B12 Solipsism

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Archive for the ‘Chicago-esque’ Category

Chicago related, duh

Archive of Studs Terkel Radio Shows to Be Released to Public

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Zenith Phono Radio
Zenith Phono & Radio.

Excited to hear more of these:

More than 5,600 of Studs Terkel’s radio interview programs on the Chicago station WFMT will be released to the public.

The Studs Terkel Radio Archive will launch May 16, the 106th birthday of the late author, activist and oral historian. Terkel died in 2008 at age 96. The archive will be available on studsterkel.org.

For 45 years — 1952 to 1997 — the legendary Terkel elevated oral history to a popular genre by interviewing both the celebrated and everyday people for books and on WFMT. Among the radio interviews to be released are those with Martin Luther King Jr., Simone de Beauvoir, Bob Dylan, Cesar Chavez and Toni Morrison.

(click here to continue reading Archive of Studs Terkel Radio Shows to Be Released to Public – The New York Times.)

Written by Seth Anderson

March 17th, 2018 at 11:04 am

Artist Anish Kapoor disgusted that The Bean appears in NRA ad

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Contemplation of the Winter Bean
Contemplation of the Winter Bean

As are many urban dwellers, especially those who live in and around Chicago, and who aren’t afraid of walking down the street. No matter what you might have heard, walking down the street in an American city like Chicago isn’t akin to being in a war zone. It just isn’t.

The artist who made Chicago’s iconic Cloud Gate says he is “disgusted” that the National Rifle Association used video of the Millennium Park sculpture in a political advertisement that he said “seeks to whip up fear and hate.

Anish Kapoor — the Indian-born, British sculptor responsible for the work colloquially known as The Bean — said the 2017 ad titled “The Clenched Fist of Truth” and starring NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch used footage of the sculpture without his consent “by the NRA to promote their vile message.”

The sculpture was used as a stand-in for former President Barack Obama in the ad, which was widely criticized at the time of its release in April. The ad paints a nightmarish vision of modern city life and states that “the only way to save our country, the only way to fight this violence of lies is with the clenched fist of truth.”

In a statement issued by a New York gallery 1 that represents him, Kapoor also said that his sculpture and other works of iconic modern architecture were used by the NRA in the ad to represent a hidden and threatening “other,” or a version of “Liberal America” against which NRA members need to arm themselves.

While tourists are free to photograph the sculpture, Kapoor owns the copyright to commercial images of Cloud Gate and did not give the NRA permission to use it, he wrote.

(click here to continue reading Artist Anish Kapoor ‘disgusted’ that The Bean appears in NRA ad – Chicago Tribune.)

I’m not linking to the NRA’s hate site, but you can find the video if you search for it. I’d rather post a few more photos of Cloud Gate… ((taken as a tourist, naturally)) 

Cleaning Cloud Gate
Cleaning Cloud Gate

Sometimes I am a Tourist
Sometimes I am a Tourist

Millennium abstraction
millennium abstraction

Smiley Face Snow Bean
Smiley Face Snow Bean

Shiny objects
Shiny objects

Urban Bubble
Urban Bubble

Bean and Ice
Bean and Ice

  1. presumedly Lisson Gallery []

Written by Seth Anderson

March 12th, 2018 at 3:38 pm

Posted in Arts,Chicago-esque,politics

Tagged with ,

WBEZ Maybe To Aquire Assets of Chicagoist

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Caught Out In Daylight  Copper Blue
Caught Out In Daylight – Copper Blue

This could be interesting. Hope it happens. There was a golden era of Chicago area blogs that ended before the Ricketts purchased, then dismantled the Chicagoist and DNAInfo sites, I doubt that will occur again, but ya never know…

Chicagoist, one of the online news sites that were shut down when billionaire Joe Ricketts killed DNAinfo last year, may be acquired by Chicago Public Media WBEZ FM 91.5. Public media stations in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., recently picked up the assets of Gothamist, LAist and DCist from Ricketts. Now WBEZ has been approached by WNYC about acquiring Chicagoist, including domain names, social media assets and archives. “Given WBEZ’s commitment to local journalism, as well as admiration for the work of these former outlets, WBEZ is actively exploring this possibility and determining how these assets might be used most effectively in keeping with the organization’s mission to serve the Chicago community,” Steve Edwards, vice president and chief content officer for Chicago Public Media, said in a statement.

