And utterly seduce us it did. Never mind that it blusterously lived up to its reputation of
Windy City ( , look out! You have competition). We seriously undercatered for the biting chill in the air (we thought we’d left that behind in Port Elizabeth ), but its spring beauty took our breath away. All along New York Michigan Avenue — known as Magnificent Mile for its 5th Ave-style designer stores — swathes of tulips were amassed so thickly that must have been totally cleaned out. And it was the colour combinations that were so seductive. Aubergine and pink; sunburst yellow and scarlet-lightning stripes; white shot with moss-green; black-purple and orange. Chicagoans and visitors alike were entranced. Holland
The city feels modern and elegant, which might be influenced by its abundance of exceedingly tall buildings (legend goes that
The Water Tower matching up to John Hancock Center
But the rakish angles and sleek glass facades and shimmering reflections speak of the 21st century; of modernism and technology; of advancement and the future.
In the foreground, Frank Gehry's music pavilion
Then there isIngenious!
with Anish Kapoor’s giant polished-steel “jelly bean”, inspired by liquid mercury and named Cloud Gate. And a pair of glass-block towers by Jaume Plensa (yes, here he is again! See my post below) on which video images of the faces of a thousand Millennium Park residents are alternated; after a few minutes, each animated face purses its lips and a spout of water emerges from the mouth. Chicago
Cloud Gate, Millennium Park
Crown Fountain, Millennium Park
You can’t miss the futuristic silver “spaceship” music pavilion, designed by — of course! my favourite architect Frank Gehry — with its billowing canopies and curved steel web of girders. And the truly wonderful collections at the Art Institute, bordering onto
And finally there is the waterfront area around Navy Pier, where land meets the blue-green waters ofAnd one that, for me, seriously upheld its promise of magic.
Lake Michigan, an expanse so vast there are tiny wavelets lapping on the beaches. Little parks and quirky sculptures, boat cruises and a giant Ferris wheel, a jagged skyline of shiny aluminium-sheathed towers … it’s a shore-scape that’s uniquely Chicago’s.
Real trees painted to become art. . .
Ceiling fan in a glasshouse, Navy Pier
A conversation in the park