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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Sunday, May 19

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kate / February 27, 2006 12:41 AM

The faint, gentle whoosh of the blue line I can hear from inside my apartment... why? Because I'm 3 blocks away and can truly appreciate not living so close to the tracks that I get used to the sound of armageddon from above.
I love the train, but good lord it's loud.

printdude / February 27, 2006 7:00 AM

"This is Grand"
I love the announcement and I feel everyone should get a grin from this.

The roar of Wrigley field heard from the Addison L stop.

The roar of the waves from Oak St. Beach on a cold winter's day.

"Caution, Sweeper Approaching"

These are a few of my favorites.

j / February 27, 2006 7:41 AM

I have many, most of which are Chicago cliches...

The warning bells that sound when any of the bridges over the river raise.

When it's summer and my windows are open and off in the distance I hear the struggle of the EL on the rails...

This past winter I found myself waiting outside the Art Institute for a no-show date; the sky was black, the snowflakes were approaching silver-dollar size and a gentleman was playing "Amazing Grace" on his saxaphone. I paused for a moment, put the cold out of my mind and took it all in for this was truly a Chicago moment.

Shylo / February 27, 2006 8:08 AM

I agree with "This is Grand."

also, the sound of tourists debating whether or not the Hancock is the Sears Tower.

Loir / February 27, 2006 8:28 AM

"Paletas! Coco!", and the ding ding ding of the bells.

a / February 27, 2006 8:29 AM

The ice cream truck that would roll through my old neighborhood blaring "The Candyman" at 11:00 at night. The best part of that truck was that there was a recording that would break in that would yell "HELLO!" every minute or so. While I didn't love the sound then, it sure does make me giggle thinking about it now.

MikeH / February 27, 2006 8:35 AM

Gotta go with the sounds of the "L" as well--having lived within a couple blocks of the tracks for many years, the cacaphonous rumbling and screeching of its frequent passing would often lull me to sleep at night...

Also gotta go with the sounds of Wrigley Field--though I now live a block west of Ashland, I can still faintly hear the roar of the crowd from my front sidewalk after a big play (not all that often, really); I also like the sounds of the vendors: the repeated, metallic banging of the lid by the hotdog dude, the beer guy yelling, "O-l-l-l-d St-y-y-y-le Beer!!," etc., and lest I forget, the hooting of Ronnie "Woo Woo" Wickers..

Although not necessarily exclusive to Chicago, I also enjoy the sound of the Lake Michigan waves lashing the rocks at night (where they have yet to be replaced with retaining walls and steps), often while drinking a cold beer or sharing a doobie with friends...

elena / February 27, 2006 8:45 AM

When thick ice forms on the lake, near the shore, you can hear the blocks of ice shifting and grinding against each other. Especially when the wind is still, the sound of the lake is a vast rumbling and creaking, like some great, groaning mill. I love that sound.

I also love the sound of people talking out on the stoop, calling to people who pass by.

And every conversation sounds both more inviting and more intimate when one of the conversants is leaning on their elbows and talking out of an open window.

Roni / February 27, 2006 8:49 AM

a...we had the same truck in the old 'hood.

I also love the sound of the waves as they crash into the shore...summer, winter, anytime. It's hard for me to drive past North Ave. beach without getting distracted by the sight and sound.

My fave sound is the silence during the summer when the windows are open and I'm just hanging out in the living room.

amyc / February 27, 2006 9:04 AM

I know I won't win any friends in the Mag Mile highrises with this, but I love the bucket drummers.

elizabeth / February 27, 2006 9:11 AM

I love the sounds of the Fine Arts Building. A soprano running scales, a pianist practicing a concerto, the buzzer that summons the elevator operator.

sherm / February 27, 2006 9:12 AM

I enjoy the sound of the red line between Clark and Division and North and "Clyburn", seems that is when I always fall asleep on the train.

also there is a homeless man who yells "Happy Friday" every Friday at the Washington/Wells red line stop

I always smile when I hear "This is Grand".

slb / February 27, 2006 9:13 AM

a- i *hate* that ice cream truck. that "Hello" before the annoying song starts playing again makes me want to purchase a shotgun and use it.

however i do love the sounds of the lake in the spring/summer. waves crashing, seagulls squawking, etc.

i love the silence during and after a big snowfall, until the plows come out and spoil it.

i love the sound of the late summer bugs in the trees, especially in the forest preserves. i'm not sure what they're called - katydids? the loud ones.

and like everyone else I love "This is Grand"

Erica / February 27, 2006 9:23 AM

The Motown singer in the blueline subway (Washington, I think) has a beautiful voice, but I think what's more unique is the Casio guy in the Marshall Field's pedway. I can't walk past him w/out smiling. He's so intense.

