Slice of Life: The Backs of Things

Most architecture puts its best face forward.  Usually the back of the building abuts another building or is otherwise hidden.  But there’s a block in the Loop where a number of buildings put their faces forward, but leave space in the back.  The result is a community light well that allows sun and air to penetrate the interior of the office building...

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Tuesday Trivia: Before There Was Illinois

Q: Can you name all the entities that have claimed jurisdiction over what we now know as Chicagoland? A:  Illinois Country (borders undefined) Upper Louisiana (part of New France) New York (until 1782) Connecticut (until 1786) Northwest Territory (until 1800) Indiana Territory (until 1809) Illinois Territory (until 1818) State of Illinois (present) There may be others, but these are the ones we found.  History buffs, feel...

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Raccoons Are Not Afraid of the El

Digging through some old files I came across this piece of video.  It shows a raccoon getting its dinner on an El platform while passengers and trains come and go.  The critter doesn’t seem to care. The video is pretty poor quality because it was shot in 2003 with a Sony Clie UX-50 — a kind of souped-up Palm Pilot.  It was state of the art at the time, but the art has changed a lot since...

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The Wheels On The Bus Go… Oh, Holy Crap!

This picture is from last winter, but when I happened to come across it I found it far too interesting not to post.  It’s a CTA route 151 bus on Michigan Avenue after its tire has come off the wheel. I’m not sure how something like this happens, but you can bet someone had a bad...

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Slice of Life: Peaceful Night

A peaceful night in Erie Park (630 North Kingsbury Street — officially called Park 511), along the banks of the North Branch of the Chicago...

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Mini Marshall Fields

It’s no great secret that even though I travel a lot, I haven’t seen much of Chicago’s suburbs.  Generally, if I’m on the move, my journey starts at the airport. So on those occasions I venture into the suburbs I’m usually delighted by the little things.  One of them is the series of mini Marshall Fields stores that seem to litter the area.  They help me envision a time when State Street...

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Slice of Life: For Love and Cheeseburgers

A wee moggie gazes out  the windows of the Anti-Cruelty Society (157 West Grand Avenue), hoping that someone will take pity on him and bring him home for love and snuggles and cheeseburgers.  Alas, no one comes this...

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On Track To The Past

Whether most people see them or not, railroads are still the lifeblood of Chicago’s economy.  But there once was a time when train lines were far more intertwined with daily life in the city than they are now. This old line runs along West Carroll Avenue — a street in River North many people don’t even know exists.  It carried newsprint to the old Chicago Sun-Times Building before trucks made the line...

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TweetEcho: December 7-December 16, 2009

For those of you who don’t subscribe to our Twitter feed, here are the items we tweeted in the last week or so: The Hermes logos are up at the new Hermes location on Oak Street: http://ow.ly/MO6Xabout 20 hours ago from HootSuite Chicago’s cheapest architecture tour: No club to join, tour fees, or docents to tip: http://ow.ly/MImI8:22 AM Dec 16th from HootSuite Tuesday Trivia: Name the...

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Madison Street Gap Has Been Filled

Back in April we talked about the Gap store closing at Three First National Plaza (70 West Madison Street). The good news is… the vacant retail space has been filled. The bad news is… it’s yet another cell phone store. Granted, I haven’t shopped at a Gap store since I was a kid in the 1970’s and it was the place where poor people went to buy dungarees.  But I think we’re pretty close to the...

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