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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Monday, April 15

Gapers Block

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Andrew / September 9, 2005 11:10 AM

I find the whole concept kind of odd -- are these things really wonders on par with, say, the Piramids? If it's ubiquitous, like the Chicago style hot dog, is it really that wonderous?

That said, my list, in no particular order:

- The Sears Tower
- O'Hare Airport
- The Art Institute's collection
- The Chicago River on St. Patrick's Day
- Streeterville -- some of the most expensive land in the city was once under Lake Michigan
- The El
- Lake Michigan

waleeta / September 9, 2005 11:13 AM

1. The people. I love Chicagoans. Seriously, all of you.

Everything else can (apparently) go down with a hurricane. Although our lakefront is pretty cool....

Brian / September 9, 2005 11:27 AM

85 Bears

e_five / September 9, 2005 11:31 AM

The Parks
Art Institute
Michigan Avenue
The El
Navy Pier

charlie d / September 9, 2005 11:33 AM

wonder bread......that's from here right?

It's a wonder they get to call it bread!

Pedro / September 9, 2005 11:36 AM

The Lakefront
The Democratic Machine
Reversing the flow of the river
The skyscraper

j / September 9, 2005 11:37 AM

It's sad to say that they're gone but the Belmont lakefront rocks where so many declarations of love were forever etched into limestone captured the ability of such a tough city to tattoo its softer side onto the heart of what makes Chicago; the lakefront.

paul / September 9, 2005 11:37 AM

I have the most darling finger (it's slightly crooked).

Really a first rate attraction!

P.s. By crooked, I don't mean like George Ryan.

pat / September 9, 2005 11:46 AM

Here's my Seven Wonders, in no particular order...

*The defunct petting zoo at Indian Boundary Park
*The fact that there's a statue of Grant in Lincoln Park, and a statue of Lincoln in Grant park.
*The numbering system for Harold's Chicken Shacks
*The "Dibs" system of parking spot saving
*The Empire Carpet Guy
*The proliferation of the brown "Honorary" street signs (leaves you wondering exactly what street you're on)
*The myriad pronounciations of the street named Goethe

daniel / September 9, 2005 11:48 AM

The Methane emitting garbage piles of the Southeast side. It like they are alive!

mike / September 9, 2005 12:11 PM

In no order of importance:

- Our sunsets
- The unique wide open canyon that the river creates in the middle of downtown
- Our tolerance of corruption and happy willingness to pay pay pay to enrich the cronies of our "public servants."
- Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was invented here. So were roller skates.
- Our park system
- Our lakefront
- The Blommer Chocolate Company, of course

Stephen / September 9, 2005 12:16 PM

  • The chocolate smell.
  • Daniel Burnham.
  • Robie House.
  • Chicago-style pizza.
  • The Chicago Board of Trade.
  • Wintertime folding-chair "dibs" parking system.
  • The street grid.

Wild Hoss / September 9, 2005 12:19 PM


JP / September 9, 2005 12:21 PM

I am hoping for major brownie points or whatever the male equivalent is.

I think the size of my new boyfriends bing bong is definitely one of Chicago's great wonders. I am sure anyone in earshot of my bedroom can attest to this : )

Ann-Marie / September 9, 2005 1:05 PM

Is everyone forgetting Garfield Park?

Mac / September 9, 2005 1:16 PM

The Empty Bottle
Big Black
The Jesus Lizard
My friends
The Ginormous Murderous tax--9%, Holy crap!

e-dub / September 9, 2005 1:21 PM

--Hot Doug's
--Ravenswood Ave - best route north there is
--Upper Deck Box at Wrigley
--Trotters - forget the car payment for a month and go there just once
--Any bar where 'beer' is in Spanish or Polish on the sign
--An electric guitar, a three-piece, and a backbeat
--The legacy of Superior Life Insurance, the Chicago Defender, etc.

Erica / September 9, 2005 1:28 PM

These are not really important in the big scheme of things, but I'm glad they're unique to us

The Lakeshore bikepath
Grant Park
Boulevard System
Carbon and Carbide buidling
The museums
The El
Our gyros, tamales, hot dogs and pizza
Turrets ... love the turrets
The paleta man

jen / September 9, 2005 1:30 PM

the boulevard system and the parks they were built to connect. the old homes along the boulevards, and many pockets of beautiful homes in wicker park (pierce ave.) and lincoln park.

Cinnamon / September 9, 2005 1:39 PM

Gapers Block (the word and the site)
the word "jag-off" makes me laugh everytime I hear it

Otherwise, the view of downtown during sunset while riding the Orange Line north. It's made me cry because it's so beautiful.

The ability to take a world-wide culinary tour within a few mile radius.

elena / September 9, 2005 2:12 PM

- Redmoon and their wondrous spectacles
- Hull House: a wonder that it was ever created and that it continued to exist for so long
- every mutual aid society and ethnic community organization that exists here; who will ever know how many refugees, exiles, and defenseless people in desperate circumstances they have helped? We would never have all our cultural (and culinary) diversity without them.
- the Newberry library's map collection
- the University of Chicago's Regenstein Library
- Alan Stringfellow's collages
- Margaret Burroughs and the DuSable Museum

born country / September 9, 2005 2:22 PM


paul / September 9, 2005 2:37 PM

I'm gonna have to nominate Peter Francis Geraci.

jennifer / September 9, 2005 3:07 PM

The unchanged since the 70s Victory Auto Wreckers commercial.

