Saturday, February 27, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

3 Days Left to Vote for the Sloopin T-Shirt Contest

As a reminder we will be wrapping up the voting process for the Sloopin T-Shirt contest.

Thanks to everyone who has voted and if you haven't yet, please do before Midnight on Sunday (2/28). For the shirts, see this link or scroll down.

Right now we have a barn burner between:
#2 - Sloopster
#3 - Sloopin
#4 - I've been Sloopin Around

However, it's still a pretty close race across the board!

Bacon Popcorn...Yum?

We've heard a lot about the bacon popcorn at the new Roosevelt Collection movie theater, but have not had a chance to try it out (however we had a similar concoction at Revolution Brewery a couple of weekends ago). Here is a review of the unusual popcorn at the theater's 2nd floor lounge:
The first few bites were great — the bacon cubes melted on my tongue, the popcorn complemented with crunch. But soon the bacon cooled, some kernels were stale, and there was an odd brown powder clinging to others.

Halfway through my small bowl I stopped eating the upscale popcorn, envious of the tub of regular stuff the guy at the end of the bar was stuffing into his face. It felt a little like walking out of a theater midway through a blockbuster that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to produce.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A South Loop Blog for Local Restaurants

We're always scouring the interwebs for great stories and discussions about the South Loop, so we were glad that an avid Sloopin reader sent us this email:
Hey Sloopin Peeps,

Thanks for all the hard work you do! I love what I read from you all. I wanted to send you a quick note to tell you that I've started writing for Roosevelt's school paper and have started a blog about area restaurants there. Pass it along to the Sloopin readers if you like (if not, I won't take offense!)

Hope you all are having a great day!
Yvonne

http://www.roosevelttorch.com/sections/staff-blog-strumecki

For more information about the blog check out this link and for her first review check out this one on Epic Burger. Best of luck on the blog...we will be following it!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Two Important Planning Meetings for the Sloop. One Tonight; One on Tues Mar 2nd

Micah Maidenberg of the Chicago Journal had a post notifying readers of two interesting and important meetings coming up relevant to the South Loop. First, a discussion about student housing plans:
South Loop Neighbors is hosting a discussion Wednesday, Feb. 24 about new student residences in the neighborhood. Invited guests include Lesley Slavitt, vice president of governmental relations and outreach at Roosevelt University, and Keith Giles, a principal at Kargil Development.

Roosevelt is building a 32-story "vertical campus" that will replace the Herman Crown Center at 421-425 S. Wabash. The structure will host seven floors of classrooms, six floors of student services and 615 beds for the school's freshmen and sophomores, as well as space for student organizations and activities and street-level retail.

Kargil Development, which has built and rehabbed number of residential structures in the South Loop, wants to build a $100 million, 21-story tower with 420 two-bedroom suites and 20 single rooms for dorm resident assistants at 1136-1140 S. Wabash, land currently owned by the city.

Also Ald. Fioretti is hosting an event on upcoming construction projects around the Sloop:
Fioretti will be hosting a meeting March 2, meanwhile, about three major infrastructure projects slated to start this April: the Congress Parkway remake; reconstruction of Wacker Drive; and repaving the Eisenhower Expressway. Representatives from the city and state departments of transportation will be on hand to discuss the projects.
The road construction meeting starts at 6 p.m. March 2 at Robert Morris University, 401 S. State, in Room 803.

If you click on the Congress Parkway remake link above you will find an interesting PowerPoint talking about that project. It looks like the idea of this is to make the street more pedestrian friendly (which we love). The duration of the project is scheduled for two years (to start during Spring of 2010 and wrap up in Spring of 2012). Here are some renderings from the PowerPoint:

Census Employment Testing at Old St. Mary's Church

Census Announcement for those interested in helping and getting paid:
The South Loop has changed dramatically over the past ten years. It is important that we do everything that we can to ensure a proper count. Accurate data reflecting changes in our community are crucial in apportioning seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and deciding how more than $400 billion per year is allocated. The private sector also uses this data in determining were to establish new businesses.

