Quoting an article that is appearing in tomorrow’s Sun Times. In it the Mayor of San Francisco is describing why San Francisco must emulate what Chicago has done. Why what Mayor Daley has accomplished is so exceptional it is turning the heads of Mayors all around the country. You can read it all here, but here a few key quotes of why people come and enjoy Chicago so much:
They're drawn not to the classic symbols of old Chicago, such as Wrigley Field or the Art Institute, but to such vivid new landmarks as Millennium Park, a 24.5-acre gathering place that attracts residents and tourists. They're captivated by the manicured streets and sidewalks that transformed once-gritty stretches of this city into urbane green paths.
"When you walk the streets of Chicago, it enlivens the spirit," Newsom said. "The intangibles are evoked. There's a spirit of pride and community."
He is describing such sights as the ornate stone railings along the Chicago River, part of the new mile-long Riverwalk Gateway that brings Chicagoans closer to the south bank of the waterway. Or Millennium Park attractions like "Cloud Gate," an enormous, bean-shaped sculpture of polished stainless steel that already is a staple of postcards.
This vitality also is leaving marks on the city's fabled skyline. Twenty-one towers taller than 50 stories are in the works, most of them for downtown's growing residential population; within two blocks of Millennium Park, five newcomers will exceed 55 stories.
"I don't think there's any similarity between the two cities as it relates to how you can govern," said former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown. "San Francisco's about process, totally. In Chicago, the process begins and ends with results."
Considering the self-image of a city celebrated by poet Carl Sandburg as "proud to be alive and coarse and strong," not everyone was impressed. There also was snickering when Daley confessed to Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin that "I enjoy Martha Stewart, all her books and, uh, everything else."
But Daley didn't flinch. Now, Chicago has 73 linear miles of medians that stretch like tentacles from the city's high-profile core of the Loop and North Michigan Avenue, leading to such incongruous sights as beds of black-eyed Susans across from auto body shops and the Erotic Warehouse on West Randolph Street.
What Chicago demonstrates is the ripple effect of physical change. When promising initiatives take root -- literally, in some cases -- it raises expectations of what streets, parks and buildings should offer in terms of appearance and environmental sensitivity.
I have lived all over the world, Far East, South America and Europe. I think these places are very beautiful. But in my opinion there is no city in the WORLD that I know of any more beautiful than Chicago is today. I’m so happy to be here.