The great cities of the world are always located on rivers. Paris has the Seine. London the Thames. The Arno in Florence. And here in Chicago, we have a river, simply named for the city that grew up around it. The Chicago River. Nothing fancy. How very Chicago of us.
A city with a river usually means great bridges as well. Chicago has the most moveable bridges of any city in the world. Bridges that can raise and lower, cross the Chicago River 37 times. 18 times alone downtown.
As a Chicagoan, I can tell you we’re so used to them that we only really notice them when they’re up. Most of the time when arriving at one that happens to be pointing into the sky, we do two things. First we groan. Then we try to quickly surmise which what the boat traffic is going, so we can head in the opposite direction to cross the nearest bridge that is in the process of lowering.
But in those times when we’re not trying to get from here to there in the most time-efficient manner, it’s nice to stop and look at these giants, lifting tons of pavement, seeming to defy gravity because of their precise balance.
Great cities. Great rivers. Great bridges.