The 106 walkers

When I first saw photos of the massive sculptural installation called Agora, I didn’t much like it. Chicago has so much public sculpture, many by great modernist masters, that I thought Agora would not be high on my list.

Agora, Chicago

Eventually, Agora was the only sculpture I managed to see, apart from the Cloud Gate and the famous lions of the Art Institute. What changed my mind? Meeting up with a very determined eleven year old who led me here early on a Sunday afternoon.

Walking through the sculpture changed my mind. This is a piece you need to interact with. As I walked through the crowd of towering legs, hollow men of rusted iron, I liked the way Magdalena Abakanowicz has used space. Situated at the southern end of Millennium park, on Michigan Avenue and Roosevelt Road, you can look north through the crowd of walkers and see the skyscrapers of downtown Chicago (featured photo). Its a short walk from there to the many attractions of the Museum Park.

What can one do in cold Chicago?

I don’t visit Chicago very often, maybe once in a decade. So there’s a lot of this lively city which I haven’t seen. Now that I have to spend a week there on work, I’m trying to figure out what I can take the time out to see.

The first step: recall what I’ve seen already. The one thing I remember most clearly is a wonderful dinner in Greek Town. At the end of the long dinner I wanted to taste the house-made baklava. I pleaded with the waiter to give me a small piece because I was too full to eat the normal serving, but I was told it was not possible. I got a full large helping, which I had to bag to eat at breakfast in the airport the next day. It’s such a great memory that I don’t want to go back and find something different.

The next thing I definitely remember is the Art Institute. I wandered through it once looking at the incredible collection of Mesoamerican and Andean art. That was the first time I’d seen such a variety of art from this part of the world. I don’t think I’ve seen such a collection ever since then. I might go back to look at it.

It is 33 degrees in Mumbai today, and I see that it is 3 degrees below freezing right now in Chicago! Even if I’m bundled up well, I’m afraid I might find it a little too cold for a few things: walking the lakefront trail, for example. I haven’t seen Anish Kapoor’s "Cloud Gate" (photo above), or Magdalena Abakanowicz’s "Agora". I hope I can acclimatize enough to go see at least one of these pieces of sculpture.

I do plan to visit the Ledge at Sear’s Tower. I’m sure it’ll be fun comparing this experience with standing on the viewing platform of the World Financial Centre in Shanghai.

While browsing for attractions I found a link to the Chicago Pedway. This sounds so quirky that I want to walk through this. I guess this list more than fills up the few spare hours I might have. Is there anything else which I could do?