I went to a friend's new apartment yesterday for the first time. The view from his apartment is unlike any in the city. He lives on the second floor of a multi-unit building, but not a large building--one that's about twice the size of where I live. It's at the eastern end of a dead end street in the Rogers Park neighborhood. His living room offers an incredible view of Lake Michigan, which laps at a breakwall just 20 yards away. His porch offers a 180-degree view of the lake and nearby Leone Beach, which is essentially the north end of Loyola Park. He took a risk on a poorly maintained unit and stretched his resources for the rent and the view.
I really hadn't ever spent an evening sitting right next to Lake Michigan in Chicago. It felt like we were hanging out at a weekend home--maybe on the opposite side of Lake Michigan near Saugatuck or something. There was a lot to see there--the lifeguards rowing in after a day at various North Side outposts, kids playing basketball in the park, a guy swimming off the breakwall, the pilings from an ancient pier, lightning flashing over the lake to the north. I saw a few things I had never seen in Chicago before. Two shooting stars. Constellations Cassiopeia and Cepheus. A moth the size of a kinglet. We also saw a killdeer and heard a common nighthawk. It was the kind of experience that had me longing for more interaction with nature here in town--or at least a few more summer evenings on Andy's porch.