Apple has so much cash in their corporate coffers1, they can afford to spend a little money fixing infrastructure. In a country that cared about people more than foreign wars, the Chicago Transit Authority would have enough budget to maintain its own stations, but we don’t live in such a magical place. Infrastructure investment for public transit2 is not a priority, unfortunately.
Nevertheless, I salute Apple for doing this, no matter their motives. I would applaud other corporations for jumping into this breach, and sprucing up other stations, shoring up bridges, etc. Too bad they mostly only focus on naming rights for stadiums.
Even while the neighborhood took on a high gloss, the CTA station looked the way it had for decades — like the stop closest to the poverty of the Cabrini-Green housing project.
Now this woman stood gawking at the Apple Store and the plaza that linked it to the station.
“The plaza just knocked my socks off,” she said. “A plaza, with seats. Like these guys weren’t so terrified of homeless people sitting down that they weren’t going to let anyone else sit down, either. And a fountain, that instant supplier of peace. It made me want to sit down on a nice day with a cup of tea and a book. OK, in gratitude to Apple, it should be an iPad, but whatever. I say thank you to Apple.”
Exactly the effect Apple intends.
There’s reason to be grateful to Apple for the metamorphosis of this patch of Chicago. Apple has not only built a store more stylish than anything nearby, it has invested close to $4 million in the North/Clybourn station.
It’s the equivalent of mowing the neighbor’s weedy lawn — and paying the neighbor to let you.
Outside, the station has clean new brick, big new windows and a sleek new look, partly 1940s and entirely 2010.
The inside isn’t stylish, but it’s improved. Someone has scrubbed the red concrete floors, brushed red paint on the old railings, tried to wipe the grime from the escalator stairs.
(click to continue reading CTA station is the apple of computer giant’s eye, Mary Schmich says – chicagotribune.com.)