Joe Urban | Sam Newberg, Urbanist

The Joe Urban Journal – Chicago Edition

Dateline: 1:28 pm March 10, 2010 Filed under:

I read the Metropolitan Diary in the Monday edition of the New York Times with great reverence (yes, I still have the print edition delivered to my doorstep – soooo 20th Century!). I am always struck by the serendipity and kindness of strangers that can be had in a big city, as the Metropolitan Diary will attest. It is something I have experienced myself when traveling. In the same vein, here are two stories from Chicago:

Journal Entry 1 – My 87-year-old great aunt, a lifelong Chicagoan and diehard Bears fan, was standing at a bus stop a couple of years ago. It was freezing cold, and she must have looked miserable, covering her ears with her hands while she waited for the bus.

A car pulled up and stopped. The driver reached out and gave my great aunt her knit hat, explaining, “You need it more than me. I can knit myself another one.”

Journal Entry 2 – Last weekend my friends and I were walking up Clark Street in Andersonville on our way to dinner. Two women stopped us on the sidewalk. They were looking for the Chicago Filmmakers, a film center. We told them we didn’t know where it was and moved on.

Fifty feet down the sidewalk we spotted it across the street. We turned and yelled back at them to get their attention. They didn’t hear us, so my friend Nicole ran a half block down the sidewalk to catch them and point them in the right direction. Needless to say they were grateful.

Maybe that is why I like big, vibrant cities – when you rub elbows with so many other people, often something good rubs off on you!

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