A second trip away-------
So I had to go to Chicago sort of a trip and a vacation, really the first since this all started. There was a combination of excitement, nervousness and trepidation, not knowing what to expect, what would still be there, and if it was even worth the venture. The good the bad and the indifferent.
The drive was fine. If you do not already have an ez pass get one, well worth the investment, love blowing through the lines at the toll plazas.
The City is quiet. It is a friday afternoon, really closer to late morning, and the lack of traffic is very clear especially for a middle of the summer work day. There are still cars but parking is easy, the streets downtown are not all backed up. What is even more strange is just through a quick drive around Michigan Avenue you can see the empty storefronts, the small restaurants that have closed, many of which probably forever and just an odd sense that things are very different and a clear lack of people. Plus one of my favorite breakfast places by the hotel is gone forever, a chain for sure, but a really good one.
Lately I have been staying at the Talbott Hotel, it has a combination of charm, location, nice people and sort of a nice vibe.https://www.jdvhotels.com/hotels/illinois/chicago/talbott-hotel?utm_source=google-local&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=gmb. Check in was strange. The kids working there and I use the term on purpose, all seem to be young very nice and very relaxed. No one is wearing anything more than jeans and casual shirts, feet are up and people are very friendly almost like the are happy just to see someone there. I was told the occupancy of the hotel was around 25 percent, I somehow doubt that but even that is nuts for the middle of summer. Got a nice room overlooks the street. Great Location, pretty day.
Took a walk and we had lunch at Carmines, which is on Rush street, just by Gibsons, what was nice is that they closed off all of Rush street to traffic, so the restaurants can expand the seating as most of us really did not want to eat inside. it created a really cool scene of happy people on a city street in the middle of a global health crisis. We were given a card when seated that said our table was good for one hour and 45 minutes, then we had to leave. No issues but was nice to be outside, a really pretty day. Most people seemed in good moods.
Took a walk around up to Michigan Avenue, more closed stores, more windows boarded up, which I am not sure was just due to closing or the protests and riots from a few weeks before. But it was clear that some places simply are not going to reopen. If you are not going tontine advanage of the summer weather, why even bother? That just created this feeling like being in a movie, or some surreal place where they were trying to achieve normalcy. but just could not quite get there. Walking around was nice, the Starbucks Reserve is a little over the top but fun, was just nice to be with people even if it was a little strange.
Saturday was rainy, not as bad in January when it was rainy and cold and windy and icing and snowy. Once it stopped took a walk to the art museum Was the same scene, lots of place closed some open, some seemingly in limbo. The art museum was quiet, normally on a saturday it would have been teeming with people, walked right in, no one around which again made it nice but surreal. After an hour it was time to leave. took a walk around the park, the concert venue where they have outdoor shows and jazz and such, was roped off and closed, that was sad, all the shows I have seen there including with my kids and it just felt wrong. People sort of stared, all thinking the same thing, that this kind of sucked and I am sure wondering when or if ever it will be normal.
Had dinner on saturday with a small group of people, was nice to be with people but the obvious is still the topic of the day, and I will not even discuss how we were supposed to go to the bathroom, let's just say it was NOT in he house where no one was to tread.....Sunday was just a drive home, the requisite pizzas(Giardonos by the way is way better than Lou Malanatis, just so people know) Giardonos.com
Was nice to be away, it is still not at all normal, which sucks