12 Unbelievable Facts I Learned About Chicago After Going On A River Architecture Tour

12 Unbelievable Facts I Learned About Chicago After Going On A River Architecture Tour

The secrets behind some of Chicago's most recognizable buildings have finally been revealed!

If you’re looking for something fun to do in the Windy City, take an architecture tour! Chicago is an architecture town, and one of the best places to learn about its history is on one of its river tours. Take your pick from the many tour companies floating down the waterway and get ready for an awesome time. I took one and now I know EVERYTHING about this town! Here’s some of what I learned:

1. Lake Point Tower has been called home by some famous folks, but NOT who you might think.

A common belief about Lake Point Tower is that it was home to famous Chicagoan Oprah Winfrey. This is not the case. However, some notable names that have resided in the building are: Alice Cooper, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russel, Sammy Sosa, Steve Buscemi, Abraham Lincoln, Winnie the Pooh, Phoebe from Friends, and Alf.

2. Trump Tower is the “tallest” building in the city.

It’s the tallest building, a great building, a really beautiful building, we love it. The best building that’s really, really tall, the best in the world. A great building. Not the second tallest like some liberal snowflakes might tell you. The tallest. The best. The most beautiful building in the city, in the world. We’re gonna love this building so much. It’s going to make Chicago great again.

3. Marina City has a great nickname.

These two circular towers are affectionately nicknamed “The Corncob Towers” because they were made out of corncobs.

4. The Chicago River has come quite a long way.

Our river is known for its pollution, being so polluted at times that people could walk across its grimy surface. Now, however, it’s much cleaner, and is home to around 70 species of fish. You can find bass, carp, the Loch Ness Monster, catfish, and others lurking in its depths.

5. The old Kinzie Street Bridge stays lifted.

This old railroad bridge has been declared a landmark, forever to remain in an upright position because boats can’t pass under it when it’s lowered. This is because there is an angry troll who magically appears under it and throws banana peels at ship captains when they come too close, which could be very dangerous.

6. You might recognize this building if you like classic Chicago cinema!

The only known fact about 333 W Wacker is that it was featured in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as the place of business for the titular character’s father. The rest of this building is shrouded in mystery.

7. Centennial Fountain honors a historic engineering feat.

Centennial Fountain was built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. They were the ones who reversed the Chicago River, and also the ones who added the figure eight, loop-di-loop, bottomless pit/waterfall combo, and log flume ride to it, too.

8. There’s a common misconception about this building!

The Jeweler’s Building is famously rumored to have housed an Al Capone-run speakeasy called “The Stratosphere Lounge” in the top cupola during prohibition. This is flat-out untrue. The cupola actually housed an Al Capone-run space observatory called “The Stratosphere Lounge” where astronomers would gather to gaze at the stars during prohibition.

9. Merchandise Mart is one of the biggest buildings in Chicago.

The art deco building was built in 1930 and was the largest building in the world at that time. It takes up two whole city blocks, once had its own zip code, and has seven miles of hallways inside. Merchandise Mart is also 4.1 million square feet in total, but it still isn’t as big as your mom.

10. Mather Tower is the skinniest skyscraper in Chicago.

The tower is also really self-conscious about that fact, so be considerate and don’t talk about its size, please.

11. River City was born of the same architect as Marina City.

The S-shaped building on the river's south branch was designed by Bertrand Goldberg, the same architect of Marina City. This structure was also built out of corncobs, but a corny nickname unfortunately never caught on.

12. A lot of the letters in “Willis Tower” are actually silent.

The tricky name of the tallest skyscraper in Chicago isn’t pronounced as it looks. The “Willis” in “Willis Tower” is actually pronounced “Sears”.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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Your Wait time At Theme Parks Is Not Unfair, You're Just Impatient

Your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself.


Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios "unboxed" on June 30, 2018. My friend and I decided to brave the crowds on opening day. We got to the park around 7 AM only to find out that the park opened around 6 AM. Upon some more scrolling through multiple Disney Annual Passholder Facebook groups, we discovered that people were waiting outside the park as early as 1 AM.

