Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Back to School & in Need of a Salon to Get Your Kid's Hair Cut

The Examiner.com takes a look at options to get your kids hair cut in the Sloop:
Used to be that if you lived in the South Loop and your child needed a haircut, you had to get in the car and drive at least 15 to 20 minutes to find a place that catered to kids. Either that, or pay adult prices. Not anymore. Leave the car at home. There are two salons within walking distance from the CTA red line at Roosevelt and State Street, another at South Michigan near Jackson and one more at Halsted near 13th street.

Monday, August 30, 2010

High Fashion Comes to the Sloop

No we're not talking about the amazingly chic Sloopin t-shirts (although you can still buy them if you follow this link), we're talking about a new exhibit going in at the corner of Michigan and 23rd by the chair of the School of the Art Institute's fashion department, Nick Cave:
From September 10 to 17 there'll be a video installation of the Soundsuits on the corner of South Michigan Avenue and 23rd Street every evening starting at 8 PM. A pop-up shop featuring items like prints and T-shirts inspired by the suits (but not the suits themselves, which can cost several thousand dollars) opens from 8 to 10 PM on September 10, with a Vogue-signing by Cave from 9:30 to 10, and continues nightly from 6 to 9 PM.
Nick Cave's work is being featured in the September issue of Vogue magazine via an 8 page spread and it's interesting to say the least. To get some background on his work it's important to watch some of these videos:

(hat tip: SoloMotorRow)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

One Place for Trivia in the Neighborhood

We don't claim to be trivia junkies, but we do enjoy it from time to time. Today we read a post on the Chicago Now blog network from the blog, Chicago "hearts" Trivia, talking about the one and only bar in the Sloop that still does trivia:
Weather Mark is the only bar we know of in the South Loop that still does trivia. We do appreciate that there is something in that area. It also starts a little earlier than most, at 7:30pm, which is great if you work in the Loop...you can go straight from work and not have to wait too long to play. It's also great if you don't want to stay out late. Trivia ended around 9:45pm.
We've been to other bars in the past (ex - Bar Louie in Printer's Row) that does trivia but that was a couple months ago and we're unsure if this still happens. Does anyone know of any other 'trivia bars' in the Sloop?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Boom Goes the Suspicious Bag at the Roosevelt CTA Stop

Per multiple Chicago news sites:
A suspicious package disrupted CTA service at a South Loop El station late

The bomb squad eventually blew up the package, which was found Tuesday
around 10:30 p.m. near Roosevelt and State. It turned out to be a suitcase.

There was nothing dangerous or explosive inside. But the scare forced
disruptions of the Orange and Green Line trains that run at the nearby Roosevelt

Walk in and then Wok Out...It's Now Open

Sorry for the horrible post title, but we couldn't help ourselves. Anyway, upon a nice stroll up State street yesterday we noticed Wok Out (823 S. State) is now open. From what we can tell it's essentially cafeteria style Chinese that's ready to go. We're looking forward to trying it. It doesn't appear that they have a website but there are a couple good reviews on yelp:
A ok. A cheaper, more choose-your-own-adventure kind of Panda Express/ 65 Asian Kitchen. $6 to fill up a to-go box, decent variety cafeteria-style.

Tough not to come here when I live 10 steps away, if you were working out at XSport or if just plain too lazy to go to Chinatown. It doesn't stay open very late though - 9p weekdays (though maybe you wouldn't want it to be since the food is sitting out). Closed on Sundays

If you've been we would love to hear your thoughts...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Look at the Transportation Building in Printers Row

We have some friends that live in the transportation building (600 S. Dearborn) and always enjoy going over to their place. Yesterday we read a post from YoChicago touching on parts of the buildings history:

Despite its location inside the Printers Row District, the 22-story Transportation Building at 600 S Dearborn St didn’t house printing companies. As its name suggests, it was home to businesses that needed close contact with the city’s rail lines.

In the ’80s, the Community Resources Corporation converted the long and narrow building into an apartment complex with 294 units in 14 different floor plans, and features like plush wall-to-wall carpeting, fully equipped kitchens, individually controlled heat and air, electronic key card and intercom systems, and laundry and receiving rooms. For $50 a month, renters could have their home furnished with a bed and bedroom furniture, a sofa or loveseat, and a dining table and chairs, with bedding, linens, housewares, artwork, silk plants, microwaves, televisions, and all-important VCRs available for additional costs.

