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The 2016 Summer Olympics Must Come to Chicago

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Mayor Richie says we (Chicagoans, Yea!!) will benefit greatly if the 2016 Olympic Games are held in this fair city. Well, I like Richie, and I’m adding my two cents right here and now.

This is a great city. Consider: It’s Sunday morning, before the noon hour, and as I’m walking to my “writing site” I get to hear some very avant-garde, underground musical outpouring at the dazzling Pritzker Bandshell in Grant Park.

The girl singing was beltin’ out words and music in the fashion of the late Ms. Janice Joplin, while absentmindedly covering and uncovering her face with her long blond wind-blown locks. She called herself “Innocent”. She said the band was called The Curious. To her left was a motley bearded fellow playing electric violin that looked more like a cello, but he played it under his chin. With a rather undistinguished lead player to the right, a tireless drummer in the rear the foursome was completed by a very authentic, albeit young belly dancer who you might imagine added a new and exciting dimension. I stayed awhile and listened to the notes from underground.

Then, traveling South, past “The Bean” (a bean shaped chromium sculpture which every visitor should visit) I encountered the Crown Fountain, where two 50-foot high glass block towers at either end of a shallow reflection pool present video visages of ordinary people. The Genre. Nothing special. You may study these colossal faces for a few moments. You may notice a blink; then appearing, the suggestion of a smile. They are motionless, except to the perceptive watcher. The children of visitors and the families of Chicago’s highly fashionable residents play in the cool water. Children don’t go to their hands and knees; rather they cavort spider-like on hands and feet, oblivious to everything but the sun and the water. Now I’m watching the children, keeping an eye on the monolith, and after what seems to be the longest time, the giant figure draws open smiling lips to produce an outpouring of water that washes over the delighted babies beneath. Then, a new giant figure appears, and the suspense begins again.

I mentioned Mayor Richie earlier. It was just this time of year, late summer, following the September 11 attacks, that Richard M. Daley, with courage and conviction, took it upon himself (late at night, while the city slept) to bulldoze the runways of Meigs Field. Until then it was a small downtown airport used by state officials to fly to and from the state capitol in Springfield. The razing of the airport, which Daley felt might be utilized by terrorists as a launching point for further attacks, shocked the city — citizens and politicians alike. We citizens will always praise his courage, wisdom, and determination to protect this fine city

Mayor Daley, you may know, is the son of the late Mayor Richard J. Daley, who contributed perhaps more than anyone to the ambiance Chicago has today. Mayor Richard J. Daley maintained the dignity and cleanliness of the Chicago River, which flows near the Wrigley Building just north of downtown, making the river suitable for harbor bound yachts, and for fishing. “What”, the Mayor queried, “is so wholesome as a fish?” In 1968 while defending what the news media reported as police misconduct during that year’s violent and confrontational Democratic Convention, he misspoke: “Gentlemen, get the thing straight once and for all — the policeman isn’t there to create disorder, the policeman is there to preserve disorder.”

An important reason for the world and its athletes to come to our fair and diverse city has to do with “Racial Blindness”. Visitors to some cities, visitors from far away parts of our world, may have some concern as to how they will be received at the city of their destination. In Chicago, possibly the most racially friendly city in the world, “Racial Blindness” is the rule of thumb. We nod, or greet one another when passing on the sidewalk without regard to cultural differences. We go beyond fairness; we actually like one another. “Racial Blindness” means that, when meeting or interacting with someone, we see not his race, nationality, or religion, but, by a simple mind set, we see an individual we assume to be just like ourselves!

Chicago has come a long way since Mrs. O’Leary’s cow knocked over a lamp to engender the Chicago fire. The city was destroyed. Little remained beyond the cement and steel Water Tower, which had served as a light house, and still rises at the northern end of Michigan Avenue, and Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. At the northern end of the Magnificent Mile is The Hancock building, and across the downtown area, the Willis Tower, which are among the tallest in the world. Formerly the Sears Tower, the Willis Tower is 110 stories of black anodized aluminum and bronze tinted glass, is a city within a city.

Close by the Willis Tower is LaSalle Street, laden with all manner of bright, brilliant flowers and lush greenery. The street culminates in the statue of The Virgin, high atop the Board of Trade, high atop Chicago’s financial district. Only a short walk away, Picasso’s untitled work, known to us as “The Picasso”, graces the plaza at Richard J. Daley Center, adjoining city, county, and state buildings. “The Picasso” resembles the artist’s drawings of both Picasso’s wife, and his afghan hound, Kabul. Visitors will delight in the striking sculpture, and the buildings it protects and adorns.

Visitors to Chicago will be spellbound by the very remarkable Navy Pier near Michigan Avenue and Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. Navy Pier is the place where citizens and tourists come together to enjoy the fun and beauty of Lake Michigan. All manner of boat rides are available. The rides and excitement for children, young people, and adults are wonderful. Shopping, restaurants, and a variety of drinking establishments make for a great stay in great Chicago.

