The Windy City

I am here, in Chicago, for three months now. I feel like I owe the city of Chicago this note. There are as many things to say about Chicago as big this city is.

Probably most of you know Sufjan Stevens, man who wants to record 50 albums each dedicated to a one of the states of the US. He started his music adventure with Illinois. He wrote about the state, the Casimir Pulaski Day, and a few other songs among which is of course this dedicated to Chicago:

I fell in love again
all things go, all things go
drove to Chicago

I am not going to write 50 notes dedicated to the states, but I will write one about Chicago.

To be honest, my first impressions about the city were negative. All the features of the city to which I get used to in Europe, were missing. Clean, well designed streets, rows of green trees and flowers. All this was replaced by ubiquitous garbage, grey streets surrounded by eclectic architecture or totally opposite tens of the same houses placed like domino pieces one after another. And then came spring and I found out that there are some oasis of beauty in the city.

The big city spirit lives in the Downtown. This part of the city is clean, well designed. Trees are illuminated and along streets are located shops with designer cloths. People are walking here faster than in other districts of the city. There are a few interesting places. What I like the most are green areas, where despite all this rush everybody can slow down and enjoy sunny days. These places are Millennium Park with the Cloud Gate and the Institute of Art. Both are interesting – the first one is co called big bean, second one has many masterpieces among its collections (interesting contemporary art, European paintings etc.).

Close to the park and towards East from the Downtown is Navy Pier – place of amusement for whole family. The biggest advantage is one of the most beautiful views on the city. To the North from Navy Pier is Lincoln Park with small, but beautiful, looking almost exotic beach, with zoo and a lot of green areas.

These are the places what I really like, there are of course more of them but smaller. There are also ethnic neighborhoods which I should explore more. I have been to the Polish village. Ah, I remember, before I came to Chicago some people said “you are going from Poland to Poland” (Chicago for a long time was the 2nd biggest Polish city, after Warsaw). Actually it is not true. There is of course Polish district, there are some people who speak Polish, but it’s so different and this minority voice doesn’t change the city’s American character.

I think with every sunny day I will like the city better. It’s a pity that we started this exchange in the middle of winter – sunny and green is better than gray and cold.