An Open House Chicago tour of Somerset Place

Posted in Photography with tags , , , on November 14, 2014 by danieldschell



I’ve walked past the corner of Uptown’s Sheridan Road and Argyle Street a zillion times. You tend to notice 29,000-square-foot empty buildings. But in 2013, work began to convert the former nursing home into a 160-unit apartment building.  And while work continues, some units have already been inhabited, and the public was invited to tour the site during Open House Chicago on October 18 & 19.

The Good:

1. The Lobby.

It’s marbly and bright and huge. The horseshoe-shaped mailboxes can make even junk mail fun. Several seating areas give residents ample space to entertain guests they’d prefer not to have up in their apartments. The glass-walled gym just off the lobby is nice, but you’ll be working out in a fishbowl if anyone in the lobby feels like watching.

2. Transportation

Two blocks from the Red Line Argyle stop, and two blocks from the end of the 147 CTA bus route that runs express down Lake Shore Drive to the Magnificent Mile.

3. The kitchens

Even I could enjoy cooking — for the first couple months, at least — in the spacious kitchens of the large one-bedroom units.

4. The New

As this is a gut-rehab, everything inside is new. And looks it. Even the laundry rooms sparkle.


The Bad:

1. The Views

You’re on Sheridan and Argyle. No lake views, no skyline. Just Sheridan and Argyle. I suggest lots of artwork for the walls, so you don’t feel the need to look out the windows.

2. Parking

There’s a parking lot next to the building with about 12 spaces. One has a Handicapped Parking sign. Virtually everyone in this building who needs to park a car will be parking off-site. Take it from someone who street-parks in Uptown: that won’t be fun. The building has arranged a limited number of spots in a remote lot, but I don’t know how close to the building that lot is.

 3. The Cost

We toured the small one-bedroom and the large one-bedroom. The larger had the wonderful kitchen. The price is $1800/month. $1800 to live in Uptown, with no view of Lake Michigan? That seems far too steep to me.




The night Len Kasper mentioned Jorge Soler, Anthony Rizzo, and me during the Cubs broadcast

Posted in Baseball, Chicago Cubs with tags , on September 27, 2014 by danieldschell

Cubs vs Brewers, 9/26/14 Miller Park Scoreboard


Moments after extolling the virtues of Milwaukee’s attendance, Len inexplicably asked JD if he knew how much Miller Parked weighed. Yes, Miller Park is a stadium, and Len asked how much it weighed.

I then sent an equally inane tweet to Len and JD, obviously stunning Len…

Click the link to see the video (Thank you, Elizabeth Nystedt!)  You will need to crank the volume.


The Tweet

An Orange Line excursion

Posted in Photography with tags , , , on September 26, 2014 by danieldschell

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a few other times: When you can, sit or stand at the very back of the CTA train. Look out the back window. Have your camera ready.

Regardless of where you stand on Trump Tower, it is impossible to miss when Wabash meets the Chicago River.

Wabash looking north

Once you’re south of The Loop, while staring at one of my personal favorites, the Roosevelt University building, know that someone might be staring at you, too. Namely, a bizarre, oversized moose. Blowing a bubble.

Looking back at RooU

Tracks cross as the architecture gets smaller.

Criss-crossing track

Now you look straight east as the train takes a westward tack.

Looking east

A left turn through Ping Tom Park, and the city swings back into view.

Just south of Chinatown

With the skyline fading in the background, industrial areas dominate the scenery.


The southeast side.

Freight trains and commuter trains jockey for position. Though not literally; that would be dangerous.

Freight tankers along side

Colorful freight engines become a welcome diversion. You’re almost to Midway.

The work horses

Sitting this one out. Again.

Posted in Random, Running with tags , , , , on September 7, 2014 by danieldschell
Skagit Flats Half Marathon race bib

Skagit Flats Half Marathon race bib

That’s the blandest race bib I’ve ever been assigned, but it looks much better against the background of a nice hotel comforter. Sadly, it won’t be pinned to running apparel today. For the second time in 2014, I’m missing out on a half marathon for which I’ve paid an entry fee.

Calf problems have been the culprit in both missed races; this most recent episode prompted me to see a doctor. An MRI revealed the underlying problem is in my achilles tendons. I’ve abused them to the brink of rupture, most likely from a combination of bad running form and an insufficient pre- and post-run stretching routine. Health insurance paid for the diagnosis; they will not, however, cover physical therapy/rehab. I’ve consequently been forced to choose rest as my only means of healing. I’ve taken 6 weeks off from running since the latest injury, but up until this morning, intended to give today’s race an honest effort. Maybe it was the pre-dawn alarm clock talking, but I awoke too apprehensive to run.

The prospect of jogging ( I hate jogging; I want to run) 6 and a half miles of an out-and-back course, only to sustain injury and have to walk back to the finish area; not getting injured, but taking more time to finish than I want to have to tell anyone about; the possibility of doing further — or severe — injury to an achilles; the next 3 days of walking injured while sightseeing in the Pacific Northwest; all make the quest for that shiny medal at the finish line seem less than worthwhile.

