"I give you Chicago. It is not London and Harvard. It is not Paris and buttermilk. It is American in every chitling and sparerib. It is alive from snout to tail." H. L. Mencken
"New York is one of the capitals of the world and Los Angeles is a constellation of plastic, San Francisco is a lady, Boston has become Urban Renewal, Philadelphia and Baltimore and Washington wink like dull diamonds in the smog of Eastern Megalopolis, and New Orleans is unremarkable past the French Quarter. Detroit is a one-trade town, Pittsburgh has lost its golden triangle, St. Louis has become the golden arch of the corporation, and nights in Kansas City close early. The oil depletion allowance makes Houston and Dallas naught but checkerboards for this sort of game. But Chicago is a great American city. Perhaps it is the last of the great American cities." Norman Mailer, Miami and the Siege of Chicago, 1968
"(Chicago) is the most perfect presentation of individualistic industrialism I have ever seen.."H. G. Wells
"We struck the home trail now, and in a few hours were in that astonishing Chicago–a city where they are always rubbing a lamp, and fetching up the genii, and contriving and achieving new impossibilities. It is hopeless for the occasional visitor to try to keep up with Chicago–she outgrows her prophecies faster than she can make them. She is always a novelty; for she is never the Chicago you saw when you passed through the last time." Mark Twain "Life on the Mississippi," 1883
"Chicago still remains a Mecca of the Midwest— people from both coasts are kind of amazed how good life is in Chicago, and what a good culture we`ve got. You can have a pretty wonderful artistic life and never leave Chicago." Harold Ramis
"You feel like an ant contemplating Chicago." Robert Fulghum
“The thing about Chicago is that it really isn't like any other place. The architecture and the layout of the city are the best. I'm from the Midwest, and consider myself a Midwesterner. I feel most at home there. I love California. I have great friends in California. I just have always considered Illinois to be home.” Vince Vaughn
"There was no need to inform us of the protocol involved. We were from Chicago and knew all about cement." Groucho Marx, pressing his hands into the cement at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood
"We’re Chicago - we can do anything, damn it." Elva Rupio, Gensler Chicago
A young watchman leans at a window and sees the lights of barges butting their way across a harbor, nets of red and white lanterns in a railroad yard, and a span of glooms splashed with lines of white and blurs of crosses and clusters over the sleeping city. By night the skyscraper looms in the smoke and the stars and has a soul. Carl Sandburg Chicago Poems.
“We require from buildings two kinds of goodness: first, the doing their practical duty well: then that they be graceful and pleasing in doing it.”
"One thing I carried my whole life, especially from my grandparents in Chicago, was a huge idealism for the world." Abigail Washburn
“I come from a pretty working-class neighborhood in Chicago. Hard work was just expected of you. It wasn't some noble thing you did; it was a prerequisite. It's what a man did. You get up, you put on your boots, and you work hard.” John C. Reilly
"Chicago ain’t no sissy town." Michael Hinky Dink Kenna
“Why do people resist [engines, bridges, and cities] so? They are symbols and products of the imagination, which is the force that ensures justice and historical momentum in an imperfect world, because without imagination we would not have the wherewithal to challenge certainty, and we could never rise above ourselves.” Mark Helprin, Winter's Tale
“Chicago is an October sort of city even in spring.” ―Nelson Algren
“Cities have always offered anonymity, variety, and conjunction, qualities best basked in by walking: one does not have to go into the bakery or the fortune-teller's, only to know that one might. A city always contains more than any inhabitant can know, and a great city always makes the unknown and the possible spurs to the imagination.” Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking
Well, that's what I heard. Cool people don't live there (in New York) anymore, They all live here. In Chicago.” Joe Meno, Office Girl
“Love wishes to perpetuate itself. Love wishes for immortality.” Mortimer Adler , Chicagoan
Men who sunk the pilings and mixed the mortar are laid in graves where the wind whistles a wild song without words .
And so are men who strung the wires and fixed the pipes and tubes and those who saw it rise floor by floor.
Souls of them all are here, even the hod carrier begging at back doors hundreds of miles away and the bricklayer who went to state’s prison for shooting another man while drunk.Carl Sandburg Chicago Poems
"The people of Chicago are a proud people - and for good reason." Jane Byrne
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of big shoulders."
Carl Sandburg, "Chicago,"
“Work is about a search for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor; in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying.” Studs Terkel
"Chicago will give you a chance. The sporting spirit is the spirit of Chicago." Lincoln Steffens
“I am stone and steel of your sleeping numbers;
I remember all you forget.