(click here to continue reading Robservations: Jenny Milkowski to host afternoons on WSHE – Robert Feder.)

 Radio Silence
Radio Silence

From WYNC’s press release:


Leaders in public media—WNYC (New York), KPCC (Southern California),and WAMU (Washington, D.C.)—today announced they have joined together to acquire key assets of Gothamist and its associated sites: LAist and DCist. The acquisition includes the story archives, internet domains, and social media assets from Gothamist and DNAinfo. This deal is part of public radio’s commitment to local journalism and honors the legacy and shared mission of Gothamist, as well as DNAinfo, the trusted neighborhood news service founded by Joe Ricketts.


Each public media organization involved in the investment is a leading source of enterprise journalism and local reporting in their respective communities. The assets acquired will enable the stations to expand their digital footprint and support their shared missions to reflect and serve their listeners and the public.


The acquisition is being funded in large part through generous philanthropic donations from two anonymous donors, who are deeply committed to supporting local journalism initiatives and the station partners.



(click here to continue reading WNYC, KPCC, and WAMU Acquire Gothamist Assets.)

Written by Seth Anderson

March 6th, 2018 at 1:13 pm

Posted in Chicago-esque,News-esque

Tagged with

Kushner’s Family Business Received Loans After White House Meetings

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225 W Randolph St
225 W Randolph St is owned by Kushner Co’s.

Speaking of the dimpled slumlord, Jared Kushner, apparently he is his father-in-law’s favorite for a reason: corruption comes as easily as breathing…

Early last year, a private equity billionaire started paying regular visits to the White House.

Joshua Harris, a founder of Apollo Global Management, was advising Trump administration officials on infrastructure policy. During that period, he met on multiple occasions with Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, said three people familiar with the meetings. Among other things, the two men discussed a possible White House job for Mr. Harris.

The job never materialized, but in November, Apollo lent $184 million to Mr. Kushner’s family real estate firm, Kushner Companies. The loan was to refinance the mortgage on a Chicago skyscraper.

Even by the standards of Apollo, one of the world’s largest private equity firms, the previously unreported transaction with the Kushners was a big deal: It was triple the size of the average property loan made by Apollo’s real estate lending arm, securities filings show.

It was one of the largest loans Kushner Companies received last year. An even larger loan came from Citigroup, which lent the firm and one of its partners $325 million to help finance a group of office buildings in Brooklyn.

(click here to continue reading Kushner’s Family Business Received Loans After White House Meetings – The New York Times.)

For the record, I walked by 225 W. Randolph today, currently the regional headquarters of AT&T, leased from Kushner, and the building looked pretty run-down from the outside.

Slightly Run Down Entrance to 225 W Randolph
Slightly Run Down Entrance to 225 W Randolph

Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post adds:


“Kushner represents a total failure in every possible dimension,” says ethics guru Norm Eisen. “His appointment was a violation of the federal anti-nepotism statute. We now know that he has the worst ethics and conflicts issues of anyone in the administration with the possible exception of his father-in-law. He could not even fill out his financial disclosures and security clearance forms properly, with dozens of amendments being required.” He adds, “His contacts with the Russians and other foreign governments are deeply problematic. His security clearance has been downgraded to the level of a White House intern, making it impossible for him to do the jobs for which he is purportedly there. He must go before he does any more damage.”


News this week that Kushner received jumbo loans from two banks after meeting with Citigroup and Apollo Global Management highlights the risk he poses. How many other suspect meetings have been taken? What ones are planned? Kushner apparently has no appreciation for the appearance of conflicts of interest, let alone actual conflicts. Because he is so heavily indebted and still operates his real estate company, we cannot be sure whether performance of his White House duties are for his own benefit or the country’s. If he meets with a bank executive, or representatives of one of the four countries attempting to influence there is at the very least the appearance of corruption. And because Kushner’s portfolio is so broad it seems unlikely he wouldn’t inevitably make some decision that affects his own financial interests and/or those of his lenders.


