No, not the TV show … the City.
For the first time in 11 years, I’m celebrating my birthday at home. I’ve been globetrotting for some time but now I’m back. And in honor of this amazing city — that I’ve always called “my heart” because it’s more than just “my home” — I’ve compiled a list of the 9 most awesomest things about it:
9. Easiest city to navigate … All the streets run north/south and east/west. Most intersections are “T” grids. Some streets you can literally take from one side of the city and in an hour reach the other side. If you get lost in Chicago then I don’t know what to tell you.
8. #SummertimeChi … If you are bored in Chicago in the summer you must be from Green Bay. #SummertimeChi is not only a popular hashtag, or line in a song, it’s a way of life. Every single summer weekend there’s something to do (and the weekends begin on Thursday). From the music festivals (Pitchfork, Lolla, Riot, AAHH) to the art festivals in Old Town and Hyde Park, everybody from Howard to Austin to the wild-100s are out and about enjoying them. Then there’s the annual Jazz, Gospel and Blues fest down in Grant Park. And if you want something to satisfy your stomach, there’s always a food festival going on. You’ve got:
- May: Italian Beef Festival … Oh mio Dio!
- June: Puerto Rican festival in Humboldt Park
- August: Tacos & Tamales Festival in Pilsen
- August: Festa Italiana on Taylor Street … I’m a be there!
- August: Hot Sauce Fest in Avondale
- There’s so much more: Chicago Food Festivals & Chicago Music Festivals
7. Conscious Rap … Chicago is known for conscious rap. We’ve never had a distinctive “sound” in hip hop but our lyrics have always pushed listeners to think intelligently about the world around them. Common’s The Corner, Kanye’s Crack Music, Lupe’s All Black Everything, Chance’s Blessings, the list goes on and on and on. And please note that when I say “Kanye” I’m talking pre-Yeezus Kanye … when he was just a humble kid from Oak Lawn making 5 beats a day for 3 summers. Nonetheless, I’m so proud of the hip hop we produce. (***I say “we” like I’m in the studio laying tracks, Ha!***)
6. Sports … Do I really need to go there?!?!?!?! Yes. Yes I do.
George Halas, Dick Butkus, Walter Payton, Mike Ditka, Buddy Ryan, Da Defense, Da ’85 Bears, The Super Bowl Shuffle, The Chicago Stadium, BJ Armstrong, Bill Cartwright, Horace Grant, John Paxson, Michael Jordan, Michael Jordan, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Tony Kukoc, Luc Longely, Steve Kerr, Phil Jackson, ’91, ’92, ’93, ’96, ’97, ’98, burning cars, 35th & Wentworth, Ozzie Guillen, Kenny Williams, Jerry Reinsdorf, Rick Hahn, Paul Konerko, AJ Pierzynski, Scotty Pods, Jon Garland, Mark Buehrle, Sweaty Freddy, Jose Contreras, Johnny Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Duncan Keith, Dustin Byfuglien, Brandon Saad, Joel Quenneville, Joe Maddon, Theo Epstein, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Dexter Fowler, Javy Baez …
Do I need to continue?!
Yes. Yes I do.
Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, D-Wade, Thib Thib, Anthony Davis, Jabari Parker, Coach K, Doc Rivers, Chris Chelios, Eddie Olczyk, Shani Davis and last but not least Kirby Puckett.