Candy Cranes: The Lights are on but No One’s Home
Dec11

Candy Cranes: The Lights are on but No One’s Home

Nobody is home yet at 200 North Michigan, the 41-story residential tower under construction at its eponymous address.  But that doesn’t mean it’s not decorated for Christmas.  Loop Spy Daniel was burning the midnight oil at the Illinois Center yesterday and sent in this photo of the 200 North Michigan tower crane all festooned with Christmas lights. The lights are both pretty, and pretty terrifying.  Imagine being the guy...

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The Chicago Architecture Blog’s 2014 Christmas Gift Guide
Dec08

The Chicago Architecture Blog’s 2014 Christmas Gift Guide

  The number of shopping days until Christmas is dwindling and, if you're not careful, before you know it, you'll be at an IDOT oasis trying to figure out if little Suzie would rather have a pecan log or a fist full of scratch-off lottery tickets. Don't be that person. Instead, here are ten ideas for Chicago-themed Christmas gifts that will make you seem smart, interesting, and urbane. And no, we didn't receive anything from any...

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Slice of Life: No One Bitten At Wreathing Of The Lions
Nov29

Slice of Life: No One Bitten At Wreathing Of The Lions

Standing on a frigid Black Friday morning alongside a couple of hundred other animal lovers, I came up with a joke. Question: How do you put a wreath on a lion? Answer: Very carefully. I realize this probably won’t get me an audition at Second City. But when the lions are quite huge and made of bronze, perhaps it’s still a fitting answer. They’ve been standing guard in front of the Art Institute of Chicago (111 South Michigan Avenue)...

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Slice of Life: Heavy Metal Icon And North Pole Honcho Light The Tree At Daley Plaza
Nov26

Slice of Life: Heavy Metal Icon And North Pole Honcho Light The Tree At Daley Plaza

Chicago historical archives unfortunately don’t tell us what music accompanied the city’s first city Christmas tree lighting in 1913 on Christmas Eve by Mayor Carter H. Harrison in Grant Park. (For music buffs, the hit song that year was “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.”) However, we will now and forever recognize the song preceding the 2014 lighting of the Big Tree: “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” Technically, it was more of a mash-up of the...

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Off Topic: End of the Line for Hancock Center’s Model Trains
Dec05

Off Topic: End of the Line for Hancock Center’s Model Trains

There are many great Christmas traditions in Chicagoland. From Zoo Lights to Christkindlmarkt to just strolling your favorite shopping district looking for something to bring joy to someone else, this city is full of wonderful holiday experiences. But one of those experiences is gone. This year there is no massive model railroad display in the concourse of the John Hancock Center. The train display was a highlight of the season for...

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, 2012 – Part 17
Dec22

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, 2012 – Part 17

Tis the season for new spies.  After getting a great Christmassy picture from our new Lakeview Spy the other day, we now have one from our new Bucktown Spy. It’s the snowflake decorations along North Damen Avenue, a nice little festive touch for the street which is rapidly becoming a test bed for European retailers that want to test the waters in Middle America without blowing a wad of cash on a fancy Oak Street address. If...

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, 2012 – Part 16
Dec21

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, 2012 – Part 16

Thanks to our Lakeview Spy for sending in these great pictures of the John Hancock Center’s red and green Christmas lights beaming through some low-hanging clouds or fog one night last week. If you’ve got some great pictures from around town you’d like to share, e-mail them to...

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, 2012 – Part 15
Dec20

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, 2012 – Part 15

One of the great free things you can do during the Christmas season in Chicago is visit the basement commercial lobby of the John Hancock Center (875 North Michigan Avenue) where a huge train display is set up. Each year it’s a little different, and if you make it a tradition, part of the fun will be to spot the differences from one year to another.  (Last year there was lots of Harry Potter things. This year — notsomuch.)...

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, 2012 – Part 14
Dec19

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, 2012 – Part 14

While lots of apartments and condos in Chicago’s downtown high-rises have fireplaces, not many office building lobbies do.  But there is one at 303 East Wacker (formerly Three Illinois Center).  It’s made up of an array of 20 flat screen monitors showing a video loop of festive burning logs. I achieve the same thing at home with Pandora, a fireplace app, and an AppleTV.  Very...

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, 2012 – Part 13
Dec18

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, 2012 – Part 13

The Wrigley Building (400 North Michigan Avenue) is making the most of its new LED lighting.  Instead of just being flood-lit in white, for the last six months or so, the upper reaches have been bathed in different colors for various events.  Now that it’s Christmas season, it’s been red and green, except for on World AIDS Day when it went all red. It’s nice to have the Wrigley Building join two other Chicago...

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