Monday, February 28, 2011

Story Week: Festival of Writers Coming Soon to the Sloop

A reader writes about an interesting event put on by Columbia:
I'm writing about an event coming up March 13-18, much of it taking place in or near the South Loop neighborhood - Columbia College Fiction Writing Department's Story Week Festival of Writers. Celebrating its 15th year this March, Story Week is a weeklong celebration of the written word, featuring book readings, conversations, performances, book signings and more - its often been called the "Lollapalooza of the literary world". Best of all, it is all free and open to the public!
The Lollapalooza of the literary world? Must be good...
(hat tip: JL!)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Donations Wanted for A New Vinyl-only Record Store for the Sloop

Starting a business is expensive and this week we received an email asking to get the word out about donations for a record store in the Sloop:
Though I'm not a Sloop resident myself, I wanted to solicit your support for my friend who's planning a triumphant return home from a few years in the Bay Area to open a record store in your area.

H+ Records will be a vinyl-only record store and community arts space in the South Loop, and is seeking startup donations to get off the ground. Donations can be made at the following website, and on behalf of my friend Pat, I would really appreciate it if you could promote what would certainly be a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

Well we've actually already posted about H+ records back in October of last year, but like the idea so much we decided we would help some more. If you want some solid retail, step up and help a brother out!

(Hat tip: MS!)

Friday, February 25, 2011

A New Pilates Studio Coming to 1933 S. Dearborn

We received the following email from a reader:

Thought this might be of interest, walked by workers doing interior painting (bright green!) and renovation on the southwest corner retail location of 1900 Pointe building. Attached picture is what I shot of the building permit taped to the window. I forgot to take a picture of the interior from the glass windows, but one can see it clearly when walking by. The space looks to be a wide open rectangular open space at 1500sq ft. at least, maybe more, at the moment.
Couldn't find much additional information on the interwebs, but if anything knows anything let us know.

(Hat tip: JC!)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Being Athletic in the Sloop

A reader writes:

Do you know of any soccer, basketball, kickball, etc. intramural leagues in our area. I know there are plenty of 'Chicago' leagues but it would be nice to be a part of something that incorporates our neighborhood and plays it games in our area. Just a thought...
Well there are a lot of sporting options in the South Loop. There are basketball courts and tennis courts scattered around the neighborhood (like the ones to the right in Dearborn Park I), that you can often find a pick-up game at. The southern end of Grant Park also seems to have frequent pickup soccer games during the weekend between the agora statues and "the guy on a horse" hill.

Some of the gyms in the neighborhood like Xsport, LA Fitness and FFC have basketball courts, swimming, racquetball courts, yoga, rock climbing, yada yada yada...

If you're looking for something else a little more structured, we would suggest looking at Chicago Sport and Social or Player Sports Group (there are probably others as well). There are softball and soccer leagues that play in Grant Park that would be very convenient for people wishing to play in the Sloop and enjoy our magnificent skyline. Maybe some of you would be interested in forming a Sloopin team in one of these leagues???? If so speak up.

Are we forgetting anything?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Shots Around the Sloop: An Unconventional Ride

Not funny for the owner of this vehicle, but kinda funny for us:
Caught at the Dunkin' Donuts this morning (2/22). Remember kids, no matter how badly you're tweaking for that morning coffee and donut, turning on your hazard lights doesn't let you park in the "no parking" zones on Clark. At least he didn't drop his bag when he ran out the door and leapt onto the hood of his car.
(Hat tip: WG!)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Flavor 180 to Open in March?

A reader just gave us a tip about an article briefly talking about a new restaurant we've posted about in the past called Flavor 180. The article was talking about the first annual Chicago Chowdafest, but apparently one of the chefs at the event is behind Flavor 180:

Putting a spicy spin on a Manhattan clam chowder, private chef Julius Russell created a Chilean fish chowder with chickpeas that he will sell beginning in March at his restaurant, Flavor 180, located at 1511 S. State Street.

