Madison at Racine Breaks Ground Today on the Near West Side
May23

Madison at Racine Breaks Ground Today on the Near West Side

New buildings continue to sprout up in Chicago’s Near West Side. Today there will be a groundbreaking ceremony for a new residential mid-rise called The Madison at Racine (1212 West Madison). The apartment building will be a nine-story residential building, with a very nice glass drum in the southeast corner where the main lobby will be. It was designed up the street at FitzGerald Associates, and is being developed by two...

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More Hidden Apartment Art
Jul18

More Hidden Apartment Art

Earlier this year we showed you a couple of examples of the interesting art hidden away in Chicago’s apartment buildings. There was the Italian plaza in the lobby of the Chestnut Place Apartments (850 North State Street), and the triptych at 14 West Elm Street. Now we have the Chicago cityscape on the walls of the loading dock of tower three at Presidential Towers (555 West Madison Street).  The mural is signed “Ron...

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Chicago’s Lost Cathedral
Jun06

Chicago’s Lost Cathedral

The Great Chicago Fire erased many landmarks from the face of the Earth.  One so thoroughly that even the venerable Encyclopedia of Chicago has nothing on it. Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral exists today only as a plaque, bolted to the grimy northeast corner of the Heyworth Building (29 East Madison Street) under the Wabash Avenue L tracks.  It reads: Here stood Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral, church of the first five Catholic...

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Briefly: Party Hats, Green Party,

The new New Era baseball cap store at 201 South State Street will have its grand opening celebration Saturday, November 12th (see photo below). It is now possible to walk across the Madison Street Bridge once again.  The north side sidewalk is open as Revive Wacker Drive construction moves further south. If you’re green-minded and getting married or planning another big event, Chicagoist points out that Greenhouse Loft (2545...

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Google Erases West Loop Streets

Google Fails Chicago: Part Three in a Series. We’ve lamented before the declining quality of Google Maps coverage of Chicago.  Even though there is a Google office in River North (at 20 West Kinzie Street), often Big G seems to have more interest in accurately mapping the moon than its own backyard. The latest offense: The West Loop’s missing streets. For some reason, in certain versions of Google Maps, Madison Street west...

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Ghost Trolleys of the West Loop

The resurfacing project that’s going to eventually put a nice, smooth layer of asphalt on Madison Street from Michigan Avenue to Kingdom Come has uncovered a nice little history lesson. At a number of points along the street, the asphalt scraping machine that removed the previous layers of road has unveiled the street’s historic character: cobblestones and trolley tracks. These patches are most easily found in the West...

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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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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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