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Lahaina or Chicago: Which is the greatest?

By Staff | Oct 2, 2014

Chicago skyline and visitors are reflected and distorted in the so-called “Bean,” a bean-shaped Titanium shell that is the most popular feature of the new Millennium Park just two blocks from the famous downtown loop.

CHICAGO – This, the 180th “Voices of Maui,” begins the columns’ eighth year in Lahaina News. Perhaps appropriately, it was written in Chicago, hometown in my profession of journalism and public relations for 41 years.

After college, the columnist’s future wife in 1966 could not wait to get out of the then-small town of Des Moines, Iowa, to move to the big city of Chicago.

She became a “big city girl” and had an outstanding career for nearly four decades. Alas, 14 years ago, we took up residence in Lahaina. Recently, she noted wistfully, “I left a small town for the big city, and now you have brought me back again to a small town.”

Needless to say, she has flourished here, loves it and has been making great contributions to


Flowers, bird houses and sculptures form the backdrop for 40,000 pedestrians daily who crowd North Michigan Avenue, the “Magnificent Mile.”

At the Tiki Bar in Kaanapali, when the subject of Chicago comes up, visitors almost inevitably rave about it. In both Lahaina and Chicago, there is much to rave about, and each is great in its own ways.

LAHAINA: Picturesque harbor; a half-dozen restored historical buildings.

CHICAGO: One of the world’s greater waterfronts on Lake Michigan lined with miles and miles of parks and more than 40 historic buildings, ranging from the world’s first skyscrapers to to the classic glass 1970s houses of Mies van der Rohe.

LAHAINA: Slow traffic along Honoapiilani Highway sometimes; cars constantly going through red lights but stopping for pedestrians at crosswalks; moving to the side of the road when ambulances pass by.

CHICAGO: Awful traffic and long commutes on expressways; suburban traffic gridlock; rarely going through red lights; sometimes ignoring sirens and getting in the way of ambulances rushing to hospitals.

LAHAINA: The new Outlets of Maui and Whalers Village with its dozens of upscale shops.

CHICAGO: The world’s biggest department store on State Street; North Michigan Avenue’s “Magnificent Mile” with its high-end stores, 40,000 pedestrians a day, giant displays of flowers, shrubs and sculptures in the median, and six-foot-deep parkways lined with flower shrubs and sculptures.

LAHAINA: Lahainaluna High School and its frequent championships in many sports.

CHICAGO: The hapless Chicago Cubs and often hapless Bears.

COOL TREATS – Lahaina: Shave Ice; Chicago: Pinkberry yogurt.

COFFEE – Lahaina: Starbucks; Chicago: Starbucks.

TRAIN LINES – Lahaina and Maui, now 0; Chicago: Nearly a dozen.

MUSEUMS – Maui: A half-dozen; Chicago: Six very large ones and a dozen or more small ones.

THEATRES – Maui: About a half-dozen; Chicago: 85.

ART GALLERIES – Lahaina: About a dozen; Chicago: Scores and scores.

BEACHES – Lahaina: Kaanapali, named the world’s best; Chicago: Oak Street Beach five minutes from the Magnificent Mile along with a half-dozen other beaches along the lakefront.

ZOOS – Maui: Boo Boo Zoo; Chicago: Famous Lincoln Park Zoo plus giant Brookfield Zoo.

COMMUNITY SERVICE – Lahaina: Easy to get involved; Chicago: Possible, but not on most people’s radar screens.

ALOHA – Lahaina: Frequent; Chicago – Spotty.

GLAMOUR, on a scale of 1 to 10 – Lahaina: 0; Chicago: 10.

So which place is the greatest? You can have the tall buildings and the glamour. This columnist will take the aloha, the trade winds, the sunsets, the rainbows, the plumeria, the Hawaiian culture, the hula, the star-filled skies and the lovely vistas (we are not flat).

There is a reason the columnist often writes that this is the greatest place on Earth. It is.

COLUMNIST’S NOTEBOOK: You know first-hand what we look like. Go to my happenings site at joysofkaanapali.com to see what magnificent Chicago is like.