' ' Cinema Romantico: A Walk To The Theater

Monday, November 05, 2012

A Walk To The Theater

It's a shade less than a mile from the Fullerton train stop to the Regal Webster Place 11 Cinema. You exit the L station and turn left and then make another quick left on Sheffield right by the Dominick's.

You stroll past the DePaul campus. You make your way past the gymnasium that houses the Blue Demon women's basketball games. A few times a year you are forced to swerve around the young guy or girl in the DePaul tee shirt leading the tour group of prospective students and their parents who have no understanding whatsoever of city sidewalk etiquette and are utterly oblivious to the fact they are sharing the cement with people NOT part of the tour group.

You reach the corner of Sheffield and Webster and the Jam 'n Honey which used to be a coffee shop. To the left is McGee's which is where you watched your first Nebraska Football game as an official Chicago resident and where you met the dude claiming to be the kicker on Nebraska's 1978 team. It's not a Nebraska bar anymore but that doesn't matter. You turn right past the striking, unmissable St. Vincent de Paul Parish on the corner.

You continue west, past the brownstones and boutiques and bakeries and galleries and the State Street Barbers and the restaurant that has changed names and identities at least a half-dozen times in seven years and the Campus Gear store that never seems to have any customers and Trebes Park.

You continue past John's Place and the Local Option and the Derby Bar & Grill which used to be Charlie's Ale House.

You pass families and couples and joggers and dog-walkers and people listening to their iPods or checking their iPhones and hungover students clamoring for breakfast and dudes in Devin Hester jerseys and fetching blondes in fetching black boots.

You cross the forlorn ex-train track and glide across Southport and past the Potbelly's and the inevitable Starbucks and the Barnes & Noble bravely fighting off the death of bookstores.

You arrive at your destination. You go up the escalator. You buy your ticket. You sit down for your movie. You make the same walk back.

I have made this walk countless times. I have made this walk in the sun and in the dark. I have made this walk in the blazing orange of autumn and in the rain - light and heavy and in-between - of spring. I have made this walk in the brutal heat of summer and in raging blizzards of winter. I made it this past Fourth of July to meet friends to see "The Amazing Spider Man" and I made it on Christmas Day 2009 with my friend Dave to see "Sherlock Holmes."

Every time I tell Chicago friends how often I make this walk they seem perplexed. "That's a long walk," they say rhetorically. I suppose that to simply see a movie, yes, it is a long walk. But it doesn't feel like one. Not to me. Not anymore.

It's my favorite walk in the city.


Anonymous said...

That's a long walk indeed but hey on a good day it's probably not a bad thing to do. I'd imagine you won't be doing too much of this in the Winter time? Btw, that's a gorgeous looking cinema!

Unknown said...

Heh, that long walk is exactly why I don't go to that theater too often. Although I do enjoy riding my bike that way sometimes.

Helen said...

When I lived in Chicago I often walked to the multiplex at Ohio and Rush, about a mile, mile and a half. Usually I walked along Wacker for the river view. When I felt like changing it up I'd drop down into the Loop and let the lights determine the route. Anticipation built on the walk there. The walk home was a chance to think about what I'd just seen, replay the best scenes to fix them in my memory, or work off annoyance- depending on the movie. Everywhere's a drive now. The screens are better but I miss that theater walk.

Nick Prigge said...

Ruth: You know, I actually enjoy walking it in the winter. But then I absolutely love winter. I'm nuts that way.

Eric: It is a long walk. But I've just got so used to it.

Helen: I go to that theater sometimes. The problem is I'm usually walking there right after work and so I'm really, really hustling to make the showtime. Maybe next time I'm there, though, I'll take a walk afterwards.