Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The CAF River Cruise, finally

[Note: I finally put the story/captions in on the Election Day post below this one, so it's like two new blog posts at once!]
In a few days I'll be disappointing people. Maybe that's not new, but I'll be disappointing them in a very specific way--telling them that the Chicago Architecture Foundation Architecture River Cruise is over for the season. (Last ones, Sunday Nov. 23.) On my first CAF volunteer shifts last year after the season ended, one visitor after another was somewhat crushed to hear there'd be no more boat tours till spring. But I'd remind them, and you, that's there's a pretty good line-up of year-round downtown walking and building tours, and bus tours, not to mention exhibits and lectures and classes at the Archicenter...

I finally took the river cruise again this year. I hadn't taken it since a little before (or after?) I moved here; I went on it with my parents then, and hadn't retaken it since becoming a CAF volunteer. As a longtime volunteer I have a membership and as a member I'd get one 2-for-1 admission each year, and this year I found someone to go with me.

Christopher ("You have a blog? Did you mention me? Did you say 'oh, that jerk?'"), aka Chocolate-Milk, was visiting from Milwaukee for a day, and we planned to go. I got the tickets at CAF and rushed to meet him at Union Station, and we got a cab to the dock.

I'll be posting a dozen or more shots from this, some the same, some different, on Flickr. I've turned an unofficial guideline into an actual rule here--I don't post photos of myself or friends on the blog. But on Flickr is fine...so that's where I am and where Christopher is.

Obviously, these have been photos of the boat, its bar (didn't have anything), the captain and the docent. I recommend showing up in plenty of time so you get to hear the docent--this one, at least--give a lot of supplementary information before the tour starts, I enjoyed it...Chris and I sat in the front row. It was a beautiful mid-September weekday.

I'm not actually going to name and explain these buildings; I just wanted to get the photos (in chronological order) up. It didn't hit me just how many bridges there are in downtown Chicago until the boat had to go under them all...and I took photos of every single one to document that. Most bridge shots didn't turn out.

There's the water taxi, which I've still never tried, in the background.

I like the birdhouse in this shot.

Older building with ugly balconies attached.

I don't think you see much ivy downtown.

The rare bridge shot that's not a blur.

I really enjoyed the tour and loved getting to see the familiar skyline from a totally different vantage point (many different vantage points), but is it weird that the most exciting thing to me was the appearance of this concrete barge?

Look how close we are to the concrete!

Many familiar buildings. This, of course, is often just called the "Wilco building!" (I searched that phrase on Flickr. Turns out there's an actual Wilco building, unrelated to Chicago, the band, or album covers.)

And to finish, some new construction...some popular, some not so much.

Those are the photographic highlights of the tour. I'm not sure I've done enough to convince people to go, but it's quite popular already! Chris and I stopped a few places on Michigan Ave. (two places I'd never been--the Chicago Blackhawks store [which I didn't even know existed], and a Chipotle [seriously, never been in a Chipotle before]--and Millennium Park, which I have fun showing to visitors). We went to Pilsen and both met Christa aka chloeloe for the first time to walk around Pilsen taking photos until it started getting dark. Then Chris and I hung out briefly at the bar at Union Station that's just off the old waiting room, and was surprisingly cheap.

More about architecture: So Flickr has at least two groups for photos of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, and one for Daniel Burnham, and even one for Warren and Wetmore, but had NONE for Louis Sullivan/Adler & Sullivan architecture. Until I finally started the Louis Sullivan group I've promised for a while. I started an Albert Kahn one as well, since I've become well acquainted with his work on my Detroit visits. Drunk with power, I created a Cass Gilbert group too...well, actually I haven't started that one yet because I haven't posted any of my own photos yet (from buildings in St. Louis and Detroit; there are no Gilbert buildings in Chicago). If you have any relevant photos on Flickr, please join and add them!


Spudart said...

You are a CAF volunteer? That is so COOL! Are you an official docent with all the fancy training? Since you are giving tours, it sounds like you are. I heard the training is INTENSE. But it would be lots of fun!

Katherine said...

No, I'm a Visitor Services Volunteer, no training required, you just have to seem somewhat knowledgeable about Chicago and architecture. So I've never given any tours...I'd like to give neighborhood tours whether through CAF or someone else someday.

The training program is intense, and you have to give a certain number of tours, but you're basically getting a college-level architecture course for free. I'd like to do it eventually...

Kira said...

Wow I love the oppurtunity that we have now a days to pick and choose where we want to go from visually seeing everything on the web! I mean I am quite new to the whole blogging game, but its really fun and interesting! I mean look at what we run into?!?
Blogs like these that I just have to comment on! :)
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