Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Perks We Take for Granted

Michigan Avenue

I was thinking this morning on my way to my office that there are a lot of things we take for granted living in such a fabulous city. Things that you only really realize once you have lived in several different locations. Here are the things I came up with:

We can walk almost anywhere.
This being said, it's still a wonder that Chicago is considered the nation's "Fattest City." I can walk to the cleaners, the grocery store, the movie theatre, the subway, the lake/beach, and tons of restaurants and coffeehouses. All within 6 or 8 blocks. How fantastic is this? It's everyday living for me, and 3 million others, but I only really realize how nice it is when I go to a place that isn't quite so walkable.

We don't have to go to chain restaurants!
In high school in the suburbs we would always go to the same few places: IHOP, Applebee's, TGI Friday's, Taco Bell, etc. While I still have a love for Taco Bell now and then, I cannot remember the last time I went to a chain restaurant, nor can I explain how much I have come to loathe these places! Maybe I'm a restaurant snob, but with all of these one-of-a-kind restaurants in the city of any food genre you could imagine, I'm only a product of my environment.

No Walmart!
Well, ok, there's one in the city, in the Austin neighborhood, on the far west side. But I never have to go near it, and certainly never go there to shop. Mayor Daley allowed this Walmart to be built only a few years ago, mainly because it provided a ton of jobs for the neighborhood, which is in bad shape in many parts. So props to that notion. Nonetheless, I am convinced that Walmart is a living hell, so I refuse to go anywhere near it.

The Airport (s)
As much as going to O'Hare airport can be a headache, once you have learned to navigate this sprawling airport, you can get around in any airport in the entire world! You see, O'Hare is the second busiest airport in the world. You can get direct flights to anywhere around the globe, and this is a major perk to living in Chicago, especially if you travel for a living (although I don't). The other airport on the Southwest side is a much tinier one, Midway Airport, and it is the complete opposite of O'Hare. Teeny tiny, easy to navigate, and easy to get to. Both of our airports in the city are served directly by subway lines, which makes travel with luggage easy and painless (usually). The only thing about Midway is that it's so tiny that landing can be very scary! It feels like you are flying nosedown straight towards the earth, and then when the thrusters go on, you feel like you are going to zoom right out onto 63rd street. Once you get over this, it's very pleasant :)

Fabulous Shopping on Michigan Avenue
I've lived in the city for 5 years, and in the area for 12 years, and I still get excited about running over to Michigan Avenue or State Street after work to go shopping at the endless stores, galleries, and restaurants. Bloomie's? Macy's? Guess? Loehmann's? Coach? Cole Haan? All within mere blocks of one another. How about the little boutiques and salons in the Gold Coast? If you are in the suburbs, you are pretty much a slave to the shopping mall and the strip mall. Malls and strip malls are other things that I absolutely loathe. I can't even tell you. If ever I have to go to these places, I find myself cringing at the gigantic seas of parking out front and the way they are geared to the automobile. It makes me shiver a little bit.

What sorts of things do you take for granted about where you live?


Emily said...

So true about the chain restaurants Abe. I can't remember the last one I ate at. I can't believe how many people eat out at those places on a regular basis. Chili's chicken quesadillas taste the same, no matter what state you eat them in, and that just isn't right. When are we having our dinner party?

Red from Ktown said...

How true. I think I growl when people want to go with me to the city after stepping off the Metra from Kenosha, they say, "Want to cab it?" To which I say heartedly, "UH. NO WAY, we're walking!!" Give me a break, it's only 10 blocks. Luckily, I love that 10 blocks gives way to 20, 30 blocks.

The shopping thing amazes me too. I too, can just to go look in the windows, and peruse the 6 or 7 floors of Macy's and not buy anything in particular and have a great time! I however, cannot afford Coach or Cole Haan, but prefer the cheap H&M or Vickies in one of their 3 or 4 stores in a 1 mile radius!! LOVE IT!!