Just visiting


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Just visiting

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Jun 26, 2011, 8:41pm


MrsHouseLibrary and I will be in your fair city for 4 days - arriving the afternoon of 4-July, returning to Austin on the afternoon of the 8th.
We mostly want to go to Art Museums and Book Stores, but I'd also like to get together with as many LT-ites (-ers?) as possible, in the evening, or to join us during the day as well. We've got reservations at the Wyndham Blake Hotel. What can you suggest?

Jun 26, 2011, 9:29pm

Oh, splendid!

I will be newly-retired and fancy-free (other than the afternoon of July 7, when I have theatre tickets), so would love to meet you.

You will be just a couple of blocks from Printers Row Fine & Rare Books, which is a lovely store, worth a visit even if you don't buy anything.

Music: Don't know if you're into jazz, but you'll also be very close to Jazz Showcase, one of the premier venues for jazz in Chicago, and if you're into blues, you'll be right by Buddy Guy's Legends. There are all kinds of free concerts at Millennium Park.

Architecture: Try to take the Chicago Architecture Foundation's River cruise; it's the best!

I recommend that you head south to Hyde Park (my neighborhood!). We have a couple of great used bookstores (Powell's and O'Gara & Wilson's - within a half-block of each other), and Seminary Co-op Books and its sister store, 57th Street Books, are great places to while away some time. While you're there, you can visit Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House (down the street from Seminary Co-op), and the Smart Museum of Art (always free).

Jun 27, 2011, 11:34am

Great! We'll definitely have to meet up somewhere, sometime. I'm more of a Folkie, personally, but like almost all forms of music. MrsHouseLibrary is the jazz aficionado.

Jun 27, 2011, 12:16pm

There are folkie concerts all time at the Old Town School of Folk Music on Lincoln Avenue: https://www.oldtownschool.org/concerts/2011/6/

Chicago's also a great theater town: http://www.theatreinchicago.com/nowplayingrs.php

Lots of good restaurants near your hotel, too.

I'll look forward to hearing what date works.

Jun 27, 2011, 12:30pm

Regarding jnwelch's suggestion, the Old Town School is in Lincoln Square, a ways north of where you'll be, but it's easily accessible by the Brown Line L. You can catch that in the Loop and take it to the Western stop, which takes about a half hour. If you do go up there, there are a couple of bookstores worth checking out -- the Book Cellar at 4736-38 North Lincoln, which has a nice cafe, and Ravenswood Used Books at 4626 North Lincoln, which has tottering stacks of books and takes cash only.

Jun 27, 2011, 12:51pm

which has tottering stacks of books and takes cash only.

Sounds like my apartment . . .

Jun 27, 2011, 1:04pm

The tottering stacks of books in my condo are getting more precarious by the day.

Jun 27, 2011, 2:32pm

If a "LT gathering" gets formalized, do let everybody know! I haven't met up with folks since Newberry '08, I don't think.


Jun 27, 2011, 4:08pm

Oh, this is getting exciting!

We're still in 'planning mode' - spending lots of time on Google Earth adding various colored pushpins for different venues - museums are yellow, bookstore are blue...

MrsHouseLibrary is adamant about visiting as many art museums as possible, a daytime activity, I presume. And you're welcome to tag along with us if you'd like. Evenings, however, seem to be a good time for a gathering - whether it's dinner, or coffee, or burgers, or meet at a bookstore - it's all fine to me. As Lilithcat has already said Thursday afternoon is spoken for, how does Wednesday evening work for everyone?

I'd prefer that YOU folks choose the site, because we're not familiar with the area. We're flexible, except for my food allergy thing.

Jun 27, 2011, 4:19pm

You must, of course, go to the Art Institute. There are some wonderful exhibits up now, and the new African and Native American galleries have just opened. The Museum of Contemporary Art is great, too.

In smaller museums, I've already mentioned the Smart, and then there's the National Museum of Mexican Art, a bit off the beaten track, but easily accessible by public transportation.

Wednesday evening is fine for me. I'll think about a venue. What is your food allergy?

Jun 27, 2011, 6:50pm

It's a big list...
All red (and some purple) fruits and vegetables, except watermelon, go figure!
Onion, garlic, peppers, spices (think basil, rosemary, cinnamon, sage, thyme...)
Alcohol, tannic acid...

MrsHouseLibrary has learned that food actually tastes pretty good without the "embellishments".

Those things are, in the literal, narrow sense of the word DEADLY for me, although I have survived the few accidental ingestions.
But, the resulting ulcers and other complications are not much fun, either.

I've had good luck with restaurants preparing food for me, but I have to be explicit with the waitperson as to my limitations.
I'm happy to report I've never had to sue anyone, nor would I.

So, I tend to avoid Italian, Ethiopian, Peruvian, Mexican restaurants - and you wouldn't believe how many of them we have here in Texas.
We could meet at a bar, but I'm only going to have a diet soda, and as long as it's not noisy, I'll actually be able to hear you.

Jun 27, 2011, 7:31pm

Wow! That must make eating out really difficult.