I've always lived by a church and I like the church bells in the city. It seems wholesome in what can be a pretty grimey place sometimes.

I do like the paleta man chimes better than the horn and ice cream truck jingles.

I also like the noises of late nights near venues and bars. I like the sound of people talking and live music playing. It makes things feel very alive.

jgs / February 27, 2006 9:55 AM

listening to the sox broadcast on a warm summer night. With the slight delay from the radio, when there's a homerun, I can hear the fireworks from cominsky just before the broadcast of it. when it's really good, the radio has just put out the crack of the bat when the 'works go off.

also the bells of a metra train coming into the station.
and late into the night the wail of the frieght train horns as they traverse the dark tracks of chicago. that's how I know i'm in the midwest and that the industrial pulse of the city still throbs.

James / February 27, 2006 9:57 AM

I like the sound of all the Chicago natives as they walk and talk through the terminals of O'Hare. Those first few voices you over-hear on your way to the baggage claim remind you that these are your people–you're finally home.

NSH / February 27, 2006 9:58 AM

Waking up to church bells after a warm saturday afternoon siesta on the hammock in the backyard.

Y A J / February 27, 2006 10:06 AM

My favorite Chicago sounds come from very early mornings on my road bike:
- the tiny click when an old traffic light changes colors, especially if it’s a major intersection because I know the quiet is rare and short-lived
- the persistent clink of sailboats moored at Monroe harbor (frozen trees lining the lakefront after an ice storm make a similar tiny chime) because LSD is rarely quiet enough to let me hear it

Wendy / February 27, 2006 10:08 AM

I don't think they do it anymore, but I loved it when the Stereo Exchange store would play German oompah music over outdoor loudspeakers all over Lincoln Square.

Also, when I was a kid in Oak Park I remember hearing a bell on a hand-pushed cart; it was a guy who sharpened knives and would push his cart up and down the streets. You'd hear him coming for blocks. I wonder if he worked in Chicago, too.

jgs / February 27, 2006 10:15 AM

Wendy! the ding dong man! Only when I was rather young, and in the north suburbs the ding dong man would come down the street. no-one seems to have seen one in the last decade, and most people don't believe knife sharpeners would walk the suburban sidewalks...but I remember him very clearly. Has the ding-dong man era passed?

Spence / February 27, 2006 10:17 AM

I like the sounds the turnstiles make when entering and leaving L stations.

I like the hustle and bustle of all the summer street festivals and farmer markets.

I use to live right near Wrigley field and I could hear and smell the games from my apartment. That was my favorite part about living there.

I'm sure their will be many Traders who will miss the sounds from the Pit of the Chicago Merc when all trading eventually moves to the internet.

tony / February 27, 2006 10:21 AM

- The sound of the trains on the Blue Line between Jefferson Park and Harlem, where they go as fast as (if not faster than) traffic on the Kennedy.
- Michigan Ave. on a busy day (bucket brigade included).
- The bells on the paletas carts. Mmm, strawberry.
- The sound of the waves hitting the shore, mixed with the gentle whoosh of traffic from the Drive.

Eamon / February 27, 2006 10:29 AM

Rapping on the windows in the bar at the top of the Hancock.

Trying to Sleep / February 27, 2006 11:01 AM

I have grown to like (not love) the Spanish love songs that the kitchen staff member sings from the restaurant below my apartment.

I also have grown to like (not love) the weird sirens for ambulances (not sure if they're private or what) but they sound like a kazoo and they're loud as all hell.

Wendy / February 27, 2006 11:08 AM

Here is evidence that there's still at least one "ding-dong man" in the area.