All of this goes to the legal and ethical implications of his continued presence in the White House. However, the political ramifications are nearly as bad, It’s now painfully obvious he is there solely by nepotism and that the president knew or should have known about the security risks and conflicts Kushner brought with him. To allow him to remain simply reaffirms the president’s comfort level with ethical malfeasance. Just as keeping Rob Porter for so long signaled the White House really didn’t think spousal abuse was that big a deal, Trump’s retention of Kushner suggests that the president doesn’t much care if his inner circle is beholden to foreigners.



(click here to continue reading The Jared time bomb – The Washington Post.)

Don t Say I Never Warned You
Don’t Say I Never Warned You

From NBC:

 Federal investigators are scrutinizing whether any of Jared Kushner’s business discussions with foreigners during the presidential transition later shaped White House policies in ways designed to either benefit or retaliate against those he spoke with, according to witnesses and other people familiar with the investigation.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has asked witnesses about Kushner’s efforts to secure financing for his family’s real estate properties, focusing specifically on his discussions during the transition with individuals from Qatar and Turkey, as well as Russia, China and the United Arab Emirates, according to witnesses who have been interviewed as part of the investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign to sway the 2016 election.

Kushner’s family real estate business, Kushner Companies, approached Qatar multiple times, including last spring, about investing in the company’s troubled flagship property at 666 Fifth Avenue in New York, but the government-run sovereign wealth fund declined, according to two people familiar with the discussion. Another discussion of interest to Mueller’s team is a meeting Kushner held at Trump Tower during the transition in December 2016 with a former prime minister of Qatar, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, or HBJ, according to people familiar with the meeting.

HBJ had been in talks with Kushner Companies about investing in its Fifth Avenue property, which is facing roughly $1.4 billion in debt that is due in 2019, these people said. Those talks with the company continued after Kushner entered the White House and stepped away from the business, but last spring HBJ decided against investing, these people said.

In the weeks after Kushner Companies’ talks with the Qatari government and HBJ collapsed, the White House strongly backed an economically punishing blockade against Qatar, led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, citing the country’s support for terrorism as the impetus. Kushner, who is both President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and a key adviser, has played a major role in Trump’s Middle East policy and has developed close relationships with the crown princes of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

 Some top Qatari government officials believe the White House’s position on the blockade may have been a form of retaliation driven by Kushner who was sour about the failed deal.


(click here to continue reading Mueller team asking if Kushner foreign business ties influenced Trump policy – NBC News.)

Trump Eventually We Will Get Something Done
Trump: Eventually We Will Get Something Done

From Newsweek:


New York’s banking regulator has reportedly requested loan information about Jared Kushner, his family and real estate business Kushner Companies, from three banks including Deutsche Bank AG, which is steeped in another controversy involving the presidential adviser.


New York State’s Department of Financial Services last week sent letters to Deutsche Bank, Signature Bank and New York Community Bank requesting loan applications and processes, and information about the institutions’ relationships with Kushner and his business assets, a person familiar with the correspondence told Bloomberg in a report published Wednesday.

Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, took on more debt over the past year from lenders including Signature Bank and New York Community Bank, recent government disclosures show. The couple had unsecured lines of credit of $5 million to $25 million from each of the three banks, according to a disclosures filing from late December.



(click here to continue reading Jared Kushner’s Loans From Deutsche Bank, Other Lenders Sought by Banking Regulator: Report.)

Written by Seth Anderson

March 2nd, 2018 at 8:16 pm

Mueller, Manafort and Federal Savings Bank

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Entrance to The Federal Savings Bank
Entrance to The Federal Savings Bank

Follow up on the local FSB bank in Fulton Market we wrote about a few months ago…

Federal investigators are probing whether former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort promised a Chicago banker a job in the Trump White House in return for $16 million in home loans, two people with direct knowledge of the matter told NBC News.

Manafort received three separate loans in December 2016 and January 2017 from Federal Savings Bank for homes in New York City, Virginia and the Hamptons.

The banker, Stephen Calk, president of the Federal Savings Bank, was announced as a member of candidate Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers in August 2016.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is now investigating whether there was a quid pro quo agreement between Manafort and Calk. Manafort left the Trump campaign in August 2016 after the millions he had earned working for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine drew media scrutiny. Calk did not receive a job in President Donald Trump’s cabinet.

