Sunday, March 23, 2008

Union Station

So, I had a kind of busy weekend.

My folks bought a new car a while back and gave us their old station wagon, so we'll now be a two-car household. We don't expect to use the additional car a lot, but it's nice to have for logistical reasons.

So, we got all the paperwork taken care of on Friday. I took the Metra train to Union Station downtown in the late afternoon, for purposes of taking the Amtrak train down to Springfield, where I would pick up the car and drive it back the following day.

The way the train schedules worked out, I had about an hour and a half to putter about at Union Station while I waited for my train to Springfield to depart.

As I have mentioned before, I started out a new audio blog that consists of posts of one or a handful of musical notes, often recorded from the surrounding environment. Never to be an unprepared blogger, I had my recently-purchased digital voice recorder with me to record any interesting musical sounds. I also had my digital camera with me for the trip.

I really love the Great Hall in Union Station, and sat there for a spell during my wait. While I was there, I took a few pictures and recorded some audio of my time there.

This gives you a nice idea of the size of the room. And it's in the goddamned US of A, in case you didn't see that big flag.

I just panned the camera a bit to the right to capture this lovely view.

The roof of the Great Hall. It lets in some very filtered light, which actually makes the whole room feel a bit sad.

Panning the camera a little more to the right and we see the stone steps famously used in a sequence in Brian DePalma's Untouchables. You may remember that a baby carriage was a major component of the scene. It just so happened that the baby carriage in the photo had just been pushed (gently) down the steps.

A casualty of the cellphone era. A bank of payphones, only a couple of them operable.

Here's the audio I captured. It's about a minute and a half, and is appropriately directionless and echoey.


Fran said...

Wow, very impressive stuff Splotchy. You are a man of many skills and interests.

Dale said...

Scrolling past the roof photo induced a seizure, the sort that made me scroll up and down over the image several times. That's just me.

Nice photos and work on the baby carriage.

vikkitikkitavi said...

DePalma's such a thief. Baby carriage thing totally stolen from "The Battleship Potemkin."

Unknown said...

The flag is probably a garrison flag.

Gifted Typist said...

I did the same as dale, just rolled up and down, up and down that roof shot. It seems to get bigger or smaller depending on the direction of your scroll.

We need help, don't we.

Timothy Donavan Russell said...

Cool pics. Cool audio. You make Onion Station interesting.

Unknown said...

Nice pictures. It seems like so long ago that I would go there for lunch or just to get our of the office which was a block away. That job ended 8 years ago... thank you jeebus cause now I have stories to tell my students.

Jess Wundrun said...

I too did the scrolling.


Maybe you can make a new blog of pictures that are fun to scroll?

Johnny Yen said...

Actually, the roof has an interesting story. I spent a lot of time in Union Station as a young guy-- it was my way of getting to Chicago when my family lived in Chicago. The windows of the roof were painted black in WWII to protect them from the non-existent German and Japanese bombers that could fly 5,000 miles and bomb Chicago. There was a fire in Union Station in the early eighties and many of the windows broke in that fire. They replaced them, and thus actual sunshine gets into the lobby. I'm still not used to it.

RE: the Untouchables scene: that scene was, by Depalmas admission, a blatant homage to the scene in the Battleship Potemkin. Steal a little and you're a thief, steal a lot and you're a king.

Splotchy said...

Sorry for any seizures the roof pic may have induced.

Regarding Potemkin, at least this particular theft/homage gave DePalma a break from ripping off Hitchcock.