I came to Chicago to perform a wedding on Saturday so I arrived late Tuesday to spend a few days touring Chicago, and in particular to see the famous Art Institute of Chicago. I came to practice the ways of Le Flâneur. It takes a substantial effort to travel; it would be much easier to stay home, but I want to see things, particularly the great beauties of the world.
I must admit arriving in Chicago with a negative attitude about American cities, particularly northern American cities; they are dangerous, rundown and desolate. This is a typical Canadian perspective. What I instead discovered was a vibrant and exciting place. Yes, its cold, but Chicago has an excellent transit system, a beautiful downtown and people actually live in the downtown core. It was a pleasure to have my Canadian attitude challenged. One of the yard sticks I use to judge a city is whether it’s transit system reaches out to the major airport. In Los Angeles no airports are served by a transit system. In fact there is no viable transit system, but Chicago’s O’Hare airport is beautifully served by its transit system. Architecturally Chicago has fabulous skyscrapers and what makes them even better than Manhattan is that you can actually see them. They are not densely packed in as they are in New York. In Chicago it’s easy to step back and see the city from a distance even when you’re in the city, therefore I was able to appreciate the shaping contours of these fantastic skyscrapers. I liked Chicago; I certainly wouldn’t like to live here; I’ve taken the palm tree vow, but it’s a good place to visit and I want to return. Southern California with its deserts is my home, yet from this place I can reach out to anywhere in the world