Monday, June 23, 2014

Day One in Chicago 2014: Helluva Town

The Godfrey Hotel, Chicago
Porter Airlines is awesome ... Love flying Porter. Anything to escape Pearson Airport - the expense, the distance from home, the security procedures, the lack of cookies and coffee at the gates. We leave at 12.30 and arrive 1.45 or so (we move forward an hour Chicago time). The flight is blessedly uneventful as I am a nervous flier, by far the most nervous of the three of us.

We take a cab to The Godfrey Hotel, 127 West Huron St. This is a new hotel built beside the Felix Hotel (where we were almost a year ago this time) that R found on-line. A great hotel - a clean, spacious room, with a rooftop lounge restaurant, pleasant staff, ten or fifteen minutes from the Magnificent Mile - a popular shopping district. It feels like a spaceship inside (not an abducted-by-aliens-feeling, just a super-cool-and-sleek-feeling).

Vivian Maier exhibit, Harold Washington Library
Selfie at the exhibit
We take transit along the Red Line to see the Vivian Maiers: Out of the Shadows exhibit at Harold Washington Library, 400 South State Street. The exhibit is modest in number of photos displayed but tastefully done in one of the numerous exhibit spaces in this enormous library. They even have a station where you can take a selfie and post it in the exhibit room or take it with you. But what sticks in my mind is the sign I see in the doorway of this large, tasteful, beautifully appointed library:

Seen everywhere ... libraries, restaurants, even the Shedd Aquarium
Why the average American needs a reminder not to bring a gun to the library boggles the mind. And makes me fearful. 

We cast around for a nice place for dinner ... we find The Berghoff, 17 West Adams Street, a restaurant built in the 1890s which has an enormous retro sign from a different era. It serves traditional Germain and American cuisine. The signage, the interior, the food, make us (the parentals) ridiculously happy. Plus ... we are starving. Times are tough. Porter served us a chicken sandwich the size of a small teacup for lunch and not much more. I kept expecting some gangsters to sit down at the table behind ours. They, however, never appear. 

We have wiener schnitzel, perogies, salad. We scoot home to our temporary palace by transit ... satiated and expecting a great day tomorrow at the Shedd Aquarium.

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