New York magazine on Chicago



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New York magazine's new travel feature, The Urbanist, focuses on Chicago this week in The Urbanist's Chicago, and it's refreshing to read a New York account of our city that's not a patronizing little pat on the head. ("Oh, look, isn't that cute? Chicago's trying to be a real city!") One reason is that New York mag is one of the finest publications out there, in my opinion, and because all of the content for this article was written by Chicagoans. 

While the choices of what to do (North Avenue beach, Montrose dog beach), which neighborhoods to highlight (Pilsen, Wicker Park/Bucktown, Andersonville, whose personalities are diagnosed with some nifty Venn diagrams) and where to eat (Next, Girl & the Goat, Doughnut Vault) may not surprise a local, the selections are at least accurate of what's popular in the city right now. One shock: Italian chef Giuseppe Tentori (GT Fish & Oyster, Boka) extolling the virtues of Lou Malnati's stuffed pizza. Wha? Was that the requisite deep-dish pizza mention?

In the section "Where locals would stay if they weren't locals," I dig the choice of Longman & Eagle's six rooms above the restaurant (that would have been my choice, too). And the three complaints about Chicago by Chicagoans (crappy recycling, from Jennifer Beals, food-truck restrictions…short yellow lights?) ring true, though I've never noticed the yellow-light thing. I'd love it if no one went to the tired well of Sox fans vs. Cubs fans ever again, but, eh, at least the accounts of each team and ballpark by opposing fans are fairly amusing.

One major misstep: Writer Jessica Reaves highlights four sought-after high-rise apartments, and while a couple of choices are accurate (Aqua, the Elysian), her suggestion that Marina City is coveted seems off (I've heard it's in major need of renovations) and her statement that Charlie Trotter provides the 24-hour food service at the Elysian is untrue—he backed out of the deal to open a fine-dining restaurant in the hotel/condo building in 2009.

Otherwise, though, it's a fun and accurate take on our city.

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)