So I sit in the hotel room, having dropped Jennifer off at the start line for her full marathon (Jen wants to run a race in all 50 states. I seem to be striving toward missing one in all 50. I’ve achieved Indiana and now Washington), getting my money’s worth of free continental breakfast, waiting for football, and hammering out a blog post. I’m contemplating whether or not to take the entire winter off from running, hoping I’ll be healed and ready to start again come spring. I have little interest in being outside on the lakefront path during Chicago winters anyway. But this is probably the wrong day to make that decision.

At least I get to see Seattle for the first time.

P.S. I’m told it’s not “skag-it” or “skay-git.” It is pronounced “skaj-it”

Now you know that too.

Reasons I don’t follow you on social media

Posted in Random with tags on July 16, 2014 by danieldschell

Twitter logo courtesy of Twitter

1. You write posts about why you don’t follow people on social media.

Thanks for stopping by.

Does Chicago have an inferiority complex?

Posted in Random with tags on June 19, 2014 by danieldschell

Kershaw no-hitter celebration, courtesy CBS Sports

It is becoming a constant; something happens somewhere else in the world, and we immediately contrast it with a Chicago occurrence. I’ve written about it before, and I’m writing about it again. Because I find it tiresome.

John Stewart rails against Chicago-style pizza, and we lose our minds, as if he’s given the proclamation that all society must use “Willis Tower” exclusively when describing that really tall building that no longer has a Sears Tower sign on it.

LeBron James can’t tie his shoes without a Bulls fan letting him know Michael Jordan tied his faster, tighter, and in a prettier knot.

Last night, Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers threw a no-hitter,  and I see Chicagoans compare it to Kerry Wood’s 20-strikeout game. Why? Can’t we let a great performance be a great performance without trying to prove one of our own may have done it better? Next thing you know, every time someone puts a sign on a building, we’ll be bragging about how Trump International Chicago did it better.

Okay, that’s a bit of a stretch… But you get the point.


The real reason you hate the TRUMP sign: Part 3

Posted in Random with tags , , , , , on June 13, 2014 by danieldschell
Hotel signage along the sacred Magnificent Mile

Hotel signage along the sacred Magnificent Mile

These posts have jumped the shark.

By now, you’re as tired of hearing about the Chicago Trump Sign Crisis as I am of writing about it. I was gonna make this third (and final) post all about the current signage along the Magnificent Mile. I was gonna show photos of the huge Drake Hotel sign that screams at you as you head south on Lake Shore Drive. But of course, as all Seinfeld fans know, everyone loves the Drake, so there was no point in drumming up rage for that. But I also had photos ready of the Allerton, the Marriott, and Hilton Hotels that hover over Chicago’s sacred shopping area. And can you walk north on Michigan Avenue from the river without noticing the large Chicago Tribune lettering on their building at 435? But what’s the point. It’s all been done. And re-done. And overdone.

** Ok, I changed my mind. Here’s a picture of hotel signage. Too high to be noticed when you’re focused on shopping, but certainly a part of the skyline. **

Look, I preferred the building before the lettering was added too. But stop with the hyperbole. It isn’t in “very poor taste” like our Mayor said. (That doesn’t even make sense, Rahm.) It’s not “ghastly” like our film critic said. I certainly don’t see how anyone could find if “offensive” like a newspaper reader said. It’s lettering on a building that spells out a Brand name. When Mr. Trump tries to add DONALD in front of the TRUMP sign, I’ll be out there protesting with every ounce of energy I have left. Because that won’t be overreacting. But this, what we’re doing now? This is overreacting.

This entire exercise has been my attempt to point out that you hate the TRUMP sign because you hate Donald Trump. NOT because his sign ruins the skyline. Not because we “don’t have signs like that in the Midwest.” Because you hate that man. And that’s understandable. He’s arrogant. An egomaniac who seems light years removed from the common man. So just say that’s the reason.

And it’s getting no easier to be unbiased about this mess. Tweets from The Donald’s Twitter account (I, for one, am not convinced that’s actually him) continue to brag about how much everyone loves the new sign, while retweeting folks who I personally wouldn’t want to acknowledge were on my side in any situation. In a post yesterday, I pointed out how a Trump rep called a Chicago tour company to complain about a comment made from a passing boat. I have no explanation for why anyone at Trump would expect us all to love what is an obvious attention-grab on their part. Not to mention why they feel they have a right to silence public discussion of it.

Yeah, I dislike that organization more with each passing day. But I don’t mind the sign so much. Of course, I also think Chicagoans should be allowed to ask for ketchup, and say “Willis Tower.” So what do I know.


Aqua, don't ever change.

Aqua, don’t ever change.


Let’s rally around this beauty, Chicago. She remains the most wonderful building in the world.


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