some knockout windows

January 19, 2011

i got an email this morning from a great friend of mine who has been living in paris with her french boyfriend. alison and i went to high school together in chicago and have since managed to maintain a long-distance friendship with letters, postcards, emails, and occasional visits in whatever town we may be living- munich, copenhagen, portland, chicago. she wrote that she recently finished a program at the sorbonne and finally has time to paint, visit museums, and finish a stained glass window for her boyfriend’s mother.

she was just in chicago for the holidays and reminded me to see “some knockout windows”- the chagall stained glass that’s finally back in the art institute & the smith museum of stained glass. i never knew it was actually a museum, but my favorite weird stretch of navy pier (chicago’s ultimate tourist-trap: motorboat tours of the lake, an enormous ferris wheel, and a long hallway full of junk and junk food) is actually a small collection of 150 gorgeous windows. many are by the likes of tiffany or frank lloyd wright and most come from old chicago buildings. they’re almost unnoticeable behind the din of screaming kids and vendors, but that’s part of what makes this collection so special. next time you find yourself being dragged to navy pier by your cousins, don’t miss the peaceful escape of colorful glass. merci beaucoup, alison!

images via brainsnack, atelier teee and others on flickr

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