American Storefront / Chicago Collection

As a kid growing up just across the border in Wisconsin, Chicago was geographically close, but seemed a world away. In my neighborhood, one of the measures of your street cred was how well your TV’s analog antenna pulled in the fuzzy treasure trove of content from Channels 9, 32, and 44. John Records Landecker and Larry Lujack preached to us the gospel of pop music on WLS. Chicago loomed just out of reach, like a cooler, older brother who'd gone off to college.

Growing older, the trips got more regular. The Museum of Science and Industry. Marriott’s Great America. Chicago Cubs games. Back-to-school downtown shopping trips. Eventually I moved West, but then I married a girl whose parents lived in Chicago, so I got to experience the place all over again. I love the combination of Midwestern approachability with cosmopolitan gleam. And all that great food, sports and history. 40 years later, Chicago is still larger than life.

This series of classic Windy City storefronts is my tribute to the working-class, no-BS, get-it-done mentality that runs through this town. There’s a little bit of everything, from donuts to cameras to bowling to movie shows to beer. That sounds like a pretty good day actually.