Spot the Empire Librarian's blog

Welcome to a librarian's online musings on libraries, literature and information media.

Chicago, its downtown lakefront, and public places in perspective


Freddy enjoy breakfast, University Center

Today began with a quick breakie in the University Center’s Cafeteria with Freddy Falcon.  I was flattered to have another resident ( I think that she belonged to a religious order), perhaps in her mid sixties ask if I was ‘here with one of the kid groups’.  What an odd question.  My first  thought was that my grey roots are in need of attention from my hairdresser, so why would someone ask me this?  The question was then repeated, with a glance down at my stuffed Freddy Falcon doll.  Oh. Now I get it.  I quickly smiled at her and informed this fellow diner that I was here with a teacher’s group.   Though secretly, I was flattered to  be thought of as younger than my recent 40 year birthday would dictate.

Dr. Mark Newman, Art Institute of Chicago, Modern Art wing

Despite the morning rain storm,  40 fellow educators from around the country met to begin our week’s program,  Chicago’s Downtown Lakefront as a Public Place: Exploring Public Places in Local, National and Global Perspective. We split off into two groups to walk along Munroe street to Lake Shore Blvd to  visually compare  20th century  urban planning styles versus 21st Century planning styles.  Our workshop leaders, Dr. Spirou and Dr. Newman described the Lakeshore park area as a former swamp, built on trash from the  1817 historic Chicago fire.  The park is frames my modern skyscrapers to both the  North and South,  though the  towers to the west are a mantel of historic buildings,  one of which  we are learning in, the national Louis  University offices in the  former Chicago Electric and Gas Co. building designed by Daniel Burnham.

National-Louis University, Michigan Ave. Chicago

After the tour, we re-group in our classroom, to compare and contrast,  the  Crown Fountain vs the Buckingham Fountain;  the Frank Gehry designed  band shell vs the Petrola band shell.  Again,  looking at styles from the early 1900s  as well as the 2000s.

After regrouping from our lunch break,  Perry Buis Spoke on the topic of  Why Chicago became and important city?  It is both a national city as wella s a global city.

Finally for the afternoon,  Larry Bennett  spoke  of the City’s Beautifcation Movement.

Chicago Riverwalk, North Wasbash Ave. Chicago

By 4pm, I will admit to being tired.  Yes, the University Center is extremely clean and quiet,  though I personally find it difficult to get comfy and be able to sleep  in a new place the first night.  So,  after taking a pre supper power nap,  I trotted out to Wasbash  and Wacker street to enjoy a quiet supper at the South Water kitchen restaurant.   Admittedly, this is more of a after work type of gathering place,  though I choose it for its location.  My window table afforded me a view of the   Trump Tower and the two Marina Towers from the mid 60s.   Again, a great contrast in styles, as is evident  just about everywhere one turns in Chicago.

Due to lack of Internet connectivity in my room,  I have been  writing my text in the evening, then posting in the mornings at breakfast ( usually a free WiFi spot.)  Thus,  my postings will be brief at this time.  It is my aspiration to elaborate on what is learned in the classroom by synthesizing my notes and posting this information when I return home.  Frankly,  I do not feel it  a good idea to be trotting around at night with my electronic equipment seeking a WiFi spot.


Author: spotwin

While I am a librarian , I am a reading cheerleader. The purpose of this library blog is to better promote reading and information literacy to community. I love books, reading to my son,properly placed apostrophes,canoeing, locating the nearest Starbucks, cheering the Montreal Canadians, and Cherry Garcia ice cream.

2 thoughts on “Chicago, its downtown lakefront, and public places in perspective

  1. Wow! You are learning a lot of neat things!

  2. Chicago is such a fun city! I love the energy here, the contrast between styles, the cleanliness of the city. My only complain is that i do not have WiFi in my room, and thus feel naked without it. When did Internet access become so vital in our lives. I didn’t realise how dependent i was upon being able to ‘plug in’.
    Though , all in all, that is a minor complaint . This is an awesome opportunity, for which i am grateful to be here.

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