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by Steve Benson President,
National Federation of the Blind of Illinois
(Reprinted from the October-November 1987 Braille Monitor.)
"Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood." The words of Daniel Burnham, planner of Chicago's magnificent lake front, aptly describe what the Illinois affiliate has in store as host of the 1988 national convention. Chicago (crossroads of the world, convention host to millions, home of three of the five tallest buildings of the world, city of three and a half million souls from every corner of the globe) will stage a performance unmatched in our convention history.
The Chicago Hyatt Regency hotel stands almost equidistant from the city's Magnificent Mile (North Michigan Avenue), site of the world's most exclusive retailers, and State Street, anchored by Marshall Field's stately block square nine-story shopping extravaganza, the Palmer House (aristocrat of hotels), and C. D. Peacock, an exquisite retailer of the finest gems, precious metals, crystal, pewter, and other extraordinary items. Peacock is the oldest continuous business in Chicago, celebrating its 150th anniversary.
Chicago, though only 154 years old, has a rich and flamboyant history in commerce, politics, the fine arts, the performing arts, education, architecture, broadcasting, transportation, manufacturing, and world trade. Chicago has long been described as a city of ethnic neighborhoods and, indeed, it is. In those neighborhoods is an amazing variety of fine restaurants, reasonably priced. As any city, Chicago is a living, growing, changing entity. It is an exciting place to live, to work, and to visit. It is where you will want to be. It is where you ought to be from July 2 through July 9,1988. You will undoubtedly want to come early and stay late, though.
The Illinois affiliate has made no "little plans" in preparation for next summer. There will be a variety of affordable tours to satisfy almost any interest or curiosity in and about Chicago. One of the tours will be to the Museum of Broadcast Communication. Many programs in radio and television's "golden age" originated in Chicago. This unique museum makes classic programs accessible to the visitor. It truly is a fascinating place. That is only one tour. Many others are planned, details of which will appear in future Monitors.
On Sunday, July 3, the Chicago Symphony, perhaps the finest orchestra in the world, will give a free concert in celebration of Independence Day and in conjunction with 'Taste of Chicago," where one can enjoy samples of the city's finest restaurant presentations. This annual event is just five blocks from the Chicago Hyatt Regency. While the food is not free, the Sunday night concert is.
Evening hospitality will begin Saturday, July 2, with a "50's Sock Hop," featuring a very special disc jockey. Other special entertainments are planned that will make your stay in the Windy City memorable. Tours, hospitality, and special events will, of course, be kept in perspective. After all, the primary reason for being at the Chicago Hyatt Regency will be the 48th annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind.
The Chicago Hyatt is a worthy host. For the first time since 1975 our national convention will be held under one roof. The Chicago Hyatt (with its more than 2,200 rooms and suites, five restaurants, two huge ballrooms, and dozens of spacious smaller meeting rooms) is truly an impressive setting. The exhibit hall in this hotel has the capacity to house exhibits of up to 70,000 square feet. It has two towers, joined by a concourse one level below the street, and a skyway, one level above the street. Stetson Drive, which separates the towers, is almost a private road.
The Chicago Hyatt has more than impressive physical statistics. It has unexcelled warmth and hospitality. The NFB of Illinois's 19th annual convention was held at the Hyatt on Labor Day week end. Not one of us ever passed a hotel staff person without hearing a genuinely friendly greeting. More important, the hotel staff didn't try to be too helpful. They kept their distance unless asked for help.
One more note about the hotel. Our annual banquet was simply the best this writer has ever tasted. The food was perfectly prepared, flawlessly served, and just so good it was fun. We in Illinois are so pleased with the hotel's dress rehearsal that we can't find enough words of praise.
We are looking forward to hosting three thousand registered Federationists. All roads and airways lead to Chicago. Get your hotel reservations in early.. Come to Chicago in 1988. There's lots of room. Bring several friends. We are looking forward to meeting you.
Hotel rates for the 1988 NFB convention continue to be the envy of all who know us~singles, $24; doubles and twins, $28; triples, $30; and quads, $34. Taxes (currently 10.1 percent) are additional. There will be no charge for children in the same room with their parents.
You can use a toll-free number to call and make your reservations. For all states except Nebraska, Hawaii, and Alaska the number is (800) 228-9000. For Nebraska the number is (800) 228-9001. For Alaska and Hawaii the number is (800) 228-9005. The phone number for the hotel (not toll-free) is (312) 565-1234. If you wish to make reservations by telex, the number is 484-582. If you wish to write for reservations, address correspondence to: NFB Convention Reservations, Hyatt Regency Chicago, Illinois Center, 151 East Wacker Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60601.
There is every indication that we will break all attendance figures at the 1988 convention. Therefore, even though we have a block of 1,125 rooms, you should not delay making reservations. Our block of rooms will be held until Tuesday, June 7,1988. After that time reservations will be accepted on a space-available basis. Room deposits are not required unless you wish to guarantee that your room will be held for arrival after six o'clock in the evening, in which case one night's room deposit plus tax must be sent, or a credit card number must be given. If reservations are cancelled prior to six o'clock p.m. of the arrival date, any deposit which has been made will be returned, but you should be sure to get a cancellation number from the hotel for future reference. Checks for deposit to guarantee rooms should be made payable to: Hyatt Regency Chicago.
A few rooms (on a first come first serve basis) have refrigerators. These are parlor rooms with fold-away beds. If you want one, requestit, but keep in mind that you will probably not get it unless you are one of the very first to ask.
When making reservations be sure to include the following information: a) that you are attending the National Federation of the Blind convention; b) name, address, and telephone number; c) arrival date; d) departure date; e) type of room requested: single (one person in a room), double (two people, one bed in the room), twin (two people, two beds in room), triple (three persons, two beds in room), or quad (four persons, two beds in room); f) names of roommates and arrival and departure dates for each.
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