We knew we'd be waiting in line for the bulk of the Toy Story Land unboxing day. There were four main lines in the new land: the line to enter the land; the line for Slinky Dog Dash, the new roller coaster; the line for Alien Spinning Saucers, the easier of the new rides in the land; Toy Story Mania, the (now old news) arcade-type ride; and the new quick-service restaurant, Woody's Lunchbox (complete with grilled cheese and "grown-up drinks").

Because we were so early, we did not have to wait in line to get into the land. We decided to ride Alien Spinning Saucers first. The posted wait time was 150 minutes, but my friend timed the line and we only waited for 50 minutes. Next, we tried to find the line for Slinky Dog Dash. After receiving conflicting answers, the runaround, and even an, "I don't know, good luck," from multiple Cast Members, we exited the land to find the beginning of the Slinky line. We were then told that there was only one line to enter the park that eventually broke off into the Slinky line. We were not about to wait to get back into the area we just left, so we got a Fastpass for Toy Story Mania that we didn't plan on using in order to be let into the land sooner. We still had to wait for our time, so we decided to get the exclusive Little Green Man alien popcorn bin—this took an entire hour. We then used our Fastpass to enter the land, found the Slinky line, and proceeded to wait for two and a half hours only for the ride to shut down due to rain. But we've come this far and rain was not about to stop us. We waited an hour, still in line and under a covered area, for the rain to stop. Then, we waited another hour and a half to get on the ride from there once it reopened (mainly because they prioritized people who missed their Fastpass time due to the rain). After that, we used the mobile order feature on the My Disney Experience app to skip part of the line at Woody's Lunchbox.

Did you know that there is actually a psychological science to waiting? In the hospitality industry, this science is the difference between "perceived wait" and "actual wait." A perceived wait is how long you feel like you are waiting, while the actual wait is, of course, the real and factual time you wait. There are eight things that affect the perceived wait time: unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time, pre-process waits feel longer than in-process waits, anxiety makes waits feel longer, uncertain waits are longer than certain waits, unexplained waits are longer than explained waits, unfair waits are longer than equitable waits, people will wait longer for more valuable service and solo waiting feels longer than group waiting.

Our perceived wait time for Alien Spinning Saucers was short because we expected it to be longer. Our wait for the popcorn seemed longer because it was unoccupied and unexplained. Our wait for the rain to stop so the ride could reopen seemed shorter because it was explained. Our wait between the ride reopening and getting on the coaster seemed longer because it felt unfair for Disney to let so many Fastpass holders through while more people waited through the rain. Our entire wait for Slinky Dog Dash seemed longer because we were not told the wait time in the beginning. Our wait for our food after placing a mobile order seemed shorter because it was an in-process wait. We also didn't mind wait long wait times for any of these experiences because they were new and we placed more value on them than other rides or restaurants at Disney. The people who arrived at 1 AM just added five hours to their perceived wait

Some non-theme park examples of this science of waiting in the hospitality industry would be waiting at a restaurant, movie theater, hotel, performance or even grocery store. When I went to see "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," the power went out in the theater right as we arrived. Not only did we have to wait for it to come back and for them to reset the projectors, I had to wait in a bit of anxiety because the power outage spooked me. It was only a 30-minute wait but felt so much longer. At the quick-service restaurant where I work, we track the time from when the guest places their order to the time they receive their food. Guests in the drive-thru will complain about 10 or more minute waits, when our screens tell us they have only been waiting four or five minutes. Their actual wait was the four or five minutes that we track because this is when they first request our service, but their perceived wait begins the moment they pull into the parking lot and join the line because this is when they begin interacting with our business. While in line, they are experiencing pre-process wait times; after placing the order, they experience in-process wait times.

Establishments in the hospitality industry do what they can to cut down on guests' wait times. For example, theme parks offer services like Disney's Fastpass or Universal's Express pass in order to cut down the time waiting in lines so guests have more time to buy food and merchandise. Stores like Target or Wal-Mart offer self-checkout to give guests that in-process wait time. Movie theaters allow you to check in and get tickets on a mobile app and some quick-service restaurants let you place mobile or online orders. So why do people still get so bent out of shape about being forced to wait?

