My Beach is the Best Beach, Bar None
By Stella Atrium
had a mild winter here, followed by the earliest spring I can
remember. Wisteria bushes are about to display yellow starburst
flowers, and even the honeysuckle is sending out hesitant shoots.
Chicagoans are so conditioned, we just know there’s another arctic
blast coming our way, often expressed as “waiting for the other shoe to
No complaints are allowed on this cloudless March day that’s worthy of June. So I took a walk to the beach that faces Lake Michigan east of Lake Shore Drive.
The water has no salt and no tide. The temperature will chill your
bones into August, but only tourists and children think you visit the
beach to go in the water.
My beach is North Avenue, four blocks north of Oak Street Beach. Navy Pier
is six blocks south of there. NAB will accept a million people on some
days, depending on the fireworks schedule at Navy Pier, Wednesday and
Saturdays all summer. There’s kyacking and skip-jacking and
wind-surfing and sun-bathing. Through the season there’s the Cancer
Walk and Chicago Marathon and Regalia for drunken people on boats they
don’t know how to drive.
People in all walks of life come here
– old and young, rich and poor, over-healthy and over-fat. Today I saw
people dressed for summer, and some dressed for kick-boxing (go
figure). People dressed for work were stripping down and rolling up to
exposed skin to the sun. There were kite flyers and dog walkers and
chatty women pushing baby buggies. Ipods with earphones and ereaders
For a bike rider, the path is contiguous going south past the Yacht Club, Grant Park and the fountain, the Aquarium and Planetarium, the Field Museum, McCormick Place and all the way south to the Museum of Science and Industry. The Chicago skyline shimmers on your left for the entire ride.
today I turned north walking four blocks to Fullerton. I shuffle past
the baseball diamonds and rowing lagoon, past the volleyball nets and Theatre by the Lake building. I skirt the grounds for Lincoln Park Zoo and the Nature Museum that has a room of live butterflies that settle on your arm and drink your sweat.
cut across the Drive to walk north four more blocks to Diversey past
the empty moorings of the harbor that occupies the four block to Belmont Harbor
that spread north to… (you get the picture) all the was to Evanston.
Chicago has the largest Park District of any urban setting in the USA.
When winter releases its grip on Chicago, the whole lakefront turns
into a garden. Thank you Mayor Daley Sr. & Jr.
I cut inland at Diversey, ogling the statuary at the Elks Museum,
past a slew of world-class Irish bars and juice bars and sushi bars and
oyster bars, and pick up a bucket of KFC before I take the train home
(practically door-to-door) for a two-hour nap.
My beach has no entrance or exit fee. I paid no parking fee and bought no $4.29 a gallon gas to get there. Nah, nah, nah.
sure you think your beach is better. You can make that argument in
reply, but please supply a full description with images.