Another sound I just thought of: there's a row of flagpoles outside the Sulzer Library and on breezy nights their riggings clink softly against the poles.

hench / February 27, 2006 11:19 AM

both "this is grand" & "this is chicago" make me grin. also the traffic noise whoosh of the kennedy from the irving park blue line stop. biking past wrigley field during a ballgame is also very nice.

Alice / February 27, 2006 11:23 AM

Morning doves coo-ing in the courtyard of my building in the morning. And, yes, locusts buzzing in the trees on summer nights.

Yes, the rumble of the El going by. And, I live near a train stop, so I also hear the occasional "Doors closing" from my bathroom, which I don't really mind.

Planes flying overhead. My apartment is right under one of the flight paths to O'Hare so I hear planes overhead all the time, but I grew up near the airport so it is a very home-y sound to me. Sad, I know.

Carrie / February 27, 2006 11:28 AM

I love the sound of the jets zooming around the city during the Air and Water Show.

PS: I'm so glad others love "this is Grand". I really thought I was the only one who smiled or giggled at that.

Cinnamon / February 27, 2006 11:48 AM

Alicia taught me to notice so many small sounds in the city and everytime I hear an odd rumble or a distant woosh, I'll think of her.

I remember laughing out loud the first time I heard "This is Grand" on the recordings. But I'd prefer to have the operatic red line conductor who would belt out little songs about each of the stops.

And I love hearing the little splats of bird poo hitting the sidewalk near me. It means it missed me.

k / February 27, 2006 11:51 AM

I love the sound of the Bertoia sculpture in front of the Amoco building (I know, the Aon Center).

fluffy / February 27, 2006 11:57 AM

-The sound of the bells warning motorists/pedestrians that the Clark street bridge will be opening up to let boats on the river through. That's the view from my office window.

- I liked it when the El conductors/bus drivers used to announce the stops. There were a few who were funny, some would tell you time & temperature, wish you a great day, etc

-In my old hood, where that paleta/ice cream truck with the 'hello' recording also roamed the streets (in the summers until 11pm!), you hear kids laughing and playing in the street. Nowadays, it seems kids don't play outside.

- I love the sound of a festival- people laughing, live music

- love the sound of a beer being poured, preferably from the tap. oh yes.

esskaycee / February 27, 2006 12:05 PM

Alice, I LOVE the sounds of the planes. My house is also on an O'Hare flight path, and the planes are the first and last thing I hear every day. In the evenings, I go outside with the dog and listen and watch as jet after jet comes soaring overhead. I adore it.

To second everyone else, I also love "this is grand" and all the L noises, including the clanging of the crossing gates at my grade-level Brown Line station(s).

MikeH / February 27, 2006 12:21 PM

Lincoln Park Zoo on a warm spring or summer day also offers a bevy of pleasing sounds--I'll let all of your own imaginations fill in the blanks on this one, as I'm sure everyone has their own personal experiences from which to draw...

matty / February 27, 2006 12:47 PM

I don't know about sounds, but I know I really do love reading the same post 100 times on gapersblock. Apparently reading other people's posts before posting your own is just not that cool.

matty / February 27, 2006 12:57 PM

after some thought hearing the cubs game during the day on WGN is probably the most lasting Chicago sound for me. Years and years and years of daytime games in the background of your summer days off of school has that kind of affect.

Bill / February 27, 2006 1:02 PM

"this is grand" should probably be the winner for best chicago sound ever. i remember the first time i consciously heard it. i was in a really good mood at the time, and i thought to myself "ah, i live in chicago. i'm in love. i'm in school for a career i really like. this city is beautiful, and it really is fucking grand."

personal favorite sound: i grew up on wolcott near montrose and damen, and on certain game days, if the wind was blowing north from wrigley, i could actually hear the crowd cheer after a good play, all from the comfort of my front porch. really amazing. and grand.

jen / February 27, 2006 1:07 PM

the *one* female conductor on the blue line that scolds passengers to "please let all passengers get off before you get on" and is just generally sassy and keeps commuters in line. love her. makes me smile every time.

Clarke / February 27, 2006 1:09 PM

The sounds that will start to come with the warmer weather around the corner:

The Lake, anything to do with it.

The sounds of beer garden eating and drinking.

Sounds indside and outside Wrigley on gameday.

All sounds on a bike ride or from Montrose down to U of Chicago campus.

People having fun in Millennium Park.

Love a distant "L" sound.