On Toy Story Land unboxing day, I witnessed a woman make a small scene about being forced to wait to exit the new land. Cast Members were regulating the flow of traffic in and out of the land due to the large crowd and the line that was in place to enter the land. Those exiting the land needed to wait while those entering moved forward from the line. Looking from the outside of the situation as I was, this all makes sense. However, the woman I saw may have felt that her wait was unfair or unexplained. She switched between her hands on her hips and her arms crossed, communicated with her body language that she was not happy. Her face was in a nasty scowl at those entering the land and the Cast Members in the area. She kept shaking her head at those in her group and when allowed to proceed out of the land, I could tell she was making snide comments about the wait.

At work, we sometimes run a double drive-thru in which team members with iPads will take orders outside and a sequencer will direct cars so that they stay in the correct order moving toward the window. In my experience as the sequencer, I will inform the drivers which car to follow, they will acknowledge me and then still proceed to dart in front of other cars just so they make it to the window maybe a whole minute sooner. Not only is this rude, but it puts this car and the cars around them at risk of receiving the wrong food because they are now out of order. We catch these instances more often than not, but it still adds stress and makes the other guests upset. Perhaps these guests feel like their wait is also unfair or unexplained, but if they look at the situation from the outside or from the restaurant's perspective, they would understand why they need to follow the blue Toyota.

The truth of the matter is that your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself. We all want instant gratification, I get it. But in reality, we have to wait for some things. It takes time to prepare a meal. It takes time to experience a ride at a theme park that everyone else wants to go on. It takes time to ring up groceries. It takes patience to live in this world.

So next time you find yourself waiting, take a minute to remember the difference between perceived and actual wait times. Think about the eight aspects of waiting that affect your perceived wait. Do what you can to realize why you are waiting or keep yourself occupied in this wait. Don't be impatient. That's no way to live your life.

Cover Image Credit:

Aranxa Esteve

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Central Jersey Exists, So Here Are The Top 5 Places You Should Visit

"Where are you from?"


College students from New Jersey are often asked the one question they dread the most: "Where are you from?" You hesitate for a moment because you are unsure of how to handle the situation this time. "Central Jersey," you reply. The room is filled with laughter and yet again, you are unsure of what exactly it was that you said wrong. "Central Jersey doesn't exist," they claim. "No, seriously, though. North or South Jersey?" Confused, you reply with "North, I guess?" You're unsure and maybe even a little embarrassed at this point.

All true New Jerseyans know that central Jersey does, in fact, exist. The area is filled with the best restaurants, sights, and attractions that always seem to be jam-packed with interested tourists. Here are the top five best places to visit when visiting central New Jersey.

1. Asbury Park boardwalk

Over the past couple of years, the Asbury Park boardwalk has become increasingly popular. The boardwalk contains many boutiques and shops that hold beautiful articles of clothing, bathing suits, beach toys, and even Asbury Park related trinkets. There are many incredibly delicious restaurants on the boardwalk or within a five-minute walk. The Asbury Park beach is one of the best places to spend your time during the day. The beach bar is located right off of the boardwalk and many beachgoers are allowed into a specific, enclosed area of the beach where the bar is located and you can drink your drink in a special beach chair.

2. Playa Bowls

Playa Bowls has recently expanded all over New Jersey, but there are many great locations in central New Jersey—especially right off the beach. Playa Bowls is a grab-and-go restaurant where you can order items such as açai bowls, organic smoothies, fresh juices, and at certain locations, even coffee. The restaurant has many different options as far as bowls and fruits to add. They are always willing to work with you if you want to make a substitution. Their food is delicious, refreshing, and even extremely healthy!

3. Coney Waffle

Coney Waffle is one of the best and most well-rounded ice cream shops in central New Jersey. They have everything from your typical ice cream cone to ice cream waffle sandwiches. Of course, they also have extremely delicious and insanely decorated edible specialty milkshakes. Their shop is so one-of-a-kind that it attracts large crowds of intrigued individuals who are dying to try their ice cream masterpieces!

4. Pier Village

Pier Village is one of the best locations to visit in the summertime at the Jersey Shore. Located right next to the boardwalk, there is an array of different shops and restaurants. They are known for having some of the best clothing stores and boutiques. After a long day at the beach, many beachgoers go straight to these shops for dinner and some shopping.

5. WindMill of Belmar

The WindMill is one of the best fast food places to visit when in central Jersey. They are known for their classic cheese fries and also have some of the best hot dogs and hamburgers in the state. This location is known for their late-night crowd and for the actual windmill, featured on the buildings of their other locations.

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