Whatever Hangs Your Boat...

Several weeks ago I saw this boat hanging from a crane on the Dearborn St Bridge. Seemed kinda odd, but not surprising. Upon further observance, I saw that they are doing work on the bridge, and I would guess that the boat is hanging from a crane to prevent it from being stolen. This trick is often done with large tool chests at construction sites.

This past Saturday, I came across it again.... I was able to get a much better shot of it from Wacker Drive.

For point of reference, you can see the crane to the right that the boat is hanging from.


The "Bean" is Back... Almost...

Cloud Gate is once again accessible to the public at Millennium Park, at least for a while.

Oh to hell with it.... It's the "Bean!" (Sorry, Anish, while "Cloud Gate" is more cerebral, the "Bean" just makes more sense.) I took some time this evening to capture a few shots on it's first full weekend of being available for complete viewing since last January.

20 million dollars later, and the seams are gone! Well, sorta, while there really is very little distortion where the seams were ground down and polished, it isn't perfect.... But I can live with the imperfections.

As annoying as it is to have your own neighborhood over run with tourists (which is OK, as long as they spend all of their money in the city), I get a chuckle out of seeing the reactions in their faces as they see the "Bean" along with other MP attractions.

Act now, for a brief time (supposedly the month of Sept), you too can actually walk under the "Bean" before it is blocked to finish the "ompholos" over winter.


Sullivan's Longest Standing...

Louis Sullivan (born 1856) is one of the most important architects from the latter 19th century, and Chicago is blessed to have many of his buildings. He took architecture to a new level with regards to expression of structure, and ornamentation (think Carson Pirie Scott).

The Jewelers building is perhaps his least known, and the oldest Sullivan design standing in the Loop. At the time he designed this building with structural engineer Dankmar Adler (completed in 1882), he was in his mid twenties, and just at the beginning of his long career of greatness.

Close up of window. Interesting to see the ancient (by today's standards) flat panel monitor through the glass.

Today this building at 15 S Wabash is quite ignored. When this jewelry mall updated their facade last year the covered over the National Register (listed in 1974) plaque mounted on the front of the building. I find this a bit disturbing, in that it concerns me that things may happen to the building by a careless owner/lessee. There are plans to do a "facadectomy" including facade restoration to the three buildings to the south of the Jewelers building which may push the owner of this one to do some restoration work him/herself.

I took advantage of a rare moment of sunshine in the small alley along side the building, and found the remnants of a sign for the Harmony Cafeteria.

This is an image collage of the only visible column on the building, and I am pretty certain the only remaining column that is completely intact. It is only intact because it is on the side of the building, and not on the front where the other columns have had a hatchet job to flatten the facade for more modern signage.

This is the end of your architectural history lecture today. There will be a quiz next Friday. Any questions?


Union Station Train Sheds...

There was a time when there were many train sheds in Chicago. They, like much of the facilities for passenger rail service, have either disappeared or taken a back seat to our modern world. This was taken from Jackson to Van Buren.

Looking back towards Jackson. I doubt these are very old, but they probably date back to the 1920's

The view as seen by most ordinary pedestrians. Unlike myself, they probably walk by everyday, and don't give this a second glance. I on the other hand, see it as an unusual bit of our past which still exists. Note: the old post office is in the background on the right. This was a much more convenient location than the current one is now. At least for those of us who do not own cars.


Rats with Wings?...

While pigeons may be a member of the dove family, they certainly don't offer up many pleasant thoughts from us urban dwellers.

Chicago is home to more pigeons than I would care to know, mostly residing along Wabash Avenue where I took these shots. They're population is heaviest at Wabash and Madison, but alas, when I went by that corner, they were not at home.

While it is technically illegal to feed them, the city doesn't really enforce the law unless you are giving them tons of food, because it then becomes food for the real rats. I like how individual they can be.

It is also fun to watch them panic and take off!


Blue Skies, are Blue...

While taking a leisurely walk home today, I couldn't help but take note of the incredible sky above. Perfect for picture takin! Puffy li'l clouds, and blue, blue, blue....

Here is a shot of the Boeing building from the Washington St Bridge.

191 N Wacker, a well done building completed in 2002.

150 N Wacker on the left, and 191 N Wacker on the right with blue sky blue above.

333 W Wacker was a triumph of post modernism when it was completed in 1983. It is still a nice building more than 20 years later.

The back side of 333 Wacker on the corner of Lake and Franklin.


"Bienvenidos La Villita"...

Michael and I found ourselves in Little Village yesterday dining on fantastic food at Nuevo Leon. (Try the Chiles Rellenos!)

This mile long stretch of Mexico along W 26th Street, brings in more annual sales tax dollars for the city than Michigan Ave.

Although I somehow doubt that the city is collecting much sales tax on the items sold on the street. Perhaps the Virgin de Guadelupe will forgive this vendor for not collecting and forwarding sales tax to "Da Mare's" coffers (or campaign funds).


This was the North American Building...

What was formerly known as the North American building is in the process of becoming the Metropolis Condos. I knew the end of this large painted sign was coming when I shot this image last November...

And yesterday, I finally got to see what they are doing. What I don't know is if they are going to just leave the remaining sign, or paint over it. And if they do leave the sign, how much will the balconies cover it up... Only time will tell.

"This was the North American Building. Where Leaders in Nationally Known Merchandising Lines Maintain Their Offices and Show Rooms."


Sharp Night Shots....