(Image from Chicagoarchitecture.org)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Positive Vibes for the Sloop

Positivity on a Monday is a great thing:
Hi Sloopin!
I was wondering about the possibility of starting a thread focused on some of the positive aspects of the SL. I was reading back through some of the posts, and so many of the sloopers are angry and frustrated by the state of the market, things that are happening in our neighborhood ect. This is understandable as there is so much negativity to go around for people these days with regard to jobs, the economy, housing. Things are not great, but at the same time, we still live in an exciting and yes, still growing environment. I can still walk out my door and be by the lake in just a few short minutes. Sitting by the water can do wonders for your stress level! I still have access to public transportation and highways much more easily then some of my north side friends. I can find a park to take my dog to or lay out with a good book. I can eat at some good restaurants. I can get my fix at whole foods, go see a movie in the awesome new theater (and have a drink with it by the way if you go to the upstairs area). I also celebrate the diversity of our neighborhood. Talk to some of the people who live in the low-income housing when you walk past. You get to know that they are not dangerous and mean, but people not so different from anyone else.
No, I can not shop at many different cute boutiques, or buy a cupcake, or have as many options for entertainment as some of my N. Side friends. However, I continue to have hope that people will work hard, neighbors and government alike, to make changes to this area to make it more desirable. I wonder what we can do as a community to come up with ideas to make things better. We can keep complaining all we want, and granted, sometimes it is nice to vent, but we should also shout out the potential of our area and celebrate what we do have to draw people in!!

(Hat Tip: RP!)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Lolla Lovers

Not a surprise that Lolla wins this battle, but nevertheless, it gives us a a chance to relive some of the great acts. All in all it was a great weekend and it couldn't have ended on a better note as headliner Arcade Fire plays "Wake-Up" to a raucous crowd that gladly helps the band sing it's chorus:


Friday, August 20, 2010

Goodbye to Winestyles

We've been hearing rumors and rumblings that Winestyles (1240 S. Michigan) was struggling and could be closing up shop and today we unfortunately got an email confirming this to be true:
To our wonderful WineStyles South Loop family, this will be the last e-blast you will be receiving from us.

It is because of your unconditional love and encouragement that makes the decision to close so tough. Effective immediately the store is now closed. It’s the end of a very special time in my life. And it has been an extreme pleasure to serve and befriend you.

There are so many people to thank for sharing their lives with me and my staff that I just can’t name them all here, but without a doubt it includes you. I opened this business hoping to make a positive difference in others’ lives over the fellowship of wine, but as it turns out you have impacted each one of our lives more. Your enthusiasm for the business, bringing in your family and friends and spending time laughing and talking with us has warmed our hearts.

It’s so amazing to know that at WineStyles South Loop: new friendships were formed, business deals were made and babies were added to families during our time together. Lives have been touched in memorable ways. I, we, became a part of your family. You loved and embraced us unconditionally and we will cherish the times we’ve had together. I know that my life has become richer and fuller because of you. I will never forget you and will forever be grateful for you.


Tracye Dee

It was slightly surprising to us to hear the rumors and to see them come true because Winestyles seemed to have a decent crowd every time we walked by. Regardless another retail spot on Michigan avenue becomes vacant.

If it's any consolation, the Pita Corner looks to be progressing well and when we looked inside it looks much nicer then we imagined it would.

Shots Around the Sloop: Hotel Roosevelt

(Hat Tip: LH!)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mayor of Chicago: Daley vs. Fioretti?

An interesting read on chicagobusiness.com about our Alderman and the issues he sees as potential platforms for a potential run at Mayor Daley. Although it seems like a soft story to us, it's always captivating to think about potential challengers for Mayor Daley. The funniest thing is that one of the issues Fioretti states is the TIF funds (which he seems to currently be benefiting from given that the 2nd ward has one of the largest in the city):
Mr. Fioretti also would raid Mr. Daley's tax-increment financing subsidy pot, seek more money from Springfield and Washington and stage a serious push to legalize casino gambling here to cut costs and raise more revenue. He says Chicago still isn't business-friendly when it comes to things such as issuing permits in short order, despite repeated vows from Mr. Daley over 20 years to do just that.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Mysterious 1555 S. Wabash Building

YoChicago is perplexed by this mysterious building and they're looking for answers:
With the possible exception of Lexington Park Condominiums, is there a new-construction condo building in the South Loop with a more mysterious present and uncertain future than 1555 Wabash?

