Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Sunday, July 14

Gapers Block

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$475 million dollars never felt so good.

I'm sure it'd be much better if that money was in my bank account, but when it's $475 million dollars for the people of Chicago, it's pretty damn good. Over the last four years, we've been reading, hearing and digesting little tidbits about what Millennium Park would hold in store when it eventually opened. Famous names started to be dropped, Gehry, Kapoor and Plensa. Daley was pulling out all the stops on this one. Finally, Chicago would have a Gehry! Add in London artist Anish Kapoor and Spanish artist Jaume Plensa to the Canadian born-American naturalized master architect and you have a space that now reflects this city's diversity.

I've been to the park twice in three days. And I want to keep going. Millennium Park is truly a vision of the future — shiny metallic surfaces everywhere, complex latticework, architectural wonders and yet it all feels so human. It makes us realize that the taste of the future that we keep putting further out there is actually present, in the here and now.

Watching the kids run through Crown Fountain wet with glee, as if this were the beach and not smack dab downtown, makes me smile. And I know why: it makes me feel like a kid again. And if I didn't have to look a little presentable on the way home, I'd be right in there, running around getting wet. In fact, there were plenty of adults who had hiked up their pants or had come in shorts, walking through and around the fountain.

Cloud Gate, or as it's being commonly referred to, the Big Bean, is Anish Kapoor's contribution. It doesn't do much except look like a huge metallic bean — or the spaceship from The Flight of the Navigator. But you're magnetically drawn to it, its remarkably reflective surface mirroring the city back at you, extending the landscape and the vastness. Here lies its magic — you're reflected back at yourself with the city that you live in as your backdrop. I could go on and on but really, you have to do it yourself.

Gehry's Pritzker Pavillion is remarkable. While not one of his classic works (the actual "folds" are just OK), the spider web-like overhead that covers the main grounds and the seats is jaw-dropping. Here is a vision of the future. And yet on the outside, it's just a space where music will be played and where people will sit and eat and relax.

But that's the point, isn't it?

Like I said, $475 million never felt so good.
- Nazarin Hamid

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About the Author(s)

Photographers in this Photo Essay are Audrey Nagelberg, Jesica Davis, Archie Florcruz, Howard Wolinsky and Nazarin Hamid. They all have websites.

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