Most of all the happiness and excitement in my wife's voice when spring comes around.

Rob / February 27, 2006 1:18 PM

Used to live on Roscoe, with a top floor back deck facing Wrigley, about four blocks away. (And I loved the sound of the screen door leading to the back deck, by the way.)On a still night, or with the wind right, I would sit on the deck and listen to WGN radio, then turn down the volume on a good play or home run and listen to the crowd. Then then next night, my wife and I would walk down the street, buy a couple tickets, and sit and drink in Wrigley on another perfect summer night. Love my life elsewhere, but man I miss Chicago.

Kevin / February 27, 2006 1:34 PM

I don't mind the ice cream trucks that do the "Hello" song, but I prefer the song that that has the "quack quack" and the "woof woof" bits in between parts of the song.

I loathe the ice cream trucks that play "Jingle Bells" and "Oh come all ye faithful" in June and July.

My favorite was the night that the people on the street next to me had a street party and hired a Mariachi band.

MikeH / February 27, 2006 1:45 PM

Ditto on Millennium Park, specifically the Crown Fountain--the sounds of cascading water and children's laughter, which inevitably erupts into children's screams once the water starts shooting from the digital mouths...

a / February 27, 2006 1:46 PM

the bucket boys

jtrain / February 27, 2006 1:49 PM

"Hot tamales! You want tamales?"

I usually hear this one at the Hideout.

Gotta love people who bring food to you after a long night of drinking.

Carrie / February 27, 2006 2:41 PM

Isn't the "hello" truck the drug truck? It used to come to my neighborhood at midnight- sorry no kids are up and if they are up that late, they don't need ice cream. A couple of times it woke me up and I wasn't feeling friendly so I called 311 (please note: even if you say it's not necessarily an emergency, they'll forward you to 911) Anyway, the 2 times I called, they drove away immediately- they must have a scanner. -apparently I'm an old lady... bark bark bark, I call 911"

Now that I haven't heard it in 7 months, I think it's funny, but trust me when it starts coming around again and I have to hear "hello" every 7 seconds I will scoff and mumble to myself.

Matty, can't we all like the same sound? who cares if a million of us like "this is grand". It's comforting to know that secretly everyone else around you is giggling when it's announced.

JasonB / February 27, 2006 2:49 PM

-The El struggling to maneuver at the corners of the Loop.

-"a one, a two, a three...Take (etc etc)"

Dino / February 27, 2006 2:57 PM

The sounds of a Critical Mass bike ride... hoots, hollers and lots of dinging bike bells. Happy Friday!

musiclover / February 27, 2006 3:01 PM

there is woman who belts out opera on the blue line late morning commute, she doesn't sit down but stands and faces the doors and sings into the rush and roar of the moving train. tall and graceful with wild hair she resembles diana ross.

haven't seen her in a while, and I miss it. I don't know her story, if she's a professional or just loves to sing, but she is amazing.

Amy / February 27, 2006 3:03 PM

Love the sound of:
fireworks in the distance every Saturday night at Navy Pier.
concerts at Northerly Island while on a sailboat.
listening to people laugh and talk outside my first floor window.

Could do without the unnaturally loud sirens of ambulances and firetrucks and the honking of cars passing through the alleyway but I wouldn't give it up and live in the suburbs. Ever.

Ian / February 27, 2006 3:35 PM

The sound the clinking rigging on the anchored sailboats, in harbour during the summer.

Any live music downtown, especially Ziggy(?) the drummer on State Street.

The compressed and echoey sound of the cars, as you drive down Lower Wacker Drive.

Kevin / February 27, 2006 4:01 PM

Amy's message reminded me of my completely favorite sound ever, not that it's specific to Chicago, but it is helped due to the sirens.

Everytime an ambulance or cop car drives by with sirens blaring, my dog howls like a wolf. It makes my wife and I laugh like hell, but it weirds out anyone else that happens to witness it. Which makes me laugh harder. Then I tell him what a big tough dog he is, even though he's a total baby.

Archie FlorCruz / February 27, 2006 4:04 PM


j / February 27, 2006 4:33 PM


misterShankly / February 27, 2006 4:34 PM

1) The booming sound (and even the window rattle) of the Blue Angels practicing before the Air & Water Show.