The Young Adult Group of Old St. Mary’s will be hosting the US Census Bureau this Sunday. The Census Bureau will be taking applications and administering employment testing in the Social Hall at 1:00PM. Old St. Mary's Church is located at 1500 S. Michigan. No appointment is necessary. Pay rates for field positions begin at $18.25 an hour.

For more information on the application process please go to: www.2010censusjobs.gov

For a list of the approved forms of identification to bring to the test and a copy of a sample test, please go to the following links.

Approved forms of Identification
Sample Test

For any questions please call: 1-866-861-2010

Best Regards,
Luis Gonzalez
Old St. Mary’s Parish Council Member

South Loop Dog Park Cooperative: Striving for a dog friendly community in Chicago's South Loop

We know the South Loop has a ton of dogs in the neighborhood and occasionally they cause quite a stir on Sloopin. With that said, we were recently contacted by the South Loop Dog Park Cooperative about raising awareness about their organization and their projects. Their vision and mission is:
Vision: The South Loop Dog PAC envisions a clean, safe, and healthy neighborhood for all dogs and humans who live and play in the South Loop.

Mission:
The South Loop Dog PAC advocates for and supports responsible dog-ownership in Chicago’s South Loop. We provide and maintain safe off-leash areas for dogs and humans to socialize in area parks, and we work to encourage healthy and mutually beneficial dog-human relationships in the community.

It's not a small undertaking and members are necessary to live up to these goals. With that said, they have a membership drive that currently is going on (they're trying to get 210 new members in 2010):
The SLDogPAC has started a membership drive this year, with the goal of increasing the membership support sufficiently to sustain operations in the future (operations: replace the pea gravel in the parks, clean up the parks, supply dog waste bags at the new dispensers we've installed, as well as trying to implement improvements to the two off-leash areas). Without community support (membership, donations) it's going to be hard to get anything done (see membership benefits here). So, we need community awareness of the SLDogPAC, and we need people who are willing to become members.

They're also interested in our thoughts about their organization:
It would be interesting to get a sense of the community's feelings about the SLDogPAC - often when I've been to either of the DFAs with my dogs there have been far more people and dogs using the park than are members in the SLDogPAC, and when asked, people have indicated that they were unaware of the existence of the SLDogPAC. But I wonder if that's true (there are signs up everywhere, now). Naively (again, I've only been on the board since last March) one would think that the dog community would want to support the group that's trying to maintain a facility they use regularly (membership is only $30/year!), but I wonder if there's some other resistance to the SLDogPAC's mission. And if there is, we need to hear about it!
So what are your thoughts? Inquiring minds want to know...

Finally, this is a post about dogs after all so we feel obligated to show a YouTube video of a cute puppy:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It's Getting Hot in Here! Or will be soon at 1925 S. Michigan

What is Bikram Yoga? From the sounds of it think: Nelly's popular 2002 single "Hot in Here" + Yoga. That's what Bikram Yoga sounds like to us.

For a better definition:
Lose the heavy clothing, grab your yoga mat, and turn up the heat.

Actually, keep turning up the heat until you get to 105 degrees (the idea temperature for Bikram yoga). Oh - and there's humidity too, typically 40% humidity - are you hot enough yet?

Welcome to Bikram yoga. Also known as "Hot yoga", Bikram was started in Los Angeles in the 1970s by Bikram Choudhury. Today it's one of the most popular types of yoga and is often thought of as the best practices for beginners as there are only 26 Bikram poses, many of which are focused on proper alignment.
If this intrigues you, get excited because it sounds like Bikram Yoga of Chicago will be opening up a studio at 1925 S. Michigan avenue. From the looks of it this will be their third studio in the area (Lincoln and Wicker park already have one). We will have to keep an eye open to see when this actually opens. For more info here is their website (www.105F.com).

Assuming this is true, it will be another retail tenant moving onto the 1900 block of South Michigan. A couple of weeks ago we posted that KoreExtreme would be moving into the 1921 S. Michigan retail space. Good to see some new places moving into this stretch.

