In the past week or so, I’ve taken Red Line from the recently CTA-renovated Grand station to the recently Apple-renovated North/Clybourn station. After the media attention lavished on the station and the store, I wasn’t expecting to be underwhelmed. Thanks to Lynn Becker, I know what was bothering me about it: they replaced the brick, the wood doors, and the window panes. It’s not just cleaner in the dirt-and-paint sense—it’s also less textured.

I’m not exactly complaining; it is cleaner, and it’s fine for the comparably limited investment that Apple made. But it’s also more boring. Or, in Becker’s words, “Californiaized.”

On the other hand, the considerably more complex and expensive Grand renovation is impressive. One thoughtful, clever little detail: the stairwells have little ramps on one side, marked with bicycle icons to note their intended use for pushing your bike up to street level.