2) Pop Goes the Weasel from the ice cream truck, but only for the first warm week -- it gets a bit maddening after that.

3) These three simultaneous events on an 85 degree day at the lake : 1- Ron Santo sighing or ummming through my tiny little AM radio. 2- the discreet opening of an Old Style tall boy. 3- the hum of Lake Shore Drive traffic.

emyduck / February 27, 2006 5:07 PM

the howling man at damen/north/division. he howls like a wolf at the pretty girls who walk by him, after waiting for them to walk a good safe hundred or so feet away. after i realized that he was completely harmless i started to appreciate the compliment. it makes me smile every time.

fluffy / February 27, 2006 5:09 PM

You know what sound I don't like? I mean, this makes my ears throw-up......the preacher guy with the microphone that stands at the corner of State and Washington, in front of Old Navy...

"there's no drugs in heaven...."

amy / February 27, 2006 5:29 PM

- 2 beer vendors at the Cell, the guy with the really deep voice and the guy who proclaims, 'Beer is your buddy - who needs a friend'

- The gongs at 7pm at the Buddhist Temple on Damen (just north of Montrose)

- The sound of Welles Park little league on Saturday mornings

- The Old Town Folk & Roots Festival

OK - I'm a fan of Lincoln Square in general.

paul / February 27, 2006 6:00 PM

The weird ambient music and voice over warning on the moving walkway in the United Airlines tunnel.

The sound the bridges make when you drive over them.

I don't like the sound of the el, but I do like the sounds those springs between the trains make.

Amy, I don't know about the rest of the suburbs but don't move to Evanston for quiet -it seems we're in a constant state of emergency during the day because the sirens never stop. Maybe we have overzealous emergency workers, or maybe they really need to because everyone is still allowed to drive with cell phones stuck to their ears.

mike-ts / February 27, 2006 6:07 PM

Cheeseborger cheeseborger.

elena / February 27, 2006 6:16 PM

At the Lyric Opera, there's a man who sells librettos and sings out "Libretto! Enjoy the opera with a libretto!"
- - _ - - - - - - - - _ -

I haven't heard him for a while, though.

And outside the Lyric, there's usually the guy who sells "Streetwise" and keeps changing his pitch and intonation to get people's attention.

I love to overhear conversations on the red line and on the bus, too. I cannot count the number of great stories I've overheard that way. It makes me wish that Chicago had its own "Stan Mack's Real Life Funnies" (which even NY doesn't have anymore).

E / February 27, 2006 6:18 PM

In Pilsen we get the HELLO truck, and yes, the kids on my street are all up past midnight on hot summer nights.

The lake is of course wonderful in October/November when the waves are extra violent.

The sound of the thousands of bikes at dawn during Bike the Drive. You don't know how loud car traffic is till that moment.

The sound of the runners during the Chicago Marathon as they go over the bridges.

The sounds listed by everyone else are all great and make me so very happy to live here.

anom / February 27, 2006 6:22 PM

the last time I saw the knife sharpening guy was about ten years ago on Asbury and Greenleaf in Evanston. Sure wish he'd come back.

Onid / February 27, 2006 6:48 PM

I grew up in the city and moved out to the suburbs for about 4 years and came back a year ago. I never realized that I had missed the general noises of the city until I had my windows open this past summer.
Sometimes I can hear the tones of the El and the recording "this is Thorndale" if the wind is right.
This makes me happy.

Flips / February 27, 2006 7:24 PM

Ok, that HELLO truck guy about drove me nuts last summer, that thing seriously freaks me out and he was parking right on my corner for 15 minute stretches. Not at 11pm on a Tuesady, guy. Come on!

/end rant

I love the little bells on the carts in the summer. Funny, never had those in Lincoln Park. ahem.

I enjoyed the El announcer's "libary" pronounciation even though it was wrong. Made me giggle.

The best was hearing Harry sing with the crowd while I happened to be in the ladies room at work. We're just a few blocks away. That was great.

Moon / February 27, 2006 7:32 PM

There's nothing like the clang of the bell and the opening of the gates at Arlington Park.

Neta / February 27, 2006 7:34 PM

Smashing Pumpkins and the pounding of the waves against the breaker at Eastlake Terrace in East Rogers Park (on stormy nights).

