Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Other Grandy

I woke up at Esther’s on my last full day in Chicago, and on this Tuesday I had plans to shift locations yet again, to the downtown apartment of the one and only Adam Grandy, older brother of my former roommate Ryan Grandy. I didn’t know Adam yet, but Ryan had been kind enough to put me in touch before I reached Chicago.

To nobody’s surprise by now, I got up bright and late, and packed up the car to set off toward downtown around noon. This included several “uh, I’m running late” texts to Adam, who was finishing up work at Moody Bible Institute. I met him there, following his detailed parking instructions, after taking Lake Shore Drive (LSD) in from the north:


Adam was friendly right away, and took me inside Moody to get a parking pass for one of the lots down the street. From Moody, we started walking…a lot! We stayed north of the river for a while, first checking out an exotic car dealership (“they are so choice; if you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up”):

The next stop was an extremely important one, and a landmark discovery: Garrett Popcorn. Simply amazing. Get the Chicago Mix, which is half cheese flavor, half caramel. The whole place smells wonderfully of good popcorn. A Chicago institution it is. My friend Taylor, who lived there years ago, still says that even mentioning Garrett brings back fond memories from early childhood.

Then, it was on to Navy Pier, with tower pics along the way:

We took the opportunity near the entrance to get one of Adam having a sit-down with Bob Newhart:

Adam sure does look like his brother Ryan doesn't he?

Inside the Pier, they have lots of places to eat, stores, an IMAX theatre, and a stained glass window display:

This was the 11th anniversary of September 11th:

And of course I had to get one of MJ:

It was a nice day outside, and a good alternate angle for downtown pictures:

There were the famous distance signs, and fake pirates along the boardwalk too:

We kept walking, crossing the river, going south toward Millennium and Grant Parks, and the flowing cascades of Buckingham Fountain:


I’m noticing that the Chicago Skyline looks really modern, especially the easternmost part of The Loop by Millenium Park.

To recap – Sears Tower, and the Fountain again:

We stopped by the Museum of Art to see the green lions:

Next we ended up at a fountain area with faces on the bricks, and yes water did spew out of their mouths, but I’m not showing those because that just looks kind of weird...and wrong:

I’m a big fan of what I call the Champagne Top Building:

And, you know how it goes, we had to spend a minute or two at The Bean:

Adam and I really did do a lot of walking in The Loop that afternoon, here’s some shots (including a TV studio) as we meandered toward the final destination, “Wayne Tower”:


Right across the street was one of the 12 People’s Printing Presses of America:

Adam at this point admitted that his feet and legs were shot, and I agreed I could ride somewhere rather than walk. He hailed a cab, and chatted up the cabbie, who was Nigerian, and who took us north of the river to the Magnificent Mile. The cabbie told us we had probably walked at least 5 miles that afternoon, so no wonder we were ready for a break.

We had dinner at Wow Bao on Michigan Ave, which is sort of like meat-filled dumplings, Asian style. It was an Elizabeth Vanderveen recommendation, and it was a good one. I got 3 normal flavor and 3 spicy, and they were spicy enough that I could only get through two of them!

Adam and I had a long chat there, getting to know each other. We went back to his apartment near Moody after that, which was about 9pm. He was just about to lay down for bed, when we remembered something very, very important: earlier, he had told me I should take pictures of the skyline at Adler Planetarium after nightfall, and we’d totally forgotten to do that! He was a super good sport, and agreed to go with me as a guide, as long as I drove. This was a very fair deal I thought, especially considering he’d been up since 5 am.

Adler, and the fine evening weather, did not disappoint:


What an incredible backdrop for nighttime photos! Can you imagine if I really knew what I was doing operating that Canon 5D camera?
I think we saw one or two couples making out in parked cars, and more people sitting on the grass, killing time, but I didn’t feel like capturing those moments on camera.

Final stop: Soldier Field, where the Bears play, was lit up red, white and blue in honor of 9/11:


We got back to Adam’s apartment around 11pm, and he of course was asleep in moments. Knowing me, I probably stayed up 2 more hours planning more of the trip ahead and adding photos to Facebook.

My mood regarding Chicago this final night there?

And I hadn’t even left yet…good night!