Yes, a certain pre-presidential Barack Obama was my neighbor just a few blocks away, as was bowtie-donning Louis Farrakhan.* Hyde Park is a historically rich neighborhood, having been the home of residents such as Nobel prizewinner Saul Bellow, pilot Amelia Earhardt, infamous activist Bill Ayers, and Nobel-winning physicist Enrico Fermi (he developed the world's first self-sustained nuclear reaction, purportedly in the university's lab underneath the squash courts, leaving a radiation footprint for ages to come).
*A few of my friends thought it would be hilarious to dress up and go trick-or-treating at Farrakhan's house on Halloween, only to be scared shitless by guns drawn on them by his Nation of Islam security guards parked out on his front lawn 24/7.
|All hail POTUS!|
|Harper Library, location of many a good nap|
|Bond Chapel, where socially weird U of C people can marry only other socially weird U of C people|
But visually, when I think of Hyde Park, I most immediately think of the buildings--the grey, gothic structures on campus, the 1900s craftsman-style apartment buildings with stained art glass, the professors' houses on Woodlawn.
|Saarinen's tulip chairs and table|
|Robie House in Hyde Park, Chicago|
But talking to driver guy reminded me of a little spot I discovered just a year ago on my birthday, Barnsdall Park. I had a picnic on top of a peaceful, grassy hill, where my friends and I spread out with cupcakes and wine and spent the day overlooking LA's city expanse. Behind us was Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House, but it was closed at the time.
Since Alex's architecture-loving parents were in town when I got back from potato-chip-eating, I figured it might be a nice idea to see the city from the top of Barnsdall and check out Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House while we were up there. There, I got a good, healthy dose of house envy.
|The living room. There's a moat around the fireplace!|
By the way, I didn't get it at first, but this is a hollyhock flower:
And here is Wright's abstraction of it:
Get it? Anyway, lesson learned: LA's not so bad after all. It's just as historically rich as Chicago. You just gotta look...and house lust is not a bad way to motivate yourself to turn off reruns of 30 Rock and explore the neighborhood.