Obama Leads Chicago Renaissance
Obama's victory is rubbing off on his home city of Chicago, reporter Jeff Zeleny enthused in a Style piece on Thursday morning, "A New Wind Is Blowing in Chicago."(Zeleny previously followed Obama as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune.)
So long, Crawford, Tex. Even before President-elect Barack Obama takes office in 61 days, effectively crowning Chicago as the site of the Western White House, the city is basking in a moment of triumph that is spilling well beyond the confines of politics.
A bid for the summer Olympics in 2016, which once seemed like a fanciful pitch, suddenly feels far closer to a sure thing. (No, the ban on lobbyists at the White House does not apply to a little presidential persuasion on the International Olympic Committee.)
A spire is finally poised to be placed atop the Trump Tower here, bringing the skyscraper to 1,361 feet, the tallest American building since the Sears Tower was built three decades ago.
A new Modern Wing for the fabled Art Institute is set to open next spring, including a Renzo Piano bridge to Millennium Park, which sat in the distance of Mr. Obama's election night victory speech here.
Yet this moment of renaissance for Chicago is about much more than architecture and athletics. For the first time in the country's history, an American president will call this city home. And as he moves to Washington, a dose of the Chicago mood is sure to follow.
"We're not Little Rock and we're not Texas," said Rick Bayless, a friend of the Obama family, who owns Frontera Grill and is among the city's celebrity chefs. "It's easy to put on your cowboy boots and eat all that barbecue. You can't do that from Chicago. We've got a lot of muscle and it's far too complex of a place for that."