Oh and for the people who didn't get the Nelly reference, here is the song we're talking about:

(Hat Tip: Solo MotorRow)

Avatar Gets the Nod


Based on our informal poll it looks like Avatar is going to win the the best picture on Sunday, March 7th at the Oscars. Although the story is a little cheesy in our opinion, it's still entertaining. and visually was really amazing (and we're 3d skeptics).

Of more interest to us Sloopers, we went to the Roosevelt Collection movie theater recently to check out Avatar and the place was buzzing. Although our movie wasn't sold out, it was probably 75% full and the VIP section was packed (it was a Saturday night after all). We also tried to get some food at the second floor lounge prior to the movie, but there was a wait. Although we didn't get food, it was encouraging that the place/concept seems to be doing well.

As we have repetitively said, the Roosevelt Collection is a good addition to the neighborhood and will continue to be especially once the retail opens. If you don't believe us check out this post on the Chicago Journal by Bonnie McGrath about the movie theater.

Based on our poll (and judging by what we've read), the best picture looks to be a race between Avatar and Hurt Locker. We recently rented Hurt Locker from the red box at Jewel and enjoyed the movie. It was done very well and gave a good depiction of what war in Iraq looks like. At the end of the day we anticipate Avatar winning, but wouldn't be surprised to see Hurt Locker win. It seems like it's more of an 'Oscar' type of movie then Avatar.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The 2010 Sloopin T-Shirt Designs Submissions

First off thanks for everyone who contributed ideas and designs for our first annual Sloopin T-shirt contest. We've done some research and anticipate that the shirt will cost $15-20. But before we get final costs we need to determine which entry will win. With that said, we have six entries (see below).

How to Vote
To vote please send an email to sloopin@gmail.com and let us know which number you like. We will only accept one vote per email and all votes need to be submitted by midnight Sunday, February 28th. Happy voting!

Entry #1: Map


Entry #2: Sloopster


Entry #3: Sloopin Ain't Easy


Entry#4: I've been Sloopin Around


Entry #5: I heart Sloopin




Entry #6: Everybody Sloops

Grant Park Music Festival Announces 2010 Lineup

Free music is fun! Although this is just outside of the Sloop it's still close enough to enjoy, here is the write-up courtesy of the Chicagoist:
We're feeling chipper this morning. Maybe it's the way the sun now stays up until almost 5:30 p.m., or maybe we've just started hallucinating to subconsciously cope with seasonal affective disorder, but gosh darn it if it doesn't feel like spring's right around the corner!

And you know what the short, barely-existing Chicago spring means: Summer!

And, to us, nothing means Chicago in the summertime like the Grant Park Music Festival, which has released its 2010 schedule. So thank you, GPMF, for reminding us that warm evenings spent sitting in the Millennium Park grass watching the sun descend over the city while sipping wine and listening to free performances by the Grant Park Orchestra are NOT figments of our imaginations. We just have to make it four more months.

We're particularly looking forward to July 4th when you can check out Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Blackstone Hotel Gets Tagged...Sort of

When you hear that a fancy hotel gets tagged with graffiti you usually would assume it's unwelcomed. However, in this instance it's actually applauded. The recently renovated Blackstone Hotel (636 S. Michigan Ave) is opening up a new art exhibit by renowned graffiti artist Kaves:
Every big city needs a rebel address, and so The Renaissance Blackstone is stepping up against convention. The Beaux-Arts landmark in Chicago's South Loop is decking its Art Hall with Outlaw, a new exhibition of works by renowned graffiti artist Michael McLeer, also known as Kaves. The Blackstone, which is celebrating its 100th birthday this year, has its own outlaw past counting clientele such as gangsters Al Capone and Charles "Lucky" Luciano. The property will celebrate Kaves' spray paint skills with an exhibit on February 18 and available for public viewing through September 25.
Kaves grew up in Brooklyn and here is a link to his website and here is some of his work we found online:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

City Embraces Capone

This past weekend we posted about Colosimo's restaurant which was a notorious mobster haunt in the South Loop back in the day. Today we read an article about the city officially embracing Al Capone.

