I was recently alerted to the fact that GQ Magazine has rated Chicago the number one city of 2008! Yay! Bust out the champagne! You can see the article here. However, for those of us who live in this City, it's easy to see that the article dwells on some of the less impressive things fair Chicago has to offer. Don't get me wrong, they give us a good rap. But I can think of a ton of other, more notable things, that I, and most other people, enjoy about living here. Here's my list:
1.) Lincoln Park
With a free zoo that's been there for many years, breathtaking views of the downtown skyline,
direct access to the Lake and North Avenue Beach, several large reflecting ponds, many sports
fields, a nature museum, and a conservatory, this 1,200 Acre park attracts the second most
vistors in the U.S., after, of course Central Park in New York (there's a reason we are called the
2.) Public Art
Chicago's streets, parks, plazas, and viaducts are home to an enormous amount of public art
and sculpture. There is the Chagall Mosaic, the Picasso, all of the Frank Gehry work in
Millenium Park, just to name a few.
There are so many, I can't even name them all, or even begin to know what the number is.
However, they cater to anyone who's interested in anything: The Art Institute, the Field
Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the
Oriental Institute Museum. That's just the tip of the iceberg. How come there was no mention
of these in the GQ article?
I was appalled that the article made no mention of the vast variety of restaurants this City has
to offer. In fact, to name just one, Alinea has been named best restaurant in the country on a number of occasions. Additionally, the infinite number of ethnic enclaves in the City makes having Indian, Pakistani, Polish, Russian, Bulgarian, African, Mexican, Thai, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Brazilian, Puerto Rican, Peruvian a day-to-day choice, even a toil, for Chicagoans.
5.) The Lake and Beaches
How many times have I mentioned that the Lake is a love-hate relationship? Whether it's
affecting our winter weather, or acting as the beautiful amenity that it is in the summer time,
the GQ article made no mention of this blatant benefit for residing here.
6.) The CTA
The other love-hate relationship Chicagoans have is with using the CTA subways, el trains, and
buses. How many other cities can you live in and not need a car? I can think of (4): New York,
Chicago, Boston, and San Francisco. There are others that it might be possible, but you would
have to live right in the city center to make it worthwhile. This is a huge benefit. Not only on
everyone's expenses and sanity, but also for the impacts on the environment. Now, I'm not saying the CTA is perfect. No transit system is. I can't say how many times I've sworn off
ever riding it again when slow zones, backlogging of trains, or poor communications have
affected my trip. However, for the price of it, and the extent of it, it's definitely worth a plug.
At least that's my opinion.
The only reason that GQ didn't mention any of these, that I can think of, is that they were catering to their specific audience. If I'm reading about clothes and celebrity metrosexuals, I'm sure as hell not going to be interested in museums, arts, culture, etc. I must be much to shallow. Or am I?
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