With the wind chill temperature in Chicago at -9 currently, I take back all my gloating in my December post about warm winters and how I was a good luck charm.
Mea culpa, Mr. Frosty.
While I would like to think I have brought to Northwestern and Chicagoland bold, imaginative ideas for the present and future of legal education, I expect that my signal contribution thus far has been warm weather. As I understand it, we are two days away from breaking the all-time Chicago record for days without snow. It has been a rather mild winter thus far and last year, of course, saw one of the mildest winters on record.
If this is all there is to winter in the windy city, all my fears have been allayed!
While we remain under balmy conditions, I will happily take all credit for this situation. (And you’ll hear precious little from me on the subject when (if?) the weather takes a snowy turn).
Meanwhile, please enjoy the crisp Fall-esque weather and the holiday look and feel of Chicago.
I am thankful for all the good work and efforts of our Northwestern law community to create an environment in which our students can learn, our faculty can teach and write, and we can improve the profession.
I am thankful for all the readers of this blog. Keep it up!
And I am thankful, of course, for the blessings of family and friends in this holiday season.
We were pleased to join with alumni and friends at the NU Law tailgate.
This week, we kicked off orientation for our new JD, AJD, JD-MBA, and LLM candidates. It was my first Northwestern Law orientation as well. Our incoming students bring with them a diverse array of experiences. They include accomplished athletes, musicians, artists, actors, engineers & scientists, doctors, computer programmers, financial managers, accountants, teachers, consultants, entrepreneurs, government policy researchers, committed volunteers for the disadvantage, and more.
Since the majority of our new students come from regions outside the Midwest (hailing from 35 states and more than 25 countries), I thought this would be a good opportunity to share with them some of what I have learned about the City of Chicago. The information offers varying degrees of utility, and appears in no particular order.
- Chicago streets are laid out on a grid system, with Madison and State Streets acting as the x and y axes, respectively. If an address is 800 north, this means it is 8 blocks north of Madison. Similarly, an address that is 400 west means it is 4 blocks west of Madison. Chicagoans employed logic before there was GPS.
- Chicagoans are unwaveringly loyal to their sports teams, regardless of inclement weather conditions or mediocre records. That being said, one cannot be both a Cubs fan and a White Sox fan.
- Chicago is Gotham in both Batman movies directed by Christopher Nolan (Batman Begins and The Dark Knight).
- The origin of Chicago’s Windy City nickname is a topic of some debate. While many attribute it to the city’s weather (and it can be windy), most historians claim that it originates from Chicago’s loquacious politicians of the late 19th century. The coining of the phrase is most widely attributed to Charles A. Dana, a New York Sun editor who contested Chicago as a viable contender to host the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.
- Chicagoans and the rest of the world differ on their pronunciation of Goethe. While reference to the German author is “Gurrr-tuh,” many Chicagoans pronounce the street “Go-thhee.” (The fact that the Chicago Transit Authority calls it by its German pronunciation seems to have done little to sway the masses.) Correcting a Chicagoan’s pronunciation of the street does not make you sound well-read; more likely, it makes you sound like you’re not a local.
(thanks to our new special assistant, Kate Schulte, herself a Chicago native, for her help with this post)
In the early days (less than 1/2 year ago!!) of this blog, I promised posts on Chicago adventures. Indeed, a few restaurant reviews and comments on the much-maligned Northwestern Wildcats sports teams found their way into these hallowed pages. Alas, however, the pace of travel and imperative of describing and discussing many valuable bits of news about our law school has crowded out reflections on the city of big shoulders. But, as the spring turns slowly to summer, I am ready to return my gaze to this glorious city and see what is has to offer to a still-new transplant.
But let me start with an open-ended question, hopefully in the interest of generating some worthwhile comments:
What do you experienced Chicagoeans recommend to me (and to our new students — especially those who are starting this month) by way of Chicago experiences? I welcome your thoughts. And I will be back at you with some of my own observations, reflections, and, yes, reviews.