[By Richard Sheppard in Chicago, Illinois]
Accommodations for the Urban Sketchers Symposium can be quite comfortable if you have a friend who’s nice enough to use thousands of accumulated Marriott points. My friend Phil had enough points to score the Blackstone Hotel, just two blocks from the Goodman Center where the Symposium was centered in downtown Chicago. Thanks Phil!
The historic hotel was built by the Drake brothers, hiring architects Marshall & Fox to design it. It opened in 1910 and at the time it was the tallest building in Chicago. Noteworthy guests have included 12 consecutive presidents from Taft to Carter, Al Capone, and others. The Blackstone has also been used as staging for several notable films, including The Color of Money and The Untouchables.
The narrow view we had out our 19th floor room included Grant Park and Lake Michigan off in the distance where two of my Symposium classes were held (Thanks Shari and Virginia!).
One thing I’ll always remember about my visit to Chicago is this antique clock in a corner of my mother-in-law’s living room. Its art deco styling and colors are what attract me most, along with soft chimes that dance each quarter hour. The clock has been passed down for generations, and no doubt will be treasured by family clock keepers to come. It makes this corner a special place where I’d like to spend a day with a good book and a cup of tea.
Chicagoans are proud of their public transit system, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), and they should be. Since the late 1940’s, the CTA has been providing a reliable, economical, and relatively safe way of getting around the city. The buses and trains we’ve used while here have been on time, clean, and an enjoyable way to travel.
While waiting for the bus to arrive, Marilyn and I played footsie at the station. I started to sketch our feet but it wasn’t long before the bus arrived and cut my drawing time short. Once we found a seat, I used my water brush to add some quick color to the line work. The bus took us to a train, which then left us at our final destination, the Art Institute.
Surprisingly, independent coffee houses (other than Starbucks) are hard to find in Chicago. But Copi Cafe in Andersonville is a nice alternative to the usual cup-o-joe. There we met an old friend of Marilyn’s, Tim, a native Chicagoan who’d lived briefly in Michigan, had returned to Chicago a few years ago.
My trip to Chicago wouldn’t feel complete unless I visited Wriggly Field to watch the Cubs play. It was a good day for the Cubbies because they beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 12 to 4. Hot dogs and peanuts for everyone.
The array of choices was dazzling. Not only did they have Superdawgs but they also had: Whoopskidawgs, Whooperburgers, Superchickenmidgees, Supertamales, Superonionchips, Supermalts, and Supersundaes! The selection was a mind spinner, but what made my taste buds really stand at attention was a good ol’ fashioned hot dog with mustard. (In this town, I’m told ketchup on hot dogs happens about as often as peanut butter on eggs.)
I pressed the service button on the Order-Matic to request a Superdawg with fries and a Coke. Ten minutes later, a cheerful carhop fastened a full tray to the driver’s side window.
Marilyn passed me a drink and a cardboard box that, when opened, was stuffed full of ridged fries and, of course, a hot dog. I dove in, and before my wife could ask how it tasted, it was gone. “That was super!” I said. “But without pickles or onions, it’s not a REAL Chicago dog,” she quipped. “I wanted a Superdawg, not a superpickle,” I told her.
Published at Wed, 30 Aug 2017 05:35:00 +0000