Next ride July 10th, 2010, start time changed to midnight and the route changed to include a portion of Chinatown and some west side neighborhoods
Held on the 2nd Saturday of July (Saturday night/Sunday morning), thousands of bicyclists gather for the L.A.T.E. ride, a 25 mile ride through Chicago's neighborhoods and lakefront. Most riders finish right about the time the sun is coming up. If you're visiting from out of town, they do have a program for bike rentals. They've been doing this ride since 1989, in the earlier years in was called the Insomnia Cycle, now it's the L.A.T.E ride (long after twilight ends). In past years, the ride has started at 1:30am, in 2010 they moved it to midnight which actually was better for me sleepwise although the traffic was heavier.
We've been doing this ride annually since 1996, every year I whine and moan as my husband is shaking me awake at midnight but once you start riding and get the adrenaline going, it's a lot of fun, especially when you ride through the still heavily populated Greektown section of Chicago with all the drunks cheering you on. I thought it was kind of funny this year when my husband, after completing the ride, said "That wasn't so bad" instead of "Wasn't that fun?" Just another sign that we are getting old!!!! But not so old that I still can't zip past some of those 20 something year olds, just call me Speed Racer!!!
The snacks used to be better in the earlier years, slices of pizza, ice cream and Ann Sather's cinnamon rolls have been replaced by bananas and water that tasted like toothpaste. We decided to skip the included breakfast which someone said was a beverage and apple slices. My complaint lodged with the Friends of the Park has obviously been ignored as it seems to get worse every year.
I don't think it has ever rained on us, every year they announce that they selected the date because it was the least rainy Saturday night. The entrance fee goes to support the Friends of the Park.
This is the suburb to be included for stature and wealth. Most homes are $1 million to $5 million range, and all in the 1920-50 style. Little has been torn down for "newness". It is just west of Oak Park along Harlem Ave and North Ave. and a close by Hwy 55
OK, maybe things in Chicago aren't really off the beaten path, but in August, 2008 I decided to take the long route to Wrigley Field from downtown Chicago by actually walking in the general direction toward the park. From Union Station it is about a 4 mile walk, but along the way I saw some interesting sites and walked through areas of the city I had never been before.
This might be good advice for anybody from any major city. My main motivation for doing this was to break in my walking shoes for my September - October, 2008 European trip.
Picture #1 - A view of the Willis (formerly Sears) tower from the side of the north branch of the Chicago River. This crane was unloading sand from a barge outside a brick manufacturer.
Picture #2 - In the upper part of the picture is the Kennedy Expressway as it enters downtown Chicago. Obviously people on the road aren't going to be able to see this city garden.
Picture #3- An interesting Ivy covered fence. On the other side was a great looking Italian restaurant. I'll have to try that sometime and send out the tip.
Picture #4 - Chicago Culinary School. All those great Chicago chefs have to start somewhere.
Picture #5 - A very nice part of Chicago near Wrigley Field called Lakeview. Many older buildings and then as you can see from this picture some nice new construction.
One of the most famous drives in the city of Chicago is Lake Shore Drive. LSD which runs along Lake Michigan from the south side of the city to the North is full of memorable sites as it twists and turns its ways past a number of Chicago venues. Once you get beyond the downtown area it is a 6 lane highway with the Lake on your right and magnificent high rise apartments and condos on your left as you head northward. If you continue to take Lake Shore Drive going north toward Evanston it will abruptly end at Hollywood Drive where it will turn into Sheridan Boulevard.
It is at the terminus to Lake Shore Drive that we headed to on a beautiful July evening to attend a small Greek Festival held at an Orthodox Greek Church at the corner of Hollywood and Sheridan. Although the Festival was small as Chicago Festivals go we had some dinner, listened to a DJ play some Greek music and looked at some arts and crafts. It is upon leaving that we began our mini exploration of the Bryn Mawr area.
