What Household Object Best Represents Chicago?

One day in the 1970’s, Swedish artist Claes Oldenburg picked an object to represent Chicago.  He chose a baseball bat. That’s how the “Batcolumn” came to be.  The federal government commissioned the work of art (your tax dollars at work) to be placed outside the Harold Washington Social Security Center (600 West Madison Street) in the West Loop. As a person of enhanced girth, I would have chosen a pizza cutter...

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Italian Pride on the South Side

In one of the few remaining slivers of Little Italy not destroyed by a Mayor Daley, or the University of Illinois at Chicago, there is a place called Piazza DiMaggio. Much has been written over the years about the wholesale demolition of this formerly ethnic neighborhood, so I won’t go into it .  But if you do venture down to Taylor Street, you’ll find the piazza, and a statue of its namesake in the middle, as well as one...

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Slice of Life: What Summer Looks Like

A small child races across what must seem like 100 miles of 100° sand to reach the cooling waters of Lake Michigan.  It’s a scene repeated at beaches all across the Midwest, but this scene is from down the road at Michigan City,...

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Some Day I’ll Walk Along the River
Jun27

Some Day I’ll Walk Along the River

  On July 28, 2009 I posted a brief here lamenting the fact that I hadn’t yet made it down to check out Chicago’s then-new riverwalk underneath the Michigan Avenue Bridge. Guess what?  Two years later, I still haven’t!  Even though I lived just a few blocks away! But at least here’s some updated photographs. The Chicago Riverwalk The Chicago...

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Culti Gone

For those of you playing the Great Michigan Avenue Store Closing Drinking Game, it’s time to take another gulp. Culti is gone (840 North Michigan Avenue, though it was really around the corner on Chestnut Street).  We noted its opening back around Christmas, 2009 (Culti Looks Redi).  The high-end boutique specialized in luxury housewares.  A couple of visits showed that the items were not overpriced for the quality, but possibly...

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Lakeshore East’s Newest Skyscraper Gets a Name

I’ve been super busy this week with a photography assignment on the South Side* and have barely been checking my e-mail.  That’s why I missed the tip from our Lakeshore East spy that Magellan Development’s building formerly known as Building A is now known as The Coast. More importantly, groundbreaking has taken place for the new residential tower at 345 East Wacker Drive, right next to the Swissôtel.   If the...

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A Fire Station Repurposed

A few weeks ago, we featured a building in Cabrini Green that was one of the old Chicago Fire Insurance Patrol buildings.  The Fire Insurance Patrols were the predecessors of today’s Chicago Fire Department. While a lot of these old buildings are gone, a number of them remain scattered around the city.  This one has been repurposed into a classroom building for the Old Saint Patrick’s campus of the Francis Xavier Warde...

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Double Decker Spans
Jun23

Double Decker Spans

It’s the everyday engineering wonders that hold a city together.  Some of those that Chicagoans take for granted are the city’s double-decker bridges. Lots of big cities like New York and Tokyo have double-decker spans, but those are long, modern, fixed spans.  In Chicago, we make even the short, ordinary, neighborhood bridges double-decker.  And we make them move. The two easiest examples are the Lake Street and Wells...

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Put on Your Prorsum, Burberry Has a Date With a Wrecking Ball
Jun22

Put on Your Prorsum, Burberry Has a Date With a Wrecking Ball

The Burberry flagship store (don’t call it a “boutique”) at 633 North Michigan Avenue will be no more very soon. Our Gold Coast spy told us Monday night that demolition will begin the first week of August.  Yesterday, a first-time tipster corroborated that somewhat, saying that crews will begin tearing down the building August 2nd or 3rd.  Whether that means putting up scaffolding, or actually knocking the thing down...

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Slice of Life: Towers Old and New

The shiny new Trump International Hotel and Tower (401 North Wabash Street) rises menacingly above the old kid on the block, Tribune Tower (435 North Michigan...

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