If you visit, don’t miss the IMAX Theater. The IMAX Theater features a towering 6 story high screen. Viewing in the IMAX Theater is the experience of a life time; one can scarcely take in the entirety of the enormous screen at any one time. Add to that the very incredible IMAX 3D experience, far beyond “State of the Art”, and you have an otherworldly departure from the ways of the world.

The World’s Columbian Exposition, also called The Chicago World’s Fair, was held in Chicago in 1893 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the New World. Built at that time was the Palace of Fine Arts, now the Field Museum of Natural History. Visitors will certainly cherish the vast array of dinosaurs and other and extinct animals, preserved and beautifully displayed in their natural settings. Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry was built for the Columbian Exposition, and is a world wonder.

Olympic visitors will have the opportunity of seeing the things we here have had a lifetime to enjoy. To list only a few:
The John G. Shedd Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium, The Art Institute of Chicago , Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art (home to paintings by Manet, Renoir, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Picasso, Grant Wood, Ivan Albright, Dali, Marc Chagall) … In any case, come to Chicago, with the Olympics, or earlier. Why wait? Have a Great Day!

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About John Lake

John Lake had a long and successful career in legitimate and musical theater. He moved up into work behind the camera at top motion pictures. He has done a smattering of radio, and television John joined the Blogcritics field of writers owing to a passion for the liberal press, himself speaking out about the political front, and liberal issues. Now the retired Mr. Lake has entered the field of motion picture, television, and video game (now a daily gamer!) critique. His writing is always innovative and immensely readable!
  • Very enjoyable, John. Magical at the part I loved most–the part about the children and the fountain and the people. 🙂

    [but, the lady with the er…unusual build was elusive ;-)]

  • John Lake

    Cindy –
    Don’t tell them. They’ll banish us, you know.

  • Why to Chicago? Oh, I have seen the pictures, that could be a true reason why.

  • John Lake

    Ms (Mr?) Schmuck –
    Why to Chicago? Here’s a thought. Re-read the article, then if you still have questions, post below.
    What kind of a name is “Schmuck”???
    or maybe you meant it good…

  • They’ll banish us, you know.

    You promise? Let me go pack then!

    (p.s. Edel Schmuck (German) roughly translates to High-quality Jewelry.)

  • anna

    As a native Chicagoan, I love my city. But there are many things about it that I do not like…and that includes the Daley dynasties.

    While the first Mayor Daley did indeed do a lot to enhance the Loop, he did so at the expense of powerless Chicagoans, and controlled the city at his will. Many of his policies, especially as it related to housing, were inherently racist. I would argue that he is to blame for the isolation of our city’s ghettoes in the South and West sides…areas that continue to suffer from a lack of development and investment to this day.

    The second Daley is not much better in terms of helping areas of the city that are home to low-income minorities. He has continued to push them out while focusing his attention on the middle and upper class, white communities in the city. And his closing of Miegs Field was far from being honorable or courageous. It was carried out in a very underhanded way, as are many of his policies. Like his father, he favors certain populations and disregards entire communities.

    Instead of pushing for the Olympics, he should worry about improving living conditions and beautifying parts of the city that are home to his Black, Latino, and other minority constituencies. But I guess that’s not necessary when one falsely believes that our city is colorblind. Please. Chicago is unbelievably racist and segregated…moreso than any other American city. Segregation is a result of the racism that is, sadly, very deeply entrenched in our city. Perhaps you should take off your rose-colored glasses and spend some time talking to residents of the South, Southwest, and West sides of the city…anyone can tell you that your view of Chicago is a very, very limited, unrealistic one.

  • Sho

    Nice article. Makes me want to visit Chicago. But you must understand that the rest of the world does not view America in anything like this kind of positive light. Most foreigners would consider America and Americans to be ignorant, fearful, aggressive and totally disrespectful towards every other country.

    That’s fine, we’re all used to America being like that. But don’t then act all friendly when you want the Olympics, you can’t have it both ways. Either the USA is part of the global community or it’s not.

  • John Lake

    Just off the top of my head, in sending the Olympics to “other than Chicago” they may have considered the high rate of arrest and conviction of the last three Illinois Governors. Three out of three is NOT a good score. And Chicago has a bad reputation for organized crime which many who don’t live here might actually believe. In fact Chicago is a wonderful city, and that rep comes from the long ago days of Al Capone and his moonshine business.
    As we know there was strong sentiment for a South American hosting of the 2016 games.
    We are disappointed and sad, but who knows, maybe it’s for the best.

  • John Lake

    Susanne —
    Chicago is a wonderful city and we don’t distain those from around the world. If you spend a few days or longer here, you won’t be disappointed!