I’ve been walking the halls of Chicago’s O’Hare airport since I was about six, and I never grow tired of it. Others complain, but I love it . There’s a Hilton right IN the airport with a gym you can use (for a small fee) to keep the blood flowing, the Blue Line on the CTA takes you to the city for less than a cup of coffee, power plugs are plentiful (especially in the corridor that connects Concourses E & F), the air is filled with languages and dialects galore, there are seventeen Starbucks, and a fun-house tunnel with mirrors, neon-lights, glowing walls and moving sidewalks connecting Terminal 1, Concourse C with Terminal 2, Concourses B, E, & F.
And as if that weren’t enough, the Terminal 2 corridor that connects you from Concourse B to Concourses E and F is full of art – on the ceiling, the windows and the benches that line up inviting you to just sit for a minute and people watch. The current window art, entitled CityScapes, is work of gallery37, part of the After School Matters program, a non-profit organization for Chicago high school teens.
I recently re-watched the 2004 movie THE TERMINAL with Tom Hanks, directed by Spielberg. Tom Hanks’ character, Victor, a kind man from an Eastern block country, gets stranded indefinitely at JFK when his country goes to war and his visa is invalidated. (Fun fact: Although this film was set in JFK airport, it was actually shot in a two-and-a-half-story recreation of a full-size operating airport terminal.) Victor ate, slept, found a job, made friends, and fell in love without ever leaving the airport.
And I asked myself, if I had to be stranded indefinitely in a U.S. airport indefinitely, which one would I choose?
Which one would YOU choose?