Sunday, August 31, 2014

Shots Around the Sloop: Pothole Silver Lining

A reader writes:
CDOT neglect allows view of Sloop's past:  Seems like these potholes might not get fixed before winter, but at least we get to see some "hidden Chicago," to steal a phrase. 
On eighteenth under the old railroad bridge, just west of Clark, we can see the old brick street, along with three rail tracks, presumably for a pair of street trolleys from the sloop's past.

(Hat tip: MLG!)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Walking Tour of Chicago's Classic Rail Stations

The Chicago Architecture Blog recently did a post about a Rail Station walking tour they did which included the Sloop's Dearborn Station.  They provide some context on why the did the tour:
We are lucky to still have a classically designed working rail station in Chicago, filled with ornamentation and unusual designs in its nooks and crannies.  
There were actually eight interstate rail stations in the city back in 1930, all located in the same general area. I went along with intrepid local historian Rich Kolar and a dozen street photographers last weekend to shoot the remnants of that golden era of rail travel. It’s a walk ripe with possibilities for architectural photography.

Classic rail stations are usually something to behold.  If you have some time, maybe you can recreate this walking tour - sounds fun to us.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Vintage Post Cards Showcase Old-Timey Sloop

Because we like looking at old-timey Chicago, Curbed Chicago recently posted a link to 51 vintage Chicago postcards (featuring some familiar Sloop locations like Solider Field, Congress Hotel, Shedd, among others).

Our favorite is this amazing panoramic drawing of the 1933 Century of Progress World's Fair and the Sloop before it was the Sloop.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Why is the Printer's Row Fountain Off?

Printer's Row Fountain When Water is Running

A reader asks:
I was just curious if you have the scoop on why the fountain in the Printer's Row Park (between Federal and Dearborn) is off?
Not sure.  Anyone?

(Hat tip:  KM!)

Chicago Fire Shooting in the Sloop Today

A reader sends us the following pic:
(Hat tip: AK!)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Which Sloop Civic Project Will Have the Biggest Impact on the Neighborhood?

If you're a regular on the site, you know we often do polls on our right navigation bar.  Sometimes they're insignificant and sometimes they're a little more serious.

Anyway, just wanted to call your attention to a poll we just launched asking "Which Impending Sloop Civic Project Will have the Biggest Impact on the Neighborhood?"

For some background here are links to each project:

Did we miss anything else substantial?

Some pretty big projects going on if you ask us - never a dull moment in the Sloop!

Is FruVe Finally Opening?

A reader writes about FruVe potentially opening:
Last night I was walking past 1130 S. Wabash around 10:00 PM and saw some guys cleaning off the inside glass of the FruVe storefront. It's been closed up for months with no signs of opening, but it looks like this juice bar or something like it is going to open up after all. There is no signage, but there was refrigeration equipment, etc. inside, so I'm not sure if it's the same concept or not. Have any info on this?
We don't have any info on this unfortunately.  It's been over a year since this was announced so would be pretty surprised if it's FruVe (especially since they took down all the signage and whatnot).

Anyone have any intel on this?

UPDATE:  Upon some further investigation on our end (aka walking by the retail space) we snapped the following picture.  Looks like FruVe is opening:

(Hat tip: JK!)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

New McCormick Place Arena and Hotel Set to Begin Construction in Early 2015 and Shooting for Completion in 2017

Curbed Chicago provides an update:
Tuesday night, the 3rd ward's alderman Pat Dowell hosted a public meeting where McCormick Place representatives presented an update on the ongoing development project to expand the convention facility's footprint by constructing a new Pelli Clarke Pelli designed arena and events center, a new high rise hotel and convention center, as well as a new data center. The meeting was primarily meant to address neighborhood residents' concerns about the traffic and parking implications of the new construction and facilities, but there were a few updates about the buildings themselves. 
The 51 story hotel building, set to be a Marriott Marquis with 1,200 rooms and considerable conference and event space, as well as the 10,000 seat stadium, which will host DePaul University's basketball games and be available for concerts and other events, will both start construction in January 2015. The stadium should be completed by February 2017, with the hotel's completion following in May.

Monday, August 25, 2014

T.J. Maxx Opens at The Maxwell

If this CTA bus advertising is correct, T.J. Maxx apparenty opened yesterday at The Maxwell.

Business counter is updated.

