Hyde Park Day
Today was a rare day away from the writing table, and away from the kids. Yuriko and I did a trade this week: she went to a major Lautrec exhibit at the Art Institute on Tuesday, and today I went to see BodyWorlds (Körperwelten) at the Museum of Science and Industry. I don’t go to many museum megashows, but I was inspired to go to this one by my old friend Tom J., who saw it while visiting Los Angeles earlier this year.
I forget the words he used to describe it, but they were superlatives. I could use a few myself. Astounding, for one.
But first I had to get in. When I got there just a little before noon, the line wasn’t so long for tickets, but there was no entry into BodyWorlds until 3:45. The Museum of Science & Industry is interesting, but I didn’t feel like spending nearly four hours there, besides however long BodyWorlds took. So I headed west on foot, into the Hyde Park neighborhood and the University of Chicago campus.
Over the years, I’ve been an intermittent visitor to this part of Chicago, which is a few miles south of downtown, and usually out of my way. But I like to come here, to walk on shady sidewalks, to visit the bookstores, to see the university. That’s what I did this afternoon.
The first place I stopped by was Powell’s Books on 57th, a cousin store of the more famous Powell’s Books in Portland, Ore., which I only know by reputation. But the Hyde Park Powell’s is plenty good enough for me. I could have spent several hours there, and only the thought of carrying a sack of books around with me for the rest of the day—my car was parked several blocks north of Science & Industry, not nearby Powell’s—kept me from buying a number of not-quite-new but fine titles at $4.95 each. As it was, I grazed happily.
Later, I came to the Seminary Co-op Bookstore, one of my favorites anywhere. But today I didn’t browse there. Instead, I browsed in the cloister upstairs. More on that later.