Posted inNews & Politics

Henry Crown Gallery

The skylit Henry Crown Gallery at the top of the great central stairs at the Art Institute of Chicago is an architectural mausoleum, filled with relics of buildings gone to early graves. Here is a broken column and a chunk of mosaic floor, fragments from Adler & Sullivan’s demolished Garrick Theatre, there the disembodied head […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Atwood Stairs at Field’s

With the announcement that Marshall Field’s is up for sale it looks like the Target Corporation’s decade-long program of tweaking and polishing the State Street flagship store has come to an end. Physically, the store looks great, and it’s ironic that the most recent project–and what is now probably the final one–revealed a treasure, unseen […]

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Precious Moments

This fall the entire first floor of the Merchandise Mart, previously home to GNC and Casual Corner, became LuxeHome, the World’s Largest Collection of Luxury Boutiques for Home Building and Renovation. Talk about a makeover–the Mart’s art deco corridors feel almost plain compared to the sleek, shiny kitchens that make up LuxeHome. They’re kitchens as […]

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Reader to Reader

Two women got on the elevator with me. First woman: What are you doing this weekend? Second woman: Well, it’s Sammy’s birthday, so we’re going to have a little party. I got him a birthday hat and a birthday bib. And I’ll make him a nice steak dinner. And I have to stop at the […]

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This Is Grand

I love the irony of the Oz-like voice on the Red Line intoning “This is Grand” right before you exit the train into one of the grungiest stops of the whole CTA. The place sucks. So as I walked down the stairs into the station Sunday night, it was strange to hear the melancholy strains […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Class Act

A ride on the 146 bus is usually quiet. The chirp of cell phones on the 136 can make you crazy, but the sound of the 146 is the rustle of tissue paper in expensive shopping bags. But the ride home after the recent Saturday-night Lyric Opera concert in the park proved that things can […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Reader to Reader

I was waiting to cross State Street at Washington when two expensively dressed women came out of Field’s. I caught only the end of the younger woman’s comment: “I don’t know, it just doesn’t seem right to have a woman on death row.” Her companion, a white-haired woman in her 60s, laid a gloved hand […]