I will die as many times
as you make me over again.”
― Carl Sandburg, Selected Poems
"Chicago, mistress of the lakes,
Controller of our inland trade,
The freest city of our states,
What wondrous strides thy fame has made!"
Charles Frederick White To Chicago
“Chicago happened slowly, like a migraine. First they were driving through countryside, then, imperceptibly, the occasional town became a low suburban sprawl, and the sprawl became the city.” ― Neil Gaiman, American Gods
"I’m impressed with the people from Chicago. Hollywood is hype. New York is talk. Chicago is work." Michael Douglas
“I feel this is very important for us to have serene buildings because our civilization is chaotic as it is, you see; our whole machine age has brought about a chaos that has to be somehow counterbalanced” Minoru Yamasaki
"Chicago sounds rough to the maker of verse. One comfort we have — Cincinnati sounds worse." Oliver Wendell Holmes
“Having spent a long time in open spaces, whether sea or desert, it is a luxury to be able to take refuge in towns with narrow streets which provide a fragile fortress against the assaults of the infinite. There is such a sense of security against the boundless there, even if the murmur of the wave or the silence of the sands still pursue one through tortuous corridors. The winds, despite their subtle spirits, are themselves lost in the vestibules of this labyrinth and, unable to find a way through, whistle and turn in turbulence like demented dervishes. They will not break through the walls of this den in which life still pulsates in the shadows of humanity's black sun.” Georges Limbour
"Buildings, too, are children of Earth and Sun." Frank Lloyd Wright
"I love Chicago; it is unique in the world. So much intellect, so many artistic voices - it has fantastic potential." Jerome Sans
"Here is the difference between Dante, Milton, and me. They wrote about hell and never saw the place. I wrote about Chicago after looking the town over for years and years." Carl Sandburg
The American attitude towards efficiency and execution should always underlie architecture.” Helmut Jahn, Chicagoan
“Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning...proud to be Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.” ― Carl Sandburg
“Under the seeming disorder of the old city, wherever the old city is working successfully, is a marvelous order for maintaining the safety of the streets and the freedom of the city. It is a complex order. Its essence is intricacy of sidewalk use, bringing with it a constant succession of eyes. This order is all composed of movement and change, and although it is life, not art, we may fancifully call it the art form of the city and liken it to the dance — not to a simple-minded precision dance with everyone kicking up at the same time, twirling in unison and bowing off en masse, but to an intricate ballet in which the individual dancers and ensembles all have distinctive parts which miraculously reinforce each other and compose an orderly whole. The ballet of the good city sidewalk never repeats itself from place to place, and in any once place is always replete with new improvisations.” Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities
“Chicago's one of the rare places where architecture is more visible.” Frank Gehry.
“We depend on our surroundings obliquely to embody the moods and ideas we respect and then to remind us of them. We look to our buildings to hold us, like a kind of psychological mould, to a helpful vision of ourselves. We arrange around us material forms which communicate to us what we need — but are at constant risk of forgetting what we need — within. We turn to wallpaper, benches, paintings and streets to staunch the disappearance of our true selves.” Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
Chicago is the Great American City, and it was really great to live there during a time of economic expansion and opportunity and growth. I felt like I was living at the center of the world. John Green
“So he bought tickets to the Greyhound and they climbed, painfully, inch by inch and with the knowledge that, once they reached the top, there would be one breath-taking moment when the car would tip precariously into space, over an incline six stories steep and then plunge, like a plunging plane. She buried her head against him, fearing to look at the park spread below. He forced himself to look: thousands of little people and hundreds of bright little stands, and over it all the coal-smoke pall of the river factories and railroad yards. He saw in that moment the whole dim-lit city on the last night of summer; the troubled streets that led to the abandoned beaches, the for-rent signs above overnight hotels and furnished basement rooms, moving trolleys and rising bridges: the cagework city, beneath a coalsmoke sky.” Nelson Algren, Never Come Morning
All cities are mad: but the madness is gallant. All cities are beautiful, but the beauty is grim. Christopher Morley
"We all become great explorers during our first few days in a new city, or a new love affair". Mignon McLaughlin
“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities
Towered cities please us then,
And the busy hum of men.
John Milton, L'Allegro.