I talks about the Lexington Hotel which was at the corner of 22nd and Michigan. Does anyone know if this is still around? I'm pretty sure it's not, but couldn't find any clear answers online.

UPDATE: Some great videos (thanks to the people who provide links!) about the hotel. How about the infamous Geraldo Rivera special:













(Image from prairieghost.com)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Goodyear off to a Good Start in the Sloop

We've had a couple of people send us emails and write comments on Sloopin about the new Goodyear Tires establishment at 2017 S. Wabash.  Here is what one person tells us:
Came to the new Goodyear on Wabash for an oil change and tire rotation. Prices are reasonable and staff are really friendly. Great addition to the sloop. I'll yelp it up.
(Hat Tip PF!)

Going GaGa for Lolla

It's rumor season for Lollapalooza and it sounds like Lady GaGa, Soundgarden, Arcade Fire, Green Day and the Strokes might be headlining the annual festival that invades our backyard every summer (August 6-8 this year).  To be honest we're not huge fans of any of these groups, but that won't stop us from attending.  In our past experiences, when you don't know or like somebody you usually are pleasantly surprised.  For more background here is another link to the site that reported the rumors (and some interesting tidbits and pictures from Lady GaGa's set at Lolla in 2007 when she wasn't as popular or crazy).

If these rumors prove to be true, there will be one headlining slot left open.  Should be interesting to see who that might be.  Regardless enjoy some Arcade Fire:

Flo & Santos: More Pub then Restaurant?

We celebrated Valentine's Day at Zapatista and had a nice time. Nothing out of the ordinary, just solid Mexican food, good drinks and a lively atmosphere. We like the place and it seems others do too.

However, of more interesting news, we obviously had to ask our waiter about the their sister establishment, Flo & Santos, opening up across the street. Although he didn't know a ton about the new joint, he used the Wabash Tap as a comparison to Flo & Santos. From the sounds of it, the place will be more of a bar/pub then a full on restaurant. They will most likely have food, but from the sounds of it, it will be less expensive.

Obviously this isn't an official statement from the management, but still interesting in our eyes. We're looking forward to seeing this one open.

We thought the Wabash Tap was a good analogy. For people who don't know Mainstay Hospitality, they run three establishments within the South Loop (that we know of). The Chicago Firehouse is a full-on expensive steak house catering to upscale clientele. Grace O'Malley's is a middle of the road Irish bar with a dining area and bar. O'Malley's has a beautiful bar and is very nice compared to most Irish pubs we've seen in Chicago. Their third establishment is Wabash Tap, which is a bear bones sports bar with many TVs, bar games and a younger crowd typically.

Maybe the people behind Zapatista are trying to branch out and copy this model? Best of luck to them.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Shooting Close to Home...but not in the Sloop

When we were browsing for South Loop stories we were surprised to see "Suspect sought in shooting outside South Loop bar" title to a story in the Chicago Tribune. Our Internet was slow, so it was taking awhile to load and we were left to guess which bar it could be. We regretfully guessed could it be South Loop Club? Reggie's? Wabash Tap? When the page finally loaded we were surprised to see Cactus (404 S Wells) as the bar listed in the South Loop.

Although this is very close to the South Loop, by most peoples neighborhood boundaries this would be in the loop (since it's north of Congress). Regardless, it's very close to our hood so that's unnerving, but technically speaking it's not in the South Loop. By our standards this was a undeserved black-eye for the neighborhood by the Tribune and Sun-Times.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Little Mobster History for Valentine's Day

A reader writes:
Watched a history channel show on the valentines day massacre tonight. They mentioned a place called Colosimos which was owned by a guy that Capone worked for at one time. This restaurant was an old haunt of Capones and is at 21st and Wabash which is now an empty lot. Past and current pictures on the website below. I find that era of Chicagos history very interesting and I think the sloop was a huge part of the south side gang. Take a look if you're bored.

http://www.myalcaponemuseum.com/id50.htm
(Hat Tip PF!)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine's Day Weekend is Upon Us!