First off, good to hear they're opening in March. Second, who is Julius Russell? Well according to his website:

Over the past decade Chef Julius has continued his culinary education stateside at the New Orleans School of Cooking and in Paris with Princess Marie Blanche de Broglie at La Cuisine Marie Blanche and Patrick Terrien at Le Cordon Bleu Academie d’Art Culinaire de Paris.

His ability to blend classic French technique with the flavorful influences of Cajun/Creole, Caribbean, Latin American and Asian cuisines is unmatched. His motto, “The Flavor Leads” speaks to his passion for blending global cuisines to create innovative dishes that transcend region.

Sounds interesting and looking forward to this place opening. There is also some chatter on his Twitter account about when Flavor 180 is shooting to open.

(Hat tip: VC!)
(Image from A Tale of Two Chefs)

It's 6am, Poll's are Open and it's Time to Vote

Today is a historic day. We could find out who the next mayor of Chicago is or we could find out if there will be another run-off election in six weeks.

It's also time to vote for our alderman. So please...please head out to the poles and make sure you vote.

If you don't know if you're registered or don't know where you're supposed to vote head to this Board of Election link.

In case you don't know, the polls open at 6am and close at 7pm.

Happy voting!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Living Large and Bright in a House Designed Like Gioco or Opera

If for some reason you want to move out of the Sloop, but want to live in a house that reminds you of some of your favorite South Loop restaurants like Gioco or the Lounge at the ICON movie theaters (or the old Opera or Room 21) then we got the house for you. The colorful and imaginative Jerry Kleiner is selling his house in West Town according to Curbed Chicago.

The post has plenty of interesting and unique room shots, but here is our favorite:

(Image from Jim Tschetter, IC360 images)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Shots Around the Sloop: Tranformers 3 Super Bowl Spot

A reader notices that part of the Transformers 3 super bowl commercial was shot around the Sloop:
Transformers 3 did a lot of filming in the Chicago area over the summer. One of
the places the did filming was on 23rd St. between Michigan and Indiana as well
as Indiana b/w 25th and Cermak. They recently released a second trailer (over
the Superbowl) and, low and behold, one of the scenes shown is at the intersection of 23rd St. and Indiana. The portion that shows our hood is second 13 - 16 in the trailer (views of McCormick place in the background):

(Hat tip: MH!)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Congrats to Buddy on his Sixth Grammy

Yes, it's been a couple days since the Grammy's but we recently read an article about all the musicians in Chicago who won the prestigious award. With that in mind we wanted to give a quick shout-out to Buddy Guy who won his Sixth Grammy award:

Perennial honoree Buddy Guy snatched the contemporary blues album gramophone for "Living Proof," besting acclaimed titles by the late Solomon Burke, Dr. John, Bettye LaVette and Kenny Wayne Shepherd's "Live in Chicago" album.
We've posted our fair share of Buddy videos over the past couple of years, so we wanted to post a video of Chicago's own Mavis Staples, who also won a Grammy for her collaboration with Jeff Tweedy. She had a huge year and seemed to be everywhere. Whether it was the Daily Show's Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear or even Lollapalooza last year:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Soho to Thank for Printer's Row Transformation

A reader recently sent us a nice Chicago Tribune overview article on the Printer's Row neighborhood. It talks about the history, schools, things to do and the challenges the neighborhood faces.

We like to think we're in the know on all things in the Sloop (obviously we don't know everything...but we try), but one part of the article intrigued us:

In the mid-1970s, forward-thinking architect Harry Weese set his sights on giving new life to the old printing buildings. Influenced by similar transformations of commercial space in SoHo, New York, Weese began buying the properties to sell as residential loft space, McClendon said. In 1981, soft lofts were introduced at Printers Square, a complex of five buildings along Federal Street from Harrison to Polk streets. River City to the west and 2 East 8th St. to the east opened in the mid-1980s. Meanwhile, Dearborn Park had been built south of Polk.
It's not uncommon for real estate developers to steal from other cities and countries. And it's not surprising to hear that Printer's Row or the South Loop found it's residential footing due to trends in New York. Regardless this is the first time we've read about the Soho connection.