Based on the best information available online — current listings, Redfin’s records of past and pending sales, and the Tribune’s database of Cook County sales records, all of which have their limitations – there have been no closings at the 14-story, 176-unit building at 1555 S Wabash Ave since October 2009, and only five homes have gone under contract between July 2008 and last week.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Why is it Called Jimmy Greens?

From Metromix:
Jimmy Green’s
The place: A South Loop sports bar dedicated to Chicago teams and serving bar food and more than 50 beers.
So who's Jimmy? Jimmy Green’s was an old-time tavern on Taylor Street in Little Italy where a lot of locals used to hang out.
The history: “When a bunch of guys from Taylor Street are opening a place in the South Loop, what better name could we choose?” says co-owner Jeff Terrana.
Jimmy’s dish: Terrana thinks Jimmy, the owner of the now-gone Jimmy Green’s, likely was a man of simple tastes. “He’d probably order either a pizza and a beer, or a burger and a beer, or maybe an Italian beef sandwich, one of our specialties. And a beer.”

Sunday, August 15, 2010

River City Residents Move Back In

Per ABC7 Chicago:

Hundreds of residents of the River City condo building in the South Loop
moved back in Saturday.

The residents are returning nearly three weeks after being flooded out by storms.

They lined up Saturday morning after the building's management group got an "all-clear" from the Chicago Fire Department.

Some residents had been able to reenter their apartments and condos last week to clean out refrigerators and make other preparations, but they could not live in the building until Saturday.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Chef Luciano's Open and Renovations Almost Done

We recently received an email from Chef Luciano's (49 E. Cermak) that most of their renovations are done:

After a two week break during which we remodeled both the facade and the customer areas at Chef Luciano and Gourmet Chicken, we are back up and running. We want to thank you for your support through this process and hope you are just as excited as we are about the new space. Stop in, say Hi, and see what has happened!
If you didn't know, here is some additional information about their renovations:
While work will be done to modernize the restaurant, Gupta is also restoring the building at Cermak Road and Wabash Avenue to its former 1920s glory. The Cermak building housed Chicago ’s first White Castle restaurant in 1929. The Chicago Landmark Commission is overseeing the renovation, as Chef Luciano & Gourmet Chicken falls into the Motor Row historic preservation area.

“We realize the importance of preserving the past of this great neighborhood, so we wanted to keep that in mind as we look to the future,” Gupta said. “We’re excited to be able to invest in the community and look forward to serving our customers in an exciting new space.”
We've been impressed with most everything we've had at the restaurant and this renovation should help attract some new customers. Good luck to them!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Dog Park at 16th and Wabash?

A reader writes to the alderman as well as us about a proposed park at 16th and Wabash:
There is a rumor that the acre lot at the corner of Wabash & 16th, next to the church, will be a large dog park. Has this area been approved through the city and the community?

As a resident of the 1620 Michigan Ave building, I am disappointed that state and federal money will be spent on a dog park. In our area, we have 3 dog parks within a few blocks of each other. As a dog owner and resident of the South Loop, I feel like we have developed enough space for our dogs.

I’m not sure if the people who want this (ex. South Loop Dog Pac members) live in our building or have a unit that faces West. My concern is that my unit faces West, which would be right next to the park. If a dog park is built, my family and I will have to deal with the constant barking and noise that comes with a dog park. As a new parent , the noise level and the daily disturbance would drive us as well as our newborn crazy. You’re pretty much asking us to leave the South Loop because we’re never going to be able to sit out on our balcony and enjoy our view with peace and quiet. I know you might say that there are hours of operation at the dog park, but who will sit there and make sure the use of the park is not abused? No one. I have a feeling that I will get fed up with the noise and have to call the police to quiet the noise. Also, we would have to endure the smell of dog feces and urine because many owners do not pick up after their dog(s). Knowing this, the feces would attract rodents and make the general area unsanitary.

On top of the noise, this will bring down our property value because who wants to live next to a dog park, listening to dogs barking all the time? As a concerned homeowner in today’s economy, we value our property. If we are looking for our property value to increase, we should invest in general parks and/or playground areas for families. We have more daycare centers in the surrounding blocks of the South Loop than retail space. Parents only have 3 options where their children can go and play. But building an entire acre for a dog park is just plain ridiculous. Many of my neighbors are up in arms about this idea and will petition to stop the development of this dog park.

