B12 Solipsism

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Archive for the ‘Chicago’ tag

Where Chicago Trounces New York: Fixing Mass Transit

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Waiting For My Connection Back To You 

The New York Times:

Like New York’s subway, it is another century-old system struggling to keep up with the transit demands of a booming city. It, too, has been plagued by crumbling tracks, antiquated signals and unreliable trains that turn routine commutes into nightmares.

But the difference is that Chicago’s L has made a comeback, reversing decades of cost-cutting and neglect.

Today, nearly one-third of its tracks have been rebuilt for faster and smoother rides. Rail cars from the 1970s have been replaced with the latest models. More than three dozen stations have been overhauled, many rebuilt into sleek, steel-and-glass outposts. There are new elevators, wider platforms, high-definition security cameras and works by Chicago artists.

“We’ve had a pretty impressive turnaround,” said Joseph P. Schwieterman, a professor of public service at DePaul University. “It’s still an old system — and we still have delays — but the problems are staying out of the headlines and that’s quite an achievement.”

(click here to continue reading Where Chicago Trounces New York: Fixing Mass Transit – The New York Times.)

Government investing in infrastructure?! What a novel idea!

Chicago’s public transit is not the best in the world by a long shot, but it is certainly among the best in the US. Better than Austin, better than NYC, better than Dallas. Instead of tax cuts for billionaires, the federal government ought to invest in transportation infrastructure. I assume the impediment is Koch Brothers related, and that urban environments are more liberal than rural areas and thus the GOP mouth-breathers don’t want to divert funds from air craft carriers and the like.

Chicago is not Toronto, or London, UK, but it is possible to live in Chicago without having to own a car.

Written by Seth Anderson

October 18th, 2018 at 3:34 pm

Posted in government

Tagged with , ,

River City condo owners sue to block $90M sale to Marc Realty, say board conspired to ‘bribe’ holdouts, skew vote

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 River City and Van Buren Street Bridge

Cook County Record:

In the wake of a vote to approve a sale that would reportedly pave the way for the largest condos-to-apartments conversion in Chicago to date, a group of condominium owners in the River City complex have filed suit to block the more than $90 million sale, accusing the condo association board of working with the would-be buyers to essentially target and bribe certain unit owners to persuade them with secret “side deals” to vote to approve the sale.

The collection of condo owners, including owners on both sides of the vote to sell the South Loop condo complex to developer Marc Realty, filed their complaint in Cook County Circuit Court on Oct. 3 through attorneys with the firm of Chuhak & Tecson, of Chicago.…

According to the River City owners’ complaint, River City voters rejected two initial offers from Marc Realty for about $83.1 million and $92.2 million, respectively. In December 2017, unit owners appeared to approve a sale worth $100 million, with 79 percent of owners voting yes.

However, in May, Marc Realty terminated the sale, and then came back with an offer worth $90.5 million. About 77 percent of owners purportedly approved the sale at the lower purchase price in balloting that closed at the end of August.

However, opponents of the sale cried foul, and, according to the complaint, conducted an audit of the votes cast. They assert their audit indicates the purchase deal actually received only 72 percent of the vote.

Further, they alleged their information indicates the River City board worked with Marc Realty to hold the vote open, even though more than 90 percent of owners had voted, to allow the buyer to “bribe” as many as 35 owners with “additional consideration not set forth in the contract,” to change their votes from no to yes.

The complaint asserts this maneuver stands as a violation of the law, and should invalidate the vote, which they said “was the result of substantial misrepresentations .. to induce the owners to vote against their best interest.”

(click here to continue reading River City condo owners sue to block $90M sale to Marc Realty, say board conspired to ‘bribe’ holdouts, skew vote | Cook County Record.)

Wild. 

Unless this settles, I’d think this could drag out for years.