Regardless of whether or not you think Valentine's Day is a time to spend QT with that special someone or simply a regular day similar to the other 355, there is something for you to do this weekend. By the way, Valentine's Day is on Sunday the 14th for the men who might have forgot.

First off, there are numerous restaurants and bars around the Sloop that have specials associated with Valentine's Day. We will be heading off to Zapatista to celebrate love day which sounds like a good idea to us (Tequila + Mexican Food = Love). If you're down to go somewhere else, check out our review of last years Valentine's day at Cafe Bionda.

If you're looking to do something a little different, a little more low key and probably pretty entertaining, then head on over to Wabash Tap on Saturday at 8pm to play the popular 60's game show, The Dating Game. Hilarity will probably ensue and prizes will be given out.

If hearts and pink and chocolate and roses aren't your thing the auto show will be going on (see post below). We would also encourage people to go to Chinatown on Sunday (2/14) for the 2010 Lunar Parade:
The Chinatown New Year Parade celebrating the Lunar New Year, “Year of the TIGER 4708” will include marching bands, floats, lion teams, a100’ Mystical Dragon, and Miss Friendship Ambassador. Please join us to welcome the New Year as we convey “Gung Hay Fat Choi” to all in attendance.

Parade step-off time is 1:00PM though there are other activities starting as early as 11:30AM.

Enjoy the weekend!

Chicago Auto Show Opens Today at McCormick Place

For the car enthusiasts you probably already know this, but the 2010 Auto Show at McCormick Place opens today and runs through Sunday February 21st. Tickets are $11. If you've never been it's a fun place to wander around. Our favorite part of the show...the concept cars:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sloopin's No-Brainer of the Day: Today's Groupon at Panozzo's

For us, today's Groupon at Panozzo's is a no-brainer for anyone living in the Sloop. Essentially it's $20 of food for $10. This can't be used on groceries, but that shouldn't deter you from getting this Groupon. Believe us, it's easy to find $20 worth of scrumptious Italian food from the deli.


(Hat Tip: Colie!)

Physicians Immediate Care to Open at 811 S. State

It looks like another business is moving into the retail portion of the building that already houses XSport and Lou Malnati's. Physicians Immediate Care, a facility that specializes in immediate non-urgent care and occupational medicine needs, is slated to open in March at 811 S. State. The group already has 13 clinics open throughout the Chicagoland area and the South Loop looks to be the next branch to open.

Besides XSport, Malnati's and the new Physicians Immediate Care, Jimmy Green's Tavern (which we posted about a couple of weeks ago) will also be opening up shop soon at 825 S. State. Although we don't know a ton about the Tavern or when it will be opening, if you're interested there is a little peaking hole in the front window that allows you to see the progress of the place. The skeleton of the bar is up, so it should be fun to see how it progresses.

However, not all is golden in this retail development. Directly south of XSport was a restaurant that catered to people interested in healthy, quality food called UFood (at 823 S. State). For some reason that concept didn't work (rumor had it the owner had issues with the franchise). After that a similar looking restaurant generically called The Grill opened up with a similar look, but a new sign and a less healthy menu. That didn't last very long. The space is empty and lease signs are in the window.

Better luck to the other new businesses coming to South State street.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Loan Issues for the Developer at the Columbian

Looks like there is some loan issues at the Columbian (corner of Roosevelt and Michigan - 1160 S. Michigan). Crain's reports that:
Chicago developer Allison Davis has lost control of a slow-selling $117-million condominium tower overlooking Grant Park, rankling an investor in the project who has sued the lender that took it over.

A unit of Boston-based Fidelity Investments reneged on a deal to modify an $18.5-million mezzanine loan to the Columbian, a 46-story building at 1160 S. Michigan Ave., according to the lawsuit, filed last week in Cook County Circuit Court.

Thanks to YoChicago for leading us to this story.

(Image from cribchatter.com)


Response from Alderman's Office about Pigeon Problem

Last Wednesday, we posted a gripe about the Pigeon's that roost and crap all over the place at one of the exits at the Orange/Green line Roosevelt stop. First off, thanks for all the comments and thanks to those of you who even sent an email to the CTA and Alderman Fioretti's office in regard to the subject.