Sloop's Beer Movement Progressing...Just Not as Fast As Everyone Wants!

The Sloop's beer revolution is still developing (which we will chalk up to the City that works...working slowly?!?!?).  Back in May we checked in on the numerous beer centric happenings in the neighborhood.

Anyway, last we heard Vice District Brewing was planning on opening this past Friday (8/22).  Well according to some Facebook posts, it sounds like they're just waiting on the city:

According to their posts, they will be opening up this upcoming Friday (8/29).

In other beer news, the popular Printer's Row spot Villains is also in waiting mode to officially open its doors.  We stopped in a couple of weeks ago just to see how things were going and can attest that the space is rad.  While their old spot was dark and dank (in a good way), the new buildout looks industrial and raw.  You will like.  But more importantly we know they know beer and we know you will like this as well.

Broad Shoulders Brewery which changed its name to Motor Row Brewery also seems to be making some good progress.  Their Facebook page is full of pictures and progress, but what it doesn't say is when they're going to be opening to the public.  Stay tuned.

Finally, South Loop Brewing Company is also making progress.  Currently they're not brewing in the Sloop, but hope to eventually.  Regardless, you have to start somewhere and hope to have them in the South Loop soon!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Chicago Magazine Suggests Four Bands to Check-out At this Weekend's Bash on Wabash

The O'My's play Bash on Wabash this Saturday, August 23, at 6:45 p.m.   
Earlier this week we did a post about all of the things going on at the Bash on Wabash.

One thing we didn't spend much time on was the music (mostly because we didn't really know any of them).  Luckily Chicago Magazine did and highlights some of the acts in this post.

Based on their suggestions "The O'My's" seem the most interesting.  They sum it up:
This self-described “band of scoundrels and hooligans” are leading a new generation of local funk and soul nuts (they call it “rock-n-soul"), and go heavy on the Chicago pride. The band has collaborated with hometown heroes ranging from Twista to Chance the Rapper to the Chicago Children’s Choir, so there’s no telling who might pop on stage during their set Saturday evening. Saturday at 6:45 p.m.

So if you're looking for something to do, head on over to the Bash today and checkout some solid music!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Sixpax Moves to Bigger Space at 1234 S. Michigan Suite 200

A reader sends us a email they received about Sixpax moving:
Thank you to all of our loyal Sixpax clients and teachers in the South Loop for all of your support and hard work the past three years. When I opened this business three years ago it was just me - teaching everything! Thanks to the community surrounding me today we have a team of ten and counting.  
I am THRILLED to announce we are moving TODAY (8/13/2014) into a newly renovated permanent home in the South Loop! 
Please visit us at: 1234 S. Michigan Ave. Suite 200 (In the old Universal Studios building above Ma&i Thai)  
Although we are growing into a larger space we are still proud to uphold our intimate class sizes and personalized community feel.  
Stay tuned for news about our grand opening specials, additional classes, and the fourth annual SIXPAXPALOOZA/GRAND OPENING party!

(Hat tip:  JV!)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Prime Real Estate Lots Back on the Market Along the Chicago River

This is a slightly old story, but figured people would still be interested in case they missed it (via Crains):
Lots for Sale both North and South
of the infamous River City (Image via Crains)
Two development sites surrounding the River City residential building along the Chicago River are for sale, both coming out of extended legal battles.  
Chicago-based Millennium Properties R/E Inc. was appointed by a Bankruptcy Court judge to broker the sale of a 1.8-acre site just south of Bertrand Goldberg-designed River City, 800 S. Wells St., between Wells and the river in the South Loop. The property is owned by embattled condominium developer Nicholas Gouletas but has been tied up in Bankruptcy Court since August 2013 in the aftermath of Mr. Gouletas' failed attempt to acquire an almost 3,900-unit apartment portfolio for $950 million.  
The parcel, now used as a parking lot, has zoning in place to develop 282 residential units, said Daniel Hyman, president of Millennium Properties. The land between River City and the Roosevelt Collection mixed-use development to the south is worth $10 million, Mr. Hyman said. An investor familiar with the property estimated it to be worth closer to $7.8 million, or $100 per square foot.
They also mention another smaller lot in the vicinity of these two that is for sale:
Along the east side of River City, a 0.8-acre parcel, also currently a parking lot, was listed for sale less than a month ago by Seattle-based brokerage Colliers International.  
That site, at 817-907 S. Wells St., has an asking price of $6.2 million, or $175 per square foot, according to a Colliers flier.
If you recall we did a post on this lot because a reader thought there might be some action coming.  Apparently that didn't pan out.