Em / September 9, 2005 3:11 PM

The Art Institute's phenomenal collection

The Pill - invented in the 'burbs, but still

Burnham's Plan - bang-on visionary, 100 years ahead of its time

Marshall Field's on State - the Socratic form of retail heaven

...and the biggest of all:

The Mayors Daley - if their legacy of benevolent dictatorship isn't a wonder, I don't know what is

loir / September 9, 2005 4:16 PM

The thrift stores

Mr. Bendo, and the fact that a giant white guy wielding a bent metal pole still exists on west Grand Ave.

all of the muffler shops with their little robot pals made from auto parts

all hand painted and creatively lettered signs

Riis Park sledding hill when it's covered with ice in January. You can get airborne.

Healthy Foods Diner, though they went down a notch when they got rid of the old neon sign.

La Leche League started here, and changed the world one breastfed baby at a time

e_five / September 9, 2005 4:18 PM

Block 37
"There's another train immediately following."
Condo Conversion
Linclon Towing
Meigs Field
Snow Route Parking Restrictions

Leelah / September 9, 2005 4:48 PM

I've never been there, but I nominate Moo and Oink.

Steve / September 9, 2005 6:04 PM

The menu at the Lincoln Restaurant.

And Hala Kahiki. (Technically River Grove, but c'mon!)

And that loooooong tendril of Chicago that stretches out to include O'Hare, and that helps create a situation in which two suburbs are completely surrounded by Chicago.

mike-ts / September 9, 2005 6:53 PM

- Marshall Field's at Christmas time
- the huge, ancient-looking, mysterious, and rather fragrant Field Museum, when viewed as a grade schooler on a field trip
- the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, and the organ play from Wrigley Field, when experienced from Clark Street outside of the park. The unexpected surprise of Serious Baseball Sounds makes them more vivid than when you're inside watching it all.
- Bike the Drive - eight lanes of only the sound of derailleur click, cassette spin, and bicycle tire hum, for an entire Sunday morning on a major thoroughfare
- driving down LSD on a windy day, watching the waves crash into the shore
- the bbq'ed sausage and beer smell of a weekend fest
- passing time on a jammed Ryan highway on a sweltering Friday early afternoon with a Ferro's Italian ice and WHPK's rasta and reggae on the radio
- the micro puff of cool air just before the subway train comes to the platform

Chris / September 9, 2005 8:25 PM

The ethnic neighborhoods. The flattest city. One of only a few cities with two baseball teams.

K. / September 9, 2005 9:05 PM

Jay's O-ke-Doke's!

And Harold's Chicken.

Moon / September 9, 2005 10:01 PM

The Merchandise Mart
The Deep Tunnel
The Sears Tower
Argonne National Lab
Fermi Lab
University of Chicago

I'll tell what's BECOMING a wonder - Northwestern Memorial Hospital! Don't ever listen to them cry about money again. What have they built in the past 10 years? 20 high rises in Streeterville? 25? 30? And they are buying the VA properties?

Piedmont / September 10, 2005 12:38 AM

The Magikist signs off the expressways

Mister C / September 10, 2005 3:39 PM

The petting Zoo at Indian Boundary Park is no more? Damn, that was so cool!

I also think in terms of construction and engineering when talking "Wonders", so I would take Moon's list and add:

Wacker Drive- I hope they set up grandstands to view Phase 2 of the reconstruction like they did for the first part.
The Reversing of the River- The "prequel" to Deep Tunnel. I would kill for a tour of some of the Deep Tunnel complex, BTW (the dry parts, of course).
The Raising of The Grade- I love it when the early excavations of Loop construction projects sometimes allow you to see down to the old sidewalks.
The Lakefront Parks- Almost entirely constructed on fill. The ongoing lakefront rehab project is a current wonder, go and find an area where it's happening and check it out.
Millenium Park- In addition to the aestheic value, it's an incredible feat of engineering and construction.
Chicago Style Pizza- A gustatory and engineering feat for the ages!

Brandy / September 10, 2005 10:20 PM

The Chicago Cultural Center/Original Library.
Today, tomorrow, and forever.

Mary Washington / September 11, 2005 2:11 PM

-Lower Wacker Drive
-The Robert Taylor Homes (RIP)
-Wrigleyvill on game days
-The Wicker Park vs. Lincoln Park fights on Craig's List
-5:00 AM bars
-The Sky Way Bridge
-And I often wonder where I can get good bagels in this town.

Moon / September 11, 2005 5:25 PM

Did anyone know that Milwaukee has a Deep Tunnel project?


Didn't they do the cow thing, too?

/Milwaukee is really starting to piss me off :D

Christine / December 9, 2005 12:21 PM

peter francis geraci is also my favorite thing about chicago. he fuckin rocks.

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