I had been thinking about The Artist's Café, which is pretty close to your hotel. It's casual, with an outdoor space if the weather's nice, and liquor for them as wants it. The building it's in is worth a look all on its own, and houses what was just voted "best bookstore with a cat": http://www.selworkschicago.com/_/Home.html Take a look at the menu and see if you can work with it.

Maybe other folks can chime in with ideas, too!

Jun 27, 2011, 11:42pm

I thought your suggestion of The Artist's Café was inspired, until I went to see what their hours are (which I've still not found), and saw how HORRID the reviews are. I don't believe I've ever eaten there, but it's certainly an institution on that end of Michigan Avenue, and so much else in that neighborhood is all "same old same old" chain restaurants.

Jun 30, 2011, 11:56am

Funny how the reviews posted on the AC website are glowing, and the reviews written everywhere else are ALL negative.
I'm scratching the Artist's Cafe off the list as a place to go.

We're still doing the itinerary planning thing - what to see, and when - but the Hyde Park area looks to be a full-day visit, and we could easily pencil it in for Wednesday.
Since this is your part of town, lilithcat, what are good places to meet in that area? Perhaps the Obamas would let them use their living room.
(Just kidding, Secret Service folks! Really, I'm harmless.)

And would this work for the rest of you folks?

Jun 30, 2011, 12:20pm

We may not be able to meet in the Obamas' living room, but we could go to the Medici on 57th, which he (and Elena Kagan) were both known to frequent. There's also a pretty casual and decent Thai place, Noodles, Etc. just down the street.

Neither of these places has a liquor license, though, since they're across the street from a school.

On the other hand, they're on the same block as 57th Street Books.

If people want to drink, there's another Thai place, Chant, on 53rd, somewhat more upscale, or Park 52, though that's a lot more upscale (i.e. expensive).

Jun 30, 2011, 12:38pm

Can't do Thai - at least if the "authentic Thai" restaurants in Texas are genuine. Probably not... Texas is rife with false advertising; take, for example, anything the Governor says... then scatter it over a large amount of acreage so you don't burn the vegetation.

Jul 2, 2011, 10:14pm

Okay, here's a question for you...

MrsHouseLibrary read that there is a large colony of feral Quaker Parrots somewhere in the Hyde Park area of Chicago. She's the Pet Person in the family, not me. She wants to see them, as up close and personal as she possibly can. For me, the view is just fine from my kitchen window.

So, does anyone know their semi-exact location? Where the 10-tons of poop per day lands? (That's a best-guesstimate interpolation based on my experience with her now-deceased pocket parrot, her escapee light-blue parakeet and the bane of my existence - her cockatiel (sadly, still breathing).

Still looking to meet as many Chicago LT-lings as I can. (People are more my comfort species.)

Jul 3, 2011, 3:17pm

WholeHouseLibrary --

They move around the neighborhood, but they mostly tend to be in the northern part of Hyde Park, within a couple of blocks of 53rd Street (which is the main business district of that part of Hyde Park). Here's a description of one place to start looking, in the northeast part of Hyde Park:


And here's another, focused on Nichols Park, which is about a half mile southwest of Harold Washington Park:


From 1992 to 1996 I lived at the north end of Nichols Park, at 54th and Kimbark, and back then a bunch of the parrots had their nests in utility poles in the alley behind the houses on the west side of Kimbark, facing Nichols Park. But the nests caused shorts and other problems, so in 1997, I think, the city took down the nests and the parrots had to find new homes.

Jul 4, 2011, 12:15am

Hey, thanks for that, dkathman. I'll let MrsHouseLibrary scan the trees and poles. I'm very sure I'll have better luck gazing at ground level for piles of poop.

Think you may be able to join us Wednesday evening?

Signing off. Have to get up in 5 hours to get to the airport. My next message will be, if all goes well, from the hotel room in Chicago.

Jul 4, 2011, 12:57am

Sorry, but I'm seeing a play Wednesday night, and probably Thursday, and definitely Friday. But have fun! If you do go to Hyde Park, you should head down to 57th Street and the bookstores there -- Powell's, O'Gara & Wilson, and 57th Street Books, plus the Seminary Co-op a block south next to the University of Chicago campus.

Jul 4, 2011, 1:31am

Do let us know if plans firm up. I'm not likely to make the journey down to Hyde Park, but am happy to run down to the Loop. I'm open for coffee, lunches, and other options, depending on the details.


Jul 4, 2011, 7:21pm

Arrived safely, and early. GPS devices are crap in cities, in Pedestrian Mode, I've decided.

Jul 7, 2011, 10:41pm

Had a wonderful time visiting with Lilithcat yesterday - explored 3 bookstores with her;
And an equally good time with BTRIPP, who gave us a tour of the Library, and the Printer's Row neighborhood.
We're leaving in the morning to fly back to Austin, but we'll definitely be back.

Thanks again.

Jul 8, 2011, 12:39am

If/when you do come back, I'd love to meet up if possible. This week was just not good -- Tuesday is the only evening I'm free this week, and I had a bunch of stuff to do then.