Spring Flight

Spring Flight

Eye to eye with Chicago skyscrapers…

“It’s not about perfect. It’s about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day. That’s where transformation happens. That’s how change occurs.” – Jillian Michaels

Transformation requires patience. It doesn’t happen overnight. During the transformation process change is inevitable. Change. It’s hard for a lot of people. We get so comfortable with what we know that when change happens it can cause panic. Remember how the internet freaked out when Instagram announced they’d be changing their algorithm. People have a hard time with change. I suppose it’s a natural response, which causes me a little worry because I often don’t share the “change = panic” mentality. I love change. To me it equals progress. And with progress we change and we learn.

I’ve lived in Chicago for 13 years now and have learned our beautiful skyline – arguably one of the most photogenic – is always changing. This constant progress is beautiful to watch. Seeing a structure go from caissons being poured to the final curtainwall being hung is mesmerizing…it fascinates me every time. The plans, the teams, the sweat, the math, the materials, the persistence. All of these pieces work in harmony to create new, vertical neighborhoods. Some become workspaces, some become home sweet home, all become a new fixture in our always-evolving skyline.

The new construction along the Chicago River has been remarkable to watch. Three of the new skyscrapers are pictured below. Wolf Point, tucked far to the left just in front of the Merchandise Mart, is a 48-story apartment tower and is now complete. River Point, directly in the middle of the shot, is nearing completion and will reach an impressive 732 feet (50 floors) and will be home to offices, retail, and restaurants. And last, but certainly not least, is 150 N. Riverside, which will soon be a 54-story office tower, and sits on arguably the most challenging construction site of all. The most impressive part of this construction can just barely be seen in this photo – the narrow base on which the whole tower stands is a masterpiece of engineering. If you’re interested in learning more about the teeny-tiny plot of land they’re working with, and all the challenges that came with it, this research paper explains it in great detail.


After we flew around the new construction we hit up an old favorite – The John Hancock Center.

This 100-story, 1,127-foot supertall skyscraper is located at 875 North Michigan Avenue. The observation deck, 360 CHICAGO, has some of the most breathtaking panoramic views of our city. They actually just started a promotion for Chicago residents that discounts admission to the observatory to only $10, every day! All you need is a valid ID that shows a 606 zip code.

I had never been so up-close-and-personal with this behemoth, and to say it was invigorating would be a huge understatement. There are no words to capture how it feels to be hovering in the sky looking eye-to-eye with the top of the John Hancock Center. It’s massive, it’s bold, it’s impressive. I loved every minute of it and couldn’t snap off frames fast enough.


I love watching the West Loop transform. Once upon a time I lived in Presidential Towers (the four brown stacked buildings near the center-right in the image below) and back then the West Loop was nothing like it is today. Sure, Greektown was a thing, but there were no where near the number of amazing restaurants that now line Randolph, Washington, and Madison. Add to the mix the addition of Mariano’s and Whole Foods, and I’m certain these neighbors will never go hungry.

The view looking east has changed so much since my PT days. Trump Tower didn’t even exist back then, not to mention the Chicago River building boom I touched on at the beginning of this post.


Change is good. Change = progress. But sometimes, try as we might to accept change, we just can’t. Which leads be to my final thought…it will always be the Sears Tower. At it’s completion in 1973, it surpassed the World Trade Center towers in New York to become the tallest building in the world, a title it held for nearly 25 years! It is currently the second-tallest building in the United States and the 14th-tallest in the world. More than one million people visit Skydeck Chicago each year, making it one of Chicago’s most popular tourist destinations. (source) Try as they might to rename this architectural giant, that is one change I choose not to accept.

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