On Bryn Mawr Avenue just west of Sheridan we came across the building shown in the first picture. The turret type facade on the one corner is what caught my attention and resulted in the shot. The 2nd picture in this sequence shows the interior courtyard of the same building, while the 3rd and last picture in this sequence shows the buildings own personal water fountain.
Walking a little further on going west toward the "L" tracks you can see more of Bryn Mawr Avenue with the aforementioned "L" in the background along with a 1930's era streetlight in the left foreground. The final picture of this grouping is Bryn Mawr on the west side of the "L" tracks. The vehicles range from the large GMC to the small Mini Cooper waiting at the stoplight. The building in the background is another example of Chicago architecture.
When I was a child growing up in the near Chicago suburb of Berwyn we would frequently go downtown or to Wrigley Field to take in a Cubs doubleheader by traveling on the Eisenhower Expressway. I still remember to this day how "cool" is was when we would pass under the Main Chicago Post Office and then upon emerging from the other side go over the Chicago River on the grated bridge where you could feel the tires vibrations on your feet.
Today you can still take this same trip, even though the Post Office is now known as the Old Chicago Main Post Office having moved to another location in 1996. The nine story building, with 14 story corner towers was designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, and built in 1921 in classical revival / art deco style. At the time it was built it was the largest post office in the world.
The original structure was a brick sided mail terminal building that still sits just east of the main building that engulfs the Eisenhower Expressway right before it turns into the Congress Parkway. It underwent a major expansion in 1932 which brought the structure to more than 60 acres, or 2.5 million square feet of floorspace. It is one of Chicago's widest highrise buildings, measuring about 798 x 354 feet on the ground. Borders for this massive structure include: on the west, South Canal Street & West Congress Parkway; on the east, the Chicago River; on the north, W. Van Buren Street; and on the south, W. Harrison Street.
The Eisenhower Expressway passes right through an east/west opening in the building as this picture shows. To allow for the Expressway to eventually be built, a hole was purposely designed in the base of the Post Office that would eventually be utilized twenty years later.
In 2004, the post office was used in the filming of "Batman Begins", and returned in late April 2007 for filming "The Dark Knight." The outside of the Post Office was decorated as "Gotham National Bank" on the North side, and "Gotham Police Department" on the East side.
Several plans have been proposed for the structure including condos, office space, a hotel, but as of June, 2009 nothing yet has been decided.
I'm not going to bore you with a history lesson here, but I will say that Jackson Park has been around since the 19th century. It is located on Chicago's Southside and is bordered by the Museum of Science and Industry on the north, 67th Street on the south, Stony Island Avenue on the west and Lake Michigan on the east. You can get there by bus or Metra.
It one of the few large parks in the city that has not been taken over by commercial or retail interests aside from the museum. I like this park because you can escape from the noise and chaos of the city and see nature as if it were in your own backyard.
The park contains several lagoons, the Japanese Garden, the nature preserve, Bobolink Meadow, the Wooded Island, spaces for those who want to engage in sports and the beaches at 57th Street and 63rd Street. The Japanese Garden sits along one of the lagoons and I often go there for quiet reflection. You can sit under the gazebo or on one of the large rocks at the waters edge and watch the water fowl fly overhead or swiming in the water.
The Wooded Island is exactly what it sounds like with its paths meandering under tall shade trees. Bobolink Meadow is designed to mimic the native prairie and it is best experienced in summer when its wild flowers are in full bloom.
If you go to the museum and still have plenty of daylight left head out from the exit closest to the lake and then south and as you walk pass the parking lot you'll pass the lagoon and you'll see a bridge to your left which once you cross you will find the entrance to the meadow. As you wander through the park you will see others who appreciate the quiet and some guys here and there trying their had at fishing. I've never asked what types of fish they catch but no matter when I go there is always someone fishing.
The park is a beautiful setting but it should only be enjoyed during the day. One last tidbit, Hyde Park borders Jackson Park and there you can find restaurants and shopping to round out your day.
On my most recent trip to Chicago [September 10, 2008], I wanted to show my friend, Mickey Scales, the President Lincoln statue that is in Grant Park. Note: there is also a sculpture of Grant in Lincoln Park here in Chicago!
