Yes. Well. I swear to God the Robie
house is so awesome. The best part may be the neighborhood. And it being in its natural context. Not to say the area looks as
it did in 1910. But at least itís still somewhat of a neighborhood. But the
best part of all. Of all. Was the fact that I was
there after tour-time and closing time. And so there was hardly anyone around.
I just walked right up onto the front porch and stood 5 feet above street
level taking in the neighborhood. And what a porch it is! And that roof
really comes out so far over it. What a house I say.
For me, when I look at FLW stuff, the amazingest
part of all is when it was made. 1910? I mean, come on? Are you kidding? I
donít even think Julia Child was born by 1910. Kitty
hawk? Model Tís? That house looks space
age! Itís a totally unique aesthetic which (and remember I donít know what Iím
talking about) defies any solid linkage to time and space. What Iím saying is
that you wrap your gaze around such a structure. And you want to say it looks
kind of 1960ís or something. Maybe 70ís. But
then wait, maybe more like 1750 France with the little stain glass
window details? Or maybe the partridge family would have lived just fine in it.
Or maybe itís just something from the set of M Knight Dorkalanís
latest dumb movie. Which was maybe supposed to be in
1640. In any case. you
just canít pin it down. You canít. But of all times.
Of all times, the one time it most certainly does not fit is 1910! Awesome.
I was on that porch! Just me alone.
This overlaps gently with my fourth favorite pastime which is going to places
where there are few or no other people around. Second rate or overlooked
museums or castles. Old Viking colonies. Anything. Petra because
itís so damn hard to get to. The Harvard T stop at 5 am
because nobody in the right mind would get up that early. I had the great
pleasure of being the only person in the lower level of that T stop for about
three minutes. I was able to notice things in complete solitude and this itself
created a rare opportunity to participate in architecture. If youíve even been in that T stop. Itís not like the
others. It has two levels. The trains run inbound on the lower level and
outbound the upper. But the space between the lower and upper platform
communicates. And the space is so high. Two to three
stories high. Most subway stations are just the one or 1 Ĺ. And
flat. But this space is complex. Lots of purposefully organized
support beams and things. Going this way and that.
And the walls are so nicely tiled. Lots of red and white.
And clean. No benches. Alcoves in the walls for people
who would dare to sit. All in all. Itís
an incredible T station. And then the whole experience of just being in a T
station alone. Spooky. The
mystery. Suspense. The far
away whirring sound. The incredible power.
For some reason, the rush of air always precedes the train by a good fifteen
seconds before its arrival. Because I was alone with no women to be spying
on, I was helpless but to use my imagination. What if instead of a train
rushing through the tunnel it was a great long dragon.
Yes, that would be a surprise. Ultimately it ended up just being a train.
Government center has a wicked cool T stop too.
And thereís this thing on the green line which is this
really spooky sort of electricity/power place. Where they have all these empty
trains just off to the side behind a maze of bars and fences. Itís like
something from escape from New York.
Anyway. I think at some point I may just devote a
whole day to riding.
Oh. Did I mention how we got to the Robie?
Me and my tiny little half Irish half Mexican ex-girlfriend.
Pictures if I ever have any. Iím not holding out on you, just donít have any.
But sheís really neat looking. That wasnít the reason we broke up. It must have
been some other reason. I forget.
So I looked at the map and thought we could just take the
red line to 55th and Garfield?
We get out and it looks pretty much like Harlem,
only more trees and space. Chicago
is so special. Itís like you go from New York
to Mississippi down through rural Louisiana, a little bit of Houston
and then even some L.A. for a few miles and thatís all just the
red line. God knows what the other lines have. Anyway.
We got off in Harlem. Three minutes and some
guy asks us if we want muscle relaxants. No thanks.
Are those Indian or Canadian? Maybe later. The
bus came and not too soon. We got off at the park on the edge of U of C. We had
advanced to somewhat lost instead of totally lost. And at least now there were
children everywhere, which is always a good sign.
And if youíve ever noticed the
commuter rail stop near there. Itís also beautiful. The bricks are faded/washed
so as to be salmon rather than orange. And with the Astroturf green. With
salmon, itís a fantastic color match. And the whole station is so marvelously
narrow, the platform is so narrow. You canít believe. All in
all. A great time.
I refuse to see anything negative about Chicago.
Would never live there.