Regardless of your thoughts on whether or not the Sloop has some similar characteristics to parts of Manhattan, this article is a good read and on point for the most part.

(Hat tip: ES!)
(Image from: Chicago Tribune)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Seen in the Sloop

Walking north on the 1400 and 1300 block of Wabash at 8:20am:

First spotting:
Young man with green, thick framed glasses. Styled blonde hair,
tight jeans, scooting down the sidewalk on his razor with
multi-color flashing lights within the wheels. Backback dangling on one
shoulder, one hand navigating the scooter, the other tipping his large coffee up to drink from.

Second spotting:
Crazy man who is always in my alley cleaning something (who knows what) on
old bike slowly peddaling down the street, muttering incoherent phrases and
aimlesly looking around.

Third spotting:
Mother pushing fancy stroller down the street with after picking up some
food down the street. Dressed in tights, big puffy vest and a
colorful knit beany on her head. Baby grinning from ear to ear
for no apparent reason. Mother oblvious to baby's state.


In Search of Running Buddies

We recently had a post about a reader's desire to have a running store open in the Sloop. We do too, but maybe we need to take baby steps to achieve this goal. Which is why we thought this reader's email might be that first step:
Hello Sloopin':

I am interested in a running group for the South Loop area. Do you know if anyone has ever expressed interested in or attempted to organize one in the past?

Many thanks,
Ironically we just got another post last night from a reader saying that they're starting a running group:
Hey Guys,

So I've lived in the neighborhood for almost 5 years now and have finally devoted some time to starting a running club in the South Loop. We're few in numbers right now (I created a website just a couple of weeks ago), but we have high hopes for helping out runners looking to team up for great runs along the lake.

I'm in the process of partnering with local businesses for sponsorships as I'd like the club to be free for all to join and participate. I'm especially excited in hopes of finding a venue that will welcome our club weekly for post~run drinks/meals.

As a recognizable source for what's going on in the Sloop, I thought you might have an idea or two about the best way to reach other Sloopers. I thought of commenting on a post but I didn't want to comment off topic or link the website without permissions. Any insight would be helpful.


Here is the link to their website ( Best of luck and have a good run!

(hat tip: BK & A!)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

New Restaurant Named Tribute to Open at Essex Inn on May 1st

We recently had a post about a new restaurant coming to the Essex Inn (800 S. Michigan) and today we read a post on the restaurant from the Chicago Tribune's food blog "The Stew":
The South Loop's fine-dining options will expand with the opening of Tribute, a classic-yet-modern American restaurant coming to the Essex Inn (800 S. Michigan Ave.) on May 1.

Brandon Baltzley, one-time chef de partie at Alinea and, very briefly, chef at Mado after Rob Levitt departed, will head up the restaurant, whose 100-seat dining room will boast unfettered views of Grant Park. General manager and partner Simon Lamb says the feel will be casual, prices moderate and service outstanding.

Looking forward to this one opening. We think Michigan Avenue (especially the restaurants on Grant Park) should have a better offering of restaurants. It is a beautiful area and hopefully this can start a trend of new and better restaurants coming to this strip.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Near South Soccer and Little League Registration

If you're like us, youth sports played a crucial role in your life growing up. Yes it builds character, teaches teamwork and keeps kids active, it's also fun! With that in mind we wanted to pass along some information for the parents interesting in getting their kids involved with youth sports:
Registration for Near South Soccer and Near South Little League will take place on February 26th from 2 to 4 pm at Old St. Mary’s Church located at 15th and Michigan. Boys and Girls aged 4 to 12 can participate in both programs. Games and practices take place at Dunbar Park. Soccer runs from April to June and baseball runs from June to July.