Leah / February 27, 2006 7:47 PM

There is a red line conductor that thanks riders for choosing the CTA and tells them that the "Blessed line is the best line."

Which always starts someone to talking about seperation of church and state, but I appreciate the morning blessing.

I like a silent ride on the train or bus during rush hour when all you can hear is one little kid telling their mom a story.

Cathy / February 27, 2006 8:41 PM

I'm guessing that this poll has something to do with the upcoming "Sounds of Chicago" album. Read the entry a few down from the top for the details.
And I personally loved reading what everyone thought. I can't believe some people like that damn ice cream truck.
I can't believe other people also like certain el announcements. This is a fun read.
Peter Cusack actually needs to know what the favorites in Chicago are, even if it's "This is Grand" over and over again.
My vote?
"This is Grand", tops.
Wrigley Field, game day home run, from outside the park, say, near McDonalds.
Fire trucks and ambulances screaming by when I'm in the Loop. I love it when they get so close you can't continue your conversation and you just kind of grin and let it pass.
Seagulls. I'm from FL, and I couldn't believe Chicago had seagulls when I first moved here. Reminds me of home.

Lisa / February 27, 2006 8:51 PM

The noise of the L coming and going from the stop near Wrigley Field . . . there is nothing better.

Jonathan / February 27, 2006 9:41 PM

The sound of the local soft serve ice cream truck (that has spiderman painted on its side) on a hot summer night. You can't beat a $1.00 large chocolate and vanilla soft serve at 9:30 at night.

Brian / February 28, 2006 7:35 AM

I'm glad I'm not the only one that loves "This.. is Grand." I also like heading outbound on either the red or blue lines and hearing the pair.. "This is Chicago." "This is Grand." It sums it up. :)

donna / February 28, 2006 7:54 AM

i like the announcement that tells you that among other things, gambling is not allowed on cta busses.

Alfred / February 28, 2006 8:54 AM

I love the voices of Dick Buckley and Johnny B, the word 'egg' pronounced with a long A and the word 'sausage' pronounced as only Chicagoans pronounce it.

Lucy / February 28, 2006 9:03 AM

I adore the sound of the wolves howling on a full moon when you walk past the Lincoln Park Zoo late at night. A friend has an apartment across the street and she has people over to sit on her porch and listen. When the city and the wild meet that is some good stuff.

Over in my neighborhood, the guys at the corner bar who grill out on game day to the moms with baby's in strollers to to cross over and get a brat and cold one on their way home! it is a G+L classic!

Also, on game day sitting in the backyard and all our neighbors have their TV's plugged into their garages and are grilling out, yelling at the TV and at their neighbors about the play!

The sound of a block part

the sound of kids across the street at school during recess on the playground

The sound of people hanging outside The Hideout on a hot summer night

Walking past Old Town School of Folk Music in Lincoln Square int he summer witht he windows open and hearing all the music and dance float out onto the street

eep / February 28, 2006 9:44 AM

There was a guy on the blue line every morning who'd sell papers. "Sun-Times, Sun-Times." No one ever seemed to buy his papers, but it certainly doesn't seem like it's morning without him.

I still love the "Bing-bong! Doors closing." noise on the L. I can hear it from my apartment when I have the windows open in the summer, and that's even over the sounds of the Ike.

How come no one has mentioned the sound of the wind whipping up and down the streets in the winter? It may not be a favorite in it being a happy noise, but it's quintessential Chicago to me.

Jane / February 28, 2006 9:53 AM

St John Cantius 12:30 Tridentine Mass.

Latin, in a once was Polish Church.

The garabge men illegally picking up trash at 4am.

e_five / February 28, 2006 9:57 AM

The coldest nights of winter when it's completely silent outside and you open the doors of a crowded club.

The old, original "Chicago Tonight" theme from the late 80s, early 90s. It had a mournful and hopeful sound at the same time.

Wrigley Field organ.

Least favorite sound:

"Doors closing" I hear that bastard utter those words at 19 stops on the way to work and 19 stops home. That's 190 times a week, 9500 times a year (taking out two weeks for vacation). And that's if the driver of the train doesn't play it three or four times at each stop-- as some do.

Carrie / February 28, 2006 10:15 AM

I also like the sound of a train arriving right when I'm getting to the top of the stairs. There's nothing like having the luck of an immediate train.