The sources say the three loans were questioned by other officials at the bank, and one source said that at least one of the bank employees who felt pressured into approving the deals is cooperating with investigators.

(click here to continue reading Mueller asking if Manafort promised banker White House job in return for loans – NBC News.)

The Federal Savings Bank
The Federal Savings Bank

Bloomberg adds:


The Federal Savings Bank, where Calk is founder, chairman and chief executive officer, also got a “seven-figure” investment from a firm run by one of Trump’s closest friends, Howard Lorber, according to court testimony not previously reported.

Lorber is CEO of the Vector Group, parent company of the New York real estate powerhouse, Douglas Elliman Real Estate LLC. Last year, Trump described Lorber, who is also chairman of Douglas Elliman, as one of his two best friends. In 1996, Trump and Lorber were together in Moscow exploring business opportunities, accompanied by Bennett LeBow, the Vector Group’s founder and chairman.


Bennett LeBow in 1998Photographer: Chuck Robinson/AP Images LeBow is a longtime player in both the cigarette and real estate industries in Russia and Ukraine. Among his former business partners is Vadim Z. Rabinovich, a Ukrainian politician who was elected to parliament in 2014 as part of the pro-Russia party that employed Manafort before he signed onto Trump’s campaign.


The Vector Group made a “seven-figure” investment in Calk’s bank, according to a 2015 deposition by Calk; Lorber in a 2015 deposition put the figure at $2 million, though he wasn’t sure if the investment was made by Vector or Douglas Elliman. Neither of the men said when the investment was made.

Calk was little known in political circles, even in Chicago. He built a mortgage business in Kansas with his brother John by focusing on military veterans. He moved the bank’s headquarters to Chicago in 2014 after being promised millions in grants and tax credits from the city.

According to a 2016 article in the trade publication, National Mortgage News, about 90 percent of the bank’s lending at the time was directed toward single-family home purchases, most through the Veterans Administration.



(click here to continue reading Behind Manafort’s Loans, a Chopper Pilot Who Flew Into Trump’s Orbit – Bloomberg.)

Written by Seth Anderson

February 22nd, 2018 at 10:47 am

Plan for 51-story at 110 N Wacker Drive tower hits obstacle

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General Growth - Chicago River
General Growth – Chicago River

I’ve walked past 110 N Wacker Drive, aka the General Growth Properties building, f/k/a the Morton Salt Building hundreds or even thousands of times, and I can’t say I was ever flabbergasted by its beauty.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

A planned 51-story tower on Wacker Drive has run into an unexpected obstacle that could halt the high-profile office development: the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The federal agency has informed the developers, Chicago’s Riverside Investment & Development and Dallas-based Howard Hughes Corp., that the project will have an “adverse effect,” since the plan requires demolishing an architecturally significant building along the Chicago River.

The five-story building on the site at 110 N. Wacker Drive, currently the headquarters of mall landlord GGP, is not landmarked but is eligible for placement on the National Register of Historic Places, according to a public notice by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Because of that, the agency’s Chicago District will solicit public input through Dec. 14 about the planned demolition before determining the development’s fate.

The highly unusual snag comes just before the developers were expected to raze the building and begin replacing it with the 800-foot-tall skyscraper. The developers want to begin construction as soon as January, the public notice said. Plans call for more than 1.3 million square feet of office space, which is expected to command some of the highest office rents in Chicago.

The developers already received city approval for the project designed by Goettsch Partners. But they still need approval from the Army Corps because the project would include building a stormwater outfall structure, which is essentially a hole cut in the seawall to allow rainwater to flow from the tower’s roof into the river.

“The 110 North Wacker building project was the subject of an eight month public process leading to the granting of full zoning approval from the city of Chicago,” the developers said in an emailed statement. “To date, we have worked with the City Planning Department, Alderman (Brendan) Reilly and others to maximize the open public space, and architectural benefits for the city. We have been working through the permitting process with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other statutory authorities and look forward to working collaboratively to deliver this exciting new building in the heart of Chicago.”

(click here to continue reading Plan for 51-story Wacker Drive tower hits obstacle – Chicago Tribune.)

