QUESTION FOR EXPERTS:
This is kind of a tourism related question, as I have a long business/pleasure trip coming up soon in the US, with a week in Chicago at the end of July. But, my company is re-organising and, I think by the time of my trip to Chicago later in July, it will be apparent that I will soon be transferred to either Chicago or NYC, and will be able to chose between the two cities. (I am originally from the US, lived in Chicago for 5 years in the late 80s/early 90s, then 5 years in NYC, before living the last 5 years in Europe, London/Brussels). So, even though I "know" Chicago, I have rarely been there during the last decade!
I have a couple kind of deep, difficult questions for the Chicago experts out there and would appreciate any opinions, especially from those who've left Chicago and then later moved back there:
1. Where would you recommend living in Chicago? (definitely city not suburbs!) I am a single gay guy, 36 years old, will be working in the N. Loop/Michigan ave. area, and (for this one time in my life only), can afford pretty much anything. I used to live on Belmont/Sheridan, then down by dearborn/division. On paper I think I'm not the "Rush Street" type of guy guy at all, am quite lefty, but I found I preferred living in the Gold Coast to Lakeview or even Wicker Park. Has Wicker Park established itself fully? When I last lived in Chicago Wicker Park had that desperate atmosphere of trying really hard to be cool, which turned me off completely...also, apparently, the whole area east of Michigan ave., like Navy Pier/U. of Chicago Med. School area has now been fully developed?? Like even Oprah lives there? Is this really true? My inclination is to go for a high rise building somehwere around the Gold Coast---is this ok or am I being lazy???
2. Has Chicago really developed as an "international city" during the last decade or so? I've heard great things about Chicago becoming even better since 1993, when I left it (and, in most ways, I thought it was already a good place in 1993). But what I used to hate about Chicago was the vibe that, while it felt like a true great city, it was JUST an american great city, not a real international city. I have since found NYC, London, and now Brussels to be great international cities, although the snobbishness turns me off big-time (and I miss that great Chicago deep-dish pizza!)
Friends tell me, "don't worry--Chicago's gotten even better--check out the awesome new Millenium Park!" Bleccchhhh! Even though I've only had 2 brief trips back to Chicago in the last 10 years, and unfortunately never left the city center, I'm put off: internationalisation in Chicago seems to mean more Starbucks! Cool new prefabricacated corporate vomit-ness at Millenium Park!
In my mind, Chicago is a great city, but at the same time still quite bland and (vomit) midwestern. I thought NYC was miles more sophisticated but was disgusting/stressful in so many ways, and really missed Chicago at first.
But, I'm worried, part of me want to choose Chicago over NYC, but I have it in my head still how Chicago is still a "cow town" full of lame midwestern americans! and the "poodle haircut"---frumpy midwestern US women with puffy perms!!!
please give me advice!!