Second, here is the email we (and others) received from the Alderman's office (slightly paraphrased):
Thank you for reporting this condition to us.

The CTA tells us that this station, like all others, is cleaned every seven to ten days. While the CTA can not afford to install preventative measures to keep the pigeons from roosting there (due to service cuts and other budget woes), we have asked for a quote to see if it can be paid for some other way.

If you have additional questions or concerns, you may reach out to our office or to the CTA.

So not exactly the resolution we were hoping for from the CTA, but it sounds like the Alderman's office is still open to potentially paying for this some other way (obviously depending on how much the quote is).

With that said, we had one reader offer to chip in $20 to help the situation. Just out of curiosity anyone else up for throwing in some money if needed?

(Hat Tip PMF!)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Peculiar (but not surprising) Snowplow Path on Prairie

A reader vents:
I live at 16th and Prairie, and I see the snow trucks clearing the block surrounding big boss Daley's house a COUPLE times an hour as soon as the slightest bit of snow hits the ground. This morning, I was walking my dog, and the plow went north on Prairie from 15th to 14th, then CAME BACK south down Prairie (with the plow down going both ways, and yes, same guy). Meanwhile, 16th (b/w Indiana and Prairie), Prairie (b/w 16th and 18th), and 18th (between Calumet and Indiana) are left to accumulate mountains of snow before a plow will even consider going around this block even once.

Come by sometime today, and you will see the clear streets around Daley's place, and a unplowed 2 block radius just south of that. I guarantee it. During the last big snow storm a few weeks ago, a plow came east on 16th....and TURNED around at Indiana... I couldn't believe it.

I just don't get it. There are three high rise buildings, and a bunch of townhouses in this 2 block radius. I imagine the people that live in these buildings and townhouses contribute a significant amount of taxes to the coffers.

And on the issue of taxes, what exactly is the policy pertaining to developers living in a building's unsold units 3 years after the building is complete. Are they entitled to some sort of huge tax breaks?? Somehow, the developer in my building is able to pay only 1/3 of the taxes in 2009 that I paid, for a unit directly above mine (i can touch their balcony) that he resides in. Meanwhile, his son is collecting unemployment after being "unemployed from daddy's development company", while still trying to peddle over-priced condos on the weekends--until now, because now they have decided to auction off the rest--pretty much all of the ones that have been sitting unsold for 3 years. I'm sick of these people playing the system at honest tax payers' expense!

Can we get a plow please? And some integrity in this system??

(Hat Tip: H!)

Construction Update for Community Center at Indiana & 18th

From PDNA (prairie district neighborhood alliance) February Newsletter:
Park 550 - Park District Community Center and Women's Park

Construction is nearly complete of phase one of the Community Center with plans to open early spring. The Park District is working on final staffing plans.

Watch for news coming soon on the grand opening celebration.

The Advisory Council is collectively working on the vision for phase 2 and phase 3 for the facility. We will be seeking community input with this important development process.

CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS
The Park 550 Advisory Council Board of Directors is seeking community stake holders to serve on a variety of task forces and committees. If you wold like to get involved, please email park550advisorycouncil@gmail.com

Advisory Council Website: park550advisorycouncil.com
Advisory Council Email: park550advisorycouncil@gmail.com

Monday, February 8, 2010

Flo & Santos to Open in the Spring

First off, we saw an ad for "Flo and Santos" in our monthly coupon book we get in the mail and it sounds like they're planning on opening up in the spring. For those of you who don't remember here is a link to an old post.

However to sum up, this is a new restaurant that is going in next to Gioco at the old Howie's spot (1310 S. Wabash). Although their website is live, there is only a logo. We're not 100% sure, but we've heard and suspect that this spot has some relationship with Zapatista across the street (ie the owner of Zapatista is partially behind this new restaurant).

Regardless, should be a good addition to the hood!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Clarke's Diner Coming to the Sloop?

