When I first started My Block, My Hood, My City my goal was to take a few teenagers to the top of the Sears (Willis Tower). This weekend, with the support of Chicagoans of different colors, genders, religions, ethnicities and occupations, my team was able to take a group of 19 teenagers downtown to explore the Loop.
Our first stop was Federal Plaza, where we took part in a custom photo tour hosted by Teresa Pike of Tour Through a Lens LLC. Of course we didn’t have DSLR’s, so the explorers used their smart phones to capture the beauty of the Loop. Teresa talked with the explorers about the Flamingo Sculpture in the Federal Plaza, and the buildings that surrounded us. We even went inside of the Marquette Building, one of Chicago’s early steel frame skyscrapers, and is considered to be one of the best examples of Chicago School of architecture. After the exploration I asked Emanuel from Humboldt Park what he learned and he said, “If you know how to use it properly, light can be your greatest ally in picture taking.”
After the photo tour, the explorers piled into Giordano’s for a slice of Chicago’s Finest Deep Dish Pizza. During last month’s exploration of Wicker Park the explorers ate New York Style Pizza at Santullo’s Eatery, I couldn’t wait to hear which Pizza they liked best and why. Alvin from North Lawndale said, “This is Chicago on a plate. The cheese is gooey, the crust is crunchy, and it just tastes better.”
Our final activity was the Sky Deck Ledge at the top of the Willis Tower. At 1,353 feet up, The Ledge’s glass boxes extend out 4.3 feet from the skyscraper’s Skydeck providing never-before-seen views of the city. Most of the explorers stood on the Ledge and got to feel the city from 103 floors over Wacker Drive. A few of the explorers were too scared to step out on the ledge. The minute-long elevator ride was enough for them. Dennis from K-Town said, “We were so high up my phone got roaming charges.”
Thank you to all the people that supported the My Block, My Hood, My City initiative by purchasing T-Shirts and Hoodies. Together we’re creating a more interconnected Chicago.