Chicago: Millennium Park

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This public park was originally intended to usher in the millennium, but did not open until July 2004, four years behind schedule.

This was the first tourist attraction I visited when I was in Chicago and being at it made me yearn for a similar space here in my home country.  I loved how such a public space looked so well-maintained and everywhere I looked, families, friends, and even solo souls like me were enjoying ourselves just by being in the park’s gardens, or looking at its attractions, etc.

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Cloud Gate
Perhaps the park’s most popular feature.  This public sculpture by Anich Kapoor is also known as The Bean because well, it’s shaped like a bean.

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When I was there, it was always crowded with tourists keen on taking their photos on this cloud that has unique reflective properties.  Its elliptical shape also distorts and twists reflected images.

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Inspired by liquid mercury, the Cloud Gate also reflects Chicago’s skyline.

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 Jay Pritzker Pavilion
This is Millennium Park’s centerpiece.  Designed by Frank Gehry and named after major donor Jay Pritzker, this bandshell has 4,000 fixed seats, plus additional seating for 7,000.  Amazing.

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The pavilion hosts the city’s major events, music series, physical fitness activities, etc.

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Crown Fountain
Named in honor of Chicago’s Crown family, Crown Fountain was designed by artist Jaume Plensa and executed by Krueck and Sexton Architects.  It is made up of a black granite reflecting pool placed between a pair of transparent glass brick towers that use light-emitting diodes behind the bricks to display digital videos on featured faces.

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I was amazed at how the faces spouted water and found out that to achieve this effect, each video has a segment where the subject’s lips are puckered, which is then timed to correspond to the spouting water, reminiscent of gargoyle fountains (this happens roughly every five minutes).

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As I was there during summer, the fountain offered people an escape from the summer heat.  Our host told us that come winter, Chicagoans skate here.  *sigh*  I hope someday I get to experience winter.


Lurie Garden
This public garden was designed by Kathryn Gustafson, Piet Oudolf, and Robert Israel.

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Pardon the photo quality.  It was too sunny and the glare of the sun prevented me from clearly looking at my camera’s screen so I was not able to adjust the settings.

Still, I’m happy my flower photos turned out well.

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