Monday, October 20, 2014

Gymboree Play & Music Center Closes at 600 W. Roosevelt

A reader writes:
I haven't seen this yet on Sloopin (sorry if I missed it completely), but I have been having a hard time getting in touch with Gymboree. Finally this weekend I tried to call the one in North & Clybourn and in Lincoln Park. Lincoln Park's Gymboree confirmed that the two Gymboree's (our Roosevelt location and the North & Clybourn location) have shut down. I'm sorry to hear it, although I admit, it was a little difficult sometimes to get to via public transportation!
Seems kinda strange, but it does seem like the retail on and around Roosevelt west of the river is changing.  It was a strange mix of mom and pop stores that seemed dated.  Now it seems like big box retailers are moving in quickly.

However, it seems like Gymboree would fit into this newer mix (granted we have no clue who the target market is for Gymboree).

Anyway, business counter is updated with this closing.

(Hat tip:  VH!)

Friday, October 17, 2014

18th Street Metra Stop Gets Some Much Needed Love

A reader writes:
The 18th Street Metra Stop is in rough shape. Old, weak wood and rusty nails. Well... Metra is sprucing it up! It should - the Electric Line and the 18th Street Stop gets a lot of use on game days. And more South Loop residents are catching on that it is a great way to zoom to work in Hyde Park or the Loop. 10 minutes to Millennium Station. Zone A rides are under $2.75, so comparable to CTA (which is $2.25). 
By the way... The morning trains North to the Loop from 18th are at 7:42am, 8:23am and 9:42am. Access the stop via the foot bridge off of Calumet Metra told me they'd add more Flag stops if Sloopers show demand is there and email them at 
Pictures attached (bird's eye view from the Tic Tac Toe towers): full platform on game day + empty while they replace boards - snapped this morning Oct 11. I also threw in a shot of the new bus drop off space the City added two weeks ago. It is accessible from the service drive, which hopefully means less party busses clogging Prairie District surface streets during Soldier Field events.

This seems like smart, collaborative transit and pedestrian planning. 
Kudos to the City, to Metra, and to Sloopers for teaming up! The South Loop just keeps getting better...
(Hat tip: SLV!)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

More Evidence that Aurelio's is Actually Coming to the Sloop

OK.  This might not surprise anyone, but a reader recently sent us this picture officially promoting that Aurelio's is opening at the southwest corner of Michigan and Roosevelt:

Last we heard they were shooting for an opening date of January 2015.  Hopefully that's still the case.

Since we're focused on the corner of Michigan and Roosevelt, it also looks like something with a bar buildout is also happening at the northwest corner in the Columbian building.  We officially saw it with our own eyes.  I SEEN IT!!!!  Again all signs point to the Burger Bar.

(Hat tip:  HS!)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Peregrine Falcon Having a Snack at 5 E. 14th Place

Could it be Sloopy?
You'd posted a shot I'd gotten of a peregrine from a distance a while ago (a year or two?); couldn't believe my luck with the picture I got today...from my couch...maybe 30 minutes after reading about the Chicago Peregrine Program in the Field Museum 'in the Field' member magazine. This is from the 5 E. 14th Place building. Feel free to use one if you'd like :)
So here is the post the reader was referencing from 2012.

Anyway it's probably not Sloopy the falcon unfortunately.

If you recall we've had various posts on the topic of Peregrine Falcons here at Sloopin.  Back in 2009, Field Museum employee Stephanie Ware asked our readers to help spot some mysterious Peregrine's that were flying around the neighborhood.

Then in 2010 some of the flacons came back and were nesting on the top of 1130 S. Michigan.  Later we found out that since we helped the Field Museum locate some of the falcons they actually named a baby SLOOPY!  Yes, a Peregrine Falcon named Sloopy!

