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Category Archives: Chicago info and stuff

Chicago’s Wonderful Architecture and Hidden Surprises

Did you ever notice, most people walk looking  straight ahead, or worse yet, down at the ground!  YOU ARE MISSING  EVERYTHING!  LOOK  UP!  You will discover breathtaking architectural details you never saw before!

I was driving one day near Division and California,  I can’t remember the side street, I should have made a note of it,  and discovered  2  cool  horse sculptures up on the garage roof!

Chicago is full  of  gorgeous architecture and neat art, if you just look.  Chicago Detours  offers great guided walking and bus tours of architecture, history and culture to public and private groups.

Founder Amanda Scotese launched Chicago Detours, a tour company for the curious, in July 2010 after spending close to a decade in Italy as a Tour Guide and Guidebook Researcher with Rick Steves’ Europe. She decided to bring her travel expertise back home to Chicago with tour experiences that are fun, educational, and truly make us feel connected with our grand city.

Bobbys Bike Hike  offer’s another way to see the city. Walking tours, Bike tours and Food tours!

Did you know that the Second City is actually first when it comes to bike riding? Chicago consistently ranks at the top for both walking and biking because it’s flat and easy to access (take that NYC!). Plus, all the neighborhoods, parks, and attractions are connected through a network of sidewalks and trails. So it makes sense that the best way to experience life in the Windy City is on two wheels (or two feet) alongside fun folks just like yourself.

And while it’s true that anyone can whizz from place to place in a car, bus, or boat, you miss out on soooo much. With a bicycle and walking tour, or even renting a bike, you can actually hear the roar of Buckingham Fountain, touch the iconic lion statues at the Art Institute, and smell the Chicago-style pizza wafting through the air.

The other great way to see Chicago’s top attractions, try a Chicago Segway® PT tour! Sightseeing on a Segway is fun, unique, and exhilarating. Segways are safe and very easy to learn. If you can stand, you can ride! These self-balancing machines do the work for you. Explore Chicago by day or night with our friendly tour guides and your very own Chicago chariot on two wheels.

You’ll glide effortlessly as you enjoy views of Chicago’s beautiful lakefront, parks, and skyline. Capture your memories with great photographs on our Chicago Segway sightseeing tours. Options include our Museum and Lakefront Tour, Art & Architecture Tour, Fireworks Tour, Gangster Tour, Haunted Tour, and private tours. Join us on one of our unique, picturesque tours of Chicago. You’ll Absolutely love it!

Chicago HOT Restaurants 2018

SOOOOOO  many restaurants to choose from in Chicago!  There is no way to keep up!

In December, Chicago Mag speculated,Is Chicago’s dining boom over?
Staff shortages, massive competition, rising rents: The day of reckoning is coming.”

The article reveals,      When Rob Katz and Kevin Boehm opened their flagship Lincoln Park restaurant Boka 14 years ago, more than 600 people lined up around the block looking for jobs. How times have changed. These days, when the duo launches a new place, “you put out an ad, you might get 10 people,” Katz says. “What was once a very fertile ground for talent is not any longer. People are fighting just to put a staff together.”

Such is life in the restaurant bubble.

Every month the HOT LIST  changes!  Yesterday  a  new  list  of  hot  spots  came out.

I am so happy  to see the Pump Room  come back!  (Above)

 I do agree,  how can all of the restaurants survive?  This is not  New York.

GREAT PHOTOS  get lots of LIKES! 

Digital photography has given millions of people the opportunity  to take pictures  like a pro! Never, has there been so many awesome amateur photos posted  from the globe!

 

 Chicago.Curbed ran this great article about HOT  PHOTO/ Instagram  LOCATIONS  from around the city. ….From the magical night lights of Wrigley Field to the patina-coated bronze lions guarding the Art Institute and the honeycomb archway in Lincoln Park—there are plenty of good ‘gramming spots in Chicago.

But which ones rank at the top? Locals and visitors favored big venues, well-known tourist spots, international icons and even one major music festival, according to a list of sites provided to Curbed by Instagram.

(Photo above from Sezyilmaz)

Best Holiday Light Displays in Chicago Area

 

The Logan Square home above might be the only seasonal wonder of the world. Every winter, dating back to 1983, owner Frank Lopez has put up a Christmas light display—complete with a miniature, moving Ferris wheel with stuffed animal riders—that casts a glow over the whole 2500 block of West Logan Boulevard.

