Sunday, May 10, 2009

Day Five in Chicago

I had a pretty active half day off. This was after I decided I was too tired to do anything. I first went to the Harold Washington Library Center. It was being constructed while I was gong for my doctorate and completed after I left Chicago. So I always wanted to see the building.

The outside is huge and breathtaking. It is granite and brick with enormous ornaments hanging from the roof. It looks like a combination Romanesque architecture and something out of Batman.

Once inside the place takes your breath away, yep, again. I started on the ninth floor. This is the winter garden with one hundred foot ceilings to the tenth floor. There are olive trees growing here. Everything is big and impressive in this place. The lobby on the first floor is two stories tall. I went into the Washington room. I like this. I voted for this guy four times, two primaries and two general elections. It was not easy supporting him the first time. People would chase you if you forgot to take off your Harold Washington button.
The other floors had art and wonderful views.

I then walked over to St. Peter in the Loop Church. There is nothing like going to a center of Franciscanism for Mass. The church has relics of Francis and of Anthony of Padua. I love the saints but I am not a fan of relics. Still, the place was huge. The windows and Stations of the Cross were beautiful. It was good to see friars walking around. After mass I walked around the building for a while and then headed for my next destination.

I went to the Cultural Center of Chicago. When I was a kid this was the downtown library. As an adult it was closed. Now it is refurbished and a showcase of architecture and art. The place is spectacular.

The center was built in 1897 and cost $2 million then. It has three foot thick walls. It is built in a neoclassical style. It was meant to remind people of the Columbia Exhibition or the Chicago Worlds Fair. The interior consists of mosaic tiles, marble, parquet floors and beautiful archways, ceilings and windows. There are columns, domes and stain glass everywhere. This includes the largest stain glass dome in the world and is worth $35 million, it is wonderful.

I walked though the free art exhibits, including one from China. I looked out the windows at all of the various angles and perspectives of the Chicago skyline. And then I walked over to my final destination for the day.

I walked over to Millennium Park. When I lived in Chicago this was an area of ugly rail tracks that took away from the beauty of Grant park. Well, no more. Now it is a center of high tech and natural beauty. There are gardens. There is a huge gazing globe that shows off the visitors and the skyline. There is a water fountain that has two waterfalls that project faces onto the surface while people wad in its pool. Then there is the outdoor auditorium. This is the third auditorium in grant Park in my life. This one is the best by far and looks like nothing found in nature! I walked, I enjoyed the birds, the flowers and the visitors and then I went home. I still had work to do and I had already had a busy but productive day.

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