Monday, February 18, 2008

The Nostalgia Whore Strikes Again


Another fabulous weekend in Chicago.

Lately we've been staying at the Allerton on Michigan, both for its handy-to-everything location and, well, because I just have a nostalgic fetish for the building itself. Last time we got a room so small that we literally had to strategize bathroom usage, as we could not both be out of bed at the same time. This time we were upgraded to a "Junior Suite," which was basically two of these microscopic rooms wedded together, one side being designated as a "sitting room." But it was just enough to make all the difference; we were still cramped, but delightfully so, and we had 20th floor views of the city in three directions.

Actually, my history with the Allerton goes back quite a ways. My lifelong friend Chris and I have stayed here a couple times, and I even remember about 20 years ago inquiring whimsically about their monthly rate: I always fancied having my mailing address be
Wunelle
The Allerton Hotel
Chicago

It just seemed so Cole Porter. Alas, I was told that they stopped accommodating residential guests some time ago. One would have to simply multiply the daily rate. (What good are dreams if they're readily attainable?)

My past posts about Chicago will attest to my infrastructure fetish with the city, and while perusing a bookstore downtown I stumbled on a book that I was psychologically incapable of not buying. I held out a little hope of resistance until I read inside the cover that it was a collection of photographs from the archives of the Chicago Transit Authority. Then I was sunk, absolutely.

I have a similar book about the construction of New York's Chrysler Building in 1929-30, and it's hard for me to put either book down. The combination of black and white photography and the capturing of now-lost job descriptions--especially infrastructure-related jobs--is the ultimate trump card for me.

With apologies for putting in photos of photos, here is a little taste.


















2 comments:

dbackdad said...

Great stuff. We've been seriously pondering a move to Chicago for about the last year. I've even had a couple of phone interviews with companies there. The wife interned there one summer and has relatives there. I love the thought of all the culture and mass transit I'd be near.

wunelle said...

I've wanted to move there forever. I'd pick New York, but it's not near any family or friends, and it's prohibitively expensive unless you're so far from Manhattan that it's not New York.

Chicago has some of the same big-city-ness about it, but is a bit more manageable cost-wise, and the Midwest is near to everything family- and work-wise.

But as a nice compromise, we visit several weekends per year, and I drive thru all the time to and from work. Someday I'd like to get a condo here. well see.