Chicago

I wound up with a 7 hour layover in Chicago. The nice thing about train travel is that when you have a layover, you can leave the terminal. And when you have a layover in Chicago, you’re downtown, right in the Loop.

The Art Institute is closed on Tuesdays, so I went to Exile in Bookville, a bookstore on the second floor of the Fine Arts Building on Michigan Ave. The Fine Arts Building still retains much of its 1898 decor, and it even still has elevators that need to be operated by human beings. Exile in Bookville turned out to be an excellent small bookstore. I passed over William Cronon’s environmental history of Chicago and the midwest (too bulky to carry on the train) and instead bought The Future Is Disabled by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. I also stopped at the DePaul University bookstore, which is run by Barnes and Noble.

By then it was half past four. Time to start walking slowly back to Union Station. I stopped to take a photo of part of a public art work on Quincy St. at South State St.

A semi-abstract sculpture that looks vaguely like a tree or a very large plant.
Public art, Quincy Street at South State Street, Chicago

As I continued walking, I looked for more public art….

Photomontage showing two statues of women, one symbolizing agriculture and one symbolizing industry.
Photomontage, Chicago Board of Trade statues symbolizing agriculture and industry, c. 1885
A large bright red abstract sculpture standing in a plaza surrounded by skyscrapers.
Alexander Calder, Flamingo, Klucynzski Federal Building, Chicago, 1973
A large sculpture, about 100 feet tall, that looks like a huge baseball bat.
Claes Oldenberg, Batcolumn, Social Security Administration Building, Chicago, 1977

It turned out to be a very pleasant layover in Chicago.

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