General Growth - Blues
General Growth – Blues

I’d hazard a guess that demolition will occur early next year…

During a review of the project, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency in August determined the building’s architecture makes it eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, creating an “adverse effect” if it were to be demolished, according to the public notice.

The building, designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst and White, is an example of Mid-Century Modern architecture, according to the documents. The $4 million building opened in 1958 as the headquarters of Morton Salt Co. The building has long turned heads because of its low-slung size, dwarfed by a row of modern Wacker Drive towers.

I was also amused by this:

Curbed Chicago first reported the “adverse effect” federal review.

Would it be so difficult to provide a link? Like, for instance, https://chicago.curbed.com/2017/12/6/16742274/general-growth-demolition-historical-review

Written by Seth Anderson

December 8th, 2017 at 9:28 am

Passing Goldstar (Explored)

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A recent photograph made it into Flickr’s Explore (double click to embiggen).

Passing Goldstar

About the photograph: I was standing near Gold Star on Division St., admiring how afternoon light illuminated this long time resident of Wicker Park, waiting for the first person to enter my shot. However, when I entered my digital darkroom, I noticed the women was partially blurred. Often converting to black and white hides these flaws, I used a Tri-X 400 emulation filter (from Alien Skin), but then was sad about losing the golden hour light. I stopped working on the photo, however in the morning when I woke up, I had a new idea. I could use Photoshop to merge some of the color back in to the photo.

I processed the image again from the original Camera RAW file, using the same settings, except, obviously leaving the afternoon sunlight. With both images open, I used the Clone Stamp tool in Photoshop, and with my mouse, dragged over areas that looked like they needed color.

I started with just the neon Goldstar sign, then added the more of the building, then the doorway, then as a last touch, the woman’s feet and the shadow on the sidewalk. I’m not 100% certain if I like that, but I think so. I also could have re-colorized her purse, but it had reds and blues in addition to the golden palette of the rest of the image, so I left it black and white.

I goofed, slightly, when initially using the Clone Stamp tool by not exactly lining up the origin, but this gives the color aspects a subtle three dimensional look, so I left it as it ended up.

All in all, I’m happy with how this image turned out.

Written by Seth Anderson

September 22nd, 2017 at 7:41 am

DNA Chicago Uses My Photo of Casa Aztlan Mural Without Crediting Me

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Casa Aztlan
Casa Aztlan

I realize that I did not paint Ray Patlan’s Casa Aztlan mural, but I did photograph it, and now DNA Chicago and other entities are using my photograph on their website without crediting me. The author of this article is Stephanie Lulay, who I’m sure will rectify the situation, eventually. I imagine this is just an oversight, and not malicious.

For instance, in reporting the news that Ray Patlan’s mural has been painted over, but now the original muralist is willing to come back and re-paint his work:

PILSEN — After an iconic mural was painted over in Pilsen earlier this month, the developer responsible for the change has promised to bring back the mural’s original artist to re-create it.

Workers painted over the mural that adorned the former Casa Aztlan community center facade at 1831 S. Racine Ave., a storied artwork created by artist Ray Patlan and Pilsen students more than 45 years ago. The incident sparked outrage in the neighborhood known for its public art and murals.

(click here to continue reading After Casa Aztlan Mural Painted Over, Artist Will Return To Re-create It – Pilsen – DNAinfo Chicago.)

DNA Chicago uses this photo, credited to Pilsen Allian, and Facebook/Ricardo Gamboa:

DNA Chicago uses my photo without crediting me

Notice the area in red: if you make the photos bigger, you will see a white chair in front of an area being repainted.

During the time I took this photo, and uploaded to Flickr (with Creative Commons license, albeit, “Some Rights Reserved”) I did not use a watermark. Incidents like this one are so common, I started signing all my photos.

One reason this copyright infringement sticks in my craw is that DNAInfo is owned by wealthy businessman Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade, owner of the Chicago Cubs, and a noted Donald Trump supporter. If the Ricketts can afford the luxury of owning a major league sports team, you’d think they could be a little more careful with copyright.

No Corporate Welfare for The Ricketts
No Corporate Welfare for The Ricketts

Bonus: a couple more photos of the mural. I’m happy Ray Patlan is coming back to recreate this iconic artwork.

