Kinzie Street Bridge

The Kinzie Street Bridge has been closed so long as I've lived in Chicago, or at least in the sense that it's not open for train traffic as it once was, but unable to escape the few feet able enough to crawl beneath the cross-hatched iron bars zig zagging through the brush and debris littered in its underbelly.

Two friends took me out here in early 2013, shortly before what was meant to be a three month stint in South Florida, with beers and pot, as somewhat of a farewell which would later reveal itself to be one towards the life I had grown up into when I returned decidedly to call this city my new home.

Under the sign which exalts the historic bridge, only in that it was the world's longest and heaviest bascule bridge when first constructed in 1908, tidbits compliments of any Architectural Tour, we tip-toed across teetering logs, the tips of one to the next, until we reached the last few where we could sit mid river and watch the boats passing nearly skim the precarious and unpretentious pier we jutted out onto. The city sleeps with its eyes open and from here you can peer into every illuminated window, imagining the topics unfurling out of the typed minds of the Sun Times, or the obligations that kept any salaried worker in their office instead of out here, several drinks deeps and in anxiety only for the anticipation of several months away from this urban after-dark paradise.

The Green Mill

The Green Mill's history long peceeds my experiences in its dimly lit, romantic Chesterfield circular couch booths, dancing away my 23rd birthday to live jazz, holding host to reunions of historic mob affiliates over the same cocktails I sipped on their barstools.

I had heard about this venue before I even moved to Chicago, by a figure drawing teacher in college who built steel guitars and taught me to love the misshapen parts of the human form that make us each unique.

I'm dazzled by its lights, and taken by its name in reference to Paris' Moulin Rouge ("Red Mill"). This piece now hangs in Wicker Park's local gallery, Line Dot, on sale for $300.

Jackson Square

Hot yes? Yes. Sweltering hot? Absolutely yes. So hot you end up drinking more than you ever intended because alcohol is more accessible than a bottle of water and the convenience of walking down the street with a beverage dripping in cool condensation is too much to bear without downing it in one fell swoop? Regretfully, yes.

A little memory loss never made it less of a notable life event to experience New Orleans for a couple of weeks from the comfortable confines of our home at the Old No. 77 Hotel, where TJ stayed long after I left for his summer art residency.

The city oozed with a culture so foreign to the likes of our hyper-modern endlessly constructive gridded streets, and refreshed us with its "all good" attitude, making the most complex arrangements of music look like second nature and welcoming us with a hospitality to rival even the friendliest of our midwesterners.

The iron balconies and their intricate shadow play mingled with draping arrangements of greenery, providing a fresh place to rest only in that it allowed the beads of sweat resting on our skin to dissipate rather than repopulate.

I would trade one cool for another any day of the week for another stay in this wonderland.