As I’m sure many of our current Hyde Park denizens are aware, 53rd Street has been undergoing drastic and exciting renovations! Here are some highlights from the changes that will happen, and in some cases have already happened, on 53rd Street.
You know how we have been telling you all since Colloquium to use this year to think about your professional life, as well as your academic life? Well, this time we really mean it. Now that the bulk of Winter Quarter is behind you, it is time to seriously consider—and more than consider, actually take action on—your post-MAPH plans. You will hear a lot of moaning and groaning from us over the next few months begging and pleading with you to come talk to us about resumes, cover letters and all other things “job-application-y.” These are all things that you should do. And while a great burden will befall you come June 15th, MAPH tries to alleviate some of this stress by offering paid (yes, you read that right: PAID) summer internships. » Read the rest of this entry «
Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been so happy to meet the few of you who have trickled on into MAPHCentral to introduce yourselves. If you’re already in Hyde Park, stop on by to say hello! (We’re lonely, too, you know.) You can find us in Classics 117 and someone is usually here from 9:30-3:30, Monday – Friday.
For the few of you who have already packed up your lives and moved to Hyde Park, we thought it might be nice to give you a crash course in Chicago living and to give you a few ideas for occupying yourselves during what can certainly feel like a period of limbo. Some of you might have moved to Chicago a few weeks early to get settled into your apartment and traverse the city. Well, now that you’ve hung your curtains (aka, thumb-tacked bed sheets above your windows), it’s time to get out there and explore! A leisurely pre-MAPH summer can feel a little purgatorial, but it’s more likely a well-deserved break/good time to rest up before the year actually begins – and boredom can be a great motivating factor for doing some things you might not otherwise!
For Chicago exploring and general galavanting, check out timeoutchicago.com – they have some great (cheap) events and things are mostly organized by day, so you can almost always find something to do. This is the first of many MAPHtastic posts to come, but if you’re already in Chicago (or just freakishly obsessive about finding awesome things to do when you do arrive) we suggest exploring all of the archived treasures from previous years! Start with posts from August 2011 for some ideas on what kinds of things to do in the summer, and explore from there! We are particularly fond of the post about the Milwaukee Ave Coffee Shops – great places to chill out with some non-required reading or a crossword puzzle. Plus, The Wormhole has a DeLorean and how kitsch-ily cool is that? If you accidentally activate the Flux Capacitor and travel to 2015, track yourself down and shake your own hand: you now have a Master’s Degree! There are also plenty of other things to do along that strip once you start to feel over-caffeinated. If you’re more of a free-spirited galavanter (that’s a word, right?), just hop on the 6 Bus and head to the Loop, where you’ll have access to almost all of the El trains in the city.
Also – did you know that Chicago has beaches?! And nice ones at that. In fact, one of the best beaches in the city is in your own backyard. Head on over to Promontory Point on Lake Shore Drive between 55th and 57th Streets to soak up all the UV rays you can before those dark winter clouds start to settle over Chicago.
As more people arrive, we will be coordinating some events for early-arrivers sometime before the program starts – probably sometime towards the end of August. In the meantime, feel free to drop by Classics and say hi, give us book recommendations, tell us your moving nightmare story, and pick our brains about other ways to fill up your days! We know you might feel bored, but exploring Chicago now will make it easier for you venture out during your MAPH year, once Hyde Park starts to feel like:
It is somehow always the case that one can have time or money but never both at the same time. So now that you do not have to read 1000 pages every week what are you going to do in Chicago that doesn’t cost much money? Well the lakefront, the parks and biking are all great options, but below are a few more you might have missed.
Museum free days
Most of the museums in Chicago have free or discounted days or offer student discounts
You can still use your Artspass, check the link for the discounts and partner institutions.
Adler Planetarium has discount days on June 7th and 8th perfect if your family is arriving early for convocation.
The Shedd Aquarium has Illinois resident discount days on June 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22. If you bank with Bank of America you get discounts on July 7-8 and Aug. 4-5 by showing your bank card.
