lakeshore drive


A “Roll cloud” captured marching over the Chicago Lakeshore, in timelapse view

On August 12, 1833, the Town of Chicago was organized with a population of about 200. Within seven years it grew to more than 4,000 people. On June 15, 1835, the first public land sales commenced with Edmund Dick Taylor as U.S. receiver of public moneys. The City of Chicago was incorporated on Saturday, March 4, 1837 and for several decades was the fastest growing city in the world.


Autumn drive through Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Upper Peninsula Michigan.

One of the major upsides of running late enough that a lyft is the best option for commuting to work is that they almost always take the lakeshore drive, which means I get to see the way the water glows in the morning sunlight. Even on a slightly overcast day like today it’s stunning.

chicago gothic

chicago remembers. you go to a sox night game with an out-of-town friend, and offer to buy the tickets to comiskey. they laugh, thinking you mean the cell, but when the players drift through the stadium out into a glowing field where time meshes together and space phases out, they will know how wrong they are.

the lake is clean now, some will say. it is safe. people swim in it all the time! you stare out at the beach, smothered in sunblock and litter and shining human flesh, and mutter that you never said what contaminant you were avoiding.

if you go out to the end of navy pier, they say you might see phantoms in the old ballroom or out in the water. there are no legends about the sky above the lighthouses on the other side, or the sharp chill in the air that licks through your spine if you stand too near the edge no matter what temperature it is.

drive down lakeshore drive as the sun rises and you can see the sun sparkling off the skyline. drive down lakeshore drive as the sun sets and you see the city come alive, glamour and grime and raw, beautiful energy. drive down lakeshore in midday in a thick fog and no one knows quite what anyone else sees, but no one wants to talk about it.

people make jokes about the spaceship that landed on soldier field, but never joke about the ones that take off from it.

More Chicago Gothic

Lakeshore Drive is closed according to the announcements. Of course you only found out about this after your cab driver already turned onto Lakeshore. News outlets claim the cause is flooding. You shiver and sink deeper into the seat in the back of the cab. You ignore the ghostly fingers tapping against the glass.

Only tourists really hang out in Millenium Park. Most locals are smart enough to know that the distorted reflections in the Bean are more than just a gimmick.

It’s always frightening when the L transitions from its underground tunnels to the elevated tracks. We recommend you don’t look too closely at the shadows.

Every year, the ivy on Wrigley Field seems more dense. It snakes across the stadium in a Sleeping Beauty choke hold. Some say Nike is trapped in those tangles and that’s why the Cubs haven’t won a World Series in so long. The groundskeepers know better. Stragglers shouldn’t get too close to the overgrowth.

You’re in line at the hottest new club in River North with your friends. It feels so slow, but maybe that’s just because you pregamed hard before going out. You don’t remember when you got in line or how long you’ve been standing there. You don’t think it’s ever moved, but surely it’s your imagination as snow falls and melts, the spring thaw hits, mosquitoes swarm for the summer, autumn winds chill you and winter comes again. The Red Eye said this club was good.

You’re at the bar surrounded by friends. The waitress comes to take your order. “I’ll have a three-hundred-and-twelve,” you say, barely taking your eyes off the draft beer list. Silence falls. All you can hear is the sharpening of a knife.

“25 Things Only Real Chicagoans Will Understand.” You click on the link, snorting your disdain for clickbait even as you submerge yourself in it. You laugh and call your colleague over to read it. More laughter, more exclamations. Soon the whole office stands around your desk. They can never know you moved here from Naperville.