If you have any questions about soccer, please contact Scott Hanlon at Any questions about baseball can be directed to Jim Navarre at

For more information and online registration, you can visit the websites at and Near South Soccer and Near South Little League: building a better sense of community through sports.

(Hat tip: JN!)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Who Knows When Trader Joe's is Opening...But it is Eventually!

Looks like there is some wide ranging guesses about when Trade Joe's will be opening (based on our latest Sloopin poll), but one things is for is opening eventually.

We recently received an email from a reader who notified us that the Chicago (South Loop) location was on the "coming soon" page of the Trader Joe's website.

If you're like us, you walk by and stalkerishly peek into the building hoping for some signs of life. Last we checked didn't look like much progress, but we will continue to stalk this building!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

More Interesting Holiday Promotions at Custom House

It's becoming an inside joke over here at Sloopin that we're always are intrigued by Custom House Tavern's promotions but we never actually go take advantage of them (to this day we've still never been).

According to Chicago Eater it looks like they're having another interesting promotional twist in honor of Valentine's day:

Sure, everyone thinks Valentine's Day is just about love. But it turns out that St. Valentine is also the patron saint of bee keepers who often had roosters hanging around him (at least that's how it's shown in iconographic images). On top of that, Feb. 14 is also the ancient pagan holiday of Lupercalia, a celebration of fertility where people would often sacrifice a goat.

From this, Custom House Tavern chef Perry Hendrix is crafting a four-course meal ($44 a person) that pays homage to Valentinus and Lupercalia, where each course will somehow tie in either honey, rooster (sort of) or goat. The menu, which will be
served Feb. 11-14 alongside the restaurant's regular menu, will feature items like soft-boiled egg, coq au vin, braised goat shoulder and hay honey parfait for dessert.

(Image from Chicago Eater)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Chicago Auto Show Kicks Off Today

It's Mid-February and that can only mean one's time for the Chicago Auto Show. Even if you're not a car buff, it's a fun spectacle to witness. The show claims to be the biggest in the nation and it's right in our backyard. There are a ton of interesting interactive displays where you can take rides and what not.

Our personal favorite is looking at the concept cars. It's always fun to dream and these cars typically are far out there, but fun to think about regardless. It reminds us of the Simpson's episode where Homer creates his perfect car since his long lost brother is a car exec (sorry for the black and white video, but it was all we could find on Youtube...regardless it's a good clip):

Anyway, one of the Chicago Now blogs has a good rundown of some basic info about times and other important facts. Enjoy!

Friday, February 11, 2011

South Loop Aldermanic Forum on Saturday

Sorry for the back to back Alderman posts, but we wanted to pass this along:
South Loop Neighbors and The Greater South Loop Association will host a 2nd and 3rd Ward Aldermanic Forum this Saturday, February 12th. The event will be held at Columbia College, 1104 S. Wabash from 9am-1pm.

Jim Bosco - 2nd Ward
Melissa Callahan - 2nd Ward
Bob Fioretti - 2nd Ward
Enrique Perez - 2nd Ward
Genita Robinson - 2nd Ward
Federico Sciammarella - 2nd Ward

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What Do Endorsements Mean for the 2nd Ward Alderman Race

The race for 2nd Ward Alderman is heating up and the field is still relatively wide. We haven't spent much time providing information on this race for a variety of reasons (mostly because we don't feel like we're the most knowledgeable in this area). Regardless, it's important to the future of the Sloop, so will try to pass along articles and tidbits we find.

Today the Chicago Journal published a story talking about some of the endorsements the candidates are getting and what if anything they potential mean:
It’s hard to measure how important endorsements are, but they can bring candidates visibility, money and volunteers. In both wards, the incumbents expressed some skepticism about the importance of these endorsements.

Ald. Fioretti’s activity the last four years is way more important than any endorsements,” said Tom Gradel, campaign spokesman for the alderman. “He didn’t have all the endorsements in 2007 and he still got the most votes.”

