Street Smart Chicago

Checkerboard City: Turf and Surf

Bicycling, Checkerboard City, Green, Highland Park, Loop No Comments »

Photo: John Greenfield

By John Greenfield

It always bugs me when people say Chicago’s a great city but complain that there’s no access to natural beauty or outdoor adventure here. True, there are no mountains or saltwater for hundreds of miles, but we have ocean-like Lake Michigan close at hand, making this one of the few major United States cities where you can work in a skyscraper and easily take your lunch break on a sandy beach.

And this is a great place to live if you want to commune with nature without polluting the environment to get there. The South Shore Line electric railroad takes you directly from Millennium Park to the campgrounds of the picturesque Indiana Dunes. And the bicycle-friendly Metra commuter rail system means that you can get to state parks like Illinois Beach, Fox Lake and Kettle Moraine via a relaxing train ride plus a bit of pedaling, instead of fighting traffic jams. Having a good time in the great outdoors near Chicago is really just a matter of attitude. Read the rest of this entry »

You Killed the Car: The Rose House is both mid-century modern landmark and a bit of pop-culture history

Architecture, Chicago History, Highland Park No Comments »

In the late eighties and early nineties, hip, affluent trendsetters rediscovered the aesthetic of mid-century modern homes and flocked to Palm Springs in search of homes designed by Albert Frey, Richard Neutra and their peers. It was a godsend for the homes, which were “somewhat disheveled-looking, and worn out,” says Joseph Rosa, director of the University of Michigan’s Museum of Art. Read the rest of this entry »