“In the Big City large and sudden things happen. You round a corner and thrust the rib of your umbrella into the eye of your old friend from Kootenai Falls. You stroll out to pluck a Sweet William in the park -- and lo! bandits attack you -- you are ambulanced to the hospital -- you marry your nurse; are divorced -- get squeezed while short on U. P. S. and D. O. W. N. S. -- stand in the bread line -- marry an heiress, take out your laundry and pay your club dues -- seemingly all in the wink of an eye.... The City is a sprightly youngster, and you are red paint upon its toy, and you get licked off.” O. Henry, "The Complete Life of John Hopkins"
“Architecture is a visual art, and the buildings speak for themselves.” Julia Morgan
"At first I didn't cotton to Mies's Lake Shore Drive towers in Chicago, but when I went there and saw how they come down on the slab of one-and-seven-eighths-inch thick travertine, I turned around. I think that was an incredible statement of modesty and power…It was so subtle, understated and powerful as hell” Frank Gehry
“The mother art is architecture. Without an architecture of our own we have no soul of our own civilization.” Frank Lloyd , Oak Park.
“I think there is a new awareness in this 21st century that design is as important to where and how we live as it is for museums, concert halls and civic buildings.” Daniel Libeskind
"The most beautiful modern city in the world is Chicago."
“Architecture is the will of an epoch translated into space.”
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
“There is no society ever discovered in the remotest corner of the world that has not had something that we would consider the arts. Visual arts - decoration of surfaces and bodies - appears to be a human universal.”
“The more successfully a city mingles everyday diversity of uses and users in its everyday streets, the more successfully, casually (and economically) its people thereby enliven and support well-located parks that can thus give back grace and delight to their neighborhoods instead of vacuity.” Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities
“… with visual arts, you have some really cool, wonderful striking images that make you think and then again you have wonderful striking images that just take you away from the existing world for a second. And I like the latter a bit more.” Ville Valo.
“I came sudden, at the city’s edge,
On a blue burst of lake,
Long lake waves breaking under the sun
On a spray-flung curve of shore;
And a fluttering storm of gulls,
Masses of great gray wings
And flying white bellies
Veering and wheeling free in the open. “
The Harbor, Carl Sandburg Chicago Poems.
“What is one to think of those fools who tell one that the artist is always subordinate to nature? Art is in harmony parallel with nature.”
“A great building must begin with the unmeasurable, must go through measurable means when it is being designed and in the end must be unmeasurable.” Louis Kahn
“The great trains howling from track to track all night. The taut and telegraphic murmur of ten thousand city wires, drawn most cruelly against a city sky. The rush of city waters, beneath the city streets. The passionate passing of the night's last El.” ― Nelson Algren, Never Come Morning
“All architecture is great architecture after sunset; perhaps architecture is really a nocturnal art, like the art of fireworks.” Gilbert K. Chesterton
"I warn you, Jedediah, you’re not going to like it in Chicago. The wind comes howling in off the lake and gosh only knows if they ever heard of lobster Newburg." Orson Welles as Citizen Kane
"Maybe we can show government how to operate better as a result of better architecture. Eventually, I think Chicago will be the most beautiful great city left in the world." Frank Lloyd Wright
“I love Chicago. I lived there briefly for three months and kept a boat under one of those space-age buildings. It was very Jetsons.” Candace Bushnell
“The greatest products of architecture are less the works of individuals than of society; rather the offspring of a nation's effort, than the inspired flash of a man of genius...” Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
“When there were fears about the future of this nation’s older cities… when a few of the cities teetered on the brink of bankruptcy, all eyes were focused on Chicago for contrast." Mayor Jane Byrne
"The object of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create a reality of the same intensity."Alberto Giacometti
“How soon country people forget. When they fall in love with a city it is forever, and it is like forever. As though there never was a time when they didn't love it. The minute they arrive at the train station or get off the ferry and glimpse the wide streets and the wasteful lamps lighting them, they know they are born for it. There, in a city, they are not so much new as themselves: their stronger, riskier selves.”