So don't get your hopes up yet, but the popular near north (aka Lincoln Park and Lakeview) diner "Clarke's" was mentioned within an article on chicagobusiness.com saying they are looking at options to expand and the South Loop is a neighorhood they're considering. The main focus of the article was about the diner leasing space in River North. However:
Mr. Moon (who is helping with the leasing) says he is actively looking for additional spots for Clarke’s in the Loop, South Loop and western suburbs.
Although it's not a definite, it would be nice to have another diner option in the Sloop. We would love to see them within the old Sam's store at the Northeast corner of Wabash and Roosevelt.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the restaurant their website is unfortunately under construction (link here), but here is a menupages write-up on the restaurant on Belmont.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Shots Around the Sloop: The Colorful Houses on State St.

Another Glowing Review for Columbia's Media Production Center

This time from Chicago Tribune architectural critic, Blair Kamin, who seems to be a big fan of the building:
The design (for the media production center) is a serious work of architecture, but it is also playful, even joyful. Already, students have affectionately nicknamed it the “Film Kids Discovery Zone.”


If you're looking for more on the building or specifically the architect, Jeanne Gang, we found a great piece by The New Yorker (Hat tip to Chicago Journal for this one). Although the majority of the New Yorker article talks about Gang's impressive Aqua tower (which is an awesome building if you're not familiar with it), it also talks about Gang's vision for the Media Production Center towards the end of the article:
At Columbia, an arts college housed in a series of old buildings, Gang’s center, the first entirely new structure that the college has built, is an exuberant building of concrete and glass whose interior is laid out so as to emphasize framed views from one area to another: Gang approached the project thinking in terms of how a director might frame shots through a camera. She also tinted some of the glass in the fa├žade to resemble the blocks of color in a television test pattern.

(Image from Chicagotribune.com)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Looks Like Us Sloopers Got This One Wrong

It's not the first time our poll has been wrong (and probably won't be the last time), but if you haven't seen (here is a link to the Chicago Journal article) incumbent Rep. Ken Dunkin (5th district) beat Gwendolyn Drake and David Shroeder:

Comments on Dearborn/Polk Intersection

An anonymous poster left a comment on our Ald. Fioretti Open Thread that we found interesting and worthy of being brought up to the front page:
I saw some signs tonight over in Dearborn Park regarding the stop sign issue at Dearborn/Polk. I wish more of an effort had been made to publicize this effort, as I would have been happy to contact the Alderman's office prior to this meeting...which is tomorrow (which was yesterday).

I always heard they removed the stop signs that used to be there when they were constructing the Clark/Roosevelt viaduct to help with the traffic flow. I think returning the stop signs there would be great. It would make for a more pedestrian friendly area and hopefully slow drivers down...especially those drivers that fly around the corner when turning right from Polk to Dearborn. Of course, this being Chicago, I'm sure the stop signs will just be ignored like all the other ones in the city.

People be driving way too fast...and not just in the sloop.
There are also some other good comments on the topic here.

(Hat Tip to AC and Carl for their contributions as well!)

South Loop School in High Demand, but Changes are Coming

There has been a good amount of coverage about the potential overcrowding at the South Loop school (1212 S. Plymouth Court) which serves Kindergarten through Eighth grade. Today the Chicago Tribune has a good read about the dilemmas and some of the options that have been discussed to address these issues:
Ten years ago, South Loop School was struggling with low test scores and on the verge of probation. But after a staff turnaround and the addition of a gifted program, test scores went up, leaving the kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school among the most coveted of Chicago public schools.

Nestled in the Dearborn Park housing development, the school is in an area that has seen explosive growth in the last decade. With some of that growth attributed to the school's success, parents and officials now face crowding because of double-digit enrollment jumps each year for most of the last five years.
It's a good read if you're not familiar with the discussion. Our favorite quote is from a parent:
South Loop parents expect the school to grow even more as families decide that private school is not affordable.

"People are moving into the neighborhood for this school," said parent Megan Madden, whose daughter is a first-grader in the gifted program.
(Hat Tip Jack G!)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

CTA Changes Coming on Sunday February 7th

So you've probably read about the cuts to CTA service, but if not the CTA Tattler has a couple good posts about the changes here.

