Wacker Drive

That Lower Wacker feeling

A view of Lower Wacker Drive (in Chicago)Taking Lower Wacker is something insiders do.  It’s efficient but vaguely creepy, too.  The subterranean atmosphere, weird light, and ancient metal and grime offer a sharp rebuke to the picturesque sights spinning past on the surface streets and the Drive.

The Ribs of Lower Wacker, © 2014 Celia Her City
A blessed escape from tyranny of the grid, the old-time oddness of Lower Wacker is enveloping, smattered with the ghosts of storied fatalities.

This entry post-dated to the photography.

This morning

Smith and Wollensky/Marina City © 2013 Celia Her City

Beneath the Corn Cobs, the tables were all set up at Smith and Wollensky, for all those lucky souls intent on steak dinners tonight.

Slumbering on North LaSalle, © 2013 Celia Her City

An organized slumberer occupied a bus shelter on North LaSalle.  What’s next, indeed.

7 eleven, © 2013 Celia Her City

The wait, © 2013 Celia Her City

A driver awaited his party outside a sleek office building.

Sequestered snow, © 2013 Celia Her City

Snow had been sequestered at one end of Federal Plaza (note nearby police).

Another morning in an American city, © 2013 Celia Her City

Another morning at the P.O., © 2013 Celia Her City

The post office, a glass oasis, filtered the action outside.

Beneath the Flamingo, their voices will rise © 2013 Celia Her City

From beneath the Flamingo, their voices will rise.  How many protests has this bird seen?

Another morning, with media, © 2013 Celia Her City

Even without seeing the big picture, you know where you are.

One moment in Chicago’s long life

Repair barge in the Chicago River at Wells Street, © 2013 Celia Her City

The city is always building, leading to the complex vista that Celia, commuting, sees daily: the buildings, bridges, and balustrades rimming the River, offering a pleasing spectacle to the passing trains.  Cars, trains, boats, and pedestrians pass distractedly through a landscape that’s the work of many decades and thousands upon thousands of laborers’ hands.

The repair barge in the river, for fixing the bridge, is fleeting evidence of all that goes in to making this the home that we know.

Rush-hour Wrigley

Rush hour around the Wrigley Building, © 2013 Celia Her City

Rush-hour traffic snakes along the Chicago River.  Rain and mist dim down the city, reducing movement to a crawl.  How long will we be?  With each breath of the bus’s sodden passengers, its windows steam.  The compass-point of the Wrigley Building bleeds into the general gray, seeming to recede.  The Trump Tower does its Flatiron impersonation.

A moment by the Mart

A moment by the Mart

I happened to be driving along Wacker Drive this evening, and, for once, was truly happy to have to stop for a red light.

I seldom come this way in a car, and this was my one chance to take a picture of the repairs underway on the historic Wells Street Bridge.  Not only did the Merchandise Mart look terrific, as always, but I managed to take a picture of the huge crane that has been used to hoist the massive prefabricated sections of the bridge in place.

The Wells Street Bridge was an engineering marvel when first built in the 1920s.  It is a double-decker draw bridge that carries both car traffic and, on its upper level, the elevated train.  Now most of the bridge is in need of repairs, so traffic has been cut off for a number of days, while old components are removed and the new ones put in place.

People grumble about the inconvenience.

The first phase of the work was completed Monday, as you can see from the el train that is crossing.  The second phase, which will be to replace the south section of the bridge, will require another closing and is scheduled to take place some time next month.

That’s the latest,

Urban Beauty

Urban Beauty

There’s a sweetness to the morning commute; have you noticed?  Everyone is looking their best, if a little sleepy (that’s part of the charm, the romance and weariness clinging from the night before).  Bodies fresh, clothes fresh.  Hair washed and combed.  Many clutching coffee, though the most wide-awake have worked out already. More