Move over NYC, make room for Chicago





Uh, what about Chicago?

Although I’m technically from northwest Indiana and not Chicago, I root for the Bears, run on Central time, vote blue and spend my weekends exploring the city, so I take offense to this lack of acknowledgment.

For some inexplicable reason, Chicago always takes the backseat when it comes to discussing America’s best cities, even though it meets all the requirements of being the perfect big city.  Diverse culture? Check. Shopping? Check. Beach? Check.

Not unlike New York City, Chicago is bursting at its seams to represent cultures from around the world. Chinatown, Devon Avenue and Greektown are microcosms of China, India and Greece; Boystown is the core of the city’s GLBT culture; and Bucktown, Wicker Park and Lincoln Park appeal to young urban professionals who keep all of the swanky boutiques and trendy restaurants in business.

New York City might be home to some of the greatest chefs in the country, but we have our fair share of gustatory geniuses, too. Stephanie Izard, who recently opened her new restaurant Girl and the Goat, won season 4 of Top Chef. .  

Alinea, Chef Grant Achatz’s restaurant in Lincoln Park, was ranked No. 7 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, also making it North America’s highest-rated restaurant.  

On occasion we steal the limelight from New York City, but it never lasts more than 15 minutes. We have the hugely popular music festival Lollapalooza so we’re clearly not lagging behind in the rock/hipster scene. And, of course, we can’t forget about the Taste of Chicago because there’s nothing more American than eating all day.
 
But even President Barack Obama doesn’t have enough pull to transform Chicago from a Plain Jane to a buxom bombshell.

Although President Obama traveled all the way to Copenhagen to persuade officials to name Chicago as the host city for the 2016 Summer Olympics, Rio de Janeiro still won the battle.

First Lady Michelle Obama also tried to bring recognition to the Windy City by donning designs by Chicago-based fashion designer Maria Pinto, but it didn’t exactly work, since the much-publicized Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is still happening in NYC.

It’s disappointing that Chicago isn’t a highly coveted venue for fashion — it boasts the same designer shops and chic department stores as New York City, but never garners the same prestige.

And when you’ve gone insane after shopping at those lavish stores all day and still haven’t made it to the second half of Michigan Avenue, there’s somewhere to cool off about five minutes away. For free.

Even though it’s not necessary for a great city to have a beach, Chicago still does. Lake Michigan doesn’t exactly have the gnarliest of waves, but it’s still a sufficient pond for our boats to cruise in and our planes to soar over like in the annual Air & Water Show.

The bottom line is, New York City is over-crowded, over-priced and, generally, over-hyped. Although I have to admit that Chicago’s sales tax is a whopping 9.75%, while New York City is a bit lower at 8.75%. Chicago and New York City are essentially the same type of city; Chicago is just the cleaner, smaller version.

I don’t expect the tacky ‘I Heart NY’ shirts and Statue of Liberty headwear to disappear anytime soon, and I don’t even really want it to. I just want NYC to shift its big butt a little bit to the right so Chicago can have a seat on the throne, too. I think it’s safe to say that it’s long overdue.


E-mail: pkansal@indiana.edu

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