Under the white sky

The flag flies proudly above the Edgewater Beach Apartments at Sheridan Road and Bryn Mawr Avenue

The flag flies proudly above the Edgewater Beach Apartments at Sheridan Road and Bryn Mawr Avenue

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Reflection of a n apartment building to the north of the Park Tower Apartments on Sheridan Road

Reflection of an apartment building to the north of the Park Tower Apartments on Sheridan Road

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Looking south from the corner of Michigan Avenue and Van Buren Street, these tall buildings are not quite obscured by fog

Looking south from the corner of Michigan Avenue and Van Buren Street, these tall buildings are not quite obscured by fog

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Turning toward the north from the same corner, these skyscrapers are at least a third shrouded in fog. In the middle is the Aon Center, Chicago's third tallest building at 83 stories and 1,136 feet (346 meters)

Turning toward the north from the same corner, these skyscrapers are at least a third shrouded in fog.
In the middle is the Aon Center, Chicago’s third tallest building–at 83 stories and 1,136 feet (346 meters)

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Shoes! Gah-lor-ee-yus SHOES!

At AKIRA on State Street in the Chicago Loop!

Akira on State Street-1

Some are wonderful…others look as if they came from a cartoon strip!

Akira on State Street-2

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Akira on State Street-3

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Akira on State Street-4

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Akira on State Street-5

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Akira on State Street-6

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Akira on State Street-12

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Akira on State Street-11

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Akira on State Street-10

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Akira on State Street-9

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Akira on State Street-8

And MY favorite?

This pair, from Chinese Laundry!

Akira on State Street-7

Soooo very elegant, aren’t they?

After yesterday’s appointment with my wonderful doctor…

…(who is very happy I am doing so well while taking the blood thinning medication!), I hopped on the Red Line “L”, and ventured to the south side of Chicago–Chinatown to be exact!

Chinatown is about two and a half miles south of the Loop.  This is the view when you get off the "L" and look back toward downtown.


Chinatown is about two and a half miles south of the Loop. This is the view when you get off the “L” at Cermak Road and look back toward downtown.

I haven’t been here in almost ten years!  In 2002, I was working about four miles west, just off of Cermak Road, for a theatrical rigging company, and would come through Chinatown every evening I could.  Things have changed a bit; the entrance to the “L” is now enclosed (thank you!) and upon exiting, there is this lovely, huge piece of glazed terra-cotta construction:

The 9 Dragons Wall erected in 2003

The Nine Dragon Wall, erected in 2003

Here are the first three dragons...

Here are the first three dragons…

...and here are the rest.  The 9 Dragons Wall looks to be about twenty-five feet long and about twelve feet high!  Gorgeous craftsmanship, isn't it?

…and here are the rest. The Nine Dragon Wall looks to be about twenty-five feet long and about twelve feet (or more) high! Gorgeous craftsmanship, isn’t it?

This plaque on a pedestal in front of the wall explains everything; thankfully, and English translation is provided!

This plaque on a pedestal in front of the wall explains everything; thankfully, an English translation is provided!

This is just a tease!  I’ll be posting more of Chinatown over the next week, as I took over 85 shots in just under an hour (the other half hour I spent shopping in a great little store–you’ll be seeing that, too)!

On the Magnificent Mile: XII (the Finale)

At the Drake Hotel

The Drake Hotel, on a 1920 postcard (Photo courtesy:  Wikipedia)

The Drake Hotel, on a 1920 postcard (Photo courtesy: Wikipedia)

The Drake Hotel, during the Christmas season (Photo courtesy:  Wikipedia

The Drake Hotel, during the Christmas season (Photo courtesy: Wikipedia)

From Wiki:

The Drake Hotel, 140 East Walton Place, Chicago, Illinois, is a luxury full-service hotel, located downtown on the lake side of Michigan Avenue two blocks north of the John Hancock Center and a block south of Oak Street Beach at the top of the Magnificent Mile.

Overlooking Lake Michigan, it was founded in 1920, designed in the Italian Renaissance style by the firm of Marshall and Fox, and soon became one of Chicago’s landmark hotels, a longtime rival of the Palmer House. It has 537 bedrooms and 74 suites, a six-room Presidential Suite, several restaurants, two large ballrooms, the “Palm Court” (a club-like secluded lobby), and Club International (a members-only club introduced in the 1940s). It is known for the contribution that its silhouette and its sign on the lake side of the building (the Oak Street side) make to the Gold Coast skyline.

The Drake Hotel was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

This is the Walton Street entrance, just east of the Magnificent Mile.

The Drake Hotel marks the north end of the Magnificent Mile.  This is the Walton Street entrance, just east of Michigan Avenue.

Only the huge Toy Soldier noticed my camera, and smiled brightly!

Only the huge Toy Soldier noticed my camera, and smiled brightly…I could swear he winked at me, too!  As you make your way around him, the grand staircase takes you up to the lobby, where resides the hotel’s fabulous Christmas Tree!