The Museum of Contemporary Art is $7 with your Student ID.
While you are in that neighborhood you could visit the City Gallery at the Water Tower which is always free.
The Chicago Cultural Center has free exhibits, concerts and gallery talks all year round.
Students get into the Art Institute of Chicago for $12 any day and the first and second Wednesday of every month are free for Illinois residents.
On Navy Pier there is actually a free Stained Glass Museum which has great works and is not as populated as the rest of the pier. You could stay for the free fireworks if you are braving a day on the tourist-y pier.
Also did you know that if you have a Chicago Public Library card you can check out museum passes from any branch? Just make sure you get to the library early. The passes go quickly. The library also has lectures, readings and performances so check their calendar.
Outdoor events after the jump . . .
Very soon your parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, lovers, etc. will be descending on Chicago like a swarm of buzzards, ready to spend the last weekend of your MAPH career asking you about job searches, moving plans, and your love life. Even those of you who are secretly (or outwardly) excited to have your parents here in a few days might just be clamoring for them to leave by the end of the weekend, especially if you don’t plan ahead. Chicago is a bustling city and it’s going to be even more bustling this weekend with the huge annual Blues Festival and the CPAC conference (which is why we were bugging you to book hotels so early).
So, our advice is to start thinking now about how to entertain your guests this weekend during the actually extensive downtime between convocation events. Oh, and right off the bat, if you haven’t made reservations for dinner Friday or Saturday yet, DO IT NOW. We put some restaurant recommendations in the Convocation timeline post, but come see us if you’re still deciding.
In the meantime, here are some helpful ideas for actual places to go and things to do (not restaurants) around town with your folks this weekend:
1. Chicago Blues Festival: The festival runs from June 8th-10th in Grant Park and is phenomenal for so many reasons. First, it’s FREE. You can wander into Grant Park pretty much anytime between 10:00AM and 9:00PM any day of the festival, pop-a-squat on a plot of grass and listen to some high quality blues music. Or, if you do feel like spending some money, you can buy some food tickets to get Robinson’s Ribs (Remember that delicious food we served you during the Opening BBQ last summer? Yeah. That was Robinson’s.), complete with corn on the cob and mac and cheese. Yum. Or, go classy and bring a blanket and a little cooler with a bottle of wine, some brie, and some baguette for your very own “outdoor mini-Social Hour” with your folks. They’ll be so impressed.
2. Green City Market: Hands down one of the best farmer’s markets in the area. It runs on Saturdays from 7:00AM-1:00PM and it located at the south end of Lincoln Park (approximately 1790 N. Clark if you want to map it). Seriously the best thing about the market is the location because there are so many other great things to do in the Lincoln Park area. Go to the market and grab a crepe or some pizza bread, maybe some fresh, local strawberries (just out as of last week) then sit and listen to the little jazz band that plays in the late morning. Then, you can wander over to the Lincoln Park Zoo or the little shops that line Armitage in Lincoln Park (Francesca’s, Paper Source, Art Effect, just to name a few). Oh, and if you’re stopping at Art Effect on Armitage, you HAVE to go to Annette’s right across the way. They have peanut better cup cookie dough ice cream. Yes, it’s all one flavor.
3. The Lichtenstein Exhibit at the Art Institute: You really can’t beat the Art Institute in terms of impressing your parents. It’s in the heart of downtown Chicago, right by Millennium Park and the building alone is worth a 15-minute ogle. Add the fact that they currently have an amazing Roy Lichtenstein retrospective up right now and you can get in for free with your UChicago ID. Your parents will marvel at their little cultured, frugal child. And, if you want the icing on the cake, hit the Chicago Architecture Foundation gift shop afterwards (right across the street on Michigan Ave.) for some early holiday shopping. Yes, I think about Christmas all the time.
