Chicago vs New York City
Chicago vs New York City
The Case for Chicago
by Bill Fink
Chicago has long been called the “Second City,” with a smaller population than insufferably packed New York City. But Chicago is first where it matters: quality of life for residents and visitors alike. This may come as a shock to New Yorkers, but it is possible to live in a big city and still be friendly. Chicago welcomes tourists with free city guides. In New York, they’ll knock you down if you hold hands or stop to take a picture.
Chicago is a city of firsts: It built the first skyscraper in the world, precursor to its stunning lakefront skyline; it raised the first Ferris wheel, the inspiration for the current ride on Navy Pier; it chewed the first Juicy Fruit gum, bringing us the city’s iconic Wrigley Building (and Wrigley Field!). Chicago has world-class art, architecture, dining, shopping, music, sports, really everything that New York has, but without the excessive cost and attitude.
Chicago’s skyline along the lakefront is spectacular, anchored by a couple of the world’s tallest skyscrapers in the Willis (Sears) Tower and Hancock Center (whose observatory was ranked “best view in America”). The city is filled with striking buildings from the famed “Chicago School” of architecture, which created the skyscraper concept in the 1890s (when skyscrapers were only 12 stories tall). Louis Sullivan, Mies van der Rohe, and Frank Lloyd Wright worked their art in and around town. The best way to experience it all is via the fascinating Chicago Architecture Boat Tour on the Chicago River, a trip that turns even the most skeptical into architecture buffs.
The deep dish delicacy of Chicago Pizza is rightly famous worldwide, with hearty helpings to be had at local legends Lou Malnati’s My π and Giordano’s. New York pizza is great — if you need something to soak up your alcohol after a night of drinking at overpriced bars. For fine dining, Chicago is home to 25 Michelin-starred restaurants, including the three-starred Alinea, ranked as one the top 10 restaurants in the world. The city has every variety of ethnic food, cheap eats, pub grub, and as Carl Sandburg’s “Hog Butcher for the World,” Chicago is a place where you can always get some locally sourced meat.
Museums, we got ’em, from the famed Art Institute to the dinosaurs at the Field Museum, all the fun buttons to press at the Museum of Science & Industry, and the cosmic light shows at the Planetarium. For theater, the Second City comedy club is the first source of talent for allegedly New York-centric “Saturday Night Live,” producing John Belushi, Mike Myers, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, John Candy, and Tina Fey. For music, Chicago is home of the blues, with over adozen clubs showcasing top live talent. And for sports, we have a football team that actually plays in the city, along with six-time champion Chicago Bulls. For baseball, the success (and associated hatred) of the New York Yankees is more than negated by the trash fire that is the Mets and the Knicks. And then there are the Cubs — great stadium, fun neighborhood that you can actually enjoy before and after a game, and a more relaxed atmosphere (due to extremely rare occurrences of World Series stress). I think Chicago also has a baseball team on its South Side.
The Case For New York City
by Meena Thiruvengadam
New York may be more expensive to live in than Chicago, but that’s the beauty of vacationing here: you can love it without having to pay Manhattan rents to live in it.
New York is the one place in the world everybody wants to experience. It is the backdrop for the movies and TV shows you grew up watching, and it’s a place where you really can find anything you’re looking for. The city’s five boroughs are thought to be home to a combined 800 languages. Within New York City’s borders, you can find some of the world’s best museums, best theaters, some amazing live music ventures and any type of food you could imagine eating.
There’s always something going on in New York and never a quiet night. Oh, and Beyonce lives in Tribeca.
Chicago may have a few architectural icons of its own, but New York has One World Trade Center, which just took the America’s tallest skyscraper title away from Chicago’s Willis Tower. New York is home to a large and varied collection of skyscrapers that includes Art Deco icons the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. Prepare to look up and be awed — a lot.
Both Chicago and New York are foodie havens, but Chicago can’t beat New York when it comes to the sheer number of available dining options. Deep dish is also an acquired taste that many people have yet to acquire. Seven New York City restaurants hold the coveted three-star Michelin rating, and New York’s often the one setting the trends. The Cronut came first, and Chicago’s Wonut is still trying to catch up.
There will never be a shortage of things to do in New York. And whatever there is to do in Chicago, there’s more of it in New York. New York is home to more than 100 museums. Broadway alone has 40 theaters. Yelp lists reviews of 2,338 live music venues. New York’s got baseball, football, basketball and beaches. Whatever it is you’re looking to do, you’ll find it in New York City.