(Hat tip:  JJ!)

Looks Like the Sloop Just Got a Little Sexier - Victoria's Secret Coming to Roosevelt Collection

A reader writes:
So noticed new build out at RC. This is just north of the now closed Habadash. Door staff said that it was Victoria Secrets.
People have been suspecting that this would be a prime spot for Victoria's Secret for awhile now (see comment section from an old post we did back in 2012).

After a quick search on the interwebs we found a job posting for Victoria's Secret Roosevelt Collection on Linkedin:

So yeah, looks like this is legit.  We're updating the business counter right now.

And this gives us an excuse to post a video:

(Hat tip: SH!)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Little Free Library in the Sloop @ 1511 South Michigan

A nice little addition the neighborhood (via somnia on the Sloopin message board):
There's a new addition to the South Loop - a Little Free Library located along the sidewalk at 1511 South Michigan Avenue (just south of the physical therapy building in a flower bed).  
Its already getting a lot of use.  Please come take a book and leave a book.  
This is a great opportunity to clean out your bookshelves and share with your neighbors. Help yourself to a book while you drop your old books off.  
Its stocked with books for both adults and children. It was a little low on books this morning, so now is a good time to add some new ones to the library! Enjoy!  
Questions about the Little Free Library? Email

11th Annual Bash On Wabash Begins Saturday; New Features Include Fitness Programming and Chef's Demonstration Table

It's time for the annual Bash on Wabash and amazingly it's in it's 11th year:
2014 marks the Eleventh Year Anniversary for the “Bash On Wabash” with the goal of bringing neighbors and businesses alike, from near and far, to a festival that showcases the beauty, creativity, history and culture of the South Loop.
This year promises to be a more robust and well rounded fest.  New to the fest is a chef's demonstration table featuring various restaurants around the Sloop and a fitness program including a 5K run on Saturday and a 10 mile bike ride on Sunday.  This will also continue to include musical acts both days and plenty of things to do for kids.

Should be fun!  Look to see you there.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Join Us for Summer at Roosevelt Collection

Sponsored Post

Lollapalooza 2014: The Well Oiled Machine

Playing in the mud at Lollapalooza (image via Chicago Sun Times)
This is the 8th time we've been to Lollapalooza in Grant Park and after this last visit a couple things are clear to us:
  1. Like the old college adage - we continue to get older, but everyone else stays the same age.  This is also so very true at Lolla.  It's definitely a young mans game...  
  2. It's the 10th year it's been in Grant Park and the festival is a well oiled machine now
It's hard to remember the old days when the festival was only two days and was confined to Hutchinson field (the south field of Grant Park) way back in 2005.  Today the festival has morphed into more days (3 days) and a much bigger footprint (extending all the way north to Monroe and west almost all the way over to the train tracks in between Columbus and Michigan) and is just bigger in almost every way possible.

While some may complain that the event takes up so much space for the entire weekend, it really has made the festival better and more manageable.  It seems like most in the Sloop feel that Lollapalooza is still a net positive judging by the recent poll we did:

We would agree.

Hutchinson Field south end of Grant Park
post Lollapalooza (via sun times)
One of the biggest wild cards during the festival isn't the music or the enormous tends to be the weather.   It's impossible to control for this and as a result often causes the most angst post Lolla.   This year saw big rains on Sunday which caused some hefty damage (via Sun Times): 
Sections of Grant Park turned into a muddy mess because of heavy rains during Lollapalooza will be cordoned off well into September, thanks to $266,000 in landscape repairs that began Wednesday at the promoter's expense. The damage is roughly $50,000 more than last year but pales in comparison to the $800,000 in damage that followed the “monsoon”-like rains that marred the three-day music festival in 2011.
Given that C3, the company that puts on Lollapalooza, has agreed to pay for any damages, you know they're doing all they can to minimize the expenses from rains.  However, it's virtually impossible to avoid this type of damage if it rains.

Anyway, despite the fact that this makes parts of the park out of commission after the festival - it seems like most feel that it's still worth the inconvenience.

