Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Downtown for the Kristkindlmarkt &c

Today downtown greeted me with clear skies, cold air and buildings that were spitting ice at me as I walked by. I had some business to attend to in the Aon Center, formerly the Amoco Building, and before that the Standard Oil Building. But at least that building didn't drop anything heavier than a pellet of ice in my vicinity (though bigger chunks of ice from other buildings have occasionally killed passersby).

On the way home, I wandered briefly through the city's Kristkindlmarkt in Daley Plaza, sprawling underneath the giant municipal Christmas tree, which is really an assembly of regular-sized trees on circular platforms. The tree is lighted this year with energy-efficient LED bulbs, which have a flat sort of appearance up close, but otherwise do their job. The market seemed little different than in previous years -- shiny handmade goods, high Euro-zone prices.

Somewhere on the plaza is a menorah for Judaism and a crescent moon for Islam, if previous years are any guide, but I didn't see them. I also missed the special auction block set up recently to sell off Illinois' vacant U.S. Senate seat; but I've heard that event might be off.


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