The official user's manual for sunshine

The Last Picture Show: Reeling in the state’s surviving drive-in theaters

Road Trips, User's Guide to Summer No Comments »

By Frank Sennett

The Skyview in downstate Litchfield is the drive-in of dreams. The screen backs out onto Route 66, where a hand-painted sign proclaims: “$1 per person at all times.” Past the short, winding driveway and small ticket-taker booth, a perfectly manicured gravel lot spreads out in the distance. Its darkest corners butt up against a railroad track, feed silos and the beginning of a business district that includes The Rural King (“For all your farm and home needs”). Red and yellow lights glow atop the speaker posts surrounding the low-slung concession stand, which has offered the basics—soda, candy, corn—along with a friendly greeting since 1949. On hot summer nights, patrons gather on the dozen or so benches arrayed in front of the snackbar loudspeakers; others spread out in the beds of their pickups while the kids run around on an expansive fenced-off lawn that’s overshadowed by the whitewashed, corrugated-metal screen. And when it’s all done, everyone wends out on a driveway devoid of gates and devices that cause “severe tire damage.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Complete Summer

Amusement Parks, Baseball, Food & Drink, Living Arrangements, Outdoor Concerts, Parks & the Great Outdoors, Road Trips, Summer Romance, User's Guide to Summer No Comments »

Before you can say “cold front” it’ll be September and you’ll be wishing you hadn’t spent all summer watching reruns on TV. There’s a whole world around Chicago, and for three months, it’s not as icy, bitter and unforgiving as a jilted lover. The sun glistens of the concrete, steel and glass menagerie we call home. But since it’s such a pain to find out what’s going on, and to plan things, NewCity did the work. From hot air balloons to Binti the ape who save lives, we tell you where to go to make you want to sing like Brian Adams about the Summer of ’97. Read the rest of this entry »