Further more, the mayor's office released a statement saying (via DNAinfo):
“Chicago’s lakefront offers the perfect backdrop to hold this world-class festival," Emanuel said.  
The release estimated that the festival "infused more than $139 million into the local economy in 2013" and praised the festival's ability to bring nonresidents — 69 percent of all attendees — Downtown.
That's a lot of money and just walking around the Sloop and greater downtown area it's hard not to see how the festival spills into businesses around the city.  It seems like every bar, restaurant, club is having some sort of Lollapalooza promotion or party or something.

But like we said above, none of this is new.  Lollapalooza is a well oiled machine at this point and it has been for awhile.  The story on the festival's impact both good and bad hasn't changed.  The story lines are the same and if you search hard enough (or click here) you will probably see a similar sentiment from us from previous years.

Before we end this post, we have to talk about the music - after all that is what Lolla is about, right?

Many music snobs will say Lollapalooza is about the worst way to watch a show or that the lineup isn't good.  Fine.  We get it.  Lollapalooza isn't the cutting edge music festival it once was (Greg Kot from Chicago Tribune gives a good recap and touches upon this sentiment).

Regardless, we still enjoy it every year.  Highlights for us included Broken Bells on Friday.  It was a lazy Friday afternoon show, but their music is distinct, different and wide ranging.  Zedd at the Perry's stage on Friday night was also a sight to see.  We don't love EDM, but do appreciate the amazing party atmosphere it whips up.  Cage the Elephant was pretty rad and the lead singer was a maniac on Sunday.  Chromeo continues to be a favorite even if their songs are inconsistent.  Some are totally off, but some make it impossible to not dance and smile.

We didn't see Iggy Azalea - but not surprisingly she drew a huge crowd on Friday.  Same goes for Lorde.  Didn't see her, but apparently she was the star at Lolla this year.  She's fine, but we will anoint her as the next big thing once we see some follow-up material after her first album Pure Heroine.  While it ain't easy to record a critically acclaimed ALBUM (yes, we said album...whatever that is these days), it's hard to write two or even more.

Which is a perfect segue into my favorite moment of Lollapalooza 2014 - Outkast's Saturday night performance.

Headliners are headliners because they're great and accomplished and mean so much to so many people on so many levels.  In previous years at Lolla we've seen some great headliners - Radiohead, Daft Punk (however this one was especially special for some reason), Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kanye West, Wilco - but none of them have been a "favorite".

With that said, I'm a child of the 80s and Outkast's rhymes and melodies have been the soundtrack to many of my formative years.

I distinctly remember sitting in the back seat of my neighbors car bumping ATLiens while he smoked a cigarette driving me to my first day of high school:

Or listening to So Fresh, So Clean in 2000 thinking that it might be time to adopt Andre 3000's wardrobe (which I didn't do obviously, but in hindsight probably should have) as well as debating the meaning of a lyric about "Anne Frank" in the song with one my long time friends:

Or having my mind blown in college by the duo's musical evolution on the Speakerboxxx/The Love Below album and having my roommates band do an amazing but ironic cover of "Roses":

Or even deciding that the instrumental version of SpottieOttieDopalicious was the perfect song for me, my wife and our wedding party to walk into our wedding reception with (for those of you who don't know, now you know - fast forward to 1:10ish).  Fast forward to the Friday before Lollapalooza and hearing a street band on the corner of Randolph and State playing those sweet horns:  
All of these memories and so many more all culminated for me at Lollapalooza - the first and probably last time I will ever see Outkast perform live.  Every song they performed on Saturday had a distinct memory.  

And while I didn't have the best seats in the house (aka field) and didn't have all of my friends that I've shared so many Outkast moments with, it was still an unforgettable night on so many levels.

This experience isn't something that is necessarily unique to Lollapalooza.  I'm sure people have had their own similar experiences at a Lady Gaga concert.  Or a Pearl Jam concert.  Or a Paul McCarthy concert.  Or a Jay-Z concert.  Or fill in the blank concert.

But whatever - it's not everyday where you can gingerly stroll into Grant Park, hang out, drink some beer, checkout some bands you've never heard, do some amazing people watching, checkout some bands you're moderately familiar with, eat some solid food, relax in a beautiful park with an amazing skyline view and then checkout one of your favorite musical acts of all time with tens of thousands of fans who are all there to have some fun.  

Seems like a winning combination if you ask me.

Thanks Lollapalooza - see you next year!    

Monday, August 18, 2014

Rumor Around the Sloop: British School Eyeing Southeast Corner of Michigan and Roosevelt?

