Friday, December 11, 2009

Signs and things around Chicago, the Miami of Canada

We had some fun riding around Chicago on top of one of those open air double-decker buses. I couldn't get enough of the buildings and signs along the way. What a great city. I also like a city with a nickname and Chicago's got a ton of them. "The Windy City" is probably the best known, but one theory purports that "windy" isn't a reference to the weather; rather, the talkative nature of the city's politicians. "The Second City" is another, and was first used in a snotty New Yorker article comparing New York to Chicago. The origin of the name "Chicago" itself is funny too: an Indian word for smelly onions. Here are a few more, from wikipedia:
  • "The Miami of Canada" - As referred to by Mr. Burns in an episode of The Simpsons.
  • "New Gotham" - Because of the vast amount of footage used of the city for the 2008 film The Dark Knight.
  • "The Chill or Chi Ill" - Also used by rap musicians from the area.
  • "City by the Lake" - Used in the Smashing Pumpkins' song "Tonight, Tonight."
  • "City on the Make" - From "Chicago, City on the Make" (1951), a prose poem by Nelson Algren.
  • "The City That Works" - According to former Mayor Richard J. Daley.
  • "The Big Onion" - An homage to the original Native name for the area (which meant "onion"), in parallel with a popular New York nickname, "The Big Apple."
  • "City in a Garden" - English translation of the Latin motto on the city seal: "Urbs in Horto."
  • "Beirut by the Lake" - From a Wall Street Journal article during the Council Wars of the 1980s.
  • "My Kind of Town" - According to the song "My Kind of Town (Chicago Is)" (music by Jimmy Van Heusen, words by Sammy Cahn, 1964) popularized by Frank Sinatra. (Originally from the film, Robin and the Seven Hoods, about a fictional popular Chicago gangster).
  • "Paris on the Prairie" - From the 1909 plan for the City of Chicago created by Daniel Burnham.
  • "Sweet Home" - From the Robert Johnson song Sweet Home Chicago.
  • "Heart of America" - Chicago is one of the largest transportation centers in America and its location near the center of the United States.
  • "That Toddling Town" - According to the lyrics of the song "Chicago" (music and words by Fred Fisher, 1922) also popularized by Frank Sinatra (as well as Tony Bennett).
and last but not least:
  • "Hog Butcher for the World" - Described in a poem by Carl Sandburg.


Jeffery Blackwell said...

Wow, you were so close to Milwaukee. You should've called.

Chicago rocks.

Gunnar and Sherry said...

Milwaukee, eh? Never been but would love to see it some day!

Anonymous said...

Wow! As a Chicago native, many of these are new to me...

And I found it interesting that you used the reference to Smashing Pumpkins...they are one of my favorite bands, nothing says Chicago alternative like the Smashing Pumpkins(maybe Rise Against if you are in to something a little more modern)

jade said...

unique and mundane sites you see travelling cross-country by car in the USA, where getting there really is all the fun! chicago signs