‘Remember to breathe,’ I tell myself, as the helicopter pilot’s voice rings through my ears, my body judders and 1,172 glittering high rise buildings unfold before me. The Chicago Helicopter Experience is shredding my nerves, but it’s also highlighting just how magnificent this 2.7 million-person city truly is. Grandiose skyscrapers pierce a skyline at once jagged and curiously neat – a result of meticulous urban planning after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Behind me, the staggering Lake Michigan disappears into the night like an ocean. Like the lake, gay Chicago – Obama’s hometown – is huge; the largest in Illinois. The state capital of Springfield – the former hometown of Abraham Lincoln – is a three-hour drive away, and home to just 117,000. The view is exhilarating, expansive, absurd, and in my book, about as glamorously cosmopolitan as America gets.