4. Old Town Art Fair: This is one of the better summer art shows that comes through Chicago. First, it’s pretty huge (as in over 260 artists). Second, it’s in one of the cute, ritzy, old Chicago neighborhoods so it’s fun just to wander and look at the architecture, even if you’re not shopping for art. The main entrance is at the intersection of Lincoln and Wisconsin and it runs both Saturday and Sunday of this coming weekend.
Hopefully these suggestions will give you a jump start on plans this weekend. Don’t forget that Chicago is also home to a ton of amazing museums and a fantastic theater scene, so we’re always happy to give you more ideas if you need them!
There’s nothing like a preschool classroom at Circle Time. You’re lucky if you can maintain your bright smile and upbeat tone while still being heard above the din. I look around at the children who, expected to sit cross-legged, are all in strange and impossible contortions that allow them to poke their friends, check out the kids playing outside, or grab for the blocks all while still, technically, keeping their feet on their designated dot. I raise my voice and hope to get their attention, starting in on the first verse of “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” animatedly working my fingers to the motions in an attempt to encourage them all to join me. A few small voices pipe in, then a few more, louder this time. “Out came the sun and dried up all the rain…”
And then, from the corner…Deshon. “So you fancy huh, so you fancy huh, so you fancy, huh?!?!” he sings, bobbing his little 3-year-old shoulders to his own beat. All I can do is sigh, and smile.
Let me begin by saying that I am terribly grateful and horribly under-qualified to be bequeathed the honor of a post on the MAPHtastic blog. So often Maren and the mentors serve to inspire me, entertain me and, on rare occasions, dry my tears of despondency through the words they offer here, and its quite the intimidating task to follow their pens (or keystrokes?). That said, I’ll do my best to inspire, encourage… most likely just entertain… in the words that follow.
The MAPH program’s focus, obviously, is on offering a stellar intensive Masters education to a group of students with vastly broad interests. This is a massive undertaking in itself, especially considering the bureaucracy institutions such as universities can often be. Assisting students in navigating this minefield, and encouraging and supporting them in their passions and interests all the while, is a huge job. This year, however, the MAPH program has renewed their efforts to include another aspect of student life into the fold of MAPH-supported initiatives…that of service.
The mentors and administrators have included service opportunities and community projects alongside the social and academic events on the MAPH calendar, offering students the chance to mobilize outside of the classroom. The benefits to participating in such activities are too numerous to all be addressed here, but I believe there’s one benefit that’s overlooked and very much underappreciated by those of us who are often overwhelmed with the enormity of work enrollment in the MAPH program tends to bring, and that is the beauty of connecting the often abstract and speculative work you do in a graduate school environment with the concrete, unadorned reality of the world.
More on Alissa’s experience after the Jump
Chicago is full of watering holes. In case some of you don’t have any idea where to go for New Years, here are some ideas to kick off the Dive Bar Challenge.
The rules of this challenge are as follows: go to at least 3 of the bars and bring back some evidence of having physically been there (hazy memories don’t count, but the napkin-scrawled phone numbers of people you don’t remember meeting do). You get extra points if the bars are in a different neighborhood. The first to bring evidence to the MAPH office and present it to either me, AJ, or Whitney will receive some kind of awesome prize that will be decided if anyone actually goes through the trouble to do all of this.
On to the bars…
Now that you are all nearing the end of final paper deadlines, it’s time to take advantage of your much freer schedule by enjoying some of Chicago’s best. Seeing all of the neighborhoods and prioritizing the sites you want to visit and the food you want to eat can be slightly daunting so, for those that need a bit of guidance, here of some of MAPHCentral’s favorite places and things to do in Chicago.
If you have a car and it’s not too cold, going out to the Morton Arboretum is fantastic. It is a great place to walk and feel like you are not in a city and take photographs. If you want to stay in town and do something going to the Julius Meinl on Southport then up to see an old movie at the Music Box Theatre is splendid. Julius Meinl has great coffee, tea and pastries.
