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Gangsterland, USA

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To the editors:

James Krohe Jr. is right on target with his thinking that Chicago is more concerned about looking good to out-of-town visitors than making a difference in really getting them to come here (July 3).

The image that Chicago continually tries to shy away from, that it can be dangerous and has a dark side needs to be brought out. Why is it that more people are visiting a fictional city (Gotham City in Batman Returns) with these characteristics in record numbers this summer? People want to wade into the darkness and come back out to tell about it because there is excitement in this kind of "perilous" adventure.

Our most romantic time period of the Prohibition and Al Capone really uses us instead of us using it. Tourists, whether they are from Europe, other parts of the U.S. or the hinterland of this city, see Chicago constantly living down that image . . . what does that leave us but a city all basked in light that leaves out an element of fun. It becomes half a city that is barren on the weekends in the Loop.

A city like Richmond, Virginia has mile after mile of antebellum homes along magnolia lined streets but that is not what gets tourists to come. The city capitalizes and lives into its most romantic period (capital of the Confederacy) instead of denying it and, in turn, brings in people to explore its other attributes.

Krohe is right that we need to rethink our tourism agreement on just getting them to come here and do a better job in offering out of towners something to present about this city when they are back home.

Andrew Kloak

N. Harbor Drive

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