Chicago - November 2 & 3, 2011Millennium Park, CTA, Pilsen
All Photographs Copyright © 2011 by Robert E Pence
Usually I drive to Michigan City and stay overnight, and then take a South Shore train to Chicago in the morning. That's a drive of almost 120 miles and
3 hours from my home in Fort Wayne. Although Amtrak stops at Waterloo, Indiana, only 35 miles and less than an hour's drive away, Amtrak's schedule-
keeping is unpredictable and Chicago hotel rates are about three times those I can get for a decent overnight in Michigan City.
With winter's treacherous driving conditions approaching, I thought I'd try Amtrak again for the first time in about three years. I booked a reservation on
Train #49, the Lake Shore Limited. My train was 47 minutes late at Waterloo, 48 minutes late leaving Elkhart, 52 minutes late leaving South Bend, and
1 hour and 53 minutes late arriving at Chicago's Union Station. During the last part of the trip we were behind another Amtrak train and it was behind a
slow freight. We'd stop and wait, and then get up to 20-30 mph, and then stop and wait again. That went on beginning about Portage, Indiana.
Amtrak Amfleet coach 35104 was comfortable, smooth-riding, and quiet.
Union Station. By my recollection, the lighting in the train shed has been improved since my visit in 2008.
Looking out across the Chicago River.
GE P42DC Diesel-electric locomotive 145 is one of four locomotives painted in earlier Amtrak paint schemes in observation of Amtrak's 40 years of
passenger train operation. Locomotive 145 wears the Phase 3 scheme used by Amtrak from 1979 to 1993; I think it's much more appealing than the
current drab scheme on the locomotive in the following photo.
Metra commuter cars
After checking into the Central Loop Hotel and taking a brief nap, I walked to Michigan Avenue to locate the bus stop that I'd need in the morning. It was
a little more than ten minutes' walk from the hotel.
Next, I went to the El stop on Adams and caught a Pink Line train to 18th Street, to have a look around Pilsen. By the time I got there the light wasn't
optimal for photography but I gave it a try anyway. Starting with a few shots from the station ...
Most of the wall surfaces in the station were decorated with colorful art, and there wasn't a lot of tagging.
Food aromas along 18th Street are tantalizing.
Instead of paying meters, put your money in this machine or use your plastic, and print a receipt that
you put on your windshield.
The gable-roofed building behind probably predates this facade by many years.
St. Adalbert's Parish was founded in 1874 to serve the Polish immigrants of the Pilsen area, and still
conducts masses in Polish as well as in Spanish to accomodate the many Mexican families who have
settled there. The current church was completed in 1912 at a cost of about $200,000. I didn't go inside,
and after reading a little bit about it, I realize that I should have.
Back to the El and another look around from the platform before boarding a train back to the Loop.
Adams and Wabash. How I'd love to shoot some HDR night photos from here, but just taking street photos
from the platform is sometimes a tenuous proposition and use of tripods in the stations is strictly prohibited.
It's been a long day for me. I'm going back to my comfy hotel room.
Thurday - all done with the essentials and ready for another photography walkabout, just in time for the cold rain.
Taking these sculptures from concepts to physical works had to have required considerable design and fabrication expertise.
Glimpses of another exquisite example of metal fabrication skills in the realization of art, Anish
Kapoor's Cloud Gate, popularly known as The Bean.
The Nichols Bridgeway, opened in late 2009, is 620 feet long and connects Millennium Park near the Pritzker Pavilion with the third floor of the Art Institute's
Modern Wing. The bridge was designed by Italian Renzo Piano, who also designed the Modern Wing.
Commuter tracks carrying Metra Electric and South Shore trains bisect the Art Institute fifty feet below the bridgeway and enter Randolph Street/Millennium
Station and South Water Street Station beneath Millennium Park.