REAL ID in Illinois

Shake It Off
Shake It Off, You Can Do Nothing…

The 42nd Ward’s weekly email notes that Illinois will soon be in compliance with the1 REAL ID Act that we’ve scoffed at a few times before…

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced that his office is upgrading security features to the Driver’s License/ID card design and expanding the central issuance process for driver’s licenses and ID cards to all applicants. With implementation of these changes, Illinois has moved closer to achieving full REAL ID compliance, which is a federal mandate of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).   By the end of July, applicants visiting Driver Services facilities will no longer be issued a new permanent DL/ID card at the end of the application process. Instead, they will leave the facility with a temporary, secure paper driver’s license, which is valid for 45 days and will serve as their DL/ID for driving purposes and proof of identification. The temporary, secure paper driver’s license or ID card will contain a photo and the basic information that appears on the permanent driver’s license or ID card. In addition, the facility employee will return the old DL/ID card back to the applicant after punching a hole in it.

Meanwhile, the applicant’s information will be sent to a centralized, secure facility in Illinois. After fraud checks have been conducted to ensure the applicant’s identity, a higher quality, more secure DL/ID will be printed and sent via U.S. mail within 15 business days to the applicant’s address.

For purposes of air travel, DHS states that it will accept the temporary document in conjunction with the old DL/ID to board an aircraft until the permanent card arrives in the mail. Illinois joins 39 other states that have moved to centralized production of DL/ID cards.

Illinois DL/IDs will continue to be accepted as primary forms of identification to board commercial airplanes for domestic travel until January 22, 2018.

(click here to continue reading 42nd Ward Update: Respect. Honor. Remember. Chicago’s Memorial Day Parade and Wreath Laying Ceremony.)

The full press release, if you are curious (PDF file)…

The Check Is In The Mail
The Check Is In The Mail

Fine, whatever, as long as the damn thing doesn’t get lost in the maw of the unreliable Chicago mail – seriously, what percentage of these DL/ID cards will be left to burn under a dumpster?




What percent will be delivered to the wrong address? I’d estimate that our building gets several erroneously delivered pieces of mail a week. Often inconsequential direct mail, but often checks, invoices, utility bills, magazines, and so on.  Let’s hope the Chicago branch of the USPS takes special care to deliver these new driver licenses…

  1. ridiculous []

Public Park as Part of 150 N Riverside

Streaking Home Streaking Home

As part of an interesting discussion of the planned development on Randolph and the Chicago River, 150 N. Riverside, we read this aside about Boeing’s infamous unfriendliness to civilians and tourists…

[Alderman Brendan] Reilly has been emphatic in noting that this will be a public park, not a publicly accessible private park. When Hines finally agreed to build its park at River Point, the Texas developer tried to start negotiations over how many days a year it would be available to the public. Reilly said words to the effect of “Homey don’t play that” and sent Hines packing until it realized that Chicago isn’t Houston and you can’t just build whatever you want without regard to the neighbors.

The Hines park will now be open all year round.

Neighbors, however, are worried that the the 150 North Riverside park will be significantly less than promised. They don’t want a repeat of what’s going on one block to the south at the Boeing building. When the Seattle aircraft maker moved here, what used to be a nice, welcoming public plaza became a fortress with security guards harassing the locals for walking through what’s supposed to be a public riverwalk, threatening tourists for the imaginary crime of camera possession, and keeping the place behind locked gates more often than it is open. That is also the case up the street, where the residential development north of Kinzie Street keeps the public riverwalk locked up. If you want to legally access it, you must go to a security office and ask a guard to unlock it for you.

The developer is trying to assuage the locals fears by promising to deed the 150 park to the city. But then he repeatedly states the park will be open “dawn to dusk.” City parks are open until 11pm. And it’s not like city parks have a stellar track record of openness, access, and not trying chasing tourists away because they’re holding cameras. When it’s not snowing, there are parts of Millennium Park repeatedly locked off for private events, and some parts that are closed to the public for big corporations for months at a time.

(click here to continue reading Grand Plans for “Millennium Park Lite” Come With West Loop Office Tower | The Chicago Architecture Blog.)

