kottke.org posts about Chicago

A junkie's view of the Chicago drug tradeNov 18 2013

Fascinating article about what it's like to buy heroin on the west side of Chicago. The ritual of buying is just as exciting as the shooting up.

The fact is, and I don't care who tries to dispute this, that a majority of the people who make the daily migration to the West Side to cop blows are as addicted to the ritual of copping dope as they are to the dope itself. It is an adrenaline rush no different than those achieved by people who jump out of airplanes. And dope fiends get to experience it every day.

(via @torrez)

The rules at Harper HighFeb 20 2013

Here are some of the rules students live by at Harper High School in Chicago: Know your geography (whether you join a gang or not, you're in one). Never walk by yourself. Never walk with someone else. If someone shoots, don't run. These are just a few of the exhausting complexities that face the kids at Harper High, where 29 current and former students were shot last year. The reality on the streets leads the kids to one final rule: never go outside. This American Life spent five months at Harper High School. Part one of their report is a must-listen. Within a few minutes of the piece, you'll understand what one of the adults who was interviewed means when he says, "it ain't a fairy tale."

What's next for the Alinea team?May 04 2010

Grant Achatz, Nick Kokonas, and his team are opening a restaurant called Next:

No reservations...you have to buy tickets, like for a play or a ballgame.

Your tickets will be fully inclusive of all charges, including service. Ticket price will depend on which seating you buy -- Saturday at 8 PM will be more expensive than Wednesday at 9:30 PM. This will allow us to offer an amazing experience at a very reasonable price. We will also offer an annual subscription to all four menus at a discount with preferred seating.

The menu changes four times a year and each menu will be influenced by a particular place and time (Paris 1912, Hong Kong 2036). A Mad Men-era NYC menu please?

Build Your Own New YorkJun 10 2009

Build Your Own New York offers instructions and free models to help you build cardboard replicas of many of NYC's famous landmarks. See also Build Your Own Chicago. (via @zigged)

The Wieners CircleJul 23 2008

Here's a clip from the This American Life TV show about a hot dog joint in Chicago called The Wieners Circle. On weekend nights after the bars close, the staff and drunken patrons yell verbal abuse at one another like prison inmates or Jerry Springer's guests.

This, this free-for-all has doubled their business, Larry and Barry figure. They end up seeing a side of people that, honestly, changes how you feel about everybody. You really wish you never saw it.

There are several other Wieners Circle videos on YouTube, including one where a customer orders a chocolate shake, throws down $40, and one of the workers begins to take her shirt off. (via delicious ghost)

Chicago SpireJun 09 2008

The stunning Calatrava-designed Chicago Spire is due to be completed in 2011 and will, ahem, tower over the Sears Tower by more than 500 feet. Check out the view from the 140th floor.

Chicago overturns foie gras banMay 14 2008

The Chicago City Council overturned the city's embarrassing ban on foie gras. The vote was 37-6.

A tour of The Boring Store, theMar 01 2007

A tour of The Boring Store, the Chicago outpost of Dave Eggers' 826 non-profit writing/tutoring conglomerate and "Chicago's only undercover secret agent supply store". The store joins NYC's superhero supply store and San Francisco's pirate supply store.

Update: The Seattle chapter of 826 runs the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Store. (thx, brooks & paul)

Megnut's got the scoop: Gourmet magazine hasSep 20 2006

Megnut's got the scoop: Gourmet magazine has named Alinea the best restaurant in the US, amazing considering its only been open a little more than a year. "[Grant Achatz] is redefining the American restaurant once again for an entirely new generation. And that -- more than his gorgeous, inventive, and delicious food -- is what makes Alinea the got-to-go-to restaurant in the country right now." (I would argue that the food is the real reason to go, but whatever...)

Manhattan ElsewhereJun 01 2006

A few months ago, I found a map online (which I cannot for the life of me relocate and I'm keen to find it again...any ideas? it's from Bill Rankin's The Errant Isle of Manhattan...see update below) of Manhattan pasted next to Chicago, as if the island had taken up permanent residence in Lake Michigan. Recently I decided to explore the unique aspect of Manhattan's scale with a series of similar maps of places I've been to or lived in: Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Barron, WI (my hometown). Manhattan Elsewhere is the result.

Depending on your vantage point, Manhattan seems either very big or very small. On complete map of the New York City area, Manhattan is dwarfed in size by the other four boroughs and surrounding megopolis. But for someone on the ground in Manhattan, the population density, the height of the buildings, the endless number of things to do, and the fact that many people don't often leave their neighborhoods, much less the island, for weeks/months on end makes it seem a very large place indeed. This divergence sense of scales can cause quite a bit of cognitive dissonance for residents and visitors alike.

Chicago + Manhattan

Chicago + Manhattan, 3-D

For the top image, I used the Google Maps representations of Manhattan and Chicago to create a composite map. In the bottom image, I used Google Earth's 3-D views to create a approximate view of Manhattan from Chicago. In all cases, Manhattan is to scale with the other cities. Click through for larger images and other cities.

Update: The map on which Manhattan Elsewhere is based was done by Bill Rankin, who runs the excellent Radical Cartography site, and is part of The Errant Isle of Manhattan project. He also did maps for Boston, SF, Door County, WI, Philly, and Los Angeles (look at how gigantic LA is!), which I completely forgot about. He also made more of an effort than I did to connect the roads. (thx, zach)

Short interview with Chris Ware upon theMay 09 2006

Short interview with Chris Ware upon the occasion of a show of his work at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art. "I've found that anything I do [to] carefully plan and pare down in advance feels utterly false and constructed once I actually do it, having nothing of the sort of accident and unevenness of real life that I hope to, at least, modestly edge towards."

Wired magazine reports on the revolutionary foodMay 03 2006

Wired magazine reports on the revolutionary food and strange equipment (antigriddle!) used by chef Grant Achatz in the kitchen at Alinea. "The technology allows us to get to the essence of food. It allows you to be more true with flavor, not less true."

In Meet the Fockers, the sign onJan 31 2006

In Meet the Fockers, the sign on a terminal at the O'Hare airport is typeset in Chicago, an old Macintosh system font. Har har. (via mark)

Photos of the new fall menu atOct 20 2005

Photos of the new fall menu at Alinea in Chicago, helmed by chef Grant Achatz. Looks weird, decadent, and delicious. (via afb)

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