“The reason I do it is because I see so many people, so many kids, they pass by over here… and I have music on, and I see all their smiles,” Lopez told Chicagoist. “I enjoy that.”

His home electric bill for a holiday season, he added, can reach a little over $1,000.    Read  More here. 

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Butch McGuire’s

Each year, this Division Street bar gets COMPLETELY  decked out in holiday decor. Complete with model trains and thousands of shiny LED lights, Butch McGuire’s is a great spot to pop in for a festive drink. Even when it gets packed with the typical Division Street crowd, this Irish pub has an old soul. Antique beer paraphernalia and model ships hang from the ceiling, framed paintings of Chicagoans past dot the walls and beers are served in frosted glass mugs. Well worth a stop by and have a drink!

Winter WonderFest

Navy Pier’s annual indoor winter carnival returns with activities that include a toboggan tunnel, winter mini golf and a 15-foot “snow tubing” hill. Returning attractions include the Blackhawks ice-skating rink and various carnival rides. Bring your family for a nice and toasty winter wonderland. Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

ZooLights at the Lincoln Park Zoo: Free light display nightly plus festive activities like photos with Santa, 3D displays, holiday gift shopping, live ice-sculpture carving and free crafts for kids on certain nights at the Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St. Presented by ComEd and PowerShares QQQ By Invesco. Hours: 4:30 to 9 p.m. every night through Saturday, Dec. 23, and again from Dec. 26 to Jan. 7. Check the website for a full list of ZooLights events.

Elsewhere  from Aurora to Naperville to Wheaton – all have light displays worth checking out!

 

Barn Angels and Dog Poop

The first time I was driving thru Ukrainian Village,  I was headed  East on Augusta, and this caged Angel caught my eye on Wolcott!  WHAT THE HECK???

 

I did some research  and  TIME OUT  said, ” The building belongs to well-known Polish-born wood sculpturist Jerzy Kenar, who runs the Wooden Gallery (1007 N Wolcott Ave, 773-342-2550), located a few doors down.

In the mid-’90s, Kenar rehabbed the premises with the intention of making Angels Barn a sort of cabaret—part bar, part performance and exhibition space. “The idea was that the bar would finance the art,” Kenar says.

During the construction, the Sun-Times called Kenar’s idea “a mixed vision of the sacred and profane: An ornate pulpit will serve as a roost for a DJ; the bathroom stalls have peep-show holes with nude photos.”

Using his wife, Dorota, as a model, Kenar took three weeks to carve the angel (pictured) out of a hunk of linden wood and installed it in a fenced grotto at the front of the building. But all his work was for naught; Kenar was denied a liquor license, due, in part, to protests from the East Village Association, which didn’t want to attract potentially raucous nightlife to the densely residential area. Deeply disappointed, Kenar hosted several private parties in the space before converting it into apartments in 2001.”

 

Also on Wolcott  nearby the Angel is a unique fountain.

It’s a water fountain with a blue-tiled base surrounded by bright, leafy trees and is meant for all the community … to remember to pick up after their dogs.

Atop that tiled base is a bronze coil of dog doo-doo, spouting a gentle stream of water, and displays the straightforward, “S— Fountain” name on all four sides.

The fountain was created and installed in 2005 by famous Polish Chicago artist Jerzy S. Kenar, who also created the neighboring angel statue at the corner of Wolcott and Augusta Avenues.

It’s since become famous among locals, and appears on travel blogs for visitors.

Kenar’s other works can be found throughout O’Hare Airport and the Harold Washington Library, as well as churches and galleries around the city and world.

Cartoon Bear Art Around Chicago

People  are always  asking  WHAT IS  THIS?   WHAT’S  UP  WITH THAT?

If you live in Chicago, I’m sure you have passed by a mural at some point that involves a bear eating pizza or  wearing boxing gloves. If you haven’t, then you most likely never leave your neighborhood (and in that case you might as well live in LA). Regardless of where you reside or what you see in your ‘hood, we can all learn a little something from the Bear Champ today.

Chicago-based artist JC Riverais behind them. What I found the most fascinating about JC is that he’s not trying to hide his identity (unlike many street artists) as all of his work is commissioned. No illegal wall tagging for this guy!

Few images in Chicago’s street art scene are as instantly recognizable as JC Rivera’s “Bear Champ.” This enormous bright yellow bear appears in a variety of street murals throughout the city.

