Whenever I walk through the Loop, I feel like I am entering a 1940’s photograph.
It isn’t just the architecture or the beautiful emphasis on the beige and stone in the buildings. It isn’t just the steel or the above-ground subway system or the smoke rising from the grates.
It’s the way that the sun hits the side of the buildings, how the windows reflect the sky. It’s the way that the sunlight beams through each avenue, weaving its way through grid after grid of skyscraper. It’s the bustle of commuters and workers and the dawn all merging into one.
Buildings and light make me feel nostalgic for art museums. I still go to them, but as a kid the Art Institute wasn’t an uncommon field trip experience. I got to go much more often than nowadays. The closest that I got to reliving that experience was when I was in London and I had the opportunity to go to the National Portrait Gallery or the British Museum nearly every day.
Buildings and light make me especially feel nostalgic for learning about Edward Hopper. I remember first learning about Night Hawks in school and then when I saw the real deal, that was it. The starkness in each painting was prolific. The seemingly simplicity was, in reality, shaded and layered. It may just seem like a woman looking out of a window sitting in a coffee shop, but just think – what is she wondering about?
These feelings can be found in Chicago. The buildings, tall and brown and the sun hitting against the edges to cast shadows onto the pavement. Finding a coffee shop and sitting at the window table and watching the rest of the world walk by.
The song that I feel compliments these variations of rumination is Dancing’s Done by Thumpers. The percussion, the trickling notes, the layered vocals. It’s breathless and impactful all at once. Simple yet complex. And it makes looking at the start sunbeam-lit building all the more beautiful as the morning comes into fruition.