An Oasis in the City: Chicago's Millennium Park
Chicago’s Millennium Park is located off Randolph Street in the downtown district. The location is a gathering place for visitors and locals alike. The park showcases the Cloud Gate sculpture on the AT&T Plaza, the interactive Crown Fountain, Jay Pritzker Pavilion and Lurie Garden.
- Cloud Gate Sculpture: The sculpture was designed by artist, Anish Kapoor, born in Bombay in 1954, but has resided in Britain for many years. The bean-shaped sculpture contains a 12-foot high arch inviting visitors to walk underneath. The polished stainless steel sculpture reflects skyscrapers, clouds and people rushing past with busy lives. The elliptical sculpture weighs approximately 110-tons. The artist derived inspiration for the piece from liquid metal mercury.
- Crown Fountain: A donation of 10 million dollars by the Crown family in addition to other private donations financed the Crown Fountain. Jaume Plensa, an artist from Spain designed the fountain and the architectural firm of Krueck and Sexton along with Crystal Fountains were in charge of the construction process. Twin LED-illuminated glass towers display random faces of Chicago citizens every five minutes. Just before the display changes, the person’s lips pucker and water appears to spout from the mouth of the display. Water cascades down the sides of the glass brick towers with a shallow reflecting pool located between the twin towers. During warm weather, children and the young at heart enjoy playing in the water.
- Jay Pritzker Pavilion: The Jay Pritzker Pavilion dedicated in 2004, is an elaborate amphitheater with a seating capacity for 11,000 with 4,000 fixed seats. The pavilion envelopes over 95,000 square feet. Frank Gehry’s billowing stainless steel masterpiece creates a fluid ceiling over the audience. During the winter months, the stage is surrounded by glass to protect the equipment and musicians from the elements. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion is complete with a state of the art sound system. The Fred Hirsch Trio, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and many others will be performing over Labor Day weekend.
- Lurie Garden: The garden is a 5-acre oasis in the middle of downtown Chicago. The gardens capture the vivid oranges, yellows and reds of the fall season. Snow and ice form crystals on the ornamental grasses during the winter. Flowering bulbs and perennials are seen throughout the garden each spring. The gardens are alive each summer with people exploring nature. The night lights are simply breathtaking over the water in the boardwalk area.
*Photo courtesy of IMG _0780 by Jeff Fudge at Flickr’s Creative Commons.
About NT3RNT RITR
A traveler at heart, the writer enjoys traveling all over the south and hopes to one day expand his destinations.