Monday, May 28, 2012

Running Chicago Under NATO Lockdown

This is the first of two short posts about recent weekend trips. Ten days ago I arrived in Chicago just minutes before there were several road closings due to the NATO summit meeting. It was, perhaps, an ill-timed trip, but Brandon needed to be moved out of his apartment.

He and I walked along Michigan Avenue between 9:30 and 10:15 pm after squeezing in some late calories at an Asian restaurant. We encountered a steady stream of Chicago's finest. They stood in loose packs, walked along the sidewalks, drove by in 15 passenger vans, and cruised by in mountain bike pelotons. And they were all dressed in riot gear. Many of them held their batons in their hands. They were preparing to empty the parks at the eleven o'clock closing time. There were thousands of said police officers and maybe 200 NATO protesters.

Brandon and I noticed these things with curiosity before retreating to his apartment to take down several awesome posters and to begin packing his belongings. We felt safe!

Just before sunrise, and after a meager four hours of down time, I strapped on the Polar, loaded up a Nathan vest, and ventured out for a run as I always do when visiting Chicago, for a run through the parks and along the Lakefront Trail. Most of the police were gone. Not one protester was on site. It was a muggy and quiescent morning in the oddly windless city.

Here are some photos in which I attempted to capture the sights that morning.

Quiet Riot
Posted overnight to keep park empty?

Millenium and beyond . . .

Normally would have run through there.
A quarter-mile "wall" of salt trucks stopped - most runners and cyclists.
Brandon's apartment building is the oldest brick structure in town.

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