 

The bear seems cute and cuddly at first, but also projects a bit of a rugged, streetwise vibe — the perfect representation for life in Chicago.  Rivera has been painting in and around Chicago for a decade. His work is most known for its bright, colorful and uncluttered look.

JC says, “The character is about the everyday struggle. Keep rolling with the punches. Fight for what you believe in.”

Famous Fido No Kill Shelter

Home.

       At Holiday time, we get misty-eyed about the concept ofHome.  Although everything may not work out so great in reality, we still are very aware of how it should be.  Every family member should have a sense of belonging.  Should feel warm, well-fed, relaxed and protected.  Should feel true joy and true love.  These satisfying feelings should waft through the Home along with the wonderful smells from the  emanating from the kitchen.


Goblin, shown drifting off to sleep above, is now experiencing all the comforts of 
Home.  His adopter was totally charmed by his long lean body and his bad-boy attitude.  His holiday season will be spectacular.  Adorable poodle Hooty, shown below  leaving  Famous Fido for his new Forever Home,
 lucked out in time for Thanksgiving.


But sometimes 
Home is not possible in the traditional sense.  Your chosen family might be a group of friends instead.  But that is Home because there is love and the group has created its own traditions.  In the same way, cats and dogs who have special needs or who are terminally ill, may not have high adoption potential.  But it is possible that they still have a true Home.  At Famous Fido, we make every effort to provide that Home environment in our sanctuary for those in hospice care.  Hogan and Sheena, shown below, did not make it to this Thanksgiving.  But while they lived they were loved and had good medical care and warm cozy quarters with lots of room to move about and enjoy toys and cat towers or doggie beds  and their favorite foods.  They knew they were Home and protected.


To provide for this 9,000 SF sanctuary and for high-cost veterinary care, Famous Fido depends on the generous support of our donors.  Please help us continue our efforts.  Support us by clicking on the DONATE NOW button and remember us on Giving Tuesday, November 28th

Give the Gift of Love and Compassion.  Adopt!

Chicago’s Most Iconic Buildings

Chicago Skyline

Chicago has some amazing examples of  truly wonderful architecture! And the building never seems to stop!  There are currently 33 cranes in Chicago working on new projects!

 

The buildings and architecture of Chicago have influenced and reflected the history of American architecture. The built [constructed] environment of Chicago is reflective of the city’s history and multicultural heritage, featuring prominent buildings in a variety of styles by many important architects. Since most structures within the downtown area were destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 (the most famous exception being the Water Tower) Chicago buildings are noted for their originality rather than their antiquity.

Chicago is world-famous for its plethora of unique architectural styles, from Chicago Bungalows and Two-Flats to the grand Graystones along Logan Boulevard and Lawndale, from the skyscrapers of the Loop as well as a wealth of sacred architecture such as the city’s ornate “Polish Cathedrals”.

CURBED recently compiled a list of 27  that everyone in Chicago should know about.

Credited for inventing the skyscraper, Chicago and its lasting mark in the world of architecture is internationally renown. The city has an abundance of remarkable structures and no shortage of residents and tourists eager to learn their histories.

Think about…what top 5 come to mind???

 

Building a New Uptown Chicago – A Renaissance!

Uptown Theater
816 North Broadway

From Cinema Treasures: One of the last great movie palaces in Chicago, this fabulous theater built in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago was built in 1925 and was the destination for moviegoers until the theater closed in 1981.

Changing times and the shift in population have not helped the Uptown. Or the Uptown neighborhoods,  but that seems to all be changing!  Millions of dollars  are coming to Uptown for big improvements and expansion!

 

FINALLY   a new and improved Wilson stop!

The $203 million Wilson Station Reconstruction Project reached another major milestone on October 23, 2017 with the completion of construction work on the main stationhouse.

Located in the Uptown neighborhood, the wheelchair accessible Wilson station now offers:

  • Seamless transfers between Red Line and Purple Line Express service for the first time
  • A second new platform, providing riders dedicated platforms for boarding and alighting northbound and southbound trains
  • A new second station entrance located on the north side of Wilson Avenue
  • Stunning, Art Deco inspired artwork created especially for the main stationhouse by world-renowned artist Cecil Balmond.

 

  •  One-of-a-kind artwork
    Suspended from the ceiling of the new main entrance is the stunning new multi-faceted sculpture “Arpeggio”, which was created especially for the Wilson station by world-renowned artist, designer and engineer Cecil Balmond.