Gotta Like Rahm's Plan for More Bike Paths

This is an older story, but it just came to our attention again that Rahm is the only mayoral candidate to have a plan for Bikes. Although we know that Chicago is one of the nation's friendliest biking cities, hopefully they continue to make improvements and become the best biking city in the country. If you want to see this happen, Rham might be your guy.
According to

Electoral Promises
  • Electoral promises aren't the safest bet around, but let's have a look
    anyway. What has been promised so far?

  • He will build 25 miles of new bike lanes each year and prioritize protected
    bike lanes.
    "...initiate a review of [the Bike 2015 Plan's] goals and
    timelines to identify opportunities to expand the plan and accelerate the pace
    of implementation."

  • Rahm will have the Bloomingdale Trail open and functional by the end of his

  • Make an ordinance that says buildings with over 200 workers must install
    indoor bike parking.

  • Double the number of on-street bike parking, including in
We like the sound of this. If only he could promise to convert the train tracks that are just north of 16th street into a walking/biking path to the lake...then we would be talking!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

TLC Cafe Opening on February 15th?

In case you didn't click through to the Chicago Magazine link we posted on Friday and read the entire article there were two other interesting tidbits about other restaurants in the neighborhood.

Don't try any funny business at Donna's Cafe (1255 S. State St.; 312-461-1005), where the namesake Donna put in 25 years with the Chicago police, patrolling the streets of Englewood. . . .

Homemade meat loaf, pulled pork, and hand-carved turkey sandwiches will be on
offer at the cafeteria-style TLC (424 S. Wabash Ave.; 312-880-0818), a sister restaurant to Chicago Carry Out. Target opening date is February 15th.

Most avid Slooping followers knew the tidbit about Donna's, but the news about TLC is encouraging. Hope it's a good place...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cliche + Cheese + Corruption = The Chicago Code

We were eager to catch the premiere episode of Fox's new drama the Chicago Code last night, but was a little nervous based on some of the previews we saw promoting the show. Would the show showcase the city as we perceive it or would it simply be obvious cliches that make you want to cringe?

Well we're sad to say that the initial episode made us laugh out loud multiple times (and that's not a good sign for a drama). The first episode was filled with so many cheesy one liners we wouldn't be surprised Giordano's or Lou's some how sponsored this to promote their famous "Chicago-style" pizza.

Whether it was the fast talking main character who was a Sox fan threatening his partner because he was hiding his allegiance to the Cubs, or the slick/dirty and well dressed alderman, or the corrupt cop referencing "the way" things are done in Chicago, or the shady construction company fixing a bid, it was honestly tough to watch. Maybe we're jaded and think our city is much more interesting than these cliches, but I guess that "Chicago" doesn't play well with a broader national audience.

There were some things we enjoyed. It was fun to try to look at the scene and figure out where it was shot. The South Loop was a prime filming area for the show (which we posted about here), but in the first episode the only time our neighborhood seemed to be featured was when they were driving down Columbus in Grant Park or when they were setting up a crime scene for a double homicide by the Buckingham fountain.

Regardless, we haven't given up on the Chicago Code yet. We will tune in next week to see if the show progresses and see if the cheese was a way to initially appeal to a broader audience (who might be tuning in due to the heavy promotion during the Super Bowl).

Wanted: Unique, Visionary Ideas for McCormick Place East

McCormick place seems to always be a controversial subject in Chicago (especially the East building which sits on some high value land right on lake Michigan). There have been endless discussions and rumors about what to do with the building. Should it be torn down and turned into parkland for people to enjoy? Should it be converted into a space for a different purpose (ie Casino)?

The “McCormick Place REDUX” competition seeks to launch a debate about the
future of this significant piece of architecture, this lakefront site that was effectively removed from the public realm, and the powerful pull of a collective and public claim on the lakefront. This iconic building is caught in the crossfire of a strong, principled, and stirring debate. So the question posed by the competition is quite simple: what would you do with this massive facility? What alternate role might the building play in Chicago should it be decommissioned as a convention hall? And if the building were to go away, how might the site be utilized? What might you do with a million square feet of space on Chicago’s lakefront (along with 4,200 seat Arie Crown theatre)?

