Thursday, October 13, 2011

Chicago/South Loop Needs to Embrace its Music History

We recently stumbled upon an interesting article in the Chicago Tribune about Alderman Fioretti's vision to turn Motor Row into "Music Row" (or if you're like us, you would prefer "Record Row"). There has been a lot of discussion over the past couple of months about the subject and this time, the Chicago Tribune editors weigh in:

When it comes to great American music, the Second City might as well be called the Seventh City.

Chicago has a thriving music scene with scores of jazz, blues, folk and rock clubs. But Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans, Austin, Detroit, and even Kansas City, Mo., seem to have embraced their music heritage more successfully than Chicago has through cultural programming, historical districts and ambitious promotion.

"Music City USA"? Nashville claimed that title in the 1950s, for good reasons. But as much as we love the Grand Ole Opry – and Motown, Dixieland, the Delta Blues and K.C. jazz – the music crown should belong in the toddlin' town, once the home of Benny Goodman and Earl "Fatha" Hines and Jelly Roll Morton and Muddy Waters and Junior Wells and Steve Goodman and John Prine and … well, you get the idea. We've had it all and should celebrate that.

So we want to support Ald. Bob Fioretti's efforts to revitalize a small stretch of South Michigan Avenue known as "Motor Row" into an entertainment district commemorating the great music history that rose up alongside the auto showrooms of yesteryear.
We echo these thoughts and hope the momentum continues for this initiative. Chicago has an amazing music history...let's own it!


Anonymous said...

Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans, Austin, Detroit, and Kansas City have music-themed districts because they have nothing else to offer. Chicago has a lot already happening and we are adding this element to enhance the south side.

The name "Music Row" works great and will be successful. We need to focus on development now, not the name.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, the name will take care of itself.

Anonymous said...

New Orleans has nothing else to offer? Huh? Likewise Memphis and Nashville.

scottyboysloop said...

I'm all for it! I always thought it was a shame that Chicago hadn't embraced it music heritage more.

Anonymous said...

I really don't know what "embracing music heritage" means. Is it naming a couple of blocks "music row" or even trying to get "music themed" restaurants to those couple of blocks? (like hard rock cafe, but slightly less corporate?)

Music scenes are defined by the artists and the fans in those cities. Are there lots of young, struggling musicians who choose to make Chicago home as they try to make it big? Do the locals go out support that local talent?

e.g. If I want to be a blues or Jazz musician, where do I go? And do people in Chicago frequent Jazz bars more than elsewhere?

Anonymous said...

The poll question is deceiving as it does not mention what part of South Michigan... A pattern has emerged and I believe there are 5 MAJOR Quadrants of the South Loop:

* I used Congress as the North Point.

1.Printers Row –
Congress (N)
Wells (W)
Polk (S)
State (E)

2.Dearborn Park –
Polk (N)
Wells (W)
18th (S)
State (E)
• South of Roosevelt – Clark is the furthest West.

3.Museum/University Campus – Congress (N)
State (W)
18th (S)
Lake Michigan (E)
• Prairie District, Central Station and South Michigan fall under this umbrella.

4.River District –
Congress (N)
Canal (W)
18th (S)
Clark (E)
• North of Roosevelt – Wells is furthest West.

5.Music & Motor Row District –
Clark (W)
Stevenson (S)
Lake Michigan(E).
• Except on Indiana, Prairie, Calumet between 18th to Cermak.

Would love to hear your feedback.

Anonymous said...

Music Row is a horrible idea and will not lift off. We dont have enough foot traffic in half way established and occupied areas of the sloop, south of 18th is a nightmare. That project is at least 10 years away. We need to focus on bringing real business and neighborhood building business to the empty commercial spaces up and down Michigan, Wabash and State! The Scout was a great about a late night taco place, a tattoo shop or a late night margarita bar? We need neighborhood building business! coming from a resident and recent owner of 20+ units in the sloop.

Anonymous said...

who is the dumbass that claims south of 18th is a nighmare? You are a dolt. South of 18th is the highest real estate cost in the south loop you twit.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:29- You do not live in SL it's obvious. If you look at State & Wabash - There is actually NO place to put in retail other than where it currently is 99% filled up. The only spots to fill are on S. Michigan. In regards to putting in large music venues, restaurants with patio and Rooftop seating there is only 1 area: Motor Row. Yes the foot traffic is there - there are hundreds of residents looking for places to go + the visitors to McCormick are looking to stay (future hotels needed), eat and party nearby. Tattoo - go to Code of Conduct, Tacos/Margaritas - Flacos Tacos, Zapatista, La Cantina..etc..

Chef Luciano said...

I am business for 29 years in "South Loop". "South Loop" was used by Near South Side Board started in 1946 which merged with Burnham Park Bark in 1983 and later transformed into "Near South Planning Board" in 1993. Barbara Lynne was the President of this Board and a frequent patron of Chef Luciano.

Bounderies 1993 were and are today : Congress to the North,
Chicago River to the West and Stevenson Expressway(25th St) to
the south.

Let us keep our focus on this boundry and work a great community for the people.

Anonymous said...

FYI, on the Open House Chicago I visited the Goetsch Partners Architecture firm in the Santa Fe Building. I discovered a set of 60% construction documents for a major expansion of the Hotel at McCormick Place... looks like more foot traffic in search for entertainment!