While looking through my images, I began to notice that probably less than 5% of my pics are night shots. Now, anyone who has any experience with digital cameras can attest to the difficulty of taking images at night. Keeping them from being fuzzy can be a real challenge. One word... Tripod. This is the only way to achieve a image without unwanted blur. Since most of my night shots have some blur, I thought I would post a few of my better ones (at least I think they're among the better ones) for your review. Any tips out there on how to take a better night shot?

The Navy Pier Fireworks from a couple of Saturdays ago from the roof of Marina City. Fireworks are especially challenging for me.

Taken while dining al fresco at the Big Downtown on Wabash a couple of weeks ago. I had the tripod set up on our table, and as I heard the train approaching, I pushed the shutter. Since the train hadn't gotten to the right side of the image when it began the capture, you can still see the parking garage through the train. This has become one of my recent fave's.

This is one of my fave's from last Spring. Taken at 540 West Madison (which has been a trouble spot in the past), I did a post with different angles on it in April. My relationship to 540 W Madison has had it's challenges, fortunately, I have been able to get a few good shots. You can be sure, I will also try again...


Unknown Loop Streets... "Re-Looped"...

Over the past several months, I have brought you semi/sorta weekly post on mostly unknown streets that fall within the primary grid of the Loop, yet are easily found on Google Maps. There have been streets known to transit users (W Quincy), known only to cabbies (N Post and N Garvey), and a couple that are just obscure (N MacChesney).

Well, I have finally run the course on streets that we all pass everyday, but never take the time to notice, or we think are just alley's (of which many of them have become over time). There are still a few lesser known streets (S Plymouth Court, S Financial Place, and S Federal St...) and I will do posts on them in the future, but they are much more obvious and for me, not quite as deserving.

I hope you have enjoyed my series, and for your viewing pleasure, I have included links to all 15 streets below. Enjoy!

  • #1 "N Macchesney Court"
  • #2 "W Court Place"
  • #3 "W Arcade Place"
  • #4 "N Post Place"
  • #5 "E Benton Place"
  • #6 "E Haddock Place"
  • #7 "W Haddock Place"
  • #8 "W Couch Place"
  • #9 "N Garvey Court"
  • #10 "N Holden Court"
  • #11 "W Marble Place"
  • #12 "Rookery Court"
  • #13 "W Quincy Street"
  • #14 "N Garland Court"
  • #15 "W Calhoun Place"

  • 8.16.2005

    Essex Inn...

    While certainly not the finest example of midcentury modernism, the Essex Inn is a definite stand out along the 19th century Michigan Ave street wall.

    OK, I couldn't resist....

    The somewhat bland lobby does retain much of it's midcentury detail. I like the marble dividing wall (and it isn't Formica). The Le Corbusier sofa and Eileen Gray tables are a nice touch as well.

    The parking garage behind the hotel has this interesting wall. I can't tell if it is painted, or an original glaze.


    Helicopter Lift Me Up....

    This morning I was required to vacate my apartment before 9:00 AM because there was a planned helicopter lift of chiller units from semi's parked on Block 37, to the top of the nearly complete 1 S Dearborn. The top two floors of my building were required to be vacant for a couple of hours, and for my inconvenience, they handed me a $100.00 bill on the way out.

    The lift... (1 S Dearborn is in the background.)

    Reflection in 1 S Dearborn.

    After four lifts, and with only one chiller unit left, they had to re-fuel and left for about 30 minutes. I took advantage of the break, and changed locations to capture the view from MD's office for the final lift. (Thanks, MD...)

    Ready for lift off on the final unit.


    Random Reflections...

    Often when I walk home from work I will vary my route and, with camera in hand, capture what ever grabs my eye. Such was the case the other day. I was walking along Wacker and Monroe and saw this.

    Continuing east along Monroe I saw this.

    The AT&T building reflected in the Hyatt Center at Monroe and Franklin. I continue to be amazed at how well the Hyatt Center has fit itself into the skyline, and often I see it from a distance. It really has made for a nice addition.

    And several block east on Adams and Dearborn, I came across window washers on the south side of the Dearborn Tower.


    "Unknown Loop Streets #15"... "West Calhoun Place"...

    This nearly wraps up my series ( I am running out, but rest assured, there are more, and I will do occasional posts). W Calhoun Place is perhaps the longest of the lesser known streets in the Loop. Running from Wacker to State between Madison and Washington, This street has several unexpected surprises.

    There are more street signs for W Calhoun than for any of the other streets in my unknown series. Here is just four of the many I found.

    This very small alley off of W Calhoun is just right for someone in the know about parking. There were two cars here (the second one is behind the one you can see), and they both had to back in.

    The block between LaSalle and Clark is probably the stretch where I found the most unexpected finds. This glass block wall is the other side of the back wall of a building lobby.

    Architectural detail is unexpected mid-block, but this is the SW corner of what was once the Chicago Title and Trust Building (ca 1913, at 111 W Washington). The rounded corner is a treat.

    Sandwiched between 111 W Washington and the building to the west of is it this corridor connecting W Calhoun to W Washington Street.

    Completely unexpected in this block is a storefront for Subway, with a revolving door no less...


    And finally a rare moment of sunshine looking west from State Street. The smell from those dumpsters and the noise of the garbage trucks which empty them, is the bane of my neighbors.

    To visit more of my "Unknown Loop Streets" series, you can click on the links on the right column.