About Margaret Hicks

I'm Margaret. I'm an author, a tour guide, a traveler and a whole bunch of fun.

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The Chicago Pedway as Neighborhood

People often say that Chicago is a city of neighborhoods. Something I’ve been mulling over with tourees on the Pedway Tour is that the Pedway (our underground walkway) is not just a place to move through, but that the Pedway itself is one of our neighborhoods. Chicago, depending on who you ask, has 77 distinct neighborhoods. Well, I’m calling it 78 neighborhoods.

The American Planning Association has a list of qualifications as to what makes a great neighborhood. Now I’m not saying that the Pedway is a GREAT neighborhood, but I think from these questions we can see that it is, indeed, a neighborhood

I’m including ONLY the Pedway in this, but I’m also including it’s connection to great buildings, transit and all of that just as if it was a sidewalk or a neighborhood street.

Does it:

Accommodate multiple users and provide access (via walking, bicycling, or public transit) to multiple destinations that serve its residents.

Most definitely the Pedway does this. It’s origin point is the connection between the Blue Line and Red Line at Washington. It also connects all of the elevated lines and it connects to the South Shore Metra.  Obvs it provides access via walking and there is a guy in who rides his electric scooter up and down under Macy’s, so there are multiple forms of travel even in the Pedway itself.

Foster social interaction and create a sense of community and neighborliness?

You bet! In the neighborhood where I live I wave to the taco guy every day. I don’t know his name or much about his life, but it’s this great urban neighborhood relationship, EVERY TIME I walk by the taco guy, we wave to each other and in all honesty, it’s one of the best relationships I have, heh. It’s the same way in the Pedway, I have all kinds of friends down there, some I know better than others, but I’m always waving to somebody: the guy who owns the Korean restaurant, Bill the Pedway Musician and the security guard in City Hall who every time I walk by with a group calls me “The Famous Tour Guide.” I love that guy. I love my Pedway friends.

Not a very good pic of my good friend Bill the Pedway Musician.

Promote security from crime and is made safe for children and other users (i.e. traffic calming, other measures)?

The Pedway is safer than the streets, there’s no doubt about it. When I first started the tour, I asked cops about the Pedway because I thought maybe I’d get some great getaway story out of it, not so much, they continually say that nothing ever happens in the Pedway. Each building is responsible for their secure Pedway and buildings in this town are pretty on top of security, so the Pedway itself is really safe. In five years I’ve never felt differently. And traffic calming? That’s it’s whole point. Calmest traffic around! Except for the guy on the electric bike.

Use, protect, and enhance the environment and natural features?

That’s the whole point of the thing, so you bet.  I’m not sure I could argue that it “enhances” the environment but it definitely protects natural features – meaning us.

Reflect the community’s local character and set itself apart from other neighborhoods?

Yes, I think it does. Since the Pedway reflects the buildings it’s underneath, it reflects so many aspects of the city. Just like any neighborhood, there are pretty parts of the Pedway, there are some not so pretty parts of the Pedway. There are icky parts of the Pedway with pretty things in them and pretty parts of the pedway with icky things in them. And it definitely does not look like other parts of the city. It’s distinct alright.

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Has design and architectural features that are visually interesting.

Yes. Yes it does. The stained glass windows in Macy’s are unbelievable – there’s a Tiffany window down there! In the basement of Macy’s for petes sakes, A TIFFANY WINDOW. And of course one of the best parts of the Pedway is how different it is in it’s design and features. That’s the best part, just like the city neighborhoods up above, the Pedway changes from step to step to step.

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The other last great thing about the Pedway is that everyone uses it, all colors, all ages, all classes – everyone is down there. Everyone who’s cool anyway…or warm as the case may be.

 

 

 

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The Holiday Pedway Tour Extravaganza is Back!

TIMES: Starts 12/4 – Thursdays at 4:00PM & Fridays at 10:30AM. Tours are 90 minutes. Cost is 20$ per person.

DESCRIPTION: The Extravaganza is back. Holiday time is upon us!

