I had family in town last week, and they were suitably blown away by Millennium Park, as all my visitors have been so far. Cost and time overruns aside, it’s clearly a masterpiece of urban design. New York is fixing to outdo us, however, with the new High Line park, a mile-and-a-half-long public space being built on an abandoned, elevated railroad bed that’s promising to be the hippest new park and perhaps even the best.
Coincidentally, Chicago has its own abandoned, elevated railroad bed, and our own nonprofit working on transforming it into the Bloomingdale Trail. Granted, we haven’t yet been treated to an ultrahip festival devoted to the cause (Daniel Johnston? Laurie Anderson?), but the High Line project got off the ground thanks to the efforts of a similar group called the Friends of the High Line, a process that took seven years from beginning to David Bowie-curated extravaganza.
Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail are three years into their project, and they’re hiring a part-time coordinator (don’t know if the position is filled, but even if so they have volunteer opportunities), and they’re cosponsoring an exhibit at Acme Art Works with the Chicago Architectural Club to show early proposals for the park.
The Reader wrote about the Bloomingdale Trail in 2004.