It’s September of my freshman year of college, and this is our first weekend to take the Metra into the city. It’s also my first time to ever venture into any city. I step out of the train station and feel awed by the height of the buildings around me. Man-made mountains dwarf me and exhilarate me. There’s an energy about this Windy City that is echoed in the stiff breezes rushing through the alleyways.
Chicago would be the city-scene of my college years. An easy weekend train ride away with destinations including the Sears Tower, the majestic John Hancock, the crazy Wacker Drive underground streets, Navy Pier (and a date or two), and always, always the shore of Lake Michigan as the setting of this inviting and austere midwest city.
Chicago means deep dish pizza and Ed Debevic’s and symphonies and plays and culture, culture, culture like none other. Now it also means cleanliness (compared to the other cities I’ve visited since then). Architecture that’s clean and pristine. Michigan Avenue (window) shopping at Christmastime. The second floor of a Borders where I’d study and people watch and chat about deep things over a mocha. Grant Park and the El.