Che Guevara - Detail at Casa Aztlan Community Center
Che Guevara – Detail at Casa Aztlan Community Center

Detail at Casa Aztlan Community Center
Detail at Casa Aztlan Community Center

Written by Seth Anderson

July 1st, 2017 at 7:44 am

Posted in Chicago-esque,Photography

Tagged with ,

Entrance to The Federal Savings Bank was uploaded to Flickr

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Actually, entrance to the building where The Federal Savings Bank is located. A strange kind of bank, only on the third floor, with a building security employee that won’t let you go up unless you are a member of the bank, plus won’t allow photography in the lobby.

The FSB has been in the news lately for its Trump ties, and allegedly Russian money laundering schemes with Paul Manafort.

For instance:
Chicago-based Federal Savings Bank wouldn’t comment Tuesday on a report that New York prosecutors have subpoenaed records related to $16 million in loans the institution made to former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

chief executive, Steve Calk, was an economic adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign. Manafort is under scrutiny from a special prosecutor and members of Congress for his dealings with Russian interests, part of the wider investigation into ties between Russia and members of Trump’s campaign and administration.

Federal Savings Bank made about $6.5 million in loans in January to Manafort and his wife for a Brooklyn property, documents show. That came about a month after Federal Savings lent $9.5 million to Summerbreeze, a limited liability company connected to Manafort, according to 377 Union, a website run by two New York lawyers that is named for the address of the Manafort property in Brooklyn.

The combined $16 million in loans to one borrower represents nearly a quarter of the small bank’s loan portfolio and approaches the level at which regulators would start to think about imposing limits on lending to one customer.


embiggen by clicking

I took Entrance to The Federal Savings Bank on May 18, 2017 at 10:02AM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on July 21, 2017 at 10:06AM

Written by eggplant

May 21st, 2017 at 2:26 pm

Chicago is One of The 50 Best Bike Cities of 2016 | Bicycling

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USPS Blocking Bike Lane - Washington
USPS Blocking Bike Lane – Washington.

I’m skeptical of these sorts of rankings, especially from magazines I’m not familiar with, that said, Mayor Emanuel does seem to be interested in expanding the number of bike commuters. Too bad the Chicago Police don’t enforce parking violations in the bike lanes, and too bad the city cannot seem to afford to maintain these bike lanes once they are created. I’ve nearly died from both idiots parked in bike lanes (not so much in the photo above, that was more of an irritation), and from plummeting into pot holes the size of a petite pond. What would be cool is if certain streets had zero cars and buses, and only bikes and pedestrians were allowed to use it. Oh well, maybe if I moved to Denmark…

In April, shortly after his re-election, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Chicago would build 50 miles of bikeways—many of them physically separated from motor vehicles—over the next three years. Such proclamations can come easily (and cheaply) to the lips of politicians, but during his first term in 2015, Emanuel made good on a promise to build 100 miles of buffered and protected bike lanes. “Those initial 100 miles of bike lanes cost just $12 million,” says Jim Merrell, advocacy director for the Active Transportation Alliance. “That highlights the cost effectiveness of transformative transportation projects like these.”

When its protected bike lanes are completed in spring 2017 in conjunction with its Loop Link transit project, Chicago will become the first major U.S. city with a downtown network of protected bike lanes—a major boost to the nation’s second-largest bike share system, Divvy. Further, many of Chicago’s existing bollard-protected bike lanes are currently being rebuilt with concrete curbs. This includes the state-owned Clybourn Avenue, a heavily used but dangerous corridor that the city had long pressured the Illinois DOT to rebuild. “The curb protection is aesthetically pleasing, and durable in a city with intense weather,” says Merrell. Plus, the concrete barriers also send an important message: Chicago’s commitment to safe and low-stress cycling is permanent.

The city also recently unveiled a program called Divvy For Everyone, which subsidizes bike-share memberships for low-income residents. A new 35th Street bridge, spanning a tangle of rail lines, will link the traditionally African-American community of Bronzeville to the Lakefront Trail. And the Big Marsh Bike Park, a former industrial wasteland in southeastern Chicago, will open in the fall of 2016 with flow and singletrack mountain bike trails, pump tracks, and a cyclocross course.

(click here to continue reading The 50 Best Bike Cities of 2016 | Bicycling.)

