Chicago – October 2018 – Open House Part 3

Day 3 of touring the city with Open House Chicago started with another building that is not officially part of the tour – Union Station.

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Union Station is in my opinion the second best train station in America (Grand Central Terminal is first, and the Washington Union Station is tied with this one).

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You make a grand entrance down the staircase.

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Past the Corinthian Columns…

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A quick look back up the stairs…

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And you are in the Main Hall.

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Unlike Grand Central, Union Station still has the cool old wooden benches.

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On this early Sunday morning there were about 20 people in the Great Hall, and 15 of us were taking photos.

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The 100-400mm provides close up of the details on the ceilings.

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And the tops of the columns.

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Even the Amtrak ticket office has a good look to it.

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More classic touches.

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While the Amtrak ticket office matched the building this ugly kiosk does not.

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The Amtrak business class lounge is new but matches the look and feel of the rest of the station.

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Across (underneath) Canal Street is another newer section of the station.

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Leaving Union Station we headed down West Jackson Street toward our first official Open House Chicago stop of the day.

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But not before passing this great new addition to downtown Chicago, with a massive map of the Chicago River up the entire side of the building.

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200 West Jackson Street – The Open House Chicago spot was a 28th floor tenant lounge in a recently remodeled building.

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Even though we were on the 28th floor, the Willis/Sears Tower towered over us.

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A collection of south loop buildings.

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Additional south loop buildings.

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Just down the street is the Chicago Board of Trade – one of the classics.

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This is Art Deco at it’s finest.

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We have been here before, but our New York friend had not – what better way to show him what Chicago has than to come into this lobby!

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While minimalist, the elevators are classic Art Deco as well.

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As cool as the lobby is – the basement holds another treat, this massive vault door and safe deposit box room.

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For the really important stuff – a vault inside a vault.

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The security guard/stand up comedian entertained the crowd with his description of the room, and it’s history. He said all he really wanted to be was Hugh Jackman in The Greatest Showman – and I think he could do it. What a hoot, and informative.

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This box is reputed to have belonged to Al Capone.

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to be continued…..

 

 

Pittsburgh – October 2018 – Doors Open Part 4

Doors Open Pittsburgh continues…

 

David Lawrence Convention Center – David Lawrence was one of Pittsburgh’s greatest mayors, leading the ‘Renaissance’ era in the 1950s. He has been honored by having the convention center named after him.

The convention center is built along the Allegheny River at the edge of downtown.

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It features a couple of gardens in an urban space.

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For Doors Open Pittsburgh the highlight was being able to go on the roof.

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The building is interesting but the views from the roof are great.

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Troy Hill

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A telescope with style.

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The north side of Pittsburgh is very hilly, hence the hodgepodge of buildings in no uniform order.

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A railroad bridge across the Allegheny River.

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Detail on the 16th Street Bridge.

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In Pittsburgh you can have a bridge any color you like as long as it is yellow.

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A different angle view of Gateway Center and Mt Washington.

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The Gulf Building – Sadly it was not open for DOP.

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The Pennsylvanian – one more look.

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Benedum Center – The Benedum Center opened in 1927 as the Stanley Theater, which name remained on it until the 1980s. Many rock concerts were held in this classic theater (Bob Marley played his last show here), although by the 1970s numerous modifications had taken away much of it’s classic look.

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That all changed in the 1980s, with a $43 million dollar restoration that returned it to its original look, complete with opulent lobbies.

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The theater seats 2,800 people in elegance.

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Today it is used primarily for the opera.

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The highlights however are the spectacular lighting, especially the main chandelier.

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The additional lighting would be the centerpieces elsewhere, but here they are secondary to the main chandelier.

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Byham Theater – The Byham is a great old theater, opened in 1903 as a vaudeville house. Had we not just been to the Benedum Center, it would’ve seemed more impressive.

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Our final stop – what an amazing weekend in Pittsburgh thanks to Bonnie and her fantastic volunteers, and the buildings who were willing to welcome visitors.

First Presbyterian Church – This church was completed in 1853, replacing another building that had been built on this spot in 1805.

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Downtown Pittsburgh has many impressive churches, and First Presbyterian is second to none.

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Another great pipe organ.