For holiday cheer, I love going to the Christkindlmarket and walking around the various stalls while drinking gluwein and getting little paper packets of spiced almonds and pretending I live in a German Christmas village.
For a burger and fries, I like The Grafton in Lincoln Square where you can get curry gravy for your chips and on Sundays there is an Irish bothy band that plays traditional music. However, the best pub in Chicago is the Duke of Perth. It feels the most authentic and there are fish and chip nights and cottage pie.
Speaking of authentic if you want real buckwheat crepes filled with savory stews in an authentic French atmosphere then you want to go to La Creperie on Clark. The Boeuf Bourguinon crepe is excellent and they are close to the Landmark Century Theatre which shows lots of foreign and independent films so you can make an evening of it.
For the best (pricey but really good) cocktail in a speakeasy, meets David Lynch film, meets Wedgewood vase atmosphere you want The Violet Hour and it is nice enough to take your Mom, Aunt, sister etc. and give her a Chicago experience.
(More of MAPHCentral’s favorite things after the jump…)
You may still be in the midst of finishing papers for various courses but it is not too soon to start thinking about how to manage the holidays and think about what you might do to prepare for winter quarter.
It is important to take time to get rest, see friends or family, and generally recuperate. If you want to start thinking about the thesis or reading ahead this is a great time to get some reading done. Just set yourself a schedule and devote an hour or two each day or set a study date with friends either in Hyde Park or wherever you land to go to a coffee shop and get some work done.
Be sure to stay connected. If you are spending part of the holiday in Hyde Park you may find campus a little quiet. Stop by the MAPH office and check in with us. We’ll post the days the office is closed or hours are shortened. Be sure to check the library schedule as the hours may be different. Find other MAPHers who are in town to venture out and see some sights or just sit in a coffee shop and quietly read together.
Now for the fun part. . .
In search of some healthy recreation after spending hours inside writing?
More holiday and anti-holiday events after the jump. . .
For those of you spending the holiday in the city it is wise to make sure that you spend at least one or two days not doing coursework. Sure meet up with other MAPHers and make a feast, but if you are looking for some diversions here are a few options.
If you don’t want to drive to the suburbs and participate in early morning black Friday pillaging there are other options for being in a mass of people.
Thanksgiving Parade on State Street. On November 24th you can head downtown. This is not quite Macy’s Parade in New York but there are floats and balloons and bands and your usual parade festivities. From 8:00-11:00 am on State street between Randolph and Congress.
The Christkindl Market in Daley Plaza lets you feel like you are visiting Germany over the holiday. A traditional style German market offers candied nuts in paper packets, gluwein, potato pancakes and bratwurst. There are also traditional blown glass ornaments, cuckoo clocks and other crafts. The market opens November 23rd. They light the tree at 4:30 on the 24th.
If you are already downtown you might as well check out the Macy’s windows (not as good as when in was still Marshall Field’s). You can then drop in on ice skating at Millennium Park or stop into the Art Institute to check out some art. Also they will be putting wreaths on the lions at 10:00 am on November 26th.
A little further north, The Lincoln Park Zoo starts Zoolights on November 25th. More mulled wine and hot pretzels are available as you take in the light display and see some zoo animals. Don’t forget to pick up some plastic mold-a-rama animals. They make great stocking-stuffers or Hanukkah presents . . .
Crowds are not your thing?
You can still get out of Hyde Park and enjoy time outside. The weather is supposed to be warm. Visit the lakefront. In fact, there are groups that meet up just to go for walks. The Museum of Science and Industry has their Christmas trees from around the world up and the Muppets (okay those will be croweded) but avoid the crowds and look a the U-boat exhibit instead. (MSI has mold-A-Rama machines too, who knew holiday shopping would be so cheap and easy.) See a movie or go see live theater. There are often cheap theater tickets the weekend after Thanksgiving or use your Artspass.
This handy guide features a variety of charities in Chicago who are taking volunteers over the holiday weekend. University of Chicago has group service days on the 24th and 26th. Check out the calendar for details.