Gorgeous, isn't it, with angels fling above and the crystal chandeliers, the feeling I experienced was that I had gone back in time!

Gorgeous, isn’t it, with angels flying above and the crystal chandeliers, the feeling I experienced was that I had gone back in time!

Here are some macro shots of a few of the many ornaments.

Drake Hotel-4

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Drake Hotel-6

Drake Hotel-9

As an added attraction, the toy train set-up is reminiscent of many years gone by, don’t you think?

Drake Hotel-7

As you can see by its blurriness, that little train was going quite fast!

As you can see by its blurriness, that little train was going quite fast, running the rails through the mountains and a quaint little town!

 

Before I had to leave, I walked right up to the tree and, of course, took a shot ‘looking up’!

Many of my followers have already celebrated the day, but it's just 7:00 PM (CST) here in Chicago...St. Nick hasn't flown by yet, but I'm sure hoping to catch sight of his sleigh!

Many of my followers have already celebrated the day, but it’s just 7:00 PM (CST) here in Chicago…St. Nick hasn’t flown by yet, but I’m sure hoping to catch sight of his sleigh!

Thank you all for joining me on my walking tour of the Magnificent Mile…I know many have found some enjoyment, and others marveled at the amount of decoration the stores and hotels do here in Chicago.  It’s a business, a BIG business…I know, because I used to work as a Holiday Designer professionally…and still make things for others, to give them some joy at this special time of year!

Hopefully, I’ll be able to do the same in 2013!!!

On the Magnificent Mile: XI

At American Girl Place
(in Water Tower Place)

To begin, a cheery, beauty of a wreath, to get you in the mood!

To begin, a cheery, beauty of a wreath, to get you in the mood!

Next, a Golden Ribbon and Stars...with every way a little girl can get her wish!

Next, a Golden Ribbon and Stars…with every way a little girl can get her wish!

And then…the DOLLS!

As I understand, these dolls are very coveted by little girls, and you can purchase a ‘girl-size’ matching outfit for your daughter!

Little girl dolls, even baby dolls, and loveable teddies, too!

Little girl dolls, even baby dolls, and loveable teddies, too!  Hope they aren’t cold, sitting in that glittery snow?

Up on the snowy hill...the perfect place for every doll to play...even bay doll seems to be having fun!

Up on the snowy hill…the perfect place for every doll to play…even baby doll seems to be having fun!

Instead of icy igloos, the dolls warm up inside extra-large open ornaments...that's the fantasy of a doll's world, and a very creative display!

Instead of icy igloos, the dolls warm up inside GIANT open ornaments…that’s the fantasy of a doll’s world, and a very creative display!

On the Magnificent Mile: VIII

At the InterContinental Hotel

Elegant Christmas decorations begin at the Michigan Avenue... Entrance

Elegant Christmas decorations begin at the Michigan Avenue entrance…

...and continue in the spectacular lobby with a curving staircase!  Note how the lights are reflected in the marble side of the staircase.

…and continue in the spectacular lobby with a curving staircase! Note how the lights are reflected in the highly polished marble side of the staircase.

Here's a detail from the large tree, which is at least twenty fee high...lots of beautiful ornaments!

Here’s a detail from the large tree, which is at least twenty feet high…lots of beautiful ornaments!

What impressed me more than that gorgeous tree and garlands was this marvelous mosaic floor of the lobby!  Every tile is set by hand, in the Tiffany style, to catch the light as you walk by.  I searched for info on the designer to no avail!

What impressed me more than that gorgeous tree and garlands was this marvelous mosaic floor of the lobby! Every tile is cut and set by hand, in the Tiffany style, to catch the light as you walk by. I searched for info on the designer to no avail!

As I turned to leave, I looked up and captured the signature Lion's Head in the middle of two griffins...wish I knew the significance of these three pieces of sculpture!

As I turned to leave, I looked up and captured the signature Lion’s Head in the middle of two griffins…wish I knew the significance of these three pieces of sculpture!

I had designed and hand-painted large floral vases for the InterContinental back when I was working for a Special Events firm here, but had never had the opportunity to step inside.  I’m so glad I did, and shall return, as the building has quite a fascinating history, and some wonderful public rooms.

A (last) Short Walk through Macy’s Holiday Lane: Part 4

There were some pretty 'nutty' Nutcrackers...

There were some pretty ‘nutty’ Nutcrackers…

...and a gorgeous silver tree, decorated in reds and greens so cheery...

…and a gorgeous silver tree, decorated in reds and greens so cheery…

...and crystals so clear, near every type of glass ornament you could want...

…and crystals so clear, near every type of glass ornament you could want…

...but the best part was Mrs. Claus, smiling in her 'all-knowing Mrs. Claus way"!Say...I wonder what her first name is?

…but the best part was Mrs. Claus, smiling in her ‘all-knowing Mrs. Claus way”!
Say…I wonder what her first name is?