Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's Official, Bob Running for Mayor

Our second ward alderman, Bob Fioretti, is officially running for Mayor according to WBEZ 91.5:
Fioretti's been talking like a candidate for mayor for some time, and now...

FIORETTI: I have made it public that I will be seeking the position of mayor of the city of Chicago.

A formal campaign kickoff could come as soon as next Wednesday, complete with a campaign platform.

FIORETTI: How we survive in the next five years, how we create multiple budget analysis for the city, how we bring in jobs, how we deal with the public safety issues and education.

Although it seems like a long shot that Fioretti can win, you never know...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pita Corner and India Grill Appear to Have Problems

We've been talking about and excited that the Pita Corner was coming to the South Michigan Ave. Unfortunately, it appears there are some snags with this place. As you might have seen earlier in July and August there were signs outside the store saying it was going to open in August 2010.

Well September is about to pass and still no grand opening. We peak in quite often and little progress seems to be made. Does anyone have any additional information on this place? Could it be following the same path as the mysterious A'Cappella Bistro that looked like it was going to open and did numerous years later?

In other South Loop restaurant news, it also appears India Grill (1112 S. Wabash) might be closed:
Dear Sloopin,

Has the India Grill closed?

It seems to always be dark and closed these days.

We've noticed the same thing at India Grill and always have questioned how it could stay open based on the lack of people in the place when we walked by.

(Hat Tip: DK!)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fioretti a Proponent of a Downtown Casino?

Casino conversations seem to always be a hot topic among Chicago politicians and citizens. However, we've never heard or read anything about our Alderman, Bob Fioretti, talking negatively or favorably about casinos. That's why we were surprised when a reader sent us this article about Fioretti talking about Casinos close to the Sloop:

A Chicago alderman who's mulling a race for mayor proposed Tuesday that McCormick Place East be converted into a giant, but temporary, casino and that Chicago begin the search for a permanent gambling site.

Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd) mentioned as possible sites for a permanent casino the 37-acre former site of Michael Reese Hospital, the old Chicago post office and 67 vacant acres at Roosevelt Road and Clark Street once owned by convicted businessman Antoin "Tony" Rezko, a friend and major fundraiser for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Generally speaking, this isn't a good thing for the neighborhood. Yes, it would bring another "destination" to the neighborhood, which would probably bring additional people, businesses and restaurants, but a Casino crowd isn't what most people in the Sloop want. Right now, the South Loop is relatively quiet and it seems like a lot of people raise families in the area. Casino's and families just don't mix well in our opinion.

Anyway, this tends to be a controversial subject, so let loose and let us know what you think. Good? Bad? Indifferent?

(Hat tip: SoloMotorRow!)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Colosimo's Restaurant on HBO's Empire Boardwalk

So last Sunday we watched the premiere episode of HBO's new show Boardwalk Empire. Whenever HBO puts out a new show (especially one about gangsters and crime) we're eager to watch it. Anyway, the show was good which wasn't much of a surprise. However, we were surprised to see a piece of South Loop history utilized and subtlety referenced in the show.

We won't ruin the show, but the infamous Chicago Gangster "Big Jim Colosimo" goes to Atlantic City for some "business". He then returns to Chicago and is hanging out at his restaurant "Colosimo's" in the Sloop (used to be at 2128 S. Wabash) where he was shot dead. Although that was the extent of the role for the neighborhood, it was still interesting to randomly see that piece of South Loop history.

If you're interested here is a link with more information and pictures of Colosimo's.

Thanks to this weeks Sponsor: Infinity Strategic Group

Sponsored Post

Thanks again to this weeks Sloopin sponsor Infinity Strategic Group!

Infinity Strategic Group specializes in estate planning and is offering Sloopin readers a free consultation. If you're interested please click on this link to go to their site.

You will find the ad on the right side of the page for the rest of the month, so thanks to them and please call to setup an appointment!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Olympic Deja Vu?

We were suprised to see this on the Chicago Tribune website this morning...regardless we doubt it's going to happen:

The United States Olympic Committee has not ruled out a bid for the 2020 Summer
and the timing of the process makes it likely 2016 loser Chicago would be its most viable candidate.