Mark / February 28, 2006 11:04 AM

The sound of Jason Molina singing

m / February 28, 2006 11:33 AM

Canada geese honking as they fly over Clark Street in the fall.

Squirrels chattering.

The Music Box organ.

Post-guitar class "twin spin" at Old Town School.

I get no pleasure out of the irony of the "This is Grand" announcement.

anon / February 28, 2006 11:40 AM

"25... 48... Ready"
I don't know what it is, but if you stay out late enough or get up that early, certain cabs have it broadcasting from their dispatchers on their radios. A sequence of numbers and followed by the word "Ready". It always a good sign I've stayed out to late.

Even though it was ruined by the kids from Shampoo-Banana, "There is a time out... On the field"

slb / February 28, 2006 11:52 AM

anon- what is that last thing to which you are referring? "a time out... on the field"? i spent sometime in champbana (about 6 years) and it's doing nothing for me... though if it's a sports thing, that's not too surprising.

april / February 28, 2006 12:07 PM

The screechy scrapy noise of the el train in the loop. Definitely.

Runner up favorite sound would be how [in almost every neighborhood] one can be walking down a noisy street full of cars, people yelling, honking, etc and by making a simple turn on to a side street, hear nothing but birds chirping...and on a really good day, the leaves rustling.

urp / February 28, 2006 12:17 PM

The bells of Rockefeller Chapel.

And, looking forward to hearing again the sound of fireworks from Sox Park, several miles away.

anon / February 28, 2006 12:25 PM

A reference to the Chicago Bears.

vit / February 28, 2006 12:27 PM

Someday when I am a doddering old woman who can no longer remember the names of her grandchildren, I'll be spotted over in the corner muttering "Doors closing" over and over.

MS / February 28, 2006 12:54 PM

I love hearing my neighbor practicing his trumpet when the windows are open; the other neighbors laughing and talking, who have family gatherings every weekend and sometimes have a live mariachi band too; the Kimball bus saying "kimball/homan"--the homan always has a pause so it sounds like, makes me giggle; the little kids playing at the park across the street and squealing when the ice cream man comes along playing the jingly tune on his truck.

Michelle / February 28, 2006 1:13 PM

Vote #2 for "This is grand"

Amanda / February 28, 2006 1:15 PM

the sounds of the dinging buoys at Monroe harbor on a lazy summer weekend. Also, big ships blowing their horns.

Rebecca / February 28, 2006 1:40 PM

vote #3 "This is Grand"

jeff / February 28, 2006 2:39 PM

I really enjoy the bombardment that is July 2-4th. It sounds like a war outside with all the fireworks going off throughout the city.

A / February 28, 2006 3:44 PM

The elevator at Galter Pavilion of Northwestern Memorial.....When the announcer gets to the first floor, she pronounces the word "lobby" like we're arriving in Las Vegas or something. It's hysterical.

A / February 28, 2006 3:45 PM

And saxophones on the street in the summertime, and drums on Michigan avenue.

jtrain / February 28, 2006 3:47 PM

Yeah, I like the bus announcements. The ones that announce the routes when the doors open. I like...the...pauses...between words.

And occasionally the onboard announcements can be entertaining too. I like "Washtenaw", and "Paulina".

Once I was riding a bus in the loop and when we passed Wacker, with it's accompanying announcement, the driver made it repeat a few times. "Wacker, wacker, wacker!" I looked up from my book when I heard this and saw him looking in the rear view mirror, back at the passengers, with a big grin on his face. He thought it was hilarious.

jtrain / February 28, 2006 3:51 PM

I really like to hear Tim Tuten from the Hideout on one of his little intro/rants. Especially when he goes political.

I've a few friends that are driven completely nuts by him, but I really enjoy watching him get carried away on his own express-train-of-thought. I don't know many people who care that much, about anything.

Flips / February 28, 2006 4:27 PM

I love the millions of different pronounciations of the word "Goethe". It was more obvious when the bus drivers were required to pronounce it. It would be fun to hear a montage of that word prounced over and over in its many versions.

