Tan lines

Now that we’re sick and tired of snow and shoveling, let’s talk about beaches.

They’ve taken down the construction fencing at the new 40th Street beach, and you can walk or ride to it off the lakefront trail; or park in the rebuilt 39th Street parking lot and stroll over. The beach is Chicago’s first new beach in donkey’s years (and when the Park District calls me back, I’ll be able to say how many that is).

It has two fishing piers, with stands for fishing poles. A sand beach stretches between the piers, and a path connects them to the lakefront trail and the 39th Street parking lot. There’s a large area near the parking lot that’s waiting for seed to sprout (at least that’s my guess), but otherwise all that’s lacking is drinking fountains, lights and a beach house. The Park District is looking for someone to operate a food trailer at 39th Street, so maybe we’ll see those next year.

In the meantime, it’s fun to explore. Sure, there’s not that much to it, but it sits just across Lake Shore Drive and the Metra tracks from the Lake Park Crescent development, still being completed, and a few steps from the 43rd Street pedestrian bridge, which is scheduled to be rebuilt. For that matter, Lake Park Crescent is supposed to get its own pedestrian bridge, between its park and the lakefront.

So not only is the beach serving a growing population, its presence should be a draw for people looking for places to live. As someone who lives nearby — and who has invested in property nearby, too — I certainly hope so.

When President Obama and First Lady Michelle came back to town, where did their helicopter land? On the meadow just north of the new beach. And when they left? Same place. I know this not only from the pictures in the paper, but from the heavy police presence that turned me away from the path. Twice! On my way home from work that Friday night, and again on my way to work the following Monday morning.

So if the new beach – or at least the meadow next door – is good enough for the president, it ought to be OK for you and me, too.

Here are some pictures to whet your appetite for when it’s warm enough to enjoy.


5 Responses to “Tan lines”

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