Slice of Life: The Tree vs. The Water Department

Mark down one near-victory for the green and leafy, as this root-bound tree in the Bucktown area works to envelop a water department manhole.  I don’t know if there’s a word for when plants get smart and try to take over the world, but it looks like a scene from a  Harry Potter film happening in slow...

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Slice of Life: A Tree Grows in Chicago

It’s always amazing how nature constantly tries to reclaim what was once its domain.  Witness this little green sprout in front of the Anne Fontaine store at 909 North Michigan Avenue.  A tree is trying to establish itself in a tiny patch of dust washed into the corner of a Gold Coast gutter.  The chances it will survive the winter are pretty close to zero unless steam from the sewer keeps it warm, but I...

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Slice of Life: Towers and Stalks

Native plants compete for attention with ComEd transmission lines in a patch of restored prairie along what used to be Bubbly...

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Slice of Life: Reflections of Algae

The Chicago skyline is reflected in a weed-choked pond in Lincoln Park.  A nearby sign from the Chicago Park District across from the North Pond Restaurant at 2610 North Cannon Drive explains that the weeds and algae are perfectly normal and that a contractor has been hired to get things back under control.  Nothing to see here.  Move...

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Where the Beach Used To Be

Years ago, Michigan Avenue was merely Pine Street.  Before that, it was a beach and the waters of the Lake Michigan would lap against the shore right about where Water Tower Place is now. Back then Holy Name Cathedral (735 North State Street) was just a chapel in Our Lady of the Lake [Michigan] University.  The college has since moved out to the ‘burbs. A lot has changed along the Lake Michigan shoreline, but...

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Why is a city on a Great Lake afraid of water?

For the last three days we’ve been inundated with television news coverage of the flooding happening in Chicagoland.  There have been plenty of pictures of people being evacuated from their homes because of rising flood waters.  Rescue crews have been mobilized to save these helpless victims from mother nature’s fury. Bullhockey. What’s wrong with these people that they need to be saved from six inches of...

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