The beautiful quietness of sounds on a weekend morning after a big snowfall. It's all so hushed and sparkly crispy underfoot. Even more lovely if the sun is shining brightly (I know that's not a noise but it sure adds to the experience!).

chic ago / February 28, 2006 4:42 PM

The start of the Dick Buckley show coming through the window as I work in my garden during the summer!

dan / February 28, 2006 5:13 PM

Many of the sounds that immediately come to me are music-related:

The sounds of traffic and discordant guitar jams on the corner of brwyn mawr and broadway (band practice spaces line the intersection).

The muffled noise coming from inside the Double Door, as you walk down Milwaukee.

Albums that use the vintage mic system that Steve Albini made popular.

Nod to Jtrain's mention of Tim Tuten.

Also, the sound of construction seems to be ominpresent.

artamnesia / February 28, 2006 5:20 PM

The eerily waifish voice of the woman who makes the announcements at the downtown Nordstrom's, "Miss Wilkins...five five."

And as a nice counterpart, the homeless woman who sits outside Marshall Fields and says, "Spur some chaeeeenge?"

T$ / February 28, 2006 6:05 PM

Pau-LIE!! Pau-LIE!! Pau-LIE!! Pau-LIE!!

matty / February 28, 2006 6:36 PM

yeah the electronic voice that reads the numbers at the merchandice mart is supe cute and perky and gets me arroused.

Yes that's strange, but if you think about it, not really.

Floor 2!

lara / February 28, 2006 8:29 PM

i first: "this is odyssey" via gretchen, now ghettoized to subbing for other npr folks.

i second: "this is chicago". can't quite believe that only one other person named that.

another second: all the sounds of critical mass.

i fifty-fourth: "this is grand". it usually is.

also, sharp corners on l tracks, when it seems that the train is about to fall off, and you can almost imagine generations past on earlier versions of the silver wonder.

distant fireworks informing of a sox home run.

when the "hello" ice cream truck song finally fades out of earshot.

roaming mariachi musicians in pilsen on a summer night with the backdrop of children's street games -- it is profoundly lovely, and really tops everything else in my list.

Brandy / March 1, 2006 9:14 AM

1. (Like nearly everyone) "This is Grand."
2. That accordion player I haven't seen in awhile.
3. The ka-chunk of a CTA turnstile.
4. When exiting a bus, a bus driver saying, "Have a good night/day/one."
5. The waves crashing against the rocks on the shore.

Reminiscent Spook / March 1, 2006 9:42 AM

When I lived on the southside, how the buildings and houses miles away some how managed to capture the echo of the ashiko, bendir, djembe,khol, bongo drums and other African instruments that those cool folks gathered to play on the park bench right outside Jackson Park Beach in summer. I bet some how the reign of Darth Daley ended it some how.

JasonB / March 1, 2006 3:19 PM

the "Tribune-Suntimes" cry of the street corner newspaper vendors.

Randall / March 15, 2006 2:00 AM

I am from Hammond, In, and am always astounded by Chicago! One of my top favorite sounds is the Randolph St. Train Station @ Millenium Plaza right after the 8:45 train leaves eastbound and all of the late-arrivers (including me) walk in and realize the next train is at 11:45, AHHH!! I don't get mad tho, because it is peaceful down there! lol. Also, a big shout-out to the street performers. I will never forget the guy by the Krisp Kringle Festival (the german thing on Daley plaza I think) with his little amp and microphone and chime saying little drummer boy off tune and sporatically. Also, Salvation Army trumpeters are great. Waves are fun to hear too. I enjoy the pigeons, if not chasing them, I enjoy listening to them, whooo whoooo (roll your tongue, haha) I want to move to the city, let me live with you!!!!!!

grace / March 21, 2006 9:26 PM

I love the sound of the paletas cart bells in the summer. I heard one for the first time this year this past sunday. A-mazing!
I love the sound of Cicadas in the trees in the summer. They're loud and just beautiful on a warm evening with a breeze. Ah!

shermann / June 28, 2006 9:24 AM

"This is Grand" is dead because of the pink line. My commute is forever ruined.

Li T / November 5, 2006 11:54 PM

The sound of my now-deceased Auntie Emmy calling the house on a Sunday afternoon, right before she came by to deliver fresh kolacky:

"Hi Li? Howahya hunney. Lemma tawk to your maaah. Hiiii Jaaaaackie!"

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