Q&A with a New Yorker: Asaf talks about running the Chicago Marathon, our pizza, and traveling alone


First name/age/what part of NY do you live?

Asaf.  27.  Brooklyn

You traveled to Chicago alone... have you traveled a lone before?  If so, where to?  

Once, to Raleigh, North Carolina for a business trip.

What are your thoughts on traveling solo?

I enjoyed it.  As an introvert, I'm very comfortable being on my own.  It was nice to be able to do what I wanted at my leisure - although I'm sure I would have had a memorable time had I went with others as well.

This was your first time in Chicago - what did you think of the Windy City?

Loved it.  The architecture, the vibe... everything about the city shined.  I haven't experienced the winters (I know they're supposed to be tough to say the least), but from a city-perspective I could totally see myself living there.

You ran the Chicago marathon, congrats!  Was this your first Chicago Marathon?  How did you like it?

It was my first run in Chicago, period.  The race was tremendous.  After running many races, you learn to appreciate things like transportation to and from the race,and the free food at the end... along with the crowds.  Chicago was awesome in every way.  Far better than the NYC marathon.

Were you able to take in any of the neighborhood sites or were you pretty focused on running?  Have you ran any other marathons before?

I was in Chicago for a few days prior to the race, so I took in a lot of the sites in on my own time, that we ended up passing during the race.  I would say about 18 miles though, I was more focused on finishing and not dying, than really enjoying the experience!  But I did manage to notice when we were passing the resedential neighborhoods, chinatown, the white sox area towards the end.

Where did you eat deep-dish pizza, and as a New Yorker, what were your thoughts?

Giordanos on Wabash.  It was good.  Nothing outrageous, but I would totally eat it again.  As a NYer I enjoyed it, but it's an entirely different experience from the NY slice.

Which neighborhoods did you visit?  Which did you like the most?

I traveled up and down Wabash from Chicago-Mlwaukee to McMormick place... so everything in between there.  I think I enjoyed the Grant Park area the most.  The great weather didn't hurt.

What is one thing that stood out to you about Chicago?

How so many showed out in support together... whether it was the race or the sports teams, there was a lot of love for the city itself.

Did you take CTA (Chicago Public Transportation)?  What was your experience like?

I took the Blue line for 3 days.  As a NYer, this felt like normal routine.  I thought transit was great and easy to navigate.  But it's also relatively simple, whereas NYer has a much more complicated subway structure and many more lines.

What one thing did you not get to do that you want to do next time you're in Chicago?

Watch a game at Wrigley.

Any suggestions for others visiting Chicago?

Bring a pair of walking shoes, and come in early October!

Compare Chicago and New York in one sentence.  

Chicago is a mini-NY with a friendlier twist.

Thanks, Asaf, for being part of Backpack Chicago!