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Old December 7th, 2011, 08:54 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by Ichiban View Post
You only liked the parts of NYC that reminded you of Chicago? Why travel at all then?
I don't think he said that exactly.

And at the risk of going more OT, I should say that although some neighborhoods in Brooklyn do remind me of Chicago, the same is true for some neighborhoods in Manhattan. It's not a one-to-one comparison. Chicago certainly has its own feel.

And for the record, I don't mind living in Manhattan, in spite of cost and a few other downsides. But there's no denying that a lot of the very interesting things in NYC happen across the river.
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Old December 8th, 2011, 12:18 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by Ichiban View Post
You only liked the parts of NYC that reminded you of Chicago? Why travel at all then?
To watch TV in a different state/country.
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Old December 8th, 2011, 05:27 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by tpe View Post
And at the risk of going more OT, I should say that although some neighborhoods in Brooklyn do remind me of Chicago, the same is true for some neighborhoods in Manhattan. It's not a one-to-one comparison. Chicago certainly has its own feel.
On a macroscopic level I agree that Chicago neighborhoods have a similar urban fabric to the boroughs. There are two differences which really stand out (to me at least):

1) Buildings in Chicago don't abut each other anywhere as far as I've seen. I'm not talking just the houses but the three/four story buildings as well.

2) The system of alleys in Chicago seem much more extensive.
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Old December 9th, 2011, 09:19 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by duke_of_hazard View Post
I took a friend of mine visiting from London around downtown this monday during lunch hour (~1:30 PM) yesterday. He said, compared to London, the sidewalks were relatively empty. You can count on two hands the number of people on them. He said in London, they are packed. And then we had lunch at the Signature room in John Hancock. Looking down at Lakeshore drive you could hardly see any traffic. Looked like any ordinary street. Maybe the high winds, and day after Thanksgiving break are to blame.
Come on, Duke. I've stayed in London. In the City. (the "City" with a capital C refers to a small area in central London that makes up the city's financial district.) I was surprised how "dead" the City seemed on weekdays. It wasn't dead...far from it, but to me it seemed like there were a tad fewer people on the sidewalk than in the Loop. And you know why? Because aside from banks, a mall, and a huge church (at least in the area I was staying) there was no reason for most people to linger. Overall, I found London to be a vibrant city, but even London had times and areas of solitude, even Trafalgar Square after a certain hour...and I walk all over cities I visit, because I do urban photography as a hobby, and night shots are of particular interest to me.

London has its pockets of teeming areas and quiet areas, just like any other city, and Chicago is similar. Now, I do find your story of a "deserted downtown" on a weekday hard to believe. If it's true, then perhaps the fact that it was the Monday after Thanksgiving may have played a role. But more importantly: where exactly downtown were you, and what time were you there? (Loop after 6PM, for example, will be dead) As we have already explained to you, Chicago doesn't have a "downtown" in the sense that smaller American cities have. Chicago's "downtown" is large, includes two business districts (Loop and North Michigan Avenue), and a few residential areas, most notably Streeterville which is just residencies and hotels. It's not uncommon to have a mad-house Division-Clark area, next to a teeming North Michigan Avenue, next to a "deserted" Streeterville.

As for Lake Shore Drive being deserted, that's just outright impossible. That never happens. And so, I really don't believe your story. Either you came here for only a day and visited few areas of the city (and are lying to us about living here or spending considerable time here), or you live here but you never really venture around the city. Your story doesn't really add up (a lot of things you've told us are ambiguous and just don't add up), because had you actually known a thing or two about this city, you'd know about the city beyond "downtown". This is not your typical American "downtown" city. In many ways, Chicago is a quintessential US city, but in very many ways, it's not.

You seriously need to re-examine all the posts in this thread in order to understand not only Chicago better, but also the variety of possible layouts that a city can have. For example, some cities have specific financial districts that serve that purpose only, others don't; some have specific historical districts, others don't; and so on. And as I noted in my last post before this one, cities within certain world regions (such as the Americas, or Europe, or Asia-Pacific) tend to follow a similar urban model (similar to other cities within their respective regions), with some exceptions here and there.

