Sunday, October 4, 2009

What Lies Beneath

Now that I'm living in the big city I can't help but think of all the things that go on around me that I don't know about.  That's the interesting part of living in a city.  For example, periodically I'll see an AT&T truck bopping around Hyde Park, and occasionally I'll see the men (always men) in the truck stop at a corner, get out, and wrench the cover off of a manhole.  (The metal kind in the street, not the kind in the pants - honestly, people!)  Then they go slithering down into the bowels of the city to do God only knows what to a fiber-optic cable.

Speaking of bowels, I sometimes smell, when walking somewhere, an odor which reminds me of...well, yeah.  Big city sewers, I guess.

Anyhow, although I know there are lots of things going on all around me, unbeknowst to me, to keep the city of Chicago running (well, I guess that's one word for it), but I seldom see evidence of it with my own eyes (save the AT&T men and their holes...).  But here, at the right, is something which piqued my interest about "what lies beneath."

What do you mean "what is that?"?

It's a street.  To be more exact, a cobblestone street.  To be even more exact, it's a bit of archaeology uncovered at the corner of 53rd and Kenwood during some roadwork.  That white object in the lower-left-hand corner - and the smaller one above it - are those little barrier things municipal services people use to block ones way.  That which is being blocked - only from one side, you'll note - is a patch of cobblestone street, uncovered during a road resurfacing project.  They've been doing patching work ever since I moved here (and probably were doing it before I got here too).  Seeing this bit of brick makes me wonder what Hyde Park was like back when cobblestone streets were commonplace.  It's entirely likely that this bit of street was laid before the University of Chicago was founded (1890).  Just imagine horse-drawn carriages clopping down 53rd Street, tree-lined avenues, sunshine, fresh air, the World's Fair...

The street has since been paved over.

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