Over the next several weeks, crews will continue to be on-site completing work the auxiliary entrance at Sunnyside Ave., as well as restoration of the former 1923 stationhouse façade and clock tower (at the northwest corner of Wilson/Broadway) to make it a viable commercial/retail space, thus creating an anchor for revitalization and economic development in the Uptown neighborhood.

HOPEFULLY,  the  Wilson  UnderLine will become a reality…

Imagine an entirely new Uptown public space. A space that reclaims the once forgotten landscape below the Wilson ‘L’ tracks and transforms an ordinary parking lot and station entrance into a vibrant, safe, lively and welcoming public amenity. Imagine a space that can bring people together, provide public programming, seating, food truck dining and creative public art.

The WILSON UNDERLINE seeks to provide the newly renovated CTA Wilson Station with a dynamic public space dedicated to the Uptown neighborhood by providing opportunities for collaborative community programming and creative public engagement; a space that draws the community together and enriches the Wilson Station project from the ground up.

The WILSON UNDERLINE draws inspiration from efforts such as NYC’s High LineChicago’s 606 and the Low-Line Vision in neighboring Lakeview – to reimagine how transit infrastructure might be creatively utilized on a day to day basis by the local community.

Property values are on the rise in Uptown!

HOMES – As of Summer 2017, The median sales price for homes in Uptown for May 24 to Aug 23 was $248,500 based on 148 home sales.

RENT – The median rent per month for apartments in Uptown for Jul 24 to Aug 24, 2017 was $1,425. You can find a Studio  for  about  $850-$1000.  One bedrooms  run on average  $1100-1400. And  two bedrooms  $1400+

CRIME – Uptown has average crime relative to the rest of Cook County.

Knowing more about crime activity in and around Uptown can help keep you aware of crime in the area. Crime activity is most helpful when comparing two locations to understand the relative safety of each location. * Use  WALK SCORE  to see the crime  numbers  for  a  specific  address or street.

A new and exciting lakefront high-rise was cleared this summer and has started climbing towards its 27-story final height. Known as Eight Eleven Uptown, the development landed a full, $45 million construction permit yesterday. In the works for many years to replace the 3.4-acre vacant site of the old Cuneo Hospital—later home to Maryville Academy—at the corner of Montrose and Clarendon, the project received its first foundation permit back in February of this year.

Eight Eleven Uptown is being developed by JDL and was drawn up by the designers at Chicago-based Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA). When complete, the mixed-use high-rise complex will contain 373 luxury rental apartments, nearly 30,000 square feet of ground floor retail space (rumored to be anchored by a new grocery store), and parking for 278 vehicles. More new residents moving to Uptown is a great thing!

STEWART School Lofts

in another cool project in the neighborhood that will be completed Spring 2018. Located across from Target on Broadway and Sunnyside. One of Chicago’s most beautiful historic buildings, the Graeme Stewart Elementary School was named after prominent Chicagoan businessman Graeme Stewart, an important figurehead in Chicago at the turn-of-the-century. The school was home to students for more than 100 years, before closing in 2013 due to enrollment declines.

Morningside Group, a builder, developer, and property manager, purchased the school in early 2016 through the Chicago Public School’s Building Repurposing and Sale Program, with plans to revitalize the school to its former splendor and convert the interior space into modern apartments with historic details. Apartment move-ins are expected to commence in early 2018.

What is a Convertible Apartment?

A “convertible” is the same as a “junior one bedroom” – it’s a small condo/apartment, generally a little larger than the studio’s 400-550 s/f, with some means of separating one area from the rest of the space to create a more private sleeping space.

Many are “L” shaped, and anything from a free-standing screen to a curtain to a moveable wall may be used to separate the sleeping space from the living area. Neither a convertible nor a junior one bedroom has an actual separate bedroom with a door, usually, and they should be marked as having 0 bedrooms in the MLS or listing.

 

In Uptown,  on Lakeside  off Clarendon, is a great gut rehab project being built  with  80 units.  Convertibles come with Stainless Steel kitchen with dishwasher and microwave, Granite counters,  Hardwood throughout,  Modern bathroom,  A/C Wall-Unit,  Laundry in unit!!!  And  Large closet space! Cats are  welcome too! They are priced at $1150!

 

This is a great deal!

More pics  available.

Let me know if you are interested in seeing one of the units!

 

MICHAEL “LOVE” SNELL
 APARTMENT LEASING AGENT    CELL: 773.206.8359


LOVE YOUR SPACE!

 

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