Written by Seth Anderson

October 4th, 2018 at 5:59 pm

Posted in Chicago-esque

Tagged with ,

I Mean It Sometimes – Explored on Flickr

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I Mean It Sometimes
I Mean It Sometimes

An iPhone snapshot that I mistakenly converted to DNG in Lightroom when importing, so I went ahead and processed it using the Photoshop workflow I usually use for photos taken with my Nikon – using the Photoshop Raw tools, DxO Software’s Color Efex 4, Alien Skin’s Exposure X3, and so on.

Turned out ok, though I’m not all that happy with the skies being as washed out as they are.

Flickr’s algorithm liked it apparently.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Written by Seth Anderson

August 31st, 2018 at 7:09 pm

Posted in Photography

Tagged with

Unspoken Tensions

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Unspoken Tensions
Unspoken Tensions

Taken on May 16th, 2018, processed in my digital darkroom July 27th, 2018.

I flipped the image 180º to accentuate the angle, make the photo more dramatic. I also like how the cloud wisps turned into what looks like melted steel in the sky. 

Double click the image to embiggen.

Written by Seth Anderson

July 29th, 2018 at 10:59 am

Posted in Photography

Tagged with ,

Chicago Avenue Bridge is For Sale

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Chicago Avenue Bridge For Sale
Chicago Avenue Bridge For Sale

The funny thing is that this isn’t a joke! 

Loop North News reports:

 According to a public notice on the city’s website, the Chicago Avenue Bridge over the north branch of the Chicago River is available to anyone who will remove it at their expense, maintain it, and assume all financial responsibility.

 Otherwise, the bridge is expected to be demolished so that a non-movable concrete and steel bridge can be built.

The city is asking interested parties to send a letter by July 13 detailing means of funding, how the bridge will be moved, how quickly it will be moved, and where it will be moved to.

The current bridge at Chicago Avenue, a pony truss bascule bridge, opened to traffic in 1912, replacing a swing bridge that had been there since 1849. It was one of the first of the Chicago River bridges to have an operator house made of concrete and not wood. According to a 1911 report by Chicago Department of Public Works, the city intended to eventually build a subway under Chicago Avenue, and so the Chicago Avenue Bridge was specially designed to accommodate future construction of a double subway tunnel.

Today, with its rusted surfaces, broken lights, and loose wire, the bridge has suffered from lack of regular maintenance, according to Ward Miller, executive director of Preservation Chicago.

 

 

(click here to continue reading City offers Chicago Avenue Bridge free to good home – Loop North News.)

A shame that something engineered so well it lasted over 100 years is going to be discarded because the City has other priorities. 

Oxidized Infrastructure
Oxidized Infrastructure

Chicago Avenue Bridge
Chicago Avenue Bridge

The Days Fell On Their Knees
The Days Fell On Their Knees

Easier To Think
Easier To Think

Carter H Harrison Mayor marker  Chicago Avenue Bridge
Carter H Harrison Mayor marker – Chicago Avenue Bridge (I think. Maybe Grand Ave?)

Written by Seth Anderson

June 19th, 2018 at 6:33 pm

Posted in Chicago-esque

Tagged with , ,

Former Little Village coal plant to be demolished, replaced with warehouses

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Gain the Whole World and Lose
Gain the Whole World and Lose

Ryan Ori of the Tribune reports:

The former coal-fired power plant in Little Village is set to be demolished and replaced with a 21st-century use: warehouses to speed orders for online customers in Chicago.

Northbrook-based Hilco Redevelopment Partners has bought the former Crawford Power Generating Station as part of a $100 million-plus project to demolish the facility and replace it with up to 1 million square feet of warehouses along Interstate 55, Pulaski Road and the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. No tenant has been signed.

The facility was one of the last two coal plants in operation in Chicago until 2012, when power company Midwest Generation closed the facility and its Fisk generating station in Pilsen. The Crawford plant opened in the 1920s.

Roberto Perez, president and managing director of Hilco Redevelopment Partners, said “70 acres in a perfect rectangle is almost impossible to find in downtown Chicago.”

