Chicago Chicago Chicago

Posted by Krista on May 7, 2013


I’m behind on things. The New York Times was talking about Chicago about a few weeks ago. Chicago is talking about the The New York Times book review that talks about Chicago. And I am caught in between in ways I probably shouldn’t put words to. I live in Chicago but I was born in Queens and raised on Long Island and then the rest…well, you know.

As I write this, I’ve spent 46.1% of my life in The Great State of New York, 28.2% of my life in Chicago, and the rest elsewhere. (And I’m 29!!!!!)

There are things that drive me crazy about Chicago. Super crazy. Like…

Public transport in Chicago is half of what it should be. One night, when I was recently repatriated, I set myself up at the bus stop. A nice man, in a Cubs hat, stopped me. “You know there is no bus here after midnight, right?” It was 12:15 a.m. No, I didn’t know that. Chicago is a world class city. I thought we had world class transportation. $12 later, I got myself home in a taxi. I miss a good night bus. (I know they do exist in Chicago. I could take the Ashland bus, for example. But it doesn’t run in the wee hours.)

Winter in Chicago. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. The blizzard of 2011 was my great welcome. I adopted a 16-year-old German exchange student at O’Hare and took him home for 48 hours. He played a lot of Call of Duty, and I tried to figure out how to feed us. I lived here during the blizzard of 1999, when the roof of my building caved in, taking all the kitchen cabinets on the 3rd and 2nd floors with it. (Thankfully, I lived on the ground floor.) I hate winter. I hate boots. I hate coats. I hate the dark.

F*cking potholes.

Khaki trousers on women. I’ve written about this before. Seriously, what are you thinking? If the New York Times lady had included this, I totally would have taken her side 200%.

Jewel-Osco. I go into Jewel and I’m like totally, “OMG where is the food? I mean, there’s some fruit here, but where is the rest of the food?” Because everything is in boxes and cans. This may be more of a statement about America. I miss Waitrose. (The leading photo on their site right now is of CHAMPAGNE.) P.S. I MISS EASILY ACCESSIBLE CHEESE.

Six-way Intersections. Seriously.

I’m afraid I’m going to get shot. The bar down the street from me got shot up the year before last. On a weekly basis, my neighborhood Facebook page is all like “OMG, did you hear that???” What’s with the gunshots, Chicago?? If you want tourism dollars — particularly from all those countries where their currency lets them buy ALL of Michigan Avenue — people just can’t get shot.

PIZZA. I JUST WANT A SLICE. A real slice. Thank God for that bagel place by the Whole Foods on North Avenue or I would die a salt-bagel-deprived life. Pizza and bagels really have nothing to do with each other, EXCEPT WHEN THEY ARE COMBINED!

Sports Bars and Bars Chockablock with TVs. I am not really into sports. Or TVs.  I’ve tried. I’m just not. There are so many other things to do, read, see, etc. This is a total personal preference, but please list for me the bars in Chicago without televisions, and I will gladly visit them with you.

Steamed hot dog buns. SUCK.

People who say they’re from New York. So this happens a lot. I’m in Chicago and someone complains about something and I ask them where they’re from and they say they’re from New York and I ask where from because I’m from New York and it turns out the person is really from Ohio or Pennsylvania or somewhere but they lived in New York for three years and they tell everyone they’re from New York. Note to all: I lived in London for a while. I don’t say I’m from London. (But I still love it to pieces.)


Dude, I am all about being holistic. There are a lot of positives here.

  • The airport — Chicago O’Hare — is easy to get to. After spending a lot of time in Brazil last year, I cannot even begin to explain how much I appreciate the Blue Line to O’Hare. And they have nice tortas at O’Hare. (Mexican sandwiches.)
  • I like char dogs. (Grilled hot dogs, although see above about steamed buns.)
  • People are nice, most of the time.
  • Cheap manicures and pedicures. $35 for both if you’re lucky.
  • The grid system makes it hard to get lost.
  • BEER. From all over.
  • Liz Phair, when she was good.
  • Late May through early September.
  • I own an apartment that I could never, ever afford in NY or London.
  • I like tacos.
  • The WGN morning show. (They’re doing something right there. That team has been there forever.)
  • NPR. So soothing.
  • Anything from Lao Sze Chuan.

I don’t know if I’ve really said anything. Maybe this is just a brain fart. BUT I WARNED YOU. That is all. Go for it.

5 Responses to “Chicago Chicago Chicago”

  1. Chicago Chicago Chicago

  2. Valentine
    May 09, 2013

    And while on the topic of people not really from New York but claim to be … WHY do people say they are Irish or Italian when they can’t even speak the native language, have never visited, and where definitely not born there. I have english grandparents and I don’t say I am English – I have lived a solid 40% of my life in American and I don’t say i am American. I was born & raised in Australia – I am Australian. Please people if you are not born in a country and haven’t lived enough of your life to speak the local language you are NOT italian or Irish – you my friends are of Italian or irish heritage – don’t claim Italy or Ireland as your country or any other country for that matter unless you were born there.

    • Krista
      May 10, 2013

      For NY’ers, identifying yourself by ethnic heritage is a big deal. I grew up in an Irish neighborhood and went to school with mostly Irish and a few Italians. Maybe there’s an element of “We didn’t want to leave Ireland, but we had to.” I don’t know. My maternal grandmother (my Valentine!) was disowned by her family for marrying a German. I am very into and before my maternal grandparents married, all the marriage lines were very “German m. German” and “Irish m. Irish.” Fascinating. Wish someone had taken notes because I have so many questions about how I came to be.

  3. David Harrell
    Jun 07, 2013

    Krista — you’ve been here long enough to know that it’s “Jewel’s.” :)

  4. Katie
    Jun 10, 2013

    Couldn’t agree with you more about tv’s in bars. I design restaurants and bars and I always grimace when a client mentions putting one up. With the dining scene and bar scene in Chicago, you just don’t need them.


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