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.
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.
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.
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.