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Chicagoans take large waves from Sandy in stride

Updated: December 1, 2012 4:35PM



The city warned people to stay away from Lake Michigan.

But some couldn’t resist the tempation of watching powerful waves fueled by sharp, angry winds slam into the lakefront.

Runners, bikers, photographers and dog walkers with nervous pets all roamed North Avenue Beach Tuesday under a gray sky, gazing at what some said were among the largest waves they’ve seen there.

After Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast, the severe weather reached Chicago’s shores in the form of the strong winds and pummeling waves.

“It’s beautiful,” Werner Ott said. “It’s scary and beautiful at the same time.”

Most people on the lakefront Tuesday said they hadn’t heard the warnings to steer clear of the shore. Chicago Police patrolled the beach in squad cars, and officials did their best to keep runners and bikers from zipping past them onto the part of the lakefront trail they was closed. Security at the entrance to the trail bulked up later as wind gusts seemed to blow even harder.

Ott, who said he is the director of the German cultural center in Chicago, brought his bicycle near the lake.

He said he bikes every day, but on Tuesday, he especially wanted to see what the storm could do. He saw an officer turn away a woman who tried to get on the path.

“Maybe he saved her life,” Ott said as waves crashed onto the nearby beach.

Police also seemed to be keeping an eye on photographers, some of whom ventured dangerously close to the water to get a shot of the waves. Bill Hanyzewski said photography is a “rather serious” hobby for him, and he hadn’t seen waves so big this time of year.

“I’ve seen it in winter,” Hanyzewski said.

And as always, runners trotted along the lakefront path. Caroline Schell and Gian Fulgoni said they didn’t know the weather would be so treacherous.

“I don’t care,” Schell said. “I love running, and I do it in any weather. I run out here in the snow. It’s Chicago.”

Fulgoni kept his head down as he ran into the powerful winds.

“It’s pretty bad out here,” he said as he pushed forward.

Then, moments later, he also called Tuesday’s weather “pretty cool.”

“It makes for a fun run,” Fulgoni said.



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