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The most impressive feature (to me) are the massive doors at one end.

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Although many would say the most impressive feature are the massive Tiffany stained glass windows.

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Columbus – September 2018 – Water Lantern Festival

The Scioto River in downtown Columbus was the scene of a ‘Water Lantern Festival’. This festival’s goal is to celebrate life and inspire the human spirit (in a non religious way)

We arrived as the sunset was just beginning to set, which was a treat in and of itself.

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There were lots of people sitting in the promenade writing personal messages on their lanterns.

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People from all walks of life were participating.

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Each had purchased a lantern and a kit to decorate them, along with the candle.

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Some were kind enough to share their messages with me.

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We crossed the river as is continued to get dark for a view with the buildings as the background.

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The Town Street Bridge with it’s subtle lighting.

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The view of the crowd and buildings was magnificent, but we quickly realized the city lights reflecting in the river made it impossible to really pick out the lanterns as the first ones were launched.

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So we returned back across the river and watch the participants bring their lanterns to the shore.

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It was also apparent that most were being pushed along the wall.

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We made our way to the river’s edge where they were being launched.

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It was a beautiful scene,

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Some families sent theirs out in groups.

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Many had message dedicated to people who had passed away, but some were just wishing others, and the world, good will.

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The view from the river level was really cool.

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A large crowd gathered on the Broad Street Bridge to watch.

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The event was to take place a few weeks ago, but that entire weekend it poured rain. This evening was perfect weather.

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From above the wall you can see the candles in each lantern.

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The view from the Town Street Bridge (and with a good zoom) showed the line down the hill, and the previously launched ones.

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The lanterns with lights from a nearby building reflecting in the water.

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It was a peaceful scene, with the music and people enjoying their lanterns with messages of hope or tribute.

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A great ending to a busy Saturday.

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Harrisburg, PA – May 2018 – Pennsylvania State Capital

In our travels we have seen half of the state capitals in America without really trying. Amazingly we had not seen the Pennsylvania state capital, despite having lived in that state for many years. Since we were in the area we stopped by.

We were immediately blown away by how ornate the interior is.

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The walls and ceilings have decoration throughout, with stained glass and other impressive features.

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The rotunda has medallions and lunettes.

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The chambers are equally ornate.

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The rotunda has an amazing ceiling. Who knew Pennsylvania had such an amazing capital.

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Chicago – December 2017 – A Cold Holiday Week

While our visit to Chicago for Christmas wrapped up as one of the coldest ever, it was fantastic. The lights and scenes of the city made being bundled up against the cold worthwhile.

A quick drive over to Burnham Park gave a seasonal perspective of the classic skyline view, minus the boats, but with frozen water instead.

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The Tribune Tower’s Nathan Hale statue was decked out for the season.

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A different view – the Willis (aka Sears) Tower looking north.

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With the extreme cold Lake Michigan iced over in the just few days we were there.

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Meanwhile up at Wrigley Field they had set up a Christmas Market, complete with an ice rink.

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Our final evening was spent walking along the (now frozen as well) Chicago River.

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And a walk along the Magnificent Mile.

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Columbus -December 2016 – Franklin Park Conservatory Holiday Lights

The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a classic old building that has both indoor and outdoor gardens, exhibits, and a glass studio. During the holiday season they have a lighting event called Merry & Bright.

As you make your way through the 4 main indoor garden areas they have interesting lighting casting unusual looks and shadows on the plants. On the way home we stopped by downtown to check out the lights, of which there were few, but the view off the Town Street Bridge was very nice.

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Columbus – December 2016 – Chinese Lantern Festival

This holiday season brought something new to Columbus, the Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival, featuring 39 beautiful lantern displays ranging from a 200 feet long illuminated dragon to glowing tulip-lined walk ways. The lanterns are created by hand using silk fabric, steel frames, and tens of thousands of LED lights.

In addition there were performers displaying amazing balance and skills as they featured traditional Chinese acts featured include: jar balancing, kicking bowls on a rolling board, Chinese face-changing (thoroughly amazing display of slight of hand), martial arts, and umbrella juggling.

This event far exceeded the Wild Lights at the Zoo, and was one of the best light displays I have ever seen.

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