University of Illinois Chicago (Matthew)

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    Reflections on a Snow Day in the City

    Matthew Messner
    Feb 4, '11 12:47 PM EST

    Very few things can stop the Chicago Machine. We do not experience major earthquakes, hurricanes, mudslides, and the city itself has not had a tornado in it since the 1800's. Perhaps the most major natural occurrence here is the frigid blizzard.

    During and after a major blizzard, even the most prepared urban environs can be frozen still. Tuesday night saw just such an event over a good portion of the Midwest. Thankfully, Chicago did not freak out as bad as everyone on the east coast seems to do every time it snows. (it did freak out a little)

    Chicago loves snow. Even though most cars are still buried and not all of the streets are clear yet. When the snow stopped mid-Wednesday the scene was amazing. As the sidewalks were under a few feet of snow, the streets, that had been plowed for EMTs, were filled with people. Very few cars were able to get out of their parking spots so the streets belonged to all of those that were home for a snow day.

    People constructed snow Sears Towers in their yards, helped others dig out of their home (many doors had 5' drifts up against them), people skied around town, and everyone was taking pictures. The mood was, dare I say, electric. People were in amazingly good moods. Smiles all around.

    Instead of taking the day off of school as a chance to get ahead on school work my friend Tom Harris, an architectural photographer, and I decided to put together a short film on the storm. Most of it is filmed in the Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village area. Enjoy!

    You can check it out on youtube in HD as well.


    • Lian Chikako Chang

      It was similar in Cambridge/Somerville. Yay for snow creating community (and snowpeople)!

      Feb 5, 11 9:43 am  · 
      creativity expert

      my back is still in rehab from shoveling all that damn snow. if only someone would hire me so i could buy a snow blower.

      Feb 6, 11 12:39 am  · 
      vado retro

      there was a heat wave a few years back that killed quite a few people. chicago weather is mild compared to the other side of the lake.

      Feb 8, 11 9:51 am  · 

      Mild? Maybe. And I'm not so sure about that this time. I was out at Lake Michigan at Lincoln Park as the storm rolled through and it was a winter hurricane.

      Chicago is blessed with a Midwestern sensibility about these things and deals with it well. I'm out in DC a week a month and 3-4 inches cripples that city.

      Great video. I was able to capture some awesome photographs both during the storm and after (not to mention thundersnow video!). You can find that here,

      Feb 12, 11 1:16 am  · 

      Very cool images thebldgblock.

      Feb 12, 11 3:11 pm  · 

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