Scaling Up for NeoCon 2003

I only arrived a half-hour late to NeoCon this year, a delay more by design than mere tardiness, since I know how congested Chicago’s River North area gets during rush hour. Showing up at 9:30, I thought, would help me miss the madness of the usual commuter crush.

So I zipped along in a cab from my North Side apartment, oblivious to what lay ahead until—before the onset of any unusual traffic symptoms—the driver, Rexford Amoah, remarked, “[Merchandise Mart] is too small for this show.”

Chicago cab drivers are legendary for their savvy, able to cue you in on local architecture, tell you which conventions will be in town during the next two months, and (usually) get you to your destination in one piece. The Ghana-born Amoah was no exception.

Amoah has been a Chicagoan for thirty years and a cab driver for ten. Despite the early hour, I was already his third fare to the Merchandise Mart. And he was right: The traffic was still a mess and, at times, the mammoth Mart seemed too small for NeoCon.

But one thing Amoah didn’t mention still has me wondering. When he dropped me off at the Mart’s front door, he did so under the canopy of a forty-foot-tall chair, a gift from the Italian trade organization Promosedia. Given Amoah’s ideas about scale, I sure hope he thinks the chair is big enough.

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