Skip to content →

Chicago Blog Posts

Lake Shore Drive Rush Hour, February 2018

Lake Shore Drive. Nice road. Lousy location. Built and maintained to serve Chicago’s wealthy. 

Bust of Potter Palmer house in the Art Institute.

Lake Shore Drive. Nice road. Lousy location. Built and maintained to serve Chicago’s wealthy.  Lake Shore Drive from its earliest days provided entertainment, enjoyment and ease of travel for Chicago’s monied class. As an unpaved trail after the fire until 1882, LSD was a place to see and be seen for the well-heeled one-percenters. The path meandered along the lake providing beautiful views and access to beaches once unreachable by most people. Potter Palmer, enjoyed money, fame and influence. He squatted in the Potter Mansion in 1882. It was the largest and some say the most opulent residence at the time in Chicago. Old Potter needed a convenient way to get downtown. No brainer. He built the patch of LSD that runs from the Gold Coast to State Street.


He was a busy man and worked hard. Think Palmer House Hotel. He was one of the founders of Marshal-Field. He especially enjoyed art created in his likeness. Over the years the LSD has been widened and lengthened, initially to serve the well-to-do, but eventually benefitting tens of thousands of Chicagoans. The Illinois Department of Transportation estimates 150,000 vehicles use LSD on workdays. In terms of transportation of course LSD makes sense, but how about in terms of its location skirting the shoreline of Lake Michigan for 16 miles. Imagine the lake without LSD. There are some plans to improve Lake Shore Drive and access to the beaches by moving parts of the road. Ambitious. 

I need to point out that Potter Palmer was far from evil. The Palmer family was one of  Chicago’s greatest and visionary benefactors. 




Leave a Comment

Chicago’s “Loop” skyline above 520″

Chicago’s skyline in the loop is dominated by two buildings, Trump Tower and Willis Tower (formerly the Sear’s Tower). The design of the Sear’s Tower remains relevant, strong and continues to serve as a benchmark for highrise construction. Keeping all politics aside (please) will the Trump Tower remain relevant 35 years from now? Certainly, glass and steel is a common design in large American cities, but is Trump distinctive enough to pass the test of time or will it seem dated in a few decades. From my eyes, it’s a stunning beauty right now and helps anchor the Chicago skyline.

Leave a Comment

Willis Tower – the building formerly known and loved as the Sears Tower

Muscle and masculinity personified

The Sears Tower construction crews broke ground in 1970 and the building topped off in 1973 becoming the tallest building in the United States, a title that stood for about 25 years. The Venerable architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merril took on project led by architect Bruce Graham and architectural engineer, Fazlur Khan. Khan invented a construction technique utilizing construction tubes. The Sears Tower is actually nine buildings connected to the main tower by Khan’s tubes. Kahn’s engineering brilliance lives on. There is not a skyscraper in the world that doesn’t tip a hat to the engineer.

Sears was once the retail king/queen of the world – the Amazon of shopping in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. . As its business model faded so did its need for office space and the company eventually ended up leaving the legacy landmark. United Airlines is now the largest tenant. Trivia. There are 40,000 fire detectors in the building.

The Sears Tower has a little brother named “Big John” also known as the John Hancock Building. Same architect, same architectural engineer and agency. The Hancock topped off in 1969. Construction on the Sears started in 1970.

Chicago is rich in great architecture, but the Sears Tower and the John Hancock continue to serve as the most identifiable buildings in the city and perhaps the country. Here’s to courage, ingenuity and risk taking in world class Chicago architecture.

Leave a Comment

Happy Chinese New Year, the Year of the Dog

The Dog’s Personality: Loyal, Honest…

Dogs are loyal and honest, amiable and kind, cautious and prudent. Due to having a strong sense of loyalty and sincerity, Dogs will do everything for the person who they think is most important.

As Dogs are not good at communication, it is difficult for them to convey their thoughts to others. Therefore, Dogs tend to leave others with the impression that they have a stubborn personality.

Born with a good nature, Dogs do not tend to be criminals or seek dishonest gains. They just need a quiet life and a good family and, therefore, forget the ugliness and evil on Earth.

Dogs are always ready to help others and do not care about their own interests, but if they find themselves betrayed by cunning people they will feel shocked and hurt.

When thrown into doubt, Dogs think the world is evil and complicated. Then they criticize sharply when giving comments on something, and infer all things are according to their pessimistic point of view.

Good Health for Dogs

Overall, Dogs enjoy good health for they tend to be happy all the time. Dogs are active at sports so they are resilient to illnesses, such as colds, coughs, and fever.

In heavy work periods and frequent social activities, they should ensure they get plenty of rest in addition to taking proper exercise, which will benefit both their physical and mental health. Since Dogs are not keen about seeking money and power, they feel less stressed and tense at work and in their home life.

Best-Suited Careers for Dogs

Due to their loyal personality, Dogs tend to choose a career based on the principle of serving others. Dogs are seen as valuable employees as they put their heart and soul into their tasks.

They are easygoing and kind, and are always ready to alleviate the workload of others, which makes them very popular in their work circle.

Recommended careers for Dogs include a police officer, scientist, counselor, interior designer, professor, politician, priest, nurse, clerk, and judge.

Leave a Comment

Colgate Palmolive Building

Few skyscrapers in the United States better defined the optimism 
of the 1920s and the progressive character of architecture than the 
Palmolive Building. It marked a watershed for modern commercial 
architecture in Chicago: with its streamlined, monumental form, 
highlighted by dramatic setbacks, the Palmolive heralded a decidedly 
new form for the design of skyscrapers. 

The Palmolive gained even further attention in 1930 when a two- 
billion-candlepower light was erected atop the building as a navigational aid for airline pilots. Mounted on a 150-foot, steel-and-aluminum tower on the Palmolive roof, the revolving carbon-arc beacon was a luminous wonder as it swept across the night sky every 30 seconds. 

Vince Vaughn's former crib. 
The penthouse takes up the top three floors of the historic Art Deco building, a space that housed the headquarters of Hugh Hefner's Playboy Enterprises from the mid-'60s to the late '80s.
Leave a Comment

Dogs for the discerning

When the Four Seasons – a four star hotel – serves hot dogs, it’s time to take notice. The Chicago Eater produces a top-ten list every year and those dogs are over the top. However, I’m less interested in overpriced and over the top dogs. Instead, I like the dives all over the city that deliver dogs to the masses. Masses like me. The hot dog above is from my dog joint of choice. It’s right around the corner from where I work. Of course, there can be fine nuances, but my hot dog is fairly typical served with green relish, a flat slice of pickle, a slice of flavorful tomato, a couple of hot peppers and a dash of celery salt (no onions for this guy). For friends from out of town, there is a rule in Chicago, no ketchup on a hot dog, as in never. Some places won’t serve you if you ask for it. The Chicago Tribune does a pretty good job here explaining the ban on ketchup.

Leave a Comment

Holy Name Cathedral, Chicago

In the beginning Holy Name was not a cathedral church. The history of Holy Name Cathedral Parish is as much the story of Catholic immigrants and their new city, Chicago, as it is the story of bishops and seminaries. The Chicago Fire, the Chicago Subway, and most importantly, the dynamic changes within the city’s population and the Church itself, all left their mark on the Holy Name community. From the Holy Name Website

Leave a Comment