South and west of the Art Institue, there is a bronze Abraham Lincoln state that was done by famed sculptor, Augustus Saint-Gaudens. This statue was given to the city of Chicago by John Crerar, a man who left a $100,000 bequest in 1889 for the construction of a Lincoln Statue.
I discovered that Saint-Gaudens took twelve years to finish the seated figure of Lincoln; however, it was not unveiled until 1926, and that was twenty years after its completion!
It was architect Stanford White who designed the semi-circular site that the statue "sits" on.
Because this particular statue is across the street from the popular Buckingham Fountain, not as many people visit it. Many people in the Chicago area do not even know about it.
On this visit, I noticed that The park is being "spruced up". There seems to be a tree replacement plan for every missing tree in Grant Park and especially near the Lincoln statue and the Court of Presidents. This is good news because, from my observation, since the completion of Millennium Park, Grant Park was looking neglected. I'm so glad that is being reversed.
Be sure to see this wonderful Abraham Lincoln Statue when you visit Grant Park.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is a non-profit organization that is the world's leading professional association for the advancement of technology. It has more than 375,000 members, including nearly 80,000 student members, in over 160 countries spread across the globe. IEEE promotes the industry by developing standards and initiating research projects as well as maintaining an electronic library containing over 1.7 million technical documents. In addition, it publishes numerous transactions, journals and magazines as well as sponsoring more than 850 conferences annually - this was one of them.
The main attraction of the exposition was to view the displays of electrical equipment brought in from all over the world and covering an area larger than a football field. There were companies from all over North America, Europe and Asia present - each with actual specimens of equipment they specialize in. That part of the show kicked off at Tuesday lunchtime with a bagpipe and drums display by the Chicago Police Department. Strangely enough, it took place in front of a vendor stand (also 2nd photo) that we were doing business with. Based in Ohio, the MTC company was rewinding a 72,000-volt power transformer for one of our customers - a bit larger than the one displayed. It was good to meet some of the people you only deal with over the telephone and also keep up to date on the latest technology!
I also enjoyed the technical paper presentations throughout the week, taking in ones on subjects such as Lightning Protection, Power Blackouts & System Stability, Disaster Recovery & Response. One of the papers (presented by an engineer from New Brunswick Power who used to report to me) detailed the successful conclusion of a multi-year project on lightning protection that I initiated in 1999. We had a great old chat afterward!
While walking into Grant Park on a sunny September afternoon, my friend Mickey and I came upon Richard & Annette Bloch Cancer Survivors Plaza. There was a plaza at the entrance which read:
Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells. It is the most feared disease in America, because it is not understood, even though it is not the largest killer. If we understood caner, we would not be as afraid of it. It is estimated that the average individual has a wildly dividing cell six times a day. The immune system recognizes this, kills it, and we never know the difference. When the immune system lets down, even temporarily, and these dividing cells get established to the point that the immune system cannot control them, we have cancer."
I was amazed that on one bronze plaque, one could learn so much about cancer.
Chicago is only one of about 22 cities all over the United States where a Richard & Annette Bloch Cancer Survivor Park is located. Chicago's park is called a plaza and is located on Lake Shore Drive in Grant Park. It is one of the largest of the cancer survivor memorials to date. It is highly visible also. All the Northbound traffic on Lake Shore Drive can see this memorial.
There are two giant granite columns that are over 40 feet tall with a wrought iron entrance. There is a division of paths that form the "positive mental attitude walk, and this walk contains 16 giant vases with a series of steps to the computer which is supposed to have interactive information. Sadly, that computer is broken. I think this area is greatly in need of renovation and better care.
It seems that few people know about this area, and that is too bad because this is a beautiful area, a great and inspiring walk, and lovely architectural wrought iron features.
All of the Richard & Annette Bloch Cancer Survivor Parks/Plazas Have the following:
1. A focal Point
2. A Positive Mental Attitude Walk
3. And Must be Highly Visible
I'm pleased that we experience this plaza, and I do so hope that it is on the list of improvements for Grant Park.
