The Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) is the tallest free-standing structure in the Upper Midwest.

Many of Chicago’s famous elevated  trains run underground.

The L is the only major transit system in North America, and possibly the world, that has a Pink Line.

Chicago’s nickname, “Second City,” refers to its being the second-largest city in the United States (after Los Angeles) that is not New York.

Every day, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange sets the price for a U. S. senator, a U. S. representative, an Illinois governor, and many other important officials.

Chicago controls the food prices for the entire world, but fortunately no one would ever use that power for evil.


  1. Clay Potts says:

    Despite Boston’s renowned for being, “Bean Town”, Chicago remains foremost known as America’s “Windy City”.

  2. Martin the Mess says:

    I beg your pardon, but the London Underground’s Hammersmith and City Line is also pink. The L.A. Metro is also planning on adding a Pink Line, although it’s not a high priority project, even by “Los Angeles Public Transit Projects” standards.

    But it is true that we in Chicago call it the L, or Elevated, even when it’s a subway, while New Yorkers call it the subway even when it runs on elevated tracks. Our L also runs along the surface in several places, notably the Brown Line beyond the Western Avenue stop in my own neighborhood.

    And while we control world food prices, the only nefarious purposes we use this power for are ensuring that our favorite encased meat products remain affordable in all economic and climate conditions.

    Chicago is probably the only major American city to ever extend its municipal borders via armed conquest, when a pitched battle between Chicago Police and private citizens led to the demise of the Free District of Lake Michigan, now known as the swank neighborhood of Streeterville.

  3. Dr. Boli says:

    The Hammersmith and City Line is pink on the map, but it is not called “Pink Line”: it is, as you say, called “Hammersmith and City Line.” Similarly Paris has lines in more than one shade of pink on the map, but they are designated by numbers. Chicago fearlessly calls its Pink line the Pink Line, which is admirable.

    Brown is another unusual color. The only other city Dr. Boli can think of at the moment with a Brown Line (called by that name) is Pittsburgh, where the Allentown Trolley (currently under reconstruction) is officially the Brown Line.

  4. Martin the Mess says:

    Chicago’s L lines used to have other names. The Brown Line used to be the Ravenswood Line, but while it went through my Ravenswood neighborhood, it did not end there, nor was any of the stations called Ravenswood. So a few years ago they dropped the old system where line names were a mishmash of “neighborhoods they go through but don’t end in” (Ravenswood), “Neighborhoods they end in” (Englewood and Jackson Park lines), “Last stop on the line”, (Howard, Midway, and O’Hare lines), and “Street or Highway the line mostly but not entirely follows” (Lake, Congress, and Dan Ryan lines). Instead, each line would be named for its already-traditional map color scheme, and the trains themselves would bear signs listing the final stop they run to. Which was a bit complicated by lines such as the Brown Line/Ravenswood making a loop around Downtown and returning to the same stop they started at, but those just got the “Loop” sign when headed downtown, then changing mid-loop so the sign reads “Kimball”, the far end of the line a bit past the actual Ravenswood neighborhood’s end.

    The Pink Line is merely a re-naming of what had been a branch of the Blue Line, ending at Forest Park, when they decided to not have trains from that line go all the way up the other branch to O’Hare after passing through downtown. Mostly so tourists and business travellers at O’Hare Airport wouldn’t be confused with two different names for Blue Line L trains waiting for them at the airport, when both of them would take them to downtown, even if the trains themselves then continued on down two different tracks to two different endpoints. This is apparently because the kind of people who design subway systems apparently think they mostly exist to get people to and from downtown, not to provide a flexible system allowing people to go from any point on the system to any other. That’s what cars are for, after all.

  5. Chris says:

    I beg your pardon, but London’s pink line????? Since when is London in North America?

  6. Clay Potts says:

    I hate to de-rail this post, but it turned blue somewhere between Chicago and London and flat-lined about four hours ago!

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