Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Bustle of the City

We are in Chicago, having been here since Thursday night, staying with our son and his roommate. This was after having been in Oklahoma City for a day, attending the ordination of our son-in-law Richard.

The timing of this trip was to attend the Chicago Tribune Publishers Row Lit Fair, set up downtown on a couple of streets. We went to that on Saturday. It was a great mass of humanity, going between about 100 booths. It looked to me like people were buying. I passed up one used book on the way in, due to budgetary constraints, thought better of it and decided to buy it on the way out. It was gone. Someone else paid the $8.50 for it, I guess. The crowds thinned a little during several episodes of light rain, but still it was crowded.

On Friday we went to the Museum of Science and Industry in the Hyde Park neighborhood. It was a free day, so it was crammed with people. I got in free; Lynda and Charles paid extra to see the Harry Potter exhibit. I wasn't interested in that, so I spent that time in the U-505 exhibit, which they saw on a previous visit. That was really something, a German U-boat captured intact June 4, 1944, towed to Bermuda thence to the East Coast and eventually to Chicago. It was moved indoors, quite an engineering feat, in 2003.

Today we went to the Hyde Park Art Fair. Six-hundred-eighty exhibitors from coast to coast were here, having attracted a sea of humanity. The artwork was lovely, but the prices so high we didn't do any serious looking. Lunch cost $23, quite high by my standards, but they have a captive audience. As we walked back to Charles' car, we went by the Rockefeller Chapel (misnamed, since it holds 1,500 people and thus is not a chapel by my definitions), popped in, and observed a handful of people in it attending a lecture/presentation about Albert Schweitzer, a weekend event commemorating the 60th anniversary of his visit to the University of Chicago. Next door, at the president's house, was a shindig for some key alumni. Charles thought it might be an alumni weekend.

From where does all this energy come? And all this money? To look at Chicago you would never know we are in a depression, or even a recession. I suppose some of the book and art vendors could compare this year's sales to last year's and determine how they did and advise if we are in a recession or not.

The people, the sales, the activity. I have lived in the ex-urbs for so long I've forgotten how busy the big city can be.

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