"I think it would be challenging for any other city to organize a bid in that time frame but not impossible," U.S. Olympic Committee chairman Larry Probst told the Tribune after delivering his state of the USOC address to the organization's general assembly Friday.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Doubtful that Fioretti Can Win Mayoral Race

Shootings in the Sloop (the good kind!)

Two days ago we got a couple emails and comments wondering about the new production shooting around the Sloop. It appears Fox has a new police drama called "Ride-Along" set in Chicago that is supposed to start mid-season:

Anyway, here are some shots that people sent to us.

13th and State:

Manny's (ironically we tried to get a sandwich and they were shut down for the shooting):
It looks interesting in our opinion, however some of the stuff seems cheesy (ie - the opening line in the trailer - "Chicago is known as the city that works...some people don't understand that it works in a lot of different ways"). Regardless we will definitely check it out, if only to see some professional Shots Around the Sloop.

(Hat Tip: Nick D, JR, PF, PS!)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

In Search of a Work/Study Spot in the Sloop

A reader writes:

I often have meetings/work sessions for a non-profit in the evening. I already work from home so I need to get out of my place to stay focused. Is there a cafe or something like it that Southloopers can recommend where I can work? Preferably something open until midnight with wifi access.

We know of the Panera (State and Congress), the Caribou Coffee (9th and Wabash), or the Panera in Southgate Market (Roosevelt and Canal) but besides that we're unsure of other spots in the Sloop. Any suggestions?

It seems like we're missing a mom and pop local place...wish we had one of those in the Sloop!

Maybe the new Gretta's place at 13th and Wabash could fill this void, however we doubt it will be open until midnight.

Correction: We meant Donna's at 13th and State (not Gretta's).

(Hat Tip: AV!)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Living large like a Chicago Hip-Hop Star in the Sloop

When you think 'living like a Rap star' you think over the top non-sense and tons of bling. Well that's not the case with one of Chicago's brightest and best rappers, Common. Anyway, we got a chuckle when we read YoChicago last week and saw that Common's 2bd/2br condo at 1400 S. Michigan is available for rent:

For $2,500 a month, plus $150 per parking, you can live in a 1,248 square-foot, two-bedroom / two-bath condo in the (relatively) new 1400 Museum Park, 100 E 14th St in the South Loop, and have Common as your landlord, according to the Sun-Times.

The South Side native — who, at the best of times, has played ego Kanye’s id — bought the condo a couple years ago for $408,000 and spruced it up with custom lighting, a custom paint job, and built-in closets, says listing agent Jaueline Smith. The home features floor-to-ceiling windows, a separate den / office, a private balcony, and a stone master bath with shower seat sprays. (Smith’s listing mentions views of the Museum Campus, but I don’t see how that’s possible, given that the 09 tier faces west, overlooking Michigan Avenue just north of the 14th Street intersection.)

As a fan of Common's this was intriguing to us. For people who don't know some of his work, here is one of our favorite songs/videos (with some great Chicago scenery):

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Which Cell Network Would Your Recommend in the Sloop?

A South Loop newbie is having issues with getting good cell reception from Verizon and wants your recommendation:
As a newbie to the South Loop, I was surprised by the lackluster cell phone
reception we get (using Verizon). My plan is up and I'm thinking about
switching... any recs for strong signals in the neighborhood?

Personally, Verizon works pretty good for us.

(hat tip: TJ!)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Creepy Clowns = Halloween in the Sloop

Don't be scared, but creepy clowns in random windows only means that Halloween is just around the corner. The one above is in the window at the building at 9th and Wabash. If you're new to the neighborhood this usually vacant retail space is converted into a pop-up Halloween store every fall. So if you need to locate a costume, we highly suggest going here.

Also, we've been told that the retail space at the corner of 9th and State also has a pop-up store for Haloween. Sounds like the area is covered well for Halloween.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Thanks to this weeks Sponsor: Infinity Strategic Group

Sponsored Post
Thanks to this weeks Sloopin sponsor Infinity Strategic Group!
Infinity Strategic Group specializes in estate planning and is offering Sloopin readers a free consultation. If you're interested please click on this link to go to their site.
You will find the ad on the right side of the page for the rest of the month, so thanks to them and please call to setup an appointment!

