Tonight at 6:09 pm marks the summer solstice! So roughly only 6 more months before we'll start seeing chairs, crates, cat carriers, ladders, construction cones and old Halloween pumpkins holding down parking spots on our public streets of Chicago.
My Chicago Snow Parking photo project has been an idea I’ve had since experiencing my first Chicago winter when moving here in 2000. After a heavy snowfall I was surprised to find a beautiful old wooden chair on my neighborhood street. My first thought was that someone had thrown it out and it was free for the grabbing. Then, after a closer look I noticed it was not hastily tossed aside but rather carefully placed between two parked cars. After seeing even more objects on the street I soon realized that this was not a random act at all. These personal possessions had been selected by their owners to hold a parking space on the street after they had finished their hard work of excavating their vehicles. Even after becoming familiar with this odd Chicago tradition I still never lost my interest. In fact this interest has only grown winter after winter and now has become a fascination and even an obsession. Maybe it is the juxtaposition of a brightly colored summer lawn chair in the wintery setting, or maybe the intrigue of the decision behind putting out a vacuum vs. a more common household item, or maybe it is the pure oddity of it all coupled with the fact that its supported by local government officials. Ultimately, to me it is beautiful street art at its finest.
Thank you mother nature, father time and all you creative Chicagoans!