How do we celebrate a city in the second year of a still-raging pandemic?
This was the challenge we contemplated when planning our twenty-ninth Best of Chicago edition. In normal times, we’ve offered hundreds of recommendations of places to eat, to shop, to experience.
But these are not normal times. Our experience of life over the past year, if we’ve managed to survive, has been collectively so similar—we’ve stayed home, we’ve worn masks, we’ve gotten sick, we’ve gotten shots—but our response to that experience has been so different. Some have dropped out of unfulfilling jobs and changed careers, while others have developed a heightened appreciation of the things they cherish, whether friends and family, the natural world or that little mom-and-pop restaurant on the corner that has managed to make it through so far. Not taking life for granted is imprinted on us all, likely for the rest of our lives.
It’s just so personal.
So for this edition of Best of Chicago, we decided to make a radical break from our usually highly structured format and invited fourteen writers to share their “personal Best of Chicago.”
Writers had complete freedom on how to approach the subject; they could write about one or two dozen places and things, things big, or small, idiosyncratic or obvious. Some wrote childhood reminiscences that still inform their favorites decades later; others shared their favorite things about Chicago. And some wrote longer essays on single subjects of particular personal passion.
Rather than organize the issue around categories like food and drink, or culture and nightlife, we organized it by writer, with stories appearing in the order they were submitted.
We asked our art director, Dan Streeting, to use the same approach to the visual identity of the issue, giving him the charge to express his personal best of Chicago in the imagery he’d create for this edition, including the cover.
What you’ll find within these pages is something special: a collection of voices expressing their city in their own very personal ways, that together offer universal insights into what we all cherish about our life in this place.
But that’s just my personal opinion.
Look for Newcity’s November 2021 print edition at over 300 Chicago-area locations this week or subscribe to the print edition at Newcityshop.com.
IN THIS ISSUE
Artists grapple with sustainability at the Hyde Park Art Center
Best of Chicago
This time it’s personal with:
Ted C. Fishman
And so much more…