Photography is not legal at Boeing either Photography is not legal at Boeing either

Really, if you are walking through this area with a camera, Boeing’s guards (some of whom have weapons on display) will come to full attention, and gods forbid if you step towards their building with your camera at the ready. A very, very unfriendly neighbor, to say the least. Many, many years ago when I was a dew-faced young lad, I worked a temporary job here, when Morton Salt’s HQ was here (or nearby, memory is a funny thing) – I remember sitting by the Chicago River eating my lunch in a pleasant, public plaza. You would probably have to duck bullets if you tried this today, or at any time since Boeing moved in circa 2001.

Golden Plowshares Golden Plowshares

Back to 150 N Riverside: we are personally not opposed to a new development here, especially if Alderman Reilly can enforce the public park aspect of the plan. The Loop, west, and the West Loop areas are drastically underserved by greenspace. In an ideal world, 150 N Riverside aka 400 W Randolph wouldn’t be a building at all, instead, the City of Chicago could construct an elevated public park above the tracks, just like Millennium Park itself! But we are realists, so that’s simply a fantasy.

For your amusement, a few other photos of the general area in question, as it looks today. Double click to embiggen…

Waiting for the 216

Waiting for the 216

Transport is Arranged Transport is Arranged

train yard train yard

Merchandise Mart Negative Scan 9-10-12 Merchandise Mart Negative Scan 9-10-12

Misdirected Remarks - Agfa Scala Misdirected Remarks – Agfa Scala

Dusk in River North Dusk in River North

Map of the block



Continue reading “Public Park as Part of 150 N Riverside”

Children’s Museum Not Coming to Grant Park

Snow Geese at Daley Bicentennial Plaza
Snow Geese at Daley Bicentennial Plaza

After all the stürm und drang about the Chicago Children’s Museum being relocated to Daley BiCentennial Plaza against the wishes of Alderman Reilly and many of the 42nd Ward’s constituents, it turns out they are not moving from Navy Pier anytime soon. Victory, in other words.

In the latest sign that the controversial plan to move the Chicago Children’s Museum to Grant Park is crumbling, Chicago Park District officials on Wednesday unveiled revised plans for the section of the park where the museum wanted to relocate, but the plans (left) no longer include the museum.

“What’s going on with the Children’s Museum?” the park district’s director of planning and development, Gia Biagi, said while addressing the topic before a citizens group that advises the park district. “Well, they’re not coming to Grant Park.”

Her statement was met with applause from some of the people at the Grant Park Advisory Council and Conservancy’s meeting.

The council’s president, Bob O’Neill, said in an interview before the meeting that he has “no evidence that they’re going to locate (the museum) in Grant Park. In my opinion, it’s dead.”

Museum officials confirmed that the mostly underground, $100 million new home they envisioned is not included in the park district’s latest plan for the Richard J. Daley Bicentennial Plaza, which forms Grant Park’s northeast corner. But they were not ready to use the D-word.

“I wouldn’t say that the plan is dead. Daley Bi still remains a viable option,” said Natalie Kreiger, a museum spokeswoman. “The truth is that we’re just focusing most of our efforts on Navy Pier right now.”

O’Neill, previously a supporter of the museum’s move, said several factors had undermined it.

“It’s not a really good economy, so a capital campaign is dificult,” he said. In addition, he said, Navy Pier Inc., the non-profit that recently took over the pier’s operations from the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, is more strongly focused on cultural attractions and entertainment and is pushing hard to keep the museum at the pier.  “I can tell you that the Children’s Museum has dropped out of this project,” O’Neill said, referring to the revised plans for Daley Bicentennial Plaza. “They have not been in any of the dicussions. I haven’t talked to them since the beginning of summer.”

(click here to continue reading Cityscapes: Children’s Museum out of new plan for renovating Grant Park’s northeast corner; leader of park advisory group says controversial project is dead.)


My Chicago blizzard photos

From the Chicago snow storm variously called SnOMG, Snowpocalypse 2011, Thundersnow1, Blizzard of 2011, yadda yadda. I foolheartedly went out to take some photos around midnight, and lasted about an hour. I haven’t yet processed many of my photos, but here are a few.

