Life alone

I’ve written about Phil before on this blog. He refuses to be called homeless although he’s slept outside without exception for almost 18 years. I took Phil’s photo last night in a snow shower while he was sleeping. The boulder looking object behind Phil is his belongings, 18 old lady push-carts under a tarp. phil

Mass Transit In Chicago

Mass Transit in Chicago

The train system in Chicago is called the “El” as in elevated which is appropriate seeing the majority of the tracks are above ground. However, it’s weird not calling it the subway because everywhere I get on board requires descending, not climbing. At any rate, one of the busier stops in the city located in the “Loop.”stairs

One of the one-percenters

Minus two degrees on Monday, January 18, just after midnight, leaning against one of the swankiest hotels in Chicago.

Most of the people who pan-handle on the streets of Chicago are not homeless. They may be drug-addicted, alcoholic or just plain broke, but the majority are not homeless. This middle-aged guy sleeps in this neighborhood regularly. It’s one of the richest zip codes in the city (60611). It was stinging cold that night. The warm-air grate he was sitting on is part of the Sofitel Hotel. A luxury hotel my any standards. Most businesses shoo the homeless away, but on very cold nights, the hotel manager lets this guy be. While certainly no grand solution, it’s one person’s way of making sure another person has another day. homeless

Alfred Caldwell Lilly Pool, Lincoln Park, Chicago

The Alfred Caldwell Lilly Pool is perhaps the finest example of the Prairie Style Landscape Architecture. The pool was commissioned by the Works Progress Administration and was completed in 1938. Caldwell was a teacher, poet, landscaper and architect. ** Developed in the late 19th and early 20th century, this regional approach to landscape design celebrated the open character, horizontal expanse, and native vegetation of the Midwest. Landscape spaces were organized as a sequence of outdoor rooms and views, emphasizing the interaction of sky and landscape…..The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Time Tested Technology

Time Tested Technology

Most likely made in the 195Os, Swiss-built, runs as it was designed to. Seems odd, we’ve run away from that camera and for some good reasons like the cost of film and film development. However, if you ever want something different, better, even for a few minutes, this camera will shoot you some film that will knock your peepers out.

El Rey de Chicago

El Rey de Chicago

Brown ones and round ones, short, stout, square and tall, and then there’s the Hancock, greater than all. A building. So what. It can stir child’s spirit, ambitious, aspire, inspire and make people a half mile away remember wonder. I love it because it’s a beacon and an archive of what and who we used to be. Decisions were made years at a time, not on the two year pathetic cycle of congressional races that forces decent men and women to continually posture and search for the worst in others. The Hancock was a huge gamble. So Skidmore huddled a mini Manhattan project. American guts, calculated gamblers and thousands of workers no better or worse than anyone else. The 22-year-old guys that walked those beams with swagger in ’67, ’68 and “69 are the only ones left from the project. They worked for 35 or 40 or maybe 26 years. What they share in common is the knowledge they helped build that building. Each of them talks as if they own it. And they do. At least part of it. They remember a 10 hours shift and afterward talk in the construction yard and glimpses of Bruce Graham and a hug from Fazlur Kahn, the humble and brilliant architect from the portion of Pakistan that eventually became Bangladesh. What could be more American than a migrant helping to shape the country. The John Hancock topped off in 1969.

A few weeks later, Apollo 11 touched down on the moon and Neil Armstrong talked about a giant step. There were a few of those giants steps in 1969 and the John Hancock is one of them.