I’ve lived in same neighborhood for almost 16 years, and 7 apartments during that time. All of those places were pretty decent, with the exception of one which was a nightmare, but that only lasted a week. But there was one place in particular, the “Silver Tuna” if you will, that I walked past for years wishing and hoping that some day I’d win the lottery and be able to move into. It was the top 2 floors of a 5 story corner building on one of my favorite streets in Chicago. And from the history of the neighborhood and building, it was most likely one of Al Capone’s penthouses back during prohibition. Uncrackable safe and all.
Without living in it I had no idea what it was like inside, but the draw for me was the private rooftop patio that was visible from the street. Every time I walked to the grocery store or biked to the gym I’d look up and say “Man, to be the lucky person that gets to live there.” It killed me that every time I’d go by it I never once saw anyone out on the patio enjoying the weather and view. I always told myself if I ever had the chance to live there I’d spend as much time as possible out on that rooftop deck. That I’d love and appreciate it like no one had ever done.
I spent almost 15 of the 16 years of living in this neighborhood and in all 7 of those apartments with the love of my life, my dog Mooge. I knew from the start she would be the best thing to ever happen to me, and she was. I took care of her as if she was my child, because she was. Anything I could do within my control to benefit her life I did. But the one thing I wanted for her that I didn’t always have control over was that wherever we lived she had a window with a view to sit in and look out at. It was important to me that she didn’t spend her days sleeping, just waiting to go outside, but that she had constant stimulus if and when she wanted. She was a great observer, and loved to take in all the goings on that the city had to offer. And what better than from the comfort of her own home. Most of our apartments had windows that looked at something worth looking at, some better than others, but a few of them looked at walls, and that broke my heart.
Then one day my mom said she was going to move to Chicago for a year to look for a place for her and my dad to downsize and retire in. And guess what apartment had just become available…
So in November of 2017 me and Mooge moved in with my mom and into our dream home on the 4th and 5th floors on the corner of one of my favorite streets in the city, that Al Capone and his goons probably lived in, and it did not disappoint. And that one year turned into 3 of the best years me and Mooge spent together. She not only had multiple windows to sit and look out of, but the view was right down on a bustling corner with plenty of life to observe.
But that roof.
The deck itself was just as big as any one of our previous apartments, and the view was something I can only hope to one day enjoy again. It was breathtaking. Skyline to the North, South, East, and West, sunrise and sunset every day, and a direct view of every parade, naked bike ride, and dog that walked by. And on the 4th of July we had 2 dozen fireworks shows to choose from. I loved it so much I recorded a podcast out there for a year. Sun and air, Mooge loved it.
As an amature photographer one of my favorite things to shoot was the sky from the deck. If there was something going on with the moon, stars or clouds we had a front row seat. But I took the shot above on just a regular day. Right at dusk as the sun was setting, I’ve heard it called “the magic hour”, and it lived up to every syllable of that phrase.
I knew going in that our time there was limited, but we were so fortunate to have 3 beautiful years there. I can’t thank my parents enough for giving us that opportunity, and watching Mooge experience something so important to me that she enjoyed filled my heart with the most sincere comfort and happiness.
A time in my life I won’t forget.