A juicy rumor for a high profile piece of land:
Overheard a conversation today that would indicate that the British School may be looking at the empty lot that borders Michigan, Roosevelt and Indiana as a location for their High School. (Even as the construction is underway North of the Roosevelt Collection for PreK to 8th Grade. I know you've shown the design plans for a huge tower, but this might bear some further investigation...
"The Chicago" Renderings at Michigan and Roosevelt
The design plan the reader is referencing is "The Chicago" high-rise that continues to pop up around the web.  We posted about this back in late June.

It is an interesting idea, but seems like a pretty pricey piece of real estate for a school to buy.  Definitely seems more ripe for high end condos or maybe that's just the capitalist in me talking.  Then again, what the hell do we know.  Has anyone heard any similar rumors?

Since we're talking about the British School, Curbed Chicago recently checked in on the progress of their construction at Roosevelt Collection:
Only two months ago, the British School of Chicagoand developer McCaffery Interests celebrated the groundbreaking of the new South Loop campus of the school, and today the school already has three of its walls and most of its steel skeleton. Construction has been progressing at a steady pace to be open on-schedule for the fall 2015 semester.
The British School of Chicago - Looking east (Picture from Curbed Chicago)

(Hat tip:  JG!)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Grooming Your Childs "Best Brain"

A reader writes:
Brought my child to this new place called Best Brains today. Looks interesting.

Their website has an interesting video (that we can't embed) and states:
Best Brains is an enrichment program designed to enhance your child's overall academic development. Board-certified teachers work with your child on a weekly basis in a fun-filled interactive learning environment. Our low student to teacher ratio ensures your child receives the attention he/she needs.

Our teaching methodology is non-repetitive and aims to challenge students by introducing new concepts and skills each week. Our comprehensive program is one of a kind. We are the only learning center to provide instruction in Math, English, Abacus and General Knowledge all under one roof.
They just opened so we will add them to the business counter.

(Hat tip:  AK!)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Something Coming to Empty Lot at 624 S. Wabash?

A reader writes:
I'm sure it's happened before but just walked by 624 s wabash and noticed the for sale sign on the lot was still up but there was a soil boring crew on site. This is another void on the "wabash arts corridor" that would welcome some infill.
While it doesn't mean anything for sure, it usually is a sign that someone is interested in doing something on the land.  For instance a similar exercise happened at the land at 1000 S. Clark and now a gigantic rental building is coming.

Similarly, soil samples were taken at 609 S. State earlier this year, but nothing has materialized there yet.

With that said, does anyone have the scoop on this lot?  Seems ripe for something on a smaller scale?  Maybe a 4 or 5 story retail/residential building?

(Hat tip:  DP!)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

What's Up with the Manicured Grass on the Roof of Printers Row Starbucks?

A reader writes:
Hey Sloopin,  
What's with the perfectly manicured grass on the roof of the Starbucks on Harrison and Dearborn? It looks like the perfect place to have a drink in the sun. 
Are there condos above Starbucks that have access to it? 
I've never seen anyone up there.

Good question - but we don't have the answer.  It sure does look tranquil.  Maybe it's someones sweet outdoor piece of nature in the concrete jungle?

Does anyone have the scoop on this?

UPDATE:  Thanks for the feedback both in the comment section and on social media.  Here is probably the best reference:

(Hat tip:  KS!)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Crave Cafe Closes; Could be Yours for $74K

Another one bites the dust at 1250 S. Michigan.  Crave Cafe and Lounge has apparently closed at 1250 S. Michigan.  Upon recently walking by the place was pretty much empty.  No TVs on the walls, no liquor behind the bar - a chaotic and abrupt stop to business.

To further put the nail in the coffin a reader recently sent us a $74,000 listing for the retail space via Loopnet:
Newly built out cafe/lounge located in the heart of South Loop. Features a 50' wrap around marble bar. Includes a full kitchen with top-of-the-line equipment: convection oven, grill ice maker, dishwasher, griddle, soup chaff, espresso maker, shake machine and more. No existing black iron. Attract South Loop dwellers any time of day from morning to night. Operating business. Do not disturb employees or management.  
South Loop- Next to Roosevelt Red Line The South Loop is home to a thriving community of young professionals, students of nearby colleges, and Chicago' s very own former Mayor, Richard M. Daley. The neighborhood features notable historical landmarks that include the 1836 Clarke House, one of Chicago' s oldest residences; a diverse dining scene; blues clubs and other nightlife options; and the convenience of the Museum Campus and Loop a short stroll away.