Click to embiggen, or click twice to view in Lightbox.


Streaming. Toned in Photoshop to compensate for the color of Chicago’s street lamps.

If Memory Serves

If Memory Serves Randolph Street, before it got plowed. These firemen stopped to give this guy a push:

Keep On Pushing

Keep on Pushing After this car got stuck, it swerved a few more times and turned down Desplaines Street.

Visitors on Snowy Streets

Visitors on Snowy Streets Some other foolhardy folks strolling down Canal Street.

Underneath the Overpass

Underneath the Overpass Lake Street. I lingered here a moment to catch my breath. Hard to walk in snow that comes up to your knees – every step is a challenge.

Blizzard hype can officially commence now

Blizzard hype can officially commence now An iPhone snapshot, using Hipstamatic.

Wind Swept Snow

Wind Swept Snow An iPhone snapshot, trying to capture the fiercely blowing winds.

First Blizzard Casualty

First Blizzard Casualty The wind was blowing so hard, I couldn’t hold my iPhone still enough to focus. So blurry dead bird it is…Also notice there isn’t any snow on my balcony. Later in the evening, the wind died down a bit, and snow is now piled about two feet deep here. Also, the wind blew my barbeque grill nearly off the edge. Was able to salvage most of the parts, we’ll see if any committed suicide once spring rolls around.

Road Closed

Road Closed Wacker Drive, an iPhone snapshot.


SnOMG! The lens on my iPhone got caked in wet snow. Actually, my Nikon lens2 also got frozen, wouldn’t focus properly for a while until I put it inside my coat to thaw out.

Chicago Sun Times

Chicago Sun-Times building on Franklin. An iPhone snapshot.

Under cover

Under cover Wacker Drive and Lake Street. Visibility was next to zero, and the wind wanted to separate me from my hats3. An iPhone snapshot.

Abandoned Cab

Abandoned Cab The radio and windshield wipers were on, but the driver was nowhere to be seen, perhaps inside calling for assistance, or taken to a hospital. According to news reports, the cab was hit by a train (tracks in the background).

  1. there was quite a lot of thunder and lightning right in the heart of the storm []
  2. an 18-200 zoom lens []
  3. yes, I was wearing two hats. But I was warm! []

Not In my Backyard Syndrome

Not In My Backyard Syndrome

Snow day in the West Loop. I’m old enough to remember when winter meant actual snow accumulation on the sidewalks. This winter, like the last winter, and winter before that, snow only sticks for a day or so before melting.

Shot with my Hipstamatic for iPhone1


  1. Lens: John S, Flash: Off, Film: BlacKeys SuperGrain []

Streaking Home

Streaking Home

Lightbox is better. Less distracting.

I was too cold walking home to even consider using a tripod, so instead, rested my camera on a ledge, focusing on the Merchandise Mart (lit for the Christmas season), and a train happened to come whizzing by. If I had brought my tripod, perhaps the deep focus might have been a little sharper, but I don’t mind, I quite like how this turned out. I did bump up the color contrast a bit in Photoshop, using a Velvia emulator in a new layer, then changing the opacity to about 60% or so.

I Dreamt of Sanctimonious Mountains

I Dreamt of Sanctimonious Mountains

A little while of Terra Paradise
I dreamed, of autumn rivers, silvas green,
Of sanctimonious mountains high in snow,
But in that dream a heavy difference
Kept waking and a mournful sense sought out,
In vain, life’s season or death’s element.
—Wallace Stevens, 1879-1955

Wallace Stevens

Photo of downtown buildings, Chicago Loop, cross-processed in Photoshop.

When I Wake Up

When I Wake Up
When I Wake Up, originally uploaded by swanksalot.

first real snow of the season, a little later than normal. Photo better when viewed in Lightbox.

Winter finally arrived in Chicago (today’s high is below freezing, so the snow is still visible in most places.)

A Clemency of Elders

Under the CTA tracks.

A Clemency of Elders

Van Buren

Looks better if you embiggen: decluttr

I honestly don’t remember the reference the title refers to, could be anything. Titles are created on the cuff, based on what I’m reading, hearing, or otherwise improvisationally.