Specifically for the South Loop here are some links to the changes:
Hopefully this isn't too painful...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Columbia Media Production Center Open House - This Friday 2/5

As posted a couple of days ago, Columbia's new Media Production Center (at the Corner of 16th and State) opened recently. For those of you who are interested in the building and want to take a look around, the school is having an open house this Friday (Feb. 5th) from 2-6pm.

If you can't make the open house but are still interested, here is a virtual walk through of the building:


And if that doesn't satisfy for your appetite, here is a link to a pretty informative website about the building.

(Hat Tip: Solo MotorRow!)

The Pigeon Poop Delimma @ Green/Orange Line Roosevelt Stop

This might not be an issue for some peeps, but in our mind it's disgusting. If you've ever exited the Orange or Green line platform that lets you out on the South side of Roosevelt or simply walked under the stop on the South side, you can't help but notice the ridiculous amount of Pigeon crap on the sidewalks and doors. Look up (but be careful) when you exit and there are tons of Pigeons just sitting there, crapping at will. Here is a video we shot. To be honest there usually is more Pigeons, but still, look at the doors and don't tell me this isn't disgusting:


Luckily we've never been hit by Pigeon droppings (knock on wood), but this is frankly disgusting (see old Sloopin post where we mentioned this). Since this isn't getting better, we felt like it was time to contact the CTA and Alderman Fioretti and voice our displeasure. Thankfully we have our faithful Sloopin readers to help in the cause.

If you would like to see this issue fixed (maybe with metal spikes to prevent the pigeons from roosting there) simply reply "amen" in the comments. Or even better send the following letter to the CTA (feedback@transitchicago.com) or Alderman Fioretti (ward02@cityofchicago.org):

Dear CTA and Alderman Fioretti,

Thank you for all you do for our neighborhood (and the city). I am writing in regard to a disgusting problem with the South exit from the Green and Orange line platform at the Roosevelt stop. If you've ever used or walked on the sidewalk by this exit it seems to be infested with Pigeons. Whether it's rotting dead Pigeons on the roof or the feces that litter the doors and sidewalk at this exit, it's absolutely repulsive and is a blemish on our neighborhood.

With that said, we strongly encourage you to look at improving this problem. We know that many stations have metal or plastic spikes that prevent Pigeons from roosting on structural beams and other areas and would love to see something like this implemented at our station.

For more background and pictures of this problem please visit Sloopin here or at the following link:
http://www.sloopin.com/2010/02/pigeon-poop-delimma-greenorange-line.html


Thank you for your consideration and hope you can help solve this problem.

Sincerely,
(Your Name Here)

And just for proof, here are some additional pictures we've snapped at the stop:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Go to the Art Institute...it's Free in February!

We haven't checked out the new modern wing at the Art Institute but after reading this, we will be heading soon! Here is the post from the Chicagoist:
With admission prices creeping toward $20, we understand if you've put off checking out the Art Institute's Modern Wing. But no more excuses: for the entire month of February, the Art Institute is free.
We live close to world class museums...don't miss out, enjoy them!

KoreExtreme Coming to 1921 S. Michigan

What is KoreExtreme? Well we're not sure, but it appears they have something to do with fitness. Is it a gym? Is it a retail shop? Again, not sure, but here is something we found from finderownersearch.com:
Retail sales of exercise, fitness, rehabilitation and therapy products via online wholesale and retail stores and sales force distributorships; clothing, namely, shirts, hats, sweatshirts
It also looks like the owner of the KoreExtreme LLC was also the founder of KoreFit, which appears to be a new type of exercise equipment (see picture on the right). We will have to stay tuned to see what this actually ends up being.

(Hat Tip Solo MotorRow!)
(Image from korefit.com)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sumbission for Sloopin T-Shirts Over!

The submission date for our Sloopin T-Shirt contest has passed! We will compile the shirts and post them sometime this month.

Thanks to all of the people who submitted!

Stay tuned!