So, as you can see by my previous posts, I spent last week in Mexico. I returned to Chicago last night. Last week I missed some of the coldest weather Chicago has seen in a very long time, which is saying something because this city can get very cold. There was about a foot of snow on the ground to great me. I must admit that I prefer white sandy beaches to white snowy sidewalks.
I'm sure that many of you in warmer climates, or even just towns more hospitable to driving are wondering why anyone would want to live in such a place as this (especially when you read about our state's wonderful governor). Honestly, during the winter months I often ask myself the same questions. So to start off my Monday "Out and About Chicago" series I will tell you why I love this city. Most of the time.
April through September this is, in my humble opinion, one of the best cities on earth. Rent is much cheaper here than other large cities making it reasonable for small, fairly authentic ethic restaurants to exist. Also, while much higher than other mid-west cities, rent can be fairly reasonable in Chicago, especially if you are willing to live a few miles out from the center of the city. And if you want it to be safe, try a few miles north. Certain neighborhoods don't really apply, of course, but you can find some great deals.
For a large city, Chicago is fairly clean (thanks in part to our alleys where we can keep our trash). Chicago has been called "the biggest small town in the country" because you can often go places and run into people you know. We are still in the Midwest so people tend to be fairly friendly. We have some beautiful architecture which has inspired many films to be shot here. We also have launched the comedy career of many actors through Second City. We have the Cubs (who are fun to watch and build character if you root for them since you will get practiced at having dashed hopes :-P )
Of course, life isn't perfect anywhere and Chicago does live up to that from time to time. We do have crazy high taxes and the public transit is great in places and spotty in others (so I made it a point to live around where it's better).
We aren't called the Second City because we are second to NYC (and we are behind Miami and LA in size now--so if that were the case we'd be called the Fourth City!). We are called the Second City because on October 8th, 1871 the city suffered a horrible file that burnt most of it to the ground. We rebuilt. This Chicago is the second Chicago. Thus Second City. They pushed all the debris into Lake Michigan and turned it into a large public park complete with a bike path that runs along all of the city's lake front. Absolutely beautiful (they didn't understand the environmental consequences back then). Also, while Chicago is very windy, we actually got the name from our windbag politicians who wanted to get the Columbia Expedition in our city. Thus Windy City. Although, personally, I'd rather it be because of the weather than our politicians.
So, I will show you why I love Chicago every Monday with a post about various activities or interesting Chicago facts. I encourage everyone else to post why they love their own city. Because at the end of the day every place is special not because of the land, but because of the people who inhabit it. (This is modeled after Travis Erwin's My Town Mondays).
* added at 3:45pm Jan 19: For other My Town Mondays please visit Junosmom at Lifetime Learning and Chris at e-Cuniform scratchings.
For those of you who came here because of the My Town Monday links, this was just an intro blog for Chicago. It will be more "traditional" with pictures of around Chicago next week.
Monday, January 19, 2009
at 10:30 AM