Sunday, November 16, 2008


Chicago builds itself up, knocks itself down again, scrapes away the rubble, and starts over. European cities destroyed in the war were painstakingly restored. Chicago does not restore; it makes something wildly different. To count on stability here is madness. A Parisian can always see the Paris that was, as it has been for centuries. A Venetian, as long as Venice is not swallowed up in mud, has before him the things his ancestors saw. But a Chicagoan as he wanders about the city feels like a man who has lost many teeth. His tongue explores the gaps - let us see now: Here the Fifty-fifth street car turned into Harper avenue at the end of the trolley line; then the conductor hurried through the car, reversing the cane seats.
- Saul Bellow from "Chicago: the city that was, the city that is"

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