‘Chicago From The Air’ WTTW special filmed with drone

A new special narrated by Geoffrey Baer, filmed from above, explores Chicago and its history from a new and breathtaking perspective.

Imagine if you could soar, swoop, dive, and spiral through and around Chicago’s landmarks, neighborhoods, and suburbs – with a familiar voice providing engaging commentary along the way.

CHICAGO FROM THE AIR, a new special filmed entirely with a drone camera and narrated by WTTW’s Geoffrey Baer, makes this dream a reality on Thursday, November 19 at 7:30 pm on all WTTW platforms. This innovative production sets the audience free on an adventure of discovery at a time when activities and exploration are limited. 

With Geoffrey Baer as your guide, CHICAGO FROM THE AIR is a sweeping bird’s-eye tour of the city and beyond. Through the lens of a high-flying drone camera, we get a breathtaking view of the city that stretches as far as the eye can see. Zoom in to trace the remnants of long-lost roads and landmarks and learn what has replaced them, discover the ways industry literally reshaped our region, and marvel at how Chicago truly lives up to its motto, urbs in horto or “city in a garden.” 

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On the journey, Geoffrey shows us the ghosts of lost neighborhoods, familiar streets that were once Native American trails, and abandoned transit lines that can be seen only from the air. And the program takes us over and around eye-popping architectural marvels and high above the city’s lakefront and beaches, lakes and lagoons, parks and sports arenas, museums and cultural institutions, gardens and sculptures, houses of worship, bridges and expressways, and much more. Through it all, hear Geoffrey’s fascinating stories and historical context about everything we’re seeing, much of it not visible at ground level.

The companion website (wttw.com/air) will explore what we can learn by viewing Chicago from above, and features exclusive behind-the-scenes content and interviews.

Highlights from the Special:

  • Grant Park, its connection to the Great Chicago Fire, and the department store magnate who made it possible
  • A heart-stopping dive into south suburban Thornton’s 450-foot-deep limestone quarry, one of the largest in the world
  • A bike trail over an abandoned rail line named for an athlete once dubbed “the world’s fastest man” who also had to overcome racist opposition for the right to compete
  • Vestiges of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair
  • Visible signs of the Ice Age and a once much larger Lake Michigan
  • Riverside, America’s first planned suburb, and its revolutionary winding street pattern designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted
  • What lies beneath the city’s diagonal streets
  • How redlining altered some parts of the landscape on Chicago’s south and west sides

CHICAGO FROM THE AIR represents an extraordinary opportunity for WTTW to take our inherently curious audiences on a journey of discovery in an innovative way,” said Sandra Cordova Micek, President and CEO of WTTW. “At WTTW, our purpose is to enrich lives, engage communities, and inspire exploration. With this new special, we hope to foster curiosity about our great city while inspiring people of all ages to set off on their own adventures.”

“As we were thinking about new and exciting ways to explore Chicago, we came up with the idea to film with a drone from high above the city – the ultimate in social distancing!” said narrator-writer Geoffrey Baer. “In this show, we not only rediscover our dramatic lakefront, iconic buildings, and parks, but we also see the heroically scaled industry and sprawling infrastructure that have transformed our region – and all from a thrilling perspective.”

CHICAGO FROM THE AIR is produced and directed by Eddie Griffin and narrated and written by Geoffrey Baer. Aerial photography is by local filmmakers from Soaring Badger Productions. Editor: Paul Thornton. Graphic Design: Reed Marvine. Associate Producer: Yasmin Rammohan. Executive Producer: Geoffrey Baer. The website is produced by Meredith Francis, designed and developed by Justin Henderson, and executive produced by Anne Gleason.

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