(Hat tip: MC!)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Shots Around the Sloop: Transformers

Hat tip to EM for sending us these:

Took the attached shots this evening as the movie crew was transforming
(pun intended) Indiana Ave into a set for tomorrow's shoot. The two images are
of the the back of the old Chevy dealership and the building just south. Sorry
for the blur in photo #1, a studio rep was hot on my trail and I had to snap and

Interesting how the studio installed Star Auto corner sign in pic 1 looks
suspiciously similar to the real Blue Star Auto sign on Wabash. In photo two,
notice the fake street sign listing Avenue P, and the fake bus stop

Monday, August 9, 2010

Witnessing Interesting Things From a Condo in the Sloop

We recently read a post from the Tribune's Chicago Now blog site and thought it was an interesting. Sometimes you forget you're living in a city and that so many things are going on all at once:

I have been at Roosevelt and Indiana in One Museum Park for over a year now and my appreciation for life in the South Loop continues to grow!

A weekend like this first weekend in August is a perfect example of how exciting it can be here. We have a hundred thousand people per day attending Lollapalooza for the next three days while our First Neighbor to the south, President Obama, shuttles back and forth from Hyde Park up to Lincoln Park for his birthday events.

You would never believe what I see from my perch on the 14th floor of One Museum Park! I watched the preparations for Lollapalooza start from scratch then progress like watching a time-lapse movie, with barricades, fencing, and huge stages appearing as if from nowhere, to the point where all of the stages were up by Thursday afternoon, and the sound checks of all the headlining bands began.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Crowds and Logistics at Lollapalooza

So day two is long gone and was successful. The music was solid, the weather was great, and everywhere you looked there were people...and more people. The new and larger layout seems to have improved the traffic flow within the grounds (as compared to last year), but to be honest it seems like the festival has reached its max in regard attendance.

It's been rumored that the attendance numbers are similar to last year even though the acreage of the festival has expanded (we heard 75,000ish per day). Supposedly they could increase capacity up to 95,000 per day but event organizers also said those numbers weren't going to be reached this year. We will see when all is said and done.

Regardless, Lolla can't get much bigger in our opinion. Butler field (which is on the North side of the festival) was absolutely packed. Which was the case last year as well. The problem is that more people are coming to the festival but the fields where the main stages are aren't getting any bigger.

Sunday is usually the biggest day of the weekend in regard to crowds, so we will see how it goes today.

Finally, just wanted to post a link from a Chicago Tribune story today that talks about an often overlooked subject at Lollapalooza, risk and insurance. Yes, when you think Lolla you don't think insurance, but regardless it's an interesting angle on the festival.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Transformers 3 Coming to the Sloop

A reader writes:
Transformers 3 will be shooting this week/next week in the old Chevrolet Buildings/Area.
We tried to do a google search, but unfortunately didn't find much. Anyone have any links?

(Hat tip: Solo Motor Row!)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Checking In at the Chicago Phantom Gallery Blog

In June we randomly found a blog called, Phantom Gallery Chicago. From the sounds of it, they were in the process of matching artists/projects with vacant retail around the city (including some spots around the sloop). Obviously we loved the idea (which we read about in the NY Times awhile back) and were curious to see what would happen.

Upon going back to the site it appears that some projects are indeed taking place in our hood:
It also sounds like some called JJ studio has spoken for some of the raw retail space at the Southwest corner of 14th and Michigan:
1400 S. Michigan across from the Firehouse Restaurant, J.J. Studio has already spoken for this space. It is totally raw, no concrete on the ground, exposed pipe, ceiling height at least 30ft, great for installations.

Sounds encouraging and like a great use of vacant retail in the Sloop. If you're out and about, please watch out for these spots and let us know what you think.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Rehab Clinic at 2300 S. Michigan?

Although our point of view isn't quite as negative as this reader, we still felt that it's important to share differing opinions:
Have you heard that a Rehab Clinic was going to move into 2300 S Michigan Ave? Yelp has it listed. This is the condo building where the developer ran off with the money. We are trying to find anything we can. We are trying very hard to save our little neighborhood. This would most definitely end any chance of positive changes.
(Hat tip: CS!)

Shots Around the Sloop: From Soldier Field

(Hat Tip: PF!)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Lolla Low Down: The Black Keys

The second installment of our Lolla Low Down. We're getting ready for this years festival (Aug 6th - 8th) and here is one of the bands we're interested/excited to see.

Funk, gritty soul are three words that spring to mind when we think of the Black Keys:

Pita Corner Opening in August on South Michigan

We've been watching the progress at 1250 S Michigan waiting for some additional signs of life and this past weekend we saw an encouraging sign posted on the windows:

Is it really on the corner? No, but we're still excited to see a new and different type of cuisine opening on this stretch. Falafel here we come...