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Chicago Icon: The John Hancock Building

Flocking to the best, the biggest or the tallest is overrated, folks. Yes, being American is all about wanting the biggest, the baddest and the most expensive; but I manage to find an appreciation for the underdog that once stood tall and has now been passed up due to age. While in NYC in May,  I had no choice but to go atop the Empire State Building and the Rockefeller, but my heart and lens was fixated on the Chrysler Building the whole time. I even set out with the purpose to find a dinner spot that would give me a clear view of that iconic building that I’m fascinated with.

Being in Chicago was no different. Yes, I could have flocked along with everyone else to visit the Sears Tower and get a perspective of about 12 or 13 floors higher than the Hancock Building, but I didn’t. Something about the design of the Hancock calls to me more than the boxy and more modern Sears Tower. I like the skeleton of the Hancock being on the outside and visible to the world. I like how the building tapers on all four sides. I like how the two antennae balance everything out.

On one of the days I was in Chicago, I had an opening in the day just long enough to get downtown to the Hancock to visit the Observatory and walk around a bit in that neighborhood on Michigan Ave. I headed straight up to the observatory and was amazed at how few people there were. When I got to talking to an attendant, he pointed out that they weren’t the tallest building in town. What a shame, I thought.

Not only does the Hancock sport that fastest elevator to an observatory in the US, but it also has a skywalk that Sears doesn’t. Do you actually get to walk outside? Well, sort of. There’s a set of two revolving doors with a path about twenty feet long on one of the sides that instead of windows, has a chicken-wire style protective barrier that lets the ambient air in. I happened to be there during a very beautiful day and the air was cool and crisp. I can only imagine talking that walk during winter when experiencing why they call Chicago the Windy City. I’d probably freeze my ass off!!

It has a quaint coffee shop and good-sized gift shop along with some of the best views of the Chicago skyline allowing you to see parts of Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Ohio. I also features a return trip visit during the same 48 hours for an additional $7 on the way out in case you want to come back and catch it at night. I wanted to come back, but I knew I wouldn’t have the time.

Talking with the attendant, he also mentioned how the Sears Tower is a little more restrictive with its patrons because it’s considered a high risk target with it being the tallest building currently completed in the continental US. So, if you wanted to come in to the Hancock with a tripod, you might just get away with it. At the Sears Tower, maybe not. I know that I saw a huge number of tripods in the lobby of the Empire State Building in NYC with claim tags…

I also took the architecture tour along the river while in town, but the Hancock isn’t on the river front, so I wasn’t able to see it up close. This was another reason why I was willing to make the exclusive trip and I wasn’t disappointed. I give the Hancock two thumbs up with its beautiful views and excellent tourist experience.

These images were all taken with my Canon 1D Mark II N and the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 I rented for the trip. It truly is a great lens. Enjoy!!


One response to “Chicago Icon: The John Hancock Building

  1. I really like your writing style, good information, thanks for putting up :D. “Inquiry is fatal to certainty.” by Will Durant.

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