Toni Morrison, Jazz
“...a city that was to live by night after the wilderness had passed. A city that was to forge out of steel and blood-red neon its own peculiar wilderness.” ― Nelson Algren, Chicago: City on the Make
"Chicago is a city of contradictions, of private visions haphazardly overlaid and linked together. If the city was unhappy with itself yesterday-and invariably it was-it will reinvent itself today." Pat Colander A Metropolis of No Little Plans
"It is the pervading law of all things organic, and inorganic, of all things physical and metaphysical, of all things human and all things super-human, of all true manifestations of the head, of the heart, of the soul, that the life is recognizable in its expression, that form ever follows function. This is the law."—1896 essay "The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered" Louis Sullivan, Chicagoan
“Every building is a prototype. No two are alike.” Helmut Jahn, Chicagoan
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities;
Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness,
Building, breaking, rebuilding,
Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with white teeth,
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs,
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never lost a battle,
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse. and under his ribs the heart of the people,
Carl Sandburg, Chicago
“Cities are never random. No matter how chaotic they might seem, everything about them grows out of a need to solve a problem. In fact, a city is nothing more than a solution to a problem, that in turn creates more problems that need more solutions, until towers rise, roads widen, bridges are built, and millions of people are caught up in a mad race to feed the problem-solving, problem-creating frenzy.” Neal Shusterman, Downsiders
“By day the skyscraper looms in the smoke and sun and has a soul. Prairie and valley, streets of the city, pour people into it and they mingle among its twenty floors and are poured out again back to the streets, prairies and valleys. It is the men and women, boys and girls so poured in and out all day that give the building a soul of dreams and thoughts and memories.” Skyscraper, Carl Sandburg, Chicago Poems.
"A facade of skyscrapers facing a lake and behind the facade, every type of dubiousness." E. M. Forster
“Great buildings that move the spirit have always been rare. In every case they are unique, poetic, products of the heart.” Arthur Erickson
JACK was a swarthy, swaggering son-of-a-gun.
He worked thirty years on the railroad, ten hours a day, and his hands were tougher than sole leather.
Carl Sandburg,Chicago Poems
"Chicago seems a big city instead of merely a large place." A. J. Liebling, first to designate Chicago "The Second City," 1949
“The American city should be a collection of communities where every member has a right to belong. It should be a place where every man feels safe on his streets and in the house of his friends. It should be a place where each individual’s dignity and self-respect is strengthened by the respect and affection of his neighbors. It should be a place where each of us can find the satisfaction and warmth which comes from being a member of the community of man. This is what man sought at the dawn of civilization. It is what we seek today”. President Lyndon B. Johnson, speech to Congress, Mar. 2, 1965
I like the roar of cities. In the mart,
Where busy toilers strive for place and gain,
I seem to read humanity's great heart,
And share its hopes, its pleasures, and its pain.
Ella Wheelr Wilcox “The City”
"In the twilight, it was a vision of power." Upton Sinclair, The Jungle
“They can print statistics and count the populations in hundreds of thousands, but to each man a city consists of no more than a few streets, a few houses, a few people. Remove those few and a city exists no longer except as a pain in the memory, like a pain of an amputated leg no longer there.” Graham Greene, Our Man in Havana.“Imagine what a harmonious world it could be if every single person, both young and old shared a little of what he is good at doing.”
Quincy Jones, Chicagoan
Spelled in electric fire on the roof are words telling miles of houses and people where to buy a thing for money. The sign speaks till midnight.
“...a city that was to live by night after the wilderness had passed. A city that was to forge out of steel and blood-red neon its own peculiar wilderness.” Nelson Algren, Chicago: City on the Make
“You can't understand a city without using its public transportation system.” Erol Ozan
COME you, cartoonists,
Hang on a strap with me here
At seven o’clock in the morning
On a Halsted street car.
Halsted Street Car, Carl Sandburg Chicago Poems
“If I could just go for a walk. If I could just look at buildings again, and smell that Lake Michigan, I'd give a million." Al Capone from prison.
“Architecture is about public space held by buildings.” Richard Rogers.
"Going to Chicago was like going out of the world…" Muddy Waters
“The city as a center where, any day in any year, there may be a fresh encounter with a new talent, a keen mind or a gifted specialist-this is essential to the life of a country. To play this role in our lives a city must have a soul-a university, a great art or music school, a cathedral or a great mosque or temple, a great laboratory or scientific center, as well as the libraries and museums and galleries that bring past and present together. A city must be a place where groups of women and men are seeking and developing the highest things they know.” Margaret Mead
GOOD-BY now to the streets and the clash of wheels and locking hubs,
The sun coming on the brass buckles and harness knobs.
The muscles of the horses sliding under their heavy haunches,
Good-by now to the traffic policeman and his whistle,
The smash of the iron hoof on the stones,
All the crazy wonderful slamming roar of the street—
O God, there’s noises I’m going to be hungry for.
Carl Sandburg, Chicago Poems.