Not for the night sleeper

I grew up on a half acre of land near the Ohio River. We didn’t have air conditioning, so I remember evenings laying in my bed listening to the din of crickets and cicadas and the rustic hum of an electric fan we used to circulate the summer air. I’m convinced those noises actually helped drift me off to sleep as a kid.

Here in Chicago’s Lincoln Park, the window next to my bed is the frame of a totally different picture. Sitting in my apartment Friday night, I recognized fully for the first time despite living here for more than a year, that the noise of a city is almost indescribable at times. Between the relentless horn blasts from cab drivers and the senseless banter from youthful crowds of bar goers, you can hear the chirps of profanity and the uproars of arguments and the occasional fist fight. There are moments of joy too, like the cheers that rise in unison when a big game is on television.

Of course, sometimes you can’t hear any of this. When an ambulance passes by with its sirens blaring or a medical helicopter makes its approach to the hospital down the street, all other sounds cease to exist for a screeching second. I shot this photo at 2:30 a.m. as police used, fittingly enough, a bullhorn to tell the crowd to stay out of the street.

It is, in a word, noisy.

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