Clearly outmoded for its original use, sited on a spectacular stretch of lake-front, and undoubtedly of very significant architectural quality - what visions are there for a resolution?

Should be interesting see what comes of the competition. We love ideas and there is bound to be some unique ones.

But don't get to excited. In a Tribune post by architecture expert Blair Kamin, a trustee from the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (who runs the McCormick Place campus) said it's highly unlikely that this building is going to be demolished.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ole' Hardwood Fire Still Under Investigation

We weren't sure if this was going to be swept under the rug or whether or not we would ever hear another peep about the Ole' Hardwood fire (see ole' sloopin "ole' charwood" article about the fire), but we found this article in the Chicago Journal about the investigation surrounding the fire well done and extremely interesting. We especially liked the part towards the end that talks about the general managers experience:
“Everything shady started after Thanksgiving,” said Alexander Carlin, the former general manager and sommelier of Ole’ Hardwood, who said he quit in December.

Carlin said the restaurant had problems paying its food suppliers, so the restaurant would sometimes run out of menu items. On top of that, Carlin claimed his boss wasn’t paying the employees either.

So in December, Carlin said he’d had enough and quit.

“I knew I had to leave the sinking ship,” said Carlin. “The operation put undue and unreasonable strain on my employees financially, and procedurally that I did not feel comfortable taking part in.”

Upon leaving, Carlin says the owner asked him to sign a confidentiality agreement, which he declined to sign until he was paid, he said.

Ten days later, the building went up in flames.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Shots Around the Sloop: People, Animals, Auto & Snow

A different and interesting look at the blizzard from a fellow Slooper:
South Loop based filmaker captures the height of the blizzard from her bedroom window on South Financial Place. People animals and automobiles interacting with the snow. Definitely not the usual boring time lapse.

By Rebecca Parrish (

Friday, February 4, 2011

Does the Sloop Need Another Sports Bar?

Our guess is that most people would say no, in our opinion that's plain stupid. What the Sloop needs is good businesses and good concepts. Judging by this little write-up in the Chicago Magazine that a commenter posted yesterday, we might be getting both:
The fat lady has sung for Opera, which closed on December 31st. The Scout (1301 S. Wabash Ave.; no phone yet), owned by Chris Bravos (The Pony Inn), George Archos (Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe), and Jeff Wolfe, is its planned replacement. "It's going to be a neighborhood eatery and upscale sports bar," Bravos says. "We're going to go with something cozy, intimate, and lodgey." With almost 300 seats, 30 TVs, a wide-ranging beer menu, and fancy bar food, the place will fill an unmet South Loop need, Bravos says. The Scout's owners are shooting for a May 1st opening, as soon as they finish the remodeling, chef hiring, and their orienteering merit badge.

A lot of interesting tidbits in this piece. The good news is that it sounds like they're shooting to open this spring and it sounds like the people behind this concept have some good experience. Not sure if Jerry Kliener is still involved, but regardless, it's an interesting read. Personally I've never been to the Pony Inn in Lakeview, but a couple of the blog's contributors have been and seem to think it's a good place. Some other people might remember hearing about the Pony Inn since it was where many of the Blackhawks celebrated the night they got home from winning the Stanley Cup. Hopefully they repeat and decide to christen The Scout with a visit from Lord Stanley's Cup.

We can dream, can't we? Anyway, our assumption is that the concept will be adapted to the South Loop crowd as opposed to the Lakeview crowd (whatever we mean by that), but regardless it's good to know we're getting some new, fresh blood into the neighborhood.

The other interesting thing that struck us is that it's shooting for a cozy, intimate, lodgey concept. It's a big space, so achieving intimacy could be difficult, but we like the idea and hope it's possible. Given that it currently seems like we have five feet of snow on the ground lodgey sounds perfect as long as that means big comfy couches, a foosball table and some dead animal hanging from the wall.