More bikes is more better…

Windy City Hard War
Windy City Hard War

Don't Care About Your Fame
Don’t Care About Your Fame

Falter At The Sight
Falter At The Sight

Never Ending Chant of Construction
Never Ending Chant of Construction

Afternoon Bike Ride
Afternoon Bike Ride

Voting doesn't work
Voting doesn’t work

Divvy and a Red Ball
Divvy and a Red Ball

Wells Street Bike Lane
Wells Street Bike Lane

Written by Seth Anderson

September 19th, 2016 at 6:19 pm

Posted in Chicago-esque,government

Tagged with ,

Darling Lauretta Duerrstein is dead

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Our Darling Lauretta
Our Darling Lauretta

I was randomly browsing my undeveloped photos, as I frequently do, and ran across a photo I shot at the Saint Boniface Catholic Cemetery a few months ago.1 Googling the name of “Lauretta Duerrstein” to make sure I was spelling it correctly, ran into this essay written by Julia Crowe, from 1990, that begins:

Darling Lauretta Duerrstein is dead. She died before her eighth birthday. Nearly a hundred years later I sat on her grave trying to sketch her stony likeness. She holds a headless dove on her left arm, while her right hand rests on a petrified stump. A bonnet and flowers lie strewn at her dainty stone boots. Her eyes stare beyond the shadows that shift across her long hair.

As the city’s past is torn down and paved over, I can still find remnants of its history in the cemeteries. But my pencil is too slow to trace the wind-worn inscriptions of immigrant names before they recede into the stone. I sat in the scratchy grass not knowing where to begin my drawing.

(click here to continue reading Cemetary Boy | Our Town | Chicago Reader.)

When I visited the cemetery, the grave had a fairly new toy monkey. Who put it there, I wonder? A relative? A sympathetic parent? 

  1. January, 2016, to be precise []

Written by Seth Anderson

June 17th, 2016 at 6:59 pm

Posted in Chicago-esque

Tagged with ,

Soho House Developer Plans Another Hotel for Fulton Market

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Urban Melodrama
Urban Melodrama

And the real estate hits keep coming…

The red-hot West Loop/Fulton Market District’s hospitality scene is showing no signs of slowing down as Shapack Development is set to unveil a Morris Adjmi-designed 11-story hotel proposal at the northwest corner of Lake and Green Street. Fresh off the success of their acclaimed 40-room Soho House, the Chicago-based developer is upping the ante with a 165- to 171-room project just one block south at 832-850 W. Lake, a site currently occupied by a low-rise meat packing business and parking lot. According to a conversation with Crain’s, developer Jeff Shapack confirmed the new development will include ground floor retail and dining, parking on the second floor, office space on the third and fourth floors, and hotel rooms up to the building’s 11th level rooftop deck. The hotel operator has not been announced, but with both the nearby Ace and Nobu hotels also in the pipeline to meet the area’s surging demand for hip lodging, a boutique brand would be a good guess for Lake and Green as well.

(click here to continue reading Soho House Developer Plans Another Hotel for Fulton Market – Hotel Boom Town – Curbed Chicago.)

This location is slightly outside of the new Fulton Market Historic District boundaries, I wonder if that was planned.

Fulton Market District
Fulton Market District

Written by Seth Anderson

February 1st, 2016 at 8:08 am

Chicago Police Hid Mics, Destroyed Dashcams To Block Audio

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City of Chicago Emergency Management Surveillance Vehicle
City of Chicago Emergency Management Surveillance Vehicle, recording civilians when they want to.

Police who intentionally skirt civilian oversight by destroying or disabling their dashcams should be fired, plain and simple. Or at least severely reprimanded. The police need to come back to being part of society, not standing alone from it, without accountability. Serve and protect used to be the motto, but destroying evidence of police actions only serves to protect the police themselves.

Why are so many police dashcam videos silent?

Chicago Police Department officers stashed microphones in their squad car glove boxes. They pulled out batteries. Microphone antennas got busted or went missing. And sometimes, dashcam systems didn’t have any microphones at all, DNAinfo Chicago has learned.

Police officials last month blamed the absence of audio in 80 percent of dashcam videos on officer error and “intentional destruction.”