Hilco is working on a community benefits agreement with 22nd Ward Ald. Ricardo Munoz on the Crawford redevelopment. “No. 1, I want to see it cleaned up properly, and No. 2, I want to see jobs go to local residents,” Munoz said. “It’s great that they’re going to repurpose the site, put it back on the tax rolls and bring jobs back to the site.”

Site cleanup and demolition is expected to take 14 to 24 months. Hilco will talk with prospective tenants during that time.

Hilco has been buying and redeveloping similar sites in other parts of the country, including Boston and Baltimore, as online retailers and other companies seek “last mile” distribution centers close to residential areas. The company signed leases with Amazon, FedEx Ground and Under Armour on a former Bethlehem Steel plant it is redeveloping into distribution space in Baltimore.

(click here to continue reading Former Little Village coal plant to be demolished, replaced with distribution center – Chicago Tribune.)

Good news, I guess, though I hope they use permeable pavement. Would have been nicer if that area had become a beautiful parkland instead of warehouses. But, still better than a heavy metal spewing power plant, especially if the site is cleaned thoroughly.

The Dark Doesn t Hide It
The Dark Doesn’t Hide It

West Wind Blowing Ill
West Wind Blowing Ill

Go Back To Where You Have Been Again
Go Back To Where You Have Been Again

West Wind Blowing Ill  Redux
West Wind Blowing Ill – Redux

Tales of the Towering Dead
Tales of the Towering Dead

Everything If You Want Things
Everything If You Want Things

Withered and Died
Withered and Died

Fisk Station
Fisk Station

Satanic Gift
Satanic Gift

Stack for Fisk Generating Station
Stack for Fisk Generating Station

Written by Seth Anderson

May 7th, 2018 at 8:21 am

Steve Dolinsky Is Hosting Tours of Chicago’s Best Pizza

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Culicchia  Co
Culicchia & Co, West Loop

Anthony Todd reports:

As with many great things, Pizza City USA Tours were born out of a combination of love and frustration. “I was super annoyed reading yet another listicle online of the 7 hottest pizza places in Chicago,” explained founder (and Chicago food superstar) Steve Dolinsky. “And I had been to one of them that week and thought, this makes no sense.” Dolinsky, who you probably know as ABC7’s Hungry Hound, was startled to find that no one had done a really-for-real deep dive into Chicago pizza. So, he started eating.

185 pizza places (and some acid reflux and a lot of yoga) later, Dolinsky is, likely, the most comprehensive expert on Chicago pizza in the world. “In January and February of 17, I started on this major quest, doing 3 a day,” Dolinsky remembered.  “People talk about ‘3-a-days’ as if it were a workout, but mine were pizza!” The result: a new book coming in September called Pizza City USA: 101 Reasons Chicago is America’s Greatest Pizza Town. If you can’t wait that long (and want to eat pizza yourself), Dolinsky has also started his own tour company.

Be warned, though: this might not be what you think of as “Chicago Pizza.”

“Chicago is really a city of thin crust,” insisted Dolinsky. “My analogy: deep dish is to Chicago what Times Square is to New York.  It’s a thing for tourists, locals could really care less.” Most of the pizzas he’s covering in the book and on the tours are from a variety of non-deep dish styles, including tavern-style, Detroit-style, Neapolitan and Roman. A tour will visit places with different styles; for example, one of his bus tours will visit Labriola on Michigan Avenue for deep dish, Pizzeria Bebu for an artisan pie, Pat’s for a tavern-style pizza and Dante’s for a New York-style slice.

(click here to continue reading Steve Dolinsky Is Hosting Tours of Chicago’s Best Pizza | Chicago magazine | Dining & Drinking May 2018.)

I love this Steve Dolinsky quote.

I’ll dial his sentiment back a bit, I’ve eaten good deep dish pizzas over my lifetime. That said, the best pizza I’ve had in Chicago is always thin crust.

YRMV.

