Riding the L: Let’s call it the Construction Line

Right now, Chicago Green-Line commuters have the best seats in the house (it’s a BIG house, too) for watching our many construction projects. Within 2 stops on either side of The Loop, riders can get up close and personal with five major building sites, and one L-station rehab:

150 N. Riverside – South of the train on the west shore of the Chicago River

River Point – North of the train, on the west shore of the Chicago River

Wolf Point – north of the train as you cross the river

171 North Halsted – Just west of the river on looking south from the train

1001 South State Street – in the South Loop on the west side of the train

Soon, you’ll be able to see a small portion of the Chicago Riverwalk construction as well, once it crawls toward Lake Street.

Date with a Divvy – A Photo Gallery

If you follow my social media platforms, you know how much I love Divvy, Chicago’s bike-share program. Until this spring, I was a fan more for their own social presence than for their power to transport commuters throughout the city. Now, I’m a card-carrying (more like key-carrying, but that’s nit-picky) member. And I joined just in time.

Along with the 3000 blue bikes scattered throughout town, Divvy has a few special models they add to the fleet from time to time: #DivvyRed, #Holidivvy, and 5 #BlackhawksBikes. Note — The hashtags are important. Just after I got my member key, the 5 #BlackhawksBikes were released again out into the streets. So instead of simply taking pictures of these limited-edition bikes in racks, or with someone else riding them, I’m able to take them on excursions myself. If I can find them.

Ha! What am I saying? Of course I can find them; it’s what I do.

In The Year The Cubs Finally Seem Ready, Wrigley Field Is Not

My brief article on Wrigley construction, as it appears on The Chicago Architecture Blog, with a few extra photos:


In The Year The Cubs Finally Seem Ready, Wrigley Is Not When I wandered around Wrigley Field (1060 West Addison Street) last fall, just after our beloved bleachers were reduced to scrap, I marveled at the task at hand, impressed such destruction could be rebuilt in time for Opening Day 2015. Well, send me to Triple AAA and call me naïve. Because sure enough, as you no doubt are aware by now, nary a fan shall catch a home run ball within the Friendly Confines until at least May. In The Year The Cubs Finally Seem Ready, Wrigley Is Not

In mid-January, someone at Lovable Losers HQ (Hey, I’m a Cub fan, and therefore allowed to mock my own fandom. Use that term loosely though, and I will fight you) looked out the window and realized the work wasn’t going to be done in time. And even then, the Cubs’ revised projected completion schedule turned out to be too optimistic.

Once thought doable in its entirety by the end of May, only the left-field portion of the stands will be ready for butts in seats by then, with right field completion coming some time in June. Which means someone in accounting is fretting over lost beer sales for close to half the season.

Keep in mind, this isn’t about just the bleachers. The entire $375-million project will take roughly the next 4 years to complete. Is all this worth the effort? I suppose that’s up to each of us individually.

As a Cub fan, I love it. I’ve been to new ballparks in Milwaukee and Pittsburgh, and they’re glorious places to watch baseball. But I’ll always love Wrigley, too. And anything that improves its appearance and ambiance is fine by me. And, as Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts said himself, if you’re only going to fix up the old girl once every 100 years, you might as well take the time to do it right.

To get an idea of how much work remains, I took a recent stroll around the outfield perimeter. It may be, it could be, it is! loud, dusty, and very, very busy. No wonder the city struck out the Cubs’ request to labor 24/7. No neighborhood wants that going on at all hours.

Wait, this is a community meeting?

205 Hubbard

Proposed office and apartment buildings at Wells and Hubbard


Normally, I’d tell you the community meeting held by Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward) was unusual because it was held in the lounge area of a nightclub.

But what set Tuesday night’s meeting apart from the others I’ve attended was the complete absence of locals determined to scream their heads off until they were promised the proposed development would never be built.

He’s my story from Wednesday’s Chicago Architecture Blog:


Instagram Finally Addresses #Hashtag Abuse

Instagram cracks down on hashtag abuse

Instagram cracks down on hashtag abuse

Today, Instagram made a giant change in the way hashtagged photos are displayed, and in doing so took a huge bite out of users’ hashtag abuse. Previously, a user could (and many did) add hashtags to their photos hours, days, even months after a photo was originally posted. This allowed for an entire new round of “likes” from people searching a hashtag and clicking on the photos most recently tagged. Now, you can still add all the hashtags you want after posting your image, but your photos will no longer appear at the top of the search. That means adding 25 fresh hashtags, 3 weeks after you posted your photo, won’t show up unless the searcher is willing to scroll through 3 weeks’ worth of images bearing that particular hashtag.

I’ve talked about Instagram and hashtags before. Yes, hashtags have their place. But after seeing so many users game the system by continuously deleting, then adding, new rounds of hashtags, it’s nice to see Instagram taking steps toward rendering this tactic useless.

The Donald planning to add beacon to help illuminate Trump Sign

Trump Sign Beacon

Trump beacon at the very top of Trump Tower

Trump Sign Beacon

Trump beacon mid-height.

I took these photos from the L a few days ago, and had a brilliant idea: Why not take the beacon from atop the Palmolive Building and affix it to the top of Trump Tower? Palmolive has Vince Vaughn (for now) so they certainly don’t need to draw anymore attention. And since the Donald didn’t have the foresight to place his infamous Trump Sign higher in the Chicago Skyline, why not make sure everyone within a 25-mile radius knows exactly where to find it.

As you can see in the photos, there’s a decision to be made as the whether the beacon is most effective at the very top (I think this works best) or about two-thirds of the way up the building. The tippy-top option allows the furthest reach, and would be less likely to blind passing architecture tour boat captains on the Chicago River. But this isn’t a decision I’d be making; this is up to Mr. Trump and his minions.

And don’t bother taking credit for this idea; I’ve already printed a copy and mailed it to myself.