A DNAinfo Chicago review of more than 1,800 police maintenance logs sheds light on the no-sound syndrome plaguing Police Department videos — including its most notorious dashcam case.

Maintenance records of the squad car used by Jason Van Dyke, who shot and killed Laquan McDonald, and his partner, Joseph Walsh, show monthslong delays for two dashcam repairs, including a long wait to fix “intentional damage.”

Between Sept. 1, 2014, and July 16, 2015, maintenance technicians assigned to troubleshoot and repair dashcam systems reported 90 incidents where no microphones were found in squad cars, according to police logs.

Another 13 inspections during that period turned up only one microphone in squad cars that were supposed to be equipped with two audio recording devices, according to the logs.

On 30 occasions, technicians who downloaded dashcam videos found evidence that audio recording systems either had not been activated or were “intentionally defeated” by police personnel, the records show.

(click here to continue reading Chicago Police Hid Mics, Destroyed Dashcams To Block Audio, Records Show – Archer Heights – DNAinfo.com Chicago.)

An important story, and you should read it all…

Written by Seth Anderson

January 29th, 2016 at 11:37 am

Posted in Chicago-esque,crime

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After 36 years, Neo leaves a changing Lincoln Park

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Smoke Break in the Neo Alley
Smoke Break in the Neo Alley.

Sasha Geffen interviews Callin Fortis about the closing of Neo.

When Callin Fortis took over Neo in 1982, Lincoln Park had no Gaps, no pet boutiques, and no day cares. It was a nightlife hub, with cheap rents and 4 AM bars and 24-hour diners—”like New York,” says Fortis. His own nightclub, one of the last of its generation in the area, is now sandwiched between a preschool and an Urban Outfitters in an alley on Clark Street, just south of Fullerton Avenue, less than a mile west of the Lincoln Park Zoo. Neo had been open for just two years when Fortis moved in, and at the end of July, it will close its doors after 36 years in operation. The preschool that occupies the storefront of the same building will move into the space that has served as a late-night hangout for Chicago’s misfits since 1979. “The neighborhood has changed dramatically,” says Fortis over the phone from Miami, where he now lives. “Lincoln Park was still residential, but it was much hipper than it is now. It was still filled with art and cool stuff. Now, it’s not. Urban Outfitters is still there. That’s probably the coolest thing there is.”

Fortis and the owner of the building where Neo is housed, John Crombie, recently failed to come to an agreement on a new lease for the space, forcing the club to relocate. Currently, no new venue has been pinned down, although Fortis says he’s had offers come in from across the city, and that he’s eyeing a space in Wicker Park.

(click here to continue reading After 36 years, Neo leaves a changing Lincoln Park | Bleader | Chicago Reader.)

NEO - shutting down

I never claimed Neo as one of my spots, but I have been inside a few times, and always enjoyed myself.

Neo’s Neon

Written by Seth Anderson

July 28th, 2015 at 2:54 pm

Chicago to Tax Streaming Providers

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Netflix Streaming July 2015

Wow, 9% is rather a large increase to my Netflix bill. I wonder if databases like Hoover’s  will be affected? Seems like they might. 

Chicagoans who pay to stream movies and music from services like Netflix and Spotify will now need to fork over an additional 9 percent for the privilege, as will Chicago businesses that pay to use everything from real estate to court databases online, under a decision the city quietly made recently to expand its taxing power.

The added costs are the result of a ruling by the city Finance Department that extends the reach of ordinances governing two types of taxes — the city amusement tax and the city personal property lease transaction tax — to cover many products streamed to businesses and residents alike.

According to the Finance Department changes, the 9 percent amusement tax, which has mostly been tacked onto tickets to concerts and sporting events, also now applies to paid subscriptions for streamed digital music and to streamed rental movies or TV shows, and “for the privilege of participating in games, on-line or otherwise,” if the person paying to receive the data is in Chicago.


The personal property lease transaction tax expansion also applies to professional services, like electronic property databases real estate agents use, court case databases lawyers rely on and various financial information networks.


(click here to continue reading City extends taxing power to online movies, music, more – Chicago Tribune.)

Could I get around this by using a VPN? 

Written by Seth Anderson

July 2nd, 2015 at 11:10 am

Posted in Business,Chicago-esque

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