Written by Seth Anderson

May 6th, 2018 at 8:06 pm

Posted in Chicago-esque,Food and Drink

Tagged with ,

Hearing Voices With No One Around was uploaded to Flickr

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Broken windows are metaphors, right?

Fulton Market somewhere…

embiggen by clicking
https://flic.kr/p/HEYHwN

I took Hearing Voices With No One Around on October 10, 2013 at 11:38AM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on April 04, 2018 at 02:01AM

Written by eggplant

April 4th, 2018 at 12:57 pm

Wouldn’t Give Me The Time Of Day was uploaded to Flickr

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Chicago

embiggen by clicking
https://flic.kr/p/24HQQgy

I took Wouldn’t Give Me The Time Of Day on October 13, 2013 at 09:46AM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on April 04, 2018 at 02:11AM

Written by eggplant

April 4th, 2018 at 10:57 am

Become Someone Better was uploaded to Flickr

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Storm grate, downtown Chicago somewhere

embiggen by clicking
https://flic.kr/p/HF1mim

I took Become Someone Better on October 19, 2013 at 08:46AM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on April 04, 2018 at 02:19AM

Written by eggplant

April 4th, 2018 at 2:25 am

Junk Scientists blames ACLU effect for spike in Chicago’s violence

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Police Line  Do Not Cross
Police Line – Do Not Cross

I’m with the ACLU on this:

A [questionable] new study blames Chicago’s sudden spike in gun violence in 2016 on the dramatic drop in street stops by Chicago police that year, but several crime experts quickly discounted its findings, particularly its conclusion that the Laquan McDonald scandal wasn’t a factor.

But the ACLU and several crime experts who reviewed the study at the Tribune’s request questioned its findings.

“They’re more or less suggesting that working in an unconstitutional police department is worth the trade-off,” said John Eterno, a criminal justice professor at Molloy College in Rockville Centre, N.Y., and a former captain with the City of New York Police Department. “If you’re going to be doing 40,000 stops a month … you have to have reasonable suspicion on every one of those 40,000 stops.”

Karen Sheley, an ACLU staff attorney who is overseeing the agreement with Chicago police, dismissed the study as “junk science.”

“This particular viewpoint is both insulting to officers who follow the law on a regular basis and ignores the harm, including the public safety, to the communities who are most impacted by police work,” she said.

The study’s authors are law professor Paul Cassell, a former federal judge appointed by President George W. Bush, and economics professor Richard Fowles, who specializes in statistical analysis. The two also published a study last year arguing that the longstanding Miranda warnings for suspects in custody — that they have the right to remain silent — have “handcuffed” police officers across the country.

The experts who reviewed the study questioned its main conclusion — the strong link between street stops and homicides. In 2017, by comparison, street stops increased only slightly, yet homicides fell by more than 100.

“I’m very concerned about what they see from that one year and suddenly they make all these claims, which is just so wrong,” said Eterno, the Molloy College professor. “You can’t really make claims about any type of trend or anything that’s going on based on the one-year change.”

Others pointed to New York, where homicides remained low even when the number of stop-and-frisks fell sharply.

(click here to continue reading Study blames ‘ACLU effect’ for spike in Chicago’s violence in 2016, but experts differ – Chicago Tribune.)

I don’t want to live in a police state where basic civil liberties have been suspended, and a militarized armed police has free reign to terrorize each and every citizen with the assumption that this and only this is the way to reduce violent crime. That is not America, that is a totalitarian hellscape.

How about we reduce the number of guns held by citizens instead? Well regulated militia and all that.

You know the NRA and its allies in the media and in Congress will be citing Cassell/Fowles this month until their neck veins are bulging.

Written by Seth Anderson

March 26th, 2018 at 8:04 am

Posted in crime

Tagged with , ,

Illinois Condo Law Update Might Be Un-Updated

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Little Boxes
Little Boxes

Lawmakers who wrote this bill must all live in houses and townhomes: not in condo buildings. Every building has some percentage of malcontents, and who wants to be deluged with complaints from those who never offer solutions, only problems? Especially in condominiums where the Board is an unpaid, volunteer position.