A beautiful church to visit, and a very spiritual place... Whether you're religious or not, you'll feel the positive energy in this peaceful church. I've been to a lot of churches, and this is the one I like best in Chicago, because of the feelings I get when I'm inside. Whenever I'm in the area, I always try to stop by to recollect my thoughts and stop the world for a minute. It's enlightening. The church also has a very beautiful altar and grand statues aligning the walls reminding us of the saints of long ago. I've also heard that you get a wish every time you visit a new church. It has worked for me! Why not try it yourself?
Illinois Beach State Park - near the Illinois/Wisconsin state line - is another option to consider. From there you can take a METRA train into the city, and back. Here's a website that'll give you more information:
The Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows is located at Navy Pier. It has 150 stained glass windows on display. It is usually fairly quiet and uncrowded. Oh yeah, and it's free! You can walk thru quickly on your way to other attractions or stop and enjoy the art and read about the different displays. It is more interesting than you might think it would be and I highly recommend it.
One of the most beautiful buildings in Chicago is located in one of the cities trendiest neighborhoods, Lincoln Park, overlooking the park, yet is seldom visited. I have lived in Chicago most of my life, am middle-aged, and just saw it recently.
Dedicated in 1926 by the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, it is a magnificent rotunda with columns and wide steps on the outside. Inside there is a lot of sumptuous art, with many allegorical paintings, marble floors and columns and art-glass windows (similar to stained glass, but using a different technique). It is lavish and ornate like a cathedral, but with the focus on honoring U.S. veterans. This was completed just a few years after the end of World War I, and that war was fresh in everyone's mind.
Some of the paintings combine classical and modern elements, as in one painting, where Mars, the god of war, drives his chariot past a few weary American soldiers.
If you want an on-line look at some of the art, go to www.elks.org/memorial/ArtTour.cfm You'll get some idea, though it's much more impressive close up.
Admission is free. It's only a few blocks from the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Lincoln Park Conservatory, and the Notebart Nature Museum. Perfect for a day that combines flora and fauna and art. And it's only a few miles from downtown and Navy Pier. And since it's off the beaten path, it's unlikely there will be any lines or crowds.
The memorial is at 2750 N. Lakeview in Chicago, about 400 West. It is just south of Diversey Ave.
Seneca Playlot Park is not a "hot spot" in the city of Chicago; however, for people who enjoy small parks, a shady place to relax, and observing children at play, this is, indeed, a fun place to visit.
It is located just west of the historic Water Tower Pumping Station. Even though Seneca Park is tiny as far as parks go, it is such a delightful and quiet "oasis" from its bustling surroundings. I discovered that the Chicago Park District leases the park property from the City of Chicago Water Fund. At one time this park was part of a nearby park called Lake Shore Playground. But, the State of Illinois built an armory between Senect and Lake Shore Parks; thus, permanently separating them.
Seneca Park has a medium-sized lawn with shaded walkways, and it also has a double playlot.
As Allan and I sat in the shade on nice benches between the two playlots, we observed a memorial to Eli Schulman who died in 1988. He is a well-known restauranteur in Chicago who was also active in promoting activities for children. [The playgrounds are named for Schulman].
The whole park is named after an adjacent Seneca Street which was named for the Iroquois tribe of upstate New York.
This adorable little street has lots of boutiques and restaurants that the everyday people of Lincoln Park frequent. Some of the must see shops include Lori's Shoes (referred to as chick heaven by former boyfriends), Findables, and Endo Exo (which is actually on Halsted). One new find is Stinky Pants- a great place to purchases high end baby clothes. Also on Armitage, the Benefit Store, Paul Frank, Benetton, All She Wrote (stationary), Barker & Meowsky (pet clothing), and Out of the West which has a great selection of jeans.
If you get thirsty, there is a Starbucks on Armitage at Sheffield and an Argo Tea.
Also check out the farmers market at the Lincoln Park High School during the summer!
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