You need to learn about the concepts of "single-purpose districts" and "multi-purpose districts" if you're going to participate in urban planning discussions, and critique cities with limited observations. A single-purpose district (or single-use), for example, is an area of a city that -let's say- is only occupied by office towers and nothing else...no homes, no restaurants, no bars, no churches...nothing else (this hypothetical business district would be a single-use district in its purest form). Thus, on weekdays after 5PM and on weekends, that area is going to be empty. Now, an area of a city that's only bars and nightclubs, will obviously be at its busiest on Friday and Saturday nights, maybe Thursday nights as well and the bars may also be busy Saturday/Sunday afternoons...but go on a Monday morning, and everything will be closed, and the area will be literally deserted. OTOH, a multi-purpose district would be an area where offices, banks, bars, restaurants, churches, parks, residential buildings, stores, etc, all coexist, mixed and intermingled in a single district...such a district will obviously be busy 24/7...on weekdays with bankers, lawyers, and office workers; on Friday/Saturday nights with bar-hoppers and partiers; on Sunday mornings with worshipers; and people also live there and will walk their dogs in the local parks everyday, and eat at local restaurants on weeknights, and shop at the local stores; and if they work and live in the area, they may stop at a local bar after work instead of rushing home. See? This is the concept that we've been trying to communicate to you, and this perfectly relates to the Loop, because the Loop is largely a single-use district (business and financial) which will be busy weekdays but very light on weeknights and weekends. However, the city has been gradually turning the Loop into more of a multi-purpose district over the past 15 years be adding residential buildings to the area and bringing back the historic shopping district on State Street. OTOH, a district like Bucktown is much more multi-purpose.

Originally Posted by DCT View Post
I think part of the problem is that Chicago's downtown doesn't have much contact with adjacent neighborhoods. The central core is buffered from neighborhoods by the river, rail lines, freeways, the old Cabrini land. There was a lot of abandoned industrial land around as well. Even neighborhoods around downtown are somewhat cut off from each other (Chinatown vs Pilsen vs UIC/Medical District vs West Loop vs West Town). Much of this is the legacy of massive industrialization followed by terrible urban development policies (which afflicted many other cities in North America as well)....
Yeah, unfortunately these were all the product of their times. The industrial areas that border greater downtown to the nothwest, I could have lived with...but I wish the Daley Sr era hadn't torn through the city's core with freeways like that.
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Last edited by skyduster; December 9th, 2011 at 09:41 AM.
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Old December 27th, 2011, 05:46 PM   #65
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Ok, I can understand why the downtown would be dead after 8PM. But why are River North, Streeterville, Gold Coast, Old town all dead after 10PM? These are places with lots of fancy high rises, yet the streets are rather empty. I am not buying the arguments that all the density is in the neighborhoods. I have visited/lived in them and they too are mostly empty after 10PM and are never packed with people on the streets.

I think the heart of the matter is that Americans simply spend most of their free time at home watching TV and eating frozen dinners. They simply do not have the concept of eating out much, hence why so few restaurants relative to Asia. They also aren't that into shopping like Asians are, hence why so few designer stores ( which may be a good thing :-) And the folks in the suburbs are happy with their Chilis, so never venture downtown much.

Americans aren't much into culture either, so do not care for all the cultural activities downtown has to offer. I know this sounds like sweeping generalizations, but they are the heart of the matter. I know folks in central Illinois ( 100+ miles from Chicago ) who have never even visited chicago their whole life. This is beleivable when you consider most americans do not have a passport. Europeans and Asians travel far much more than Americans.

As for my credentials, I have lived in Tokyo, Singapore, Brasilia, Washington DC, Madrid, and Tehran. Plus I have visited most of the world except for Africa. Chicago's lack of people on the streets is disturbing considering it's large popuation.
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Old December 27th, 2011, 06:10 PM   #66
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we've humored your trolling long enough.

now scamper along.
"I wish they'd hurry up and just destroy humanity already........... it's the waiting that I can't stand" - Philip J. Fry
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