Obviously the Richard M. Daley comment is a little dated, but whatever.

As a reminder, Crave opened in September of 2013.  Closed for a brief remodel in June of 2014.  And apparently closed for good in July.  Before that, Karamela Cafe had a brief stint in 2013 and before that Winestyles also had a go in the space.

Who's up next?

(Hat tip:  KB!)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Build-out for Aurelio's "Flagship" Location Begins?

Judging by the picture above it appears that the build-out has begun for Aurelio's "Flagship" Pizza location in the Sloop at 1212 S. Michigan.

Back in late February word came down that Aurelio's, the popular mostly suburban pizza chain was going to be opening up what was termed a "flagship" location in the Sloop.

The good news is that it appears that this is moving forward.  The even better news, is that it also appears that they are completely redoing the inside and outside of the space - which is great since it wasn't exactly a good looking space from the outside.

Hopefully this build-out brings a little more character to this prominent gateway in the Sloop.  It's gotta be an improvement from what it was.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Nike Air Pop Store Opens at 900 S. Wabash

Work in progress at Nike Air Pop-up Store (900 S. Wabash)
Just last week a reader emailed us about brown paper on the windows at the retail space at 900 S. Wabash.  He thought it might be in conjunction with an Obey mural that was being painted just south of the retail space.  As suspected it isn't.

The retail space at 900 S. Wabash seems ripe for a permanent tenant, but apparently no one wants to lock it down.  It is usually a Halloween pop-up store every year.  However, last year it served a pop-up studio for artist Hebru Brantley during and around Lollapalooza.

This year, it appears that a bigger brand, Nike Air, is taking the space over.  While it appears that Nike goes big when they do a store, it's not a permanent store (we walked in and asked).  The store will be open throughout the week.

We tried to do some searching on the interwebs, but surprisingly didn't find much.  No press release, no dedicated web page, nothing (or at least we couldn't find much).  What we did find was a smattering of social media pictures and shoutouts.  This one is actually from the @NikeChicago handle:

It would appear that we're not in the know on this topic, but a couple thoughts: One it sounds like this may be in conjunction with the popular South Loop sneaker shop, Succezz (1329 S. Michigan).

A reader actually did find something and sent us this from a website called modern-notoriety (which also has a ton for pictures from inside):
Nike World Basketball Festival is just a few days away and what better way to celebrate the occasion, by opening up a Pop Up shop in Downtown Chicago where all WBF festivities will be taking place. The Shop is located at 900 S. Wabash and is a one stop shop for gear, customizations on Tees, Jerseys and Sneakers, and a good spot to interact with local personalities. Make sure you stop through and pick up some gear for WBF.
Anyway, if you're into sneaker culture or are just interested to see how Nike "does it", head on over to the store this week.  It's pretty amazing that they put this much money and energy into a pop-up store.  They must be doing something right.

(Hat tip:  RB, NP, MI, MR, JR, TR, MW!)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Volunteers Needed for 2014 Bash on Wabash

The Bash on Wabash is coming up (August 23 & 24th) and the Greater South Loop Association is calling for volunteers:
Hi everyone, 
Hopefully you already know that the Bash on Wabash is coming up on August 23 and 24 ( if you didn't, now you do. 
There is a lot going on this year - A LOT - in an attempt to make the festival more lively, entertaining, engaging, exciting, and so on. Better bands and food, yes, but also a South Loop chef demo table, a 5k run, a 10mi bike ride, street entertainment (i.e. karate demos from a local dojo, BMX riders, the DePaul basketball team), beer tastings, a massive Kids' Bash, and so on. 
I hope you'll come, but I also hope you'll consider volunteering some time as well. A couple of perks come with volunteering - 1) Attend our Bash kick off party at Roosevelt Collection on August 7, with food from Porkchop and live music. 2) Get a free pint at Vice District Brewing in August if you wear your Bash shirt. 3) And get to meet some new South Loop neighbors! 
There are lots of ways to volunteer, lots of time slots, etc. Follow this link to see your options and sign up: 
Please also feel free to share this with neighbors, your building e-mail list, churches, etc. Thanks in advance!

(Hat tip: JE!)