It’s the part about “telephone numbers and email addresses” that is causing a ruckus, and the ruckus has taken lawmakers by surprise.

Gene Fisher is the executive director of the Diversey Harbor Lakeview Association, a coalition of elected leaders from north lakefront condominium associations. Board members are concerned that publication of their personal contact information will exacerbate harassment from dissatisfied owners, he said.

“As one of our members put it, ‘Every building has some hostile occupants. What board member wants to get repetitive crank calls from owners who do nothing but complain, or have their email filled with crank messages?’” he said.

Such egregious behaviors could discourage qualified and responsible owners from serving on their association boards, he added.

“Many owners are very protective of their personal information,” said Derek Wilkinson, vice president at Associa Chicagoland, a management company. “They do not want every person in their association to have easy access to their personal contact information. There is no ability to opt out of this information sharing, so many owners and board members are feeling powerless.”

Some owners have said they will delete their email accounts, said Timothy Patricio, property manager at Park Tower Condominium Association in Chicago.

(click here to continue reading Amendment to Illinois condo law sparks outcry, leaves owners and board members ‘feeling powerless’ – Chicago Tribune.)

In Chicago at least, there has been serious talk of an ordinance that will supersede this law. Alderman Brendan Reilly of the 42nd Ward1 and his colleague Brian Hopkins of the 2nd Ward introduced Amendment of Municipal Code Section 13-72-080 concerning requirements for examination of condominium association records by unit owners (PDF)

Can t Get Out of Here
Can’t Get Out of Here

Howard Dakoff recently wrote:

 

On Jan. 17, 2018, Hopkins and Reilly did introduce a Chicago ordinance that would prohibit Chicago unit owners (other than board members) from obtaining a list of unit owners’ email addresses and phone numbers among other personal information. The ordinance goes even further and allows a condominium association to opt out of other mandated Section 19 disclosure requirements with a two-thirds vote of the unit owners.

 

The ordinance is in direct contradiction to the provisions of Section 19, and while the aldermen believe the city of Chicago possesses the authority to do so under a legal doctrine called “home rule” (where a municipality has the authority to adopt its own legislation that might even be contrary to other applicable statutes), the proposed ordinance is quite aggressive in its breadth. There is disagreement among attorneys as to whether the ordinance can outright nullify mandated provisions of Section 19.

 

If the ordinance is adopted, it is likely there will be litigation to follow for a judicial determination regarding whether the ordinance can accomplish its objectives.

 

 

(click here to continue reading Aldermen introduce ordinance to strike down controversial part of Illinois condo law – Chicago Tribune.)

I guess if I had to provide email/phone, I could use a Google Voice account, and create a “burner” email, but the process seems ridiculous. I hope either the Chicago ordinance is passed soon, or the IL legislature revises the underlying law. Or both could happen: Chicago passes the Reilly/Hopkins ordinance, and then eventually the entire state follows suit at some later time.

Footnotes:
  1. the best Ward!! []

Written by Seth Anderson

March 23rd, 2018 at 9:48 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

Footnotes:
  1. presumedly Lisson Gallery []

Written by Seth Anderson

March 12th, 2018 at 3:38 pm

Posted in Arts,Chicago-esque,politics

Tagged with ,

Fades To A Memory was uploaded to Flickr

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Chicago Sun-Times logo being removed, as seen from Kinzie St Bridge.

I debated whether to crop the upper right corner’s burst of sun, but decided to leave it in. Maybe I’ll crop it later…

embiggen by clicking
http://ift.tt/2gUDS9w

I took Fades To A Memory on October 20, 2017 at 04:43AM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on October 20, 2017 at 02:43PM

Written by eggplant

October 20th, 2017 at 1:56 pm

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