Nighthawks, Edward Hopper, 1942

We spent the day at the Chicago Art Institute. It was a bit rainy, but no ma. We ate breakfast in the hotel and it was less than two blocks to the museum. We’ve been to this art museum before, but it’s so fine that visiting it again was sublime.

Hopper’s painting is a family favorite and although he set it in NYC, it wears well here in Chicago too. We walked the night-hawk life ourselves tonight. Normally, i.e. yesterday, we’ve been back in our room by sundown. You can’t really count Monday, because the train was so late, we never could have been in-house before sunset. There is danger here after dark.

Murder, assault and robbery abound. Read the news. Listen to our President. He knows. I know that he has been here. He left one of his towers down the street. Risking all, we stepped out for the night. Our destination, Art on the Mart. We are staying inside the Loop, which is not the same as being in-the-loop, but we walked outside the Loop, which is not the same as being out-of-the-loop.

The Mart is Chicago’s furniture market. It’s the country’s second largest building, by floorspace, second only to the Pentagon. All that floorspace creates quite the façade, when crammed into two blocks, especially fronting on the Chicago River. We viewed the light show from across the river, above the projectors.

Art on the Mart

In the Belly of the Beast

Màximo the Titanosaur

We launched from the Palmer and headed south on Michigan Ave. Our first stop was Yolk, an eatery that we’ve frequented before. Anne had an egg scrambler, with key lime pancakes. I had avocado toast, with fried capers and some of Anne’s too. The pancakes were great. Breakfast was interrupted by an angry young man’s outburst. He flipped half-a-dozen chairs and then marched out. After a while, two of Chicago’s finest arrived. They were soon followed by backup. It was a coffee shop after all. Did someone say free donuts?

The day’s main event was the Field Museum. We started with mummies, the regular Egyptian kind. We had a guide though. Next up was Sue the T-Rex. She is now installed in her new home. Màximo the Titanosaur has taken her old place in the central hall. We then Honey I shrunk the kids, an exhibit that enlarged a foot of soil into a full length exhibit. We got some sit-down time and watched a 3D China movie. It was all about the Terracotta Warriors. We followed this up with more China and another special Chinese show. More mummies, both Peruvian and Egyptian. Then the closing bells started ringing.

There was still plenty of daylight left at five. We walked the length of Grant Park and ended up in Millennium Park, at the Bean. Officially the Cloud Gate, but call it selfie central. Italian for dinner and then less than a block to the hotel.

She Bends Heaven and Earth for Me

Take the A-Train

Yesterday, we took Amtrak to Chicago. Now, these photos are from last year’s trip to NYC. Where we did take Amtrak, from NYC to Boston, but that was Penn Station, not Grand Central. Fortunately, we discovered that we were at the wrong terminal, the day before we had to leave. I had a great pic for this post, but I used it. We were pulling out of the Lou, the conductor had a great tip and I got the shot. Unlike our previous train trip, which went well, this last one didn’t.

We were scheduled to leave at 8 AM. The alarm was set for 5:30. It went off and already awake, I ejected from bed. Checking my phone, I got the bad news. Our train wouldn’t arrive until noon. I cancelled our cab and rescheduled a new one. The cancelled cab showed up anyway and I had to go out to tell the driver that he was not needed. Our painters showed up late, but we were still home when they arrived. Eventually, the second cab showed and we were off.

It was closer to a five-hour delay, when we boarded. The car was fantastic. Being short of stature, we never really needed all of the leg room that we had, even fully reclined. We ate our bag lunch and snoozed. Still the hours ticked by. Half-a-dozen coeds sitting behind us displayed their bad girls personas, but their unending narcissism eventually became entertaining. Then there was the gang of small boys, whose unending energy, wore everyone else out, as they ceaselessly ran up-and-down the aisle.

Taking some responsibility for the delay, Amtrak offered all a free dinner. The service was an interesting experience and the food was free, but it was worth it. Most annoying were the irregular stops that the train made. Sometimes the crew got out to checkout their train. Sometimes a southbound freight screamed by us.

We made it though, six hours late. We had been on Amtrak time. The coeds were at their wit’s end, but plans for drinking seemed to offer a solution. The boys were still going screaming strong. We took a cab to the Palmer House and ate a light supper in. Tomorrow is another day and hopefully a better one too. 

Key West Curb Art

Key West Curb Art

I want a tree like this, a tree with a face. When we were in Key West, we tended to eschew Duval Street and favored the back streets instead. It seemed like every home, every building had character. Was a character. I guess that’s what you get, when you live at both the end of the world and in paradise. Key West seems like a throwback, to an earlier time. It really isn’t, but it feels that way. 

We are almost ready for the painters/plasters, a father and son team. Except for last minute items the rooms to be renovated are stripped of adornment. They echo now, what with the walls being bare. I have great expectations for what they will look like when done. The muscle soreness that I induced earlier this week, with a monumental day of moving, has begun to fade. I look forward to a completely repainted main floor. After thirty plus years, the place will look as nice again as the day we bought it.