June 29, 2009

Now that the dust has settled on the move to Chicago, I have a few things I've been meaning to post.  First, I had only been here two days when I heard from Croc and Jim, the publishers of the Route 66 Pulse, that they were in town and were meeting up at a place in Chicago called Del Ray's Chicken Basket.  Actually, it's Dell Rhea's, and it's in Willowbrook, Illinois, and it took me several minutes of active googling to figure this out.  It helps that their website is the pithy http://chickenbasket.com/.


Thanks to Elaine Stonich for the great photo - perhaps the only time that award-winning author Michele Barker, the infamoous Crocodile Lile, and Route 66 Ambassador Jim Conkle will ever be photographed together.  Oh, and Michele's husband, Joe, and I were there, too.

What else is going on?  Well, Chicago is pretty great.  From our sublet on the 31st floor, Gordo and I can see the people in the high-rise adjacent to ours running on their treadmill and having dinner (not at the same time - YET!)  We can also see the Sears Tower, aka the Willis Tower, Lake Michigan, and lots of other fantastic highrises and decks and greened roofs.  It's a whole new kind of theater - street theater, but up high.  Roof-deck theater.  Treadmill theater.  It's awesome.  

And I almost forgot - on the drive here with my friend Caitlin, I drove through Niagara Falls, New York, and had another discovery of cultural convergence around mid-century American icons - in this case, Indian-Americans and Niagara Falls, NY.  The Canadian side of the falls was a lot like modern Vegas, with upscale hotels, Planet Hollywoods, a LOT of wax museums, overpriced Starbucks outlets - the usual infrastructure of a major American tourism destination (well, Canadian, in this case.)  But on the New York side, it was Desi-tastic!  It looked like half of the restaurants were Indian restaurants, populated with lots of Indians as well as locals and tourists of all stripes.  

What's going on in Niagara Falls, NY?  What's going on w/mid-century American tourist traps and their present-day Desi curators?  Someone needs to get the story, and the one person really well-positioned to do this will be the new Buffalo-area field rep for the National Trust.  Whoever you are, you lucky dog, go find out what's going out there at Niagara Falls - how did it end up with such a large Indian-American population, and what's this community doing to promote the falls?   What's the community doing around preservation?  Then call and tell me what you've found out!  I wish I had had more time to hang out there and talk to people, but I had to move on to Chicago.  

And, it's a whole new world here.  It's a lot...taller.  Lots more going on upstairs, like up in the air, parallel to the 31st floor.  I apologize to my neighbors that I can't help spying on you, but I've never had this much scenery outside my window!  Can you blame me?  And yes, I realize you are spying on me too.  Thanks.  I'll go get dressed now.   

Copyright Anne Dodge, 2009   •   Contact acdodge at gmail dot com