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2005-01-31 - 1:19 p.m.

Favorite views

-From the Orange Line stop at Halsted looking southeast. The Stevenson and the Dan Ryan expressways converge, and the cars are going over and under and past each other. Itís mesmerizing. Well, it may be more mesmerizing because I tend to look at it at 7am while waiting for the train, but itís still something I point out to people visiting. And unless itís so foggy or snowy that the visibility is almost nothing, itís fascinating no matter what the weather.

-Walking east through the Loop on Lake St. The Aon Center is directly ahead Ė and even though itís kind of the bastard stepchild of Chicagoís tallest buildings (everyone thinks the Sears Tower is tallest which is right, but the Aon Center is second and the Hancock Building is third Ė the Hancock often gets credited as being second). Itís very mountain-cliff-like and intimidating. Best on sunny afternoons Ė the sun gets almost painfully bright reflecting off of the white of the building.

-Looking northwest from the steps of the Shedd Aquarium. Itís the clichť spot for tourist pictures, but for good reason. The buildings all look more colorful Ė especially on a sunny summer day with lots of sailboats in the harbor.

-The 33rd St. bridge over the Dan Ryan expressway looking north. Each building stands out on its own, but at the same time it gives the far-away look of the skyline as a whole. It also adds some gritty realism to the skyline that doesnít often show up in the average picture of downtown, because a chain-link fence rises around 7-8 feet above the sidewalk. Sunrise and sunset are the best times to see spectacular views, but other times lend a not-just-a-postcard feel to the skyline.

-The view of 333 W. Wacker from across the river (looking southeast). The Chicago River (and Wacker Dr.) bend from east/west to north/south created an interesting spot to put a building. The architects created a glass, curved surface, that reflects the river. But not only is the building itself beautiful, the Sears Tower also rises up in the background and brings stability to the picture.

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