Love for the City of Chicago: It’s All About Heart

chicago skyline and harbor
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I love the city of Chicago. I do not mean that I am a fan and like living here, I truly love it. My love for the city of Chicago often gets me into verbal arguments with people from out of town, but never waivers. Graduating college a few years ago, I had a couple of places to move afterward. The easiest option was to move home. (But I could not handle the Chicago suburbs anymore and did not want to fall back into my high school years when returning.) So, I decided to move to Chicago. I first lived on Lake Shore Drive in a small, overpriced studio apartment by myself. I, as everyone has to, had to pay my dues to the city of Chicago. Now living in Lincoln Park, I fully am a city-goer, a Chicagoan. I take the L to work every day, love weekend summer festivals, beer gardens, and the people. I fully embrace this city and protect it like a child of mine when others talk down about it.

I was recently talking to a friend from college on the phone. We were catching up on what’s going on in our lives and what we both plan on doing in the future. She current lives in a far suburb of Chicago at home with her parents. Not knowing what she wants to do, she kept on saying that she wants to leave. She said that she must get out of here; she had to get out of Illinois. Then she talked about going to Colorado or Los Angeles. I asked her why she would want to move across the country away from her family and friends.

I told her to move to Chicago. Move to a world-class city that is also close to home. She kept on arguing that she had to leave Illinois using the main argument that LA has beautiful weather and she wants to see other places. I completely agree you have to explore the world. But I have traveled to many places around the world; I typically call this vacation. When I want to see a place I go there for a few weeks, take in all the location has to offer, then come back home. I don’t really see the need to move there.

Why do all these people want to leave Chicago, a place with world class museums, seven professional sports teams, a beautiful lake and beach, great food, shopping, a beautiful skyline, and some of the best people in the world? Honestly, I don’t know. Everything you could ask for is here in Chicago. If I want to travel somewhere, I can take the L to one of our two international airports and go. In my eye Chicago is in a class of its own, it is a mirage that erected out of the plains of the Midwest. It is a city that should have never happened. Chicago could easily be the size of a St. Louis, Minneapolis, Detroit, Denver, and Dallas. It isn’t though.

The reason why Chicago survived, and will continue to, is because of its people. We, the people of Chicago, are its the backbone, and we fight for our city. We have to deal with the luring shadow of New York and the sunshine of LA. But these cities lack our biggest asset, our hearts and pride.

“New York is one of the capitals of the world and Los Angeles is a constellation of plastic, San Francisco is a lady, Boston has become Urban Renewal, Philadelphia and Baltimore and Washington wink like dull diamonds in the smog of Eastern Megalopolis, and New Orleans is unremarkable past the French Quarter. Detroit is a one-trade town, Pittsburgh has lost its golden triangle, St. Louis has become the golden arch of the corporation, and nights in Kansas City close early. The oil depletion allowance makes Houston and Dallas naught but checkerboards for this sort of game. But Chicago is a great American city. Perhaps it is the last of the great American cities.” – Norman Mailer, Miami and the Siege of Chicago, 1968

“I’d rather be a lamppost in Chicago than a millionaire in any other city.” – William A. Hulbert

“I’m impressed with the people from Chicago. Hollywood is hype. New York is talk. Chicago is work.” – Michael Douglas

-Kevin Hoak

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One Comment

  • Lauren
    July 20, 2010 | Permalink | Reply

    *Correction: I know exactly what I’m doing. I moved home from college to finish taking prerequisites for physical therapy school and to save money. I’m applying to PT schools this fall, some in IL and some on the west coast. I’m not going to justify my reasoning for wanting to leave and experience other places; however, I would like to note that I can always move back. I did laugh when you mentioned you “call these things vacations” very witty, and nicely played. I’ll make sure to notify you in future conversations that I would like them to remain “off the record.”

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