Shots Around the Sloop: UFO

From a reader:
UFO? What are these lights I'm seeing the the sloop?

(Hat tip: CPM!)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Netflix's "Sense 8" Filming in the Sloop This Weekend

Looks like a new Netflix series is shooting in the Sloop this weekend (via Chicago Tribune):
“The series follows eight characters around the world who, in the aftermath of a tragic death, find themselves linked to each other mentally and emotionally,” “Sense8” co-showrunner J. Michael Straczynski told Deadline. “They can not only see and talk to each other as though they were in the same place, they have access to each other’s deepest secrets. Not only must they figure out what happened and why and what it means for the future of humanity, they must do so while being hunted by an organization out to capture, kill or vivisect them.”
Movie Trailers on Wabash just south of 14th
From the Tribune article sounds like the show is scheduled to debut in 2015.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Chopstick Chinese and Sushi Replaces Yang's at 28 E. Roosevelt?

We noticed this as well:
As I walked to the red line yesterday I noticed that Yang Noodle is now Chopstick Chinese and Sushi. Do you know if this is simply a rebranding of Yang, or did Yang close down and this is a whole new restaurant? I peeked in the window really quick and it seemed to look the same inside as when it was Yang. Yang's website is still up and operational:
Old sign for Yang's
I don't know if it's the same owner but regardless, the new sign is UGLY compared to the more subtle Yang's.

Hopefully the new restaurant is an upgrade, because we were never really fans of Yangs (even though it was the first meal we ever had in the Sloop).  We remain skeptical especially given that there are so many other great Asian options in the neighborhood and that Chinatown is so close to us.

Does anyone have the scoop on this?

Update from a Reader:  We were regulars at Yang, probably eating there 2-3 times a month. Mr. Yang decided to retire and sold the business a few months ago. The new owner undertook the recent remodelling and, apparently, has renamed it as well. Per a conversation about a month ago with the staff, they are planning to add sushi and smoothies to the menu.

(Hat tip:  JM and BW!)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Ameritalia Opens in the Former Panozzo's Space at 1303 S. Michigan

Back in April, we heard from the owners of Ameritalia that they had indeed rented out the retail space at 1303 S. Michigan (the old Panozzo's space).  At the time they were shooting for a June opening, but like most restaurants and businesses it takes some time to navigate the city buearcracy and what not.

But don't fret, because they are opening today!  We got this from Holly West, one of the owners:
Would you mind making the announcement that Ameritalia will have a Grand Opening Thursday at 4? The full menu will be available for dine in or carry out and people are welcome to bring wine or beer for dining in.
They have some big shoes to fill, but we are optimistic.

Great news about the BYOB.  There aren't enough options like that in the Sloop!

Best of luck to them and looking forward to trying out some of their grub!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Mayor Emanuel Looking for Ideas to Improve Access to Museum Campus

Underpass to Museum Campus (via Chicago Sun-times)
There continues to be a lot of debate on whether or not the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art should be just south of Soldier Field.  Regardless, Mayor Emanuel is apparently now looking for ideas on how to make the museum campus more accessible (via Chicago Sun-Times):
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has asked policy experts and lakefront stakeholders to propose “transportation enhancements” to ease a museum campus bottleneck that will get worse with construction of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. 
The site selection committee that chose to give movie-mogul George Lucas 17 acres of free lakefront land between Soldier Field and McCormick Place East has already laid out the enticing possibilities. 
They include:
◆ Extending bus rapid transit to the museum campus.
◆ Creating a “dedicated trolley service” to and from the Loop and West Loop commuter rail stations.
◆ Adding bike paths.
◆ Upgrading 31st Street.
◆ Offering water access via Burnham Harbor.
◆ Upgrading the 18th Street entrance and exits to McCormick Place and the museum campus, as well as the Roosevelt Road interchange. 
__Further Down in Article__ 
Now, Emanuel’s chief operating officer Joe Deal and Metropolitan Planning Council President Mary Sue Barrett will co-chair a task force to consider those options and more over the next 90 days.

This is bound to be a controversial item for residents in the Sloop.  Some people in the neighborhood like that it's hard to access parts of the Sloop.  Others hate that the city's "grid" is pretty chopped up in certain areas (see dearborn park 1 and 2 as well areas east of Michigan south of Roosevelt.