Ironically, SLOOPY doesn't live in the Sloop.  She actually lives in Indiana now (from the Field Museum website):
“Sloopy” (b/r, 06/E) a female produced in 2009 at the Broadway site in Chicago, Illinois. Sloopy paired with an unbanded male at the Inland Steel lime plant (Mittal Steel, Indiana Harbor East) in East Chicago, Indiana. This was Sloopy’s second year at the site. Raul Dominguez checked the nest box on 3/26 and found a banded adult present in box but no eggs observed. There were four eggs on 4/20 and 4/26. The adult was still incubating on 5/2. Two chicks and one egg were reported on 5/6. At least three chicks (probably 4) were seen on 5/9. Four chicks (3f,1m) were banded on 5/22. They fledged by mid-June.
Since then we've had various other posts.  Here is one from 2011 looking west.  Most recently we received an amazing pic from a Related Real Estate agent of one of the falcons perched on a high-rise on Roosevelt Road with an amazing view in the background:

If this has wet your appetite for more info, here is a Peregrine Falcon facebook page as well as a website about the Field Museum's program.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

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1st Public Meeting Being Held Today to Discuss Transportation Ideas to Improve Museum Campus

DNAinfo has an article about the desire to create a new Museum Campus Transit Plan to improve access to/from many of the destinations:
The Chicago Park District and the Metropolitan Planning Council are seeking ideas from the public on how to "rebrand Museum Campus as its own destination" at a public meeting Tuesday, Grant Park Conservancy President Bob O'Neill said. 
The goal is to "to come up with a framework plan for the whole Museum Campus" that coincides with construction of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts and a Jeanne Gang-designed bridge connecting Northerly Island to the museum mainland, O'Neill said.  
Tuesday's meeting is the start of a six-month planning process featuring multiple calls for ideas from the public. The open house from 4-6 p.m. Tuesday at 140 S. Dearborn St., Suite 1400, will focus specifically on transportation ideas for Museum Campus's overhaul.

As you may recall back in August, Mayor Emanuel announced his desire to improve what he called a "bottleneck" to and from the Museum Campus.

The city has launched a website to seek out ideas (website here).  While many of the suggestions would be improvements, nothing seems like a game changer.  Obviously this is just the first step in the process, but we're hoping for some vast improvements.

Wasn't it Rahm Emanuel who said "don't waste a good crisis".  Not sure if we would classify this as a crisis, but it does appear that our mayor is using the Lucas Museum as a way to fix the Museum Campus access "crisis".

Monday, October 13, 2014

Old Post Office Project Will Not Be Delivered - Going Back to the Drawing Board

Image from Curbed Chicago
The old, massive post office redevelopment project has hit another major snag (via Tribune):
Bill Davies' plans for the old post office, the behemoth concrete building that straddles the Eisenhower Expressway, were once compared to believing in unicorns and fairy tales. 
True to expectations, this story will not have a happy ending. Not after Crain's reported Wednesday that a plan to redevelop the building in a joint venture between the fast-growing Chicago developer Sterling Bay and Davies had fallen apart, and that Sterling Bay had offered Davies nearly $150 million for it. 
That would be at least $125 million more than he paid for it in 2009.
Davies' London-based representative Richard Sykes told me Wednesday that "a new, grand plan for the whole site" is in the works. He describes it as a "much clearer idea" of what would be the "best possible scenario."  
When might the world see an outline of this wonder?  
"Three to four weeks," Sykes said.

Don't hold your breath.

This building and the grand plans for it remain elusive.  Earlier this year it was rumored that Walgreens Co. (based in Deerfield) was kicking the tires on the building to see if it could serve as their headquarters.

Beyond that it's been rumored to be a prime site for the similarly elusive Chicago casino.

Stay tuned, this story isn't getting resolved anytime soon.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Recently on the Sloopin Message Board...

It's been a grip since we've posted about our message board!

