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chicago is not new york

April 27, 2010

And 99% of the time, I’m happy about that.  There is nothing, after all, like the way the Chicago River twists through the sparkling city at night like a river gliding through a gorge, the glass and concrete and steel and limestone walls reflecting into the still, silent water.  Stand on the Michigan Avenue Bridge and gaze west just after sunset and you won’t be judged for believing this canyon to be as sacred as the Grand one itself.  Or hop on a bike and ride along the lake to the South Shore, stopping only for a moment to peer behind you and see the blue blanket of Lake Michigan cushion up against the skyline, the pattern of harbors and parks and beaches stretching miles into the billion-footed distance.  I’ve been to many of the great cities of the world, leaving each under the misguided belief that I’ll move there next, and yet I continue to grow closer to this old school metropolis – too cold and windy in the winter, too hot and humid in the summer – shivering with hope each time I pass Wrigley Field at dusk on the L.  For a long time, I thought I wanted to call New York home, and I still may.  But no matter where I head next, Chicago and the roaring sound of a train overhead will always be home; I don’t want to be anywhere else.

Except on Sunday morning, when I wake up craving a bagel.  That’s the only moment I find myself in a New York state of mind these days, for the bagels in Chicago – everywhere, really – don’t come a close second to an everything-with-chive in Manhattan.  Some say it’s the water but I’ll blame it on something far more accessible: Capitalism.  There’s a bagel shop on every block in Manhattan, and if yours are too doughy, too crusty, too salty, or too plain then you’re out of business.  It makes sense – Manhattan is about the size of the entire city of Chicago, and while that island has hundreds of shops, this lakefront city has but a handful.  Until a couple months ago, there wasn’t a bagel shop within miles of my apartment in Wicker Park.  And while it more or less does the trick, it’s not a New York bagel, which means it’s not good enough.

No. 252: 4/26/2010

You were right about the stars, each one is a setting sun.

– Wilco, Jesus, etc.

No. 253: 4/25/2010

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 27, 2010 7:47 pm

    i just found your blog and i love your style of writing. that bagel is calling my name.


    xo Alison

  2. April 28, 2010 8:35 am

    Gosh I would love to find a good bagel here.
    Found some great in Paris but in south, nowhere to be seen as good as in NYC…

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