What do you think?  Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Container Store Build-out Underway at Roosevelt Collection; Opening November 15th, 2014

Looks like The Container Store at Roosevelt Collection is planning on opening in November:
Dear Sloopin:
I snapped a picture of this yesterday at the RC. The Container Store will be directly north of WhiteHouse BlackMarket and should open 11/15/14 per the sign.

(Hat tip:  KD!)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Four New Murals Added to Wabash Arts Corridor Including Piece from World Renowned Street Artist Shepard Fairey

Obey mural - 916 S. Wabash
A reader writes:
Just a heads-up that paper has been put up on the storefront windows if 9th and Wabash. It has long been vacant with only Halloween stores using the space. Adjacent to that property is a huge banner for Obey Records. It faces north on the building just south of the 9th and Wabash. Perhaps they are connected?
While that would be great if Obey was doing something inside the building at 9th and Wabash, we highly doubt that's the case.

Obey is the product of world renowned street artist and creative guru Shepard Fairey - probably most famous for his iconic "Obama Hope" poster.

Upon doing some more investigation we found that in fact the huge "banner" is actually a mural that Fairey was creating in conjunction with various other artists as part of the Wabash Arts Cooridor (from his blog):
The crew and I arrived in Chicago three days ago to begin the setup for The Provocateurs art show and to start painting my mural. My mural wall is a killer spot at Wabash and 9th on one of Columbia University’s buildings. There will be several other murals going up in the same corridor by artists from The Provocateurs show including POSE, RETNA, and Cleon Peterson. The majority of the fine art is now in our gallery space safely and we are arranging the display for your viewing pleasure. Thanks to Jon Furlong for the awesome photos, and to my crew of Nic Bowers, Dan Flores, and Rob Zagula for assistance on the mural. Stay tuned for wall art updates from both indoors and outdoors.

If you're into these types of things we HIGHLY suggest you head on over to his blog to take a look at some amazing pictures (post 1, post 2 and post 3) - both highlighting how this was created as well as various other shots around the neighborhood.

As Fairey stated in his post, there were some other artists that were contributing and we found the following press release from Columbia College:
Columbia College Chicago has teamed up with Shepard Fairey (OBEY series, Obama HOPE) and three other Art Alliance: The Provocateurs artists to showcase their work in the Wabash Arts Corridor as part of the exhibition with Lollapalooza. Four of the top names in subversive street art—Shepard Fairey, Cleon Peterson, POSE, and RETNA—will use the corridor as their “living urban canvas,” injecting provocative, large-scale artworks into one of Chicago’s major emerging art scenes.
  • Shepard Fairey: Latest in his OBEY series “We Own the Future,” 44’ x 44’, 916 S. Wabash, north wall 
  • Chicago-based POSE: Bold-colored, pop-art inspired narrative graphics, 120’(w) x 25’(h), 72 E. 11th on the west and north walls 
  • Cleon Peterson: Dystopian brutality in black and white, 40’(w) x 14’(h), 634 S. Wabash (Warehouse Liquors), south wall 
  • RETNA: Free-hand graffiti/glyphs, 43’(w) x 62’(h), 33 E. Congress, south wall
This is some pretty amazing stuff and some great additions to the Sloop.  We loved the idea of the Wabash Arts Cooridor and these current installations take it up a notch in our book.  Here are some other shots of the other artists:
Cleon Peterson: Dystopian brutality in black and white
40’(w) x 14’(h), 634 S. Wabash (Warehouse Liquors), south wall
RETNA: Free-hand graffiti/glyphs
43’(w) x 62’(h), 33 E. Congress, south wall
Chicago-based POSE: Bold-colored, pop-art inspired narrative graphics
120’(w) x 25’(h), 72 E. 11th on the west and north walls 
I don't know about you but this is pretty Rad!  Walking down the street on Wabash is like walking down a hallway in a museum - except much more interesting than most museums.

For some of our older coverage on the this topic click - Wabash Arts Corridor Sounds Promising or Some New Art for Wabash Arts Corridor.

Oh and in regard to Fairey, you may be saying "his mural looks like another one I've seen in the Sloop?" Well you're right, because back in 2011 he did another installation next to Code of Conduct at 11E 14th Street (underneath the El):

Now that we've gone off on an arts tangent (hopefully an interesting one), that brings us back to the original question - what's going on in the storefront at the corner of 9th and Wabash?  Anyone got the scoop on that?

(Hat tip:  RH!)