Come with me as we traverse the Pedway in search of Chicago’s greatest holiday displays. We’ll use the warm and dry Pedway – a series of walkways that run underneath Chicago – to get into the spirit. And the best part is? We never have to go outside.

On this tour you’ll see the beloved Christkrindlemarket and I’ll tell you the saddest Christmas story ever. We’ll sing carols as we walk through urban winter wonderlands and see man-made reindeer drinking out of man-made streams.  We’ll immerse ourselves in the spirited throngs (no, not THONGS!) to see the holiday tree at Macy’s and talk about how Marshall Field tried to bully Montgomery Ward in the battle of the Christmas characters. The decorations at the Cultural Center are as pretty as a picture and we’ll end the tour at the Prudential Building where the lights hang down all around you.

START: 40 W. Lake, corner of Lake and Dearborn. Come inside the “Gallery of Shops” and I’ll meet you right there and I’ll have my fancy red baseball cap on.

FINISH: The Prudential Building – 130 E. Randolph

EXPECTATIONS: This tour is all indoors, kid friendly. About a mile of walking, stairs and escalators (both up and down) included.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS FOR THURSDAYS AT 4:00PM

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS FOR FRIDAYS AT 10:30AM

This tour is also available for corporate outings, company parties or private tours as well, just send me an email at margaret@chicagoelevated.com or call me at 773.593.4873.

For reservations, either click the link below to purchase tickets online, or email me or call me at 773.593.4873 to make reservations over the phone.

 

 

Image from chuckmanchicagonostalgia.wordpress.com
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The Binoculars Tour in the Chicago Tribune!

The Trib did a lovely write-up of the Binoculars Tour, you can read that HERE

DNA Info also did a lovely write-up! You can read that HERE.

WHEE!

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS TO THE BINOCULARS TOUR

 

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The Tilt at the John Hancock Observatory

The Ledge is cool. You’ve heard about The Ledge I’m sure, at the Sears Tower? It just cracked, freaked everyone out, scary Ledge….

It’s scary, the first time I went on The Ledge, I was honestly frightened, it’s quite a sensation to see the whole city beneath your feet. Highly recommend.

And now to flex it’s own structure, the John Hancock Building has introduced a ledge, that tilts.

I’ll admit it, as a tour guide I very often tell people to just go to the Signature Room at the Hancock. Have a drink. Don’t mess with long lines and whatnot, have a drink at the bar, you’ll see what you need to see.

BUT NOW! TILT!

I got to do the Tilt the other night. It was a cloudy, rainy, foggy day. I figured there wouldn’t be too much to see with all the messy weather, of course I was totally wrong and it made for some spectacular views, gorgeous. Chicago is spectacular you know.

I talked to a few people who had tilted, I was really excited to do it! Here’s a pic from the website that shows you how this works a little:

See more photos at: http://www.360chicago.com/tilt/

See more photos at: http://www.360chicago.com/tilt/

I was fine until I was standing there. My hands holding on tight, looking straight down, realizing that at any moment this big box of glass was going to tip forward. Then I got scared – like, truly scared:

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That’s me honestly being afraid.

I’m standing way back from the glass, but some people are right up on it. Then they get you ready for your ride, like at Great America, and they tilt you forward and it is scary!! Omg, it feels wrong, unnatural somehow.

THEN THEY TILT YOU FURTHER.

And I was standing way back, like an “A-hug” where you stand way back when you hug someone? Like that. And I’m making noises, trying to be funny because I’m terrified. I think I said “Nice work Hancock, what the hell is a Ledge anyway?” I heard laughter. I think.

THEN THEY TILT YOU ONE MORE TIME.

And it is really scary. And totally cool.

My favorite thing was looking at the Hancock Building itself, you can see it at the bottom of the photo:

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And then I was done and I was practically crying and begging them to let me back up! But I went back one more time because I was so scared the first time, and it was just as scary the second time!

What a trip, very cool.

Go Tilt, it’s worth it.

 

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