I love “Home Alone!”

While I suppose it’s really more a Winnetka movie than a Chicago movie, this holiday classic is full of local flavor. Both the Chicago and Paris airport scenes were filmed at O’Hare International Airport, with some additional runway footage shot at Meigs Field, so while most of the locations were in Winnetka, Willmette, Evanston, and Oak Park, there are indeed some parts of the movie shot within the Chicago city limits. Furthermore, the vast majority of the special effects in this movie were done by hand in a Chicago basement by a man named Kevin Nordine.

Here are a few stills that highlight the strong sense of place in “Home Alone.”

Upstaris under the Flag of Chicago




These screen grabs show Kevin beneath the Chicago flag, the interior of Grace Episcopal Church, the Hubbard Woods Metra, and the United Airlines terminal at O’Hare, respectively. If you have a favorite or one you’d like to add, please share a photo or link!


I love that once a year, plumbers dye the river green.

St. Patrick’s Day is this weekend, and people will be lining up at Columbus and Wabash on Saturday morning to watch the Chicago River turn green. Yes, yes, it’s always green, but now it will be an attractive shade of green. The dye actually enters the river orange, making the process extra Irish. A small flotilla of plumbers will dump enough dye to change the color of the water for quite a distance. This started in 1961, allegedly as a way to detect a scofflaw dumping waste into the river in violation of new anti-pollution laws. The city doesn’t fund it, and this year the dyeing of the river is sponsored by WXRT and Miller Light. Plumbers Union Local 130, who runs the event, also sells T-shirts to help defray costs.

Here’s a photo from Wikipedia commons, showing the river from the Riverwalk.