Segways Around the Sloop

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Gospel Life Church Bringing Faith to Archer and State

The pastor from a new church at the corner of State and Archer, Gospel Life Church (1921 S. Archer), recently reached out to us for a post. For those who are interested check out there site and maybe check out their services this Sunday:

I am the pastor of a new church here in the South Loop. We just moved into a retail space on the corner of State and Archer on Sept.1. To celebrate, we want to make an announcement to the South Loop community to join us for our opening service this coming Sunday, September 19 at 10:45 am. Would you be able to make this announcement for us on your blog?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Expansion is a Good Thing

It has come to our attention that two of the relatively new retail spots in the Sloop have either expanded or are in the process of expanding.

We've posted about South Loop Market expanding (in the 1720 S. Michigan building) and it looks like they've officially done that by acquiring space next door to their existing store (the retail space directly North of their current spot). We peaked in and it looks like it's mostly been used to add new merchandise. A nice expansion by a nice market.

The other place that looks to be expanding is Lou Malnatti's on South State street (805 S. State). If you've ever gone by or been to Lou's for dinner, you know it's usually busy and that's why it makes sense for them to expand.

All in all, a good sign to see two businesses doing well and expanding in the Sloop.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Annoying Train Horns

In the matter of one day we've received numerous inquiries about some random, long sustained train horns in the evening:
Hey Sloopy,

Quick question, was just sitting around watching football tonight and it seemed like there were a bunch of LOUD freight trains rolling through the Sloop. My condo isn't really near the tracks (about 4 blocks away) but I hear the horns non-stop tonight. Any ideas? Thanks for your input.
And another reader writes:
Can you write on your blog commenting on the trains blowing their horns for 10-15 seconds at a time every night? I can't figure out why the trains have been doing this lately...
And another:
Has anyone else noticed the excessive train horn blowing that has been coming from the west side of the Sloop?! Any idea what this could be or how we can make it stop? I've especially noticed it at night from about 8-10pm and it has been much louder, frequent and more obnoxious that usual. It seems to be coming from the train station just south of Roosevelt and Clark.
We haven't heard anything, but we imagine some other readers have...if so let us know what you've heard this and have any insight as to why this might be happening.

(Hat Tip: MT, MH & SZ!)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Where Did the Trees Go?

Ask someone how they feel about the Agora statues at the corner of Roosevelt and Michigan and they will tell you they either hate them or love them (there really is not much middle ground from what we've heard). Regardless, the public space has always been nice and the trees that surround the statues make it a pleasant retreat for the neighborhood.

And that's why we were worried when we recently walked by and saw about 75% of the trees gone! Based on the sign we read in the picture above it sounds like Elm trees were infected and had to be removed...but don't worry they're coming back (according to the sign) and will be complete by September 18th.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance Block Party

A reader writes:
I bet you have already heard, but I wanted to make sure you post (for all south loopers) the upcoming info on the Festival on Prairie Avenue. It is the annual Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance Block Party and it is really a great event, especially for families and people who want to get inside the historic homes. I think a couple thousand people go... I know a ton of people going. Anyway, it is on Saturday, September 11th from 12noon to 6:00pm. Check out the info page on the pdna website for tons of details, there is so much going on at the party.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Marshalls Opens Today

We were recently at South Gate Market and spoke to some men working at the finished Marshalls and according to them, the new store is opening up today.

This is also confirmed on their website:

Marshalls - South Gate
1101 South Canal Street Chicago (South Loop), IL 60607
Phone: 312-566-0470
Get driving directions
Grand Opening on September 9, 2010 from 8am to 10pm!

Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Rumors Around the Sloop

A reader writes:
Have you noticed the PH floor of 1600 Prairie lately?
According to other owners in the building, an owner of a popular downtown Chicago club purchased all of the units on the PH floor and combined all of the units (3-4) into a sort-of after-party penthouse type dwelling complete with a giant naked greek goddess mural near the entrance. Noticeable from most parts of our neighborhood are the shuffling, colored disco lights that blink 24 hours a day. (Check 'em out) Apparently, all sorts of...ahem...interesting types make their way in and out of the place.
"I guess we'll see what this does to our community and property values," was the last thing the owners said about it before walking away.
Has anyone else caught wind of this?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Intense Fire at 1326 S. Michigan this Morning

UPDATE with a great Youtube video from a reader:

If you were like us this morning, you woke up to a blinking alarm clock and noise from a hovering helicopter buzzing overhead. Why? according to various media outlets a fire broke out early this morning at 1326 S. Michigan, which is a commercial building that once housed a showroom for potential high rises in the area:

The fire broke out in the 1300 block of South Michigan Avenue at about 2:30 a.m., was quickly raised to two alarms and then to a third alarm about two hours later. Firefighters arrived to find flames shooting through the roof and tried to keep the fire from being spread by winds gusting up to 30 mph.

The roof of the building eventually collapsed. At 4:30 a.m., blue flames still could
be seen at the rear of the structure and Peoples Gas Co. was called to the scene. The fire was brought under control around 6:30 a.m.

Around 8:30am it was still a chaotic scene as police and fire fighters were still working on the blaze. Michigan Avenue was closed down south of Roosevelt, making the other streets unusually busy.

Below is a picture submitted by a resident from 13th and Indiana:
(Hat Tip: SL!)

A Little Chicken Fried and a Beautiful View on a Thursday Night

A couple of weeks ago was our inaugural concert at Charter One Pavilion on Northerly Island. We took in the Zac Brown Band and was pleasantly surprised. As someone who doesn't necessarily fancy country it was all in all a good show. Whether it was covering Bob Marley or John Mayer or simply jamming to some of their own joints, it's clear that this country act may be popular but they're pretty amazing musicians as well.

Anyway, the main point of this post wasn't to analyze the show but to give our two cents on the venue. Although it's not the easiest place to get to, it really is a special venue. As most people who've been to Northerly Island can attest, it has a pretty spectacular view. Besides being so close to the lake, the views of the city are in our opinion the best in the city. On this particular Thursday night the temperature was perfect, the breeze was refreshing and the crowd inside Northerly Island was festive.

The actual venue (ie seating and grounds) isn't that spectacular. It's rather standard. Regardless, it's a relatively intimate venue and it didn't seem like there were many bad seats. For the price we paid to get in, there shouldn't be bad seats (it was $50+ for one general admission ticket). Also alarming was the price of beer...$11 for a 16oz beer is ridiculous.

With that in mind, a better option in our opinion would be to call up some friends, bring some chairs, pour a drink and sit outside the venue and enjoy. That's what we will be doing next time (unless you're really into the group).

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Heard on the Streets of the Sloop...

On a random Thursday night, walking south on the West side of Wabash, a 30 something woman dressed in a business suit yells across the street to a city worker giving people tickets for expired meter tickets:
Do you like your job ruining peoples days?
Although we feel her pain...don't shoot the messenger, he's just doing his job. Take it up with the boss man.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Bash on Wabash Kicks Off Today

Once again the Sloopin gang won't be in the Chi area for labor day weekend and once again that means we can't make it to the Bash on Wabash, the South Loop's neighborhood festival. From what we've read it's been going well and is adding a second stage to this year's festival.

Anyway, we're curious to hear how it goes, so if you went please post a comment and let us know.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Sink Hole at Cullerton & Prairie

A reader writes:
So my neighbors and I are wondering what the deal is with the huge gaping hole at Cullerton & Prairie. It started as a 2 foot by 2 foot sink hole-looking thing 2 weeks ago, and after the City, Peoples Gas & Water Reclamation came out...and looked at it, made it 50 times bigger, then looked at it some more, it's just been blocked off with barriers. No work has been done at all. It's definitely an eyesore and not to mention horrible for thru traffic. Can you get any scoop?

(Hat Tip: LH!)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Shots Around the Sloop: Bumble Bee Transformer

A reader writes, "Was parked for a few minutes last Friday on 9th between Wabash and Michigan- no one seemed to notice":
(Hat Tip: DK!)