downtown area quickly. Then I had a client ... read more
Ravinia Festival for the Roots
Ernie Banks Sings!!

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago September 3rd 2021

Many cities claim to have the best hotdog. New York, of course, with Nathan's, Papaya King, Gray's, Crif, and Shaller's always claim to be the best. But my personal preference is for the Chicago dog. Why? First, the Chicago dog is all beef, with a poppy seed bun. It is topped with yellow mustard, chopped white onions, bright green sweet pickle relish, tomato slices or wedges, pickled sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt. My favorite place to get the Chicago dog is Portillo's in downtown Chicago. Hot Doug's is a distant second. Second, Chicago is my kind of town, Chicago is!!! Most people know the hot dog arrived in Chicago from Frankfurt, via Vienna. Frankfurt was known for pork sausages since the 13th century. Sometime in the 19th century, a butcher in Vienna added ... read more
I love Portillos
Chicago AND Scottsdale now

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago September 3rd 2021

One of the most recognized artists of the 20th century, Frida Kahlo’s body of work continues to resonate with audiences today. Kahlo’s unique painting style reflects both the culture of her native Mexico and contemporary artistic trends of her time. Her work directly drew from all aspects of her turbulent and yet exceptional life, from her complex marriage to the famed muralist, Diego Rivera, to complications surrounding childbirth, and the life-long pain and difficulties stemming from injuries she sustained in a bus accident at the age of 18. Frida Kahlo was also a cultural icon, recognized by her elaborate Tehuana clothing, stunning jewelry and hairstyles adorned with flowers – all of which allowed her to assert her Mexicanidad influenced by ... read more
One of my favs
Serious Frida

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago September 3rd 2021

So, while I am in Chicago for the Frida Kahlo exhibit, I will also see the Immersive van Gogh exhibit, and the Banksy exhibit. Just call me an "artsy fartsy" type of guy, at least once a year. But I must tell you that the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is one of my favorites (I think 3 times?). And I have seen traveling exhibits here in the states several times. Here is some information for you about this unique type of art exhibit. Created and run by the same team behind url= des Lumières in Paris (aka the digital art show featured in Netflix’s Emily in Paris), &... read more
The van Gogh Museum
Inside light show in Amsterdam

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