If you're not familiar, it's intended to be a resource for community topics and pretty much anything else you can think of.  Anyway, here are some of the most recent topics that have been posted and discussed:

Friday, October 10, 2014

More Chicago Marathon Shenanigans: #LastMileBeer

What we presume is a response to our "warning" post about the screaming and noise makers during the Chicago Marathon, a reader writes:
Oh we’ll be out there again this year.
#lastmilebeer #chicagomarathon

mile 25 of the #chicagomarathon giving away #beer

That guys expressions is priceless...

(Hat tip: CD!)

Details Emerge On Vision for Lucas' Narative Art Museum

New homepage for the
The Tribune has a detailed overview on the ambition of the museum:
Pledging to "challenge the way people think about museums," the coming Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will feature "popular art from illustration to comics, an insider’s perspective on the cinematic creative process, and the boundless potential of the digital medium."  
That's part of the most detailed vision yet offered publicly for the new museum backed by "Star Wars" creator George Lucas and slated for Chicago Park District land in parking lots south of Soldier Field.  
The museum quietly put up a new website this week ( that replaces a more basic site and lays out Lucas's vision in much more detail.

Seems interesting to us.  However, we're most interested to see the plan for the building and how it will fit into the Sloop and Museum Campus.  Designs are tentatively planned to be shared in late 2014.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

16th Street Train Tracks To Provide Express Route to McCormick Place from O'Hare?

Public transit is near and dear to our heart.  It's something that makes Chicago a world class city and differentiates our metropolis from some of those sprawling, newfangled "western" cities.  Anyway, upon reading the Tribune today, we see that some Alderman are pushing for a new study to improve access to and from O'Hare and the downtown core (among other things):
Five aldermen well-versed in Chicago's transportation issues on Wednesday called for yet another study to examine the feasibility and cost of launching high-quality airport express train service for O'Hare International Airport, Union Station and McCormick Place. 
The proposal for the speedy, upscale service to be operated by Metra or Amtrak — or possibly under a public-private partnership — follows yearslong studies by the CTA and the city's transportation and aviation departments, as well as a separate state analysis that called on the expertise of the University of Illinois.

This isn't a new concept, but what might be interesting to some of us Sloopsters is that there is focus on McCormick Place and potentially looking at the 16th street:
One of the benefits, the resolution said, would be direct South Side Metra service to O'Hare, using an elevated freight line along 16th Street from the lakefront to Halsted Street and connecting ramps.  
The Department of Aviation, meanwhile, should conduct a new round of solicitations requesting information from train operators around the world, as well as financiers, on the feasibility of establishing the express train service to McCormick Place, running along tracks owned by Metra and the Canadian National Railway, the resolution said.
That's an interesting thought.  While we've heard various articles talk about the tracks at 16th (aka St. Charles Airline) this is the first we've heard about it being discussed as a route to O'Hare.

While this probably isn't going anywhere fast (the trains on this track...cue sarcastic drum run), it's still something worth keeping our eye on.

Marathon Weekend is Here Which Means Street Closures and Ringing Noise Makers

Running a marathon is crazy and it's definitely a feat to complete.  The Sloop is ground zero for the agonizing pain that is associated with finishing a marathon.

As you may or may not know, South Michigan Ave and Roosevelt road are mile 25 and 26 of the end of the Chicago Marathon.  So while the conditioned competitive runners will have no issues (or visible signs of pain), if you wait long enough you will see what running that far means to your "average" runner.

Anyway, it's definitely an interesting event and for most of us, it's footsteps away from our front door.

With that also means some inconveniences.  For instance Michigan Ave between 35th and Roosevelt will be closed from 7am to 3pm.  Roosevelt road will also be closed from 6am to 4:30pm between Michigan and Columbus dr.  For the full list of street closures click here.

Also, if you're close to these streets chances are you will hear blaring music, screaming fans and the dreaded consistent ringing of noise makers:

Don't get me wrong, this isn't easy and these runners need all the encouragement we can muster, but if you're not expecting this on a Sunday morning you could be rudely greeted...early...just warning you.