Finally, even though people are quick to write-off the proverbial "sports bar", in our opinion that's foolish. When we look at some of the cities "best nightlife" areas they're peppered with sports bars. Everyone knows Lincoln Park and Lakeview are littered with these types of places. But if you look to trendier more alternative areas such as the North/Damen/Milwaukee corridor or Division street in Wicker Park, most of these places also could be characterized as "sports bars". Yes they might not be fratty, but they have a ton of TV's and every time I'm there they seem to be playing a variety of sporting events. Remember people, this is Chicago not the meatpacking district in Manhattan.

All we're saying is that new, unique concepts should be encouraged. Yes, Opera was a South Loop pioneer, but most people can attest that it has been languishing behind the other places on this block. Flo & Santos is fresh and unique. Zapatista is always packed and festive. And Gioco is Gioco...a staple that people seem to genuinely enjoy.

We're excited for The Scout and am sure it will fit into the neighborhood perfectly.

Now if we could only do something about the boarded up windows at Ole' Charwood.

(Hat tip: Anonymous Commenter!)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Grace O'Malley's Closed; New Concept Coming

At least according to the sign in their window. We are eager to see what comes next:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Shots Around the Sloop: The 2011 Thundersnow Blizard

I'm one of those people who scoffs at weathermen when they predict catastrophic storms. Well, today I'm one of those people who is amazed by the craziness of the past 24 hours. I've seen big snow falls in my day (and actually like them), but the wind and thundersnow was truly unique and interesting to witness. Although I'm glad I wasn't outside during this mess, it definitely was fun to watch from the window of our warm (and safe) South Loop condo.

After being couped up in the condo for a long time, we decided it was time to venture out, get some food, pick up a movie and take some shots around the Sloop. We weren't sure what was opened, but called Yolk and they were.

Although you might think the streets would be empty, it was surprisingly busy outside. It was also busy at Yolk. Believe it or not we at 12:30 in the afternoon we had to wait for about 5 to 10 minutes.

Anyway, here are some shots around the Sloop taken by us and a video last night from a reader.

Digging out on Michigan Avenue: Newspaper Racks feel the wrath of South Michigan:South Michigan Avenue Jimmy Johns awning destroyed:

Shattered windows at the building that houses Ma&I:
People playing at agora statues:
Good luck getting out on 14th street:
An interesting video from last night:
Really starting to blow out there now, must be 50mph from every direction
at once. My wife Cynthia, with Lula, walking east on 18th from Michigan Ave,
crossing Indiana. All the lights are out on that side but the rest of the street
lights give a really weird glow to the neighborhood. (The wind gets really
loud crossing the street...turn speakers down).

Happy Blizzarding!

(Hat tip: ND & RM!)

Let it snow?

What can we say...this is pretty crazy.

Should be an interesting day in Chicago.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Jones College Prep Gets High Marks from the State

There has been a lot of coverage over the past couple years about the plans for a new building for Jones College Prep (606 S. State), one of the states best public high schools. The picture on the right is the design for those of you who are curious. However, yesterday we read a story in the Trib about a different subject, but still very positive for the school:

Students at Jones College Prep High School got a surprise Monday when Illinois' top educator said the South Loop school had received more of the state's academic awards than any other public school.

One of Chicago's most selective high schools, Jones was recognized for its consistently high academic performance -- more than 80 percent of high school students surpassed state standards in reading and math -- as well as its high academic performance as a school where more than half of students live in poverty. In all, Jones has gotten 14 awards since the Illinois Honor Roll program began in 2003, state officials said.

"It's a remarkable achievement," Illinois schools Superintendent Christopher Koch told students gathered in the auditorium for a surprise assembly that prompted high-fives and cheers. "It's a pretty big deal."

What's more, the senior class earned a composite score of 24.9 out of 36 on the college entrance exam, the highest score posted in the school's history.

(Image from Gazette Chicago)