Sunday, March 31, 2013

31 March 2013, Day 299

Free speech zone at the corner of Ashland and Farwell.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

30 March 2013, Day 298, Part 2

Keeping watch over Columbia Avenue

30 March 2013, Day 298, Part 1

Just yesterday i was bemoaning the absence of spring flowers as we reach the end of March; then today, as if Nature were just waiting for someone to complain, there they were: crocuses!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Thursday, March 28, 2013

28 March 2013, Day 296

The days are still chilly and the snack bar is still shuttered, but the sun is shining longer and brighter, the air is fresh, and the gulls are singing. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

27 March 2013, Day 295

Joyce Kilmer Elementary School
Roger C. Sullivan High School
I happened to walk past Kilmer Elementary School and Sullivan High School today and noticed that the beautiful architectural details at the entrances are the same. Since they are across the street from each other, i wonder if they were originally part of the same school. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

25 March 2013, Day 293

I love old movie theaters and find it so sad when they sit empty and deteriorating like the magnificent Uptown Theater at Broadway and Lawrence. The former Morse Theater, which originally opened in 1912, was built on a much humbler scale than the Uptown, but it is has had much more success in recent years. Although it's no longer a movie theater, it was restored and remodeled as a live music venue in 2008, with a comfortable and well-appointed interior and the original terra cotta trim on the facade. Now known as the Mayne Stage, it's a great asset to the neighborhood, to music lovers, and to the streetscape. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

24 March 2013, Day 292 *** UPDATE: 20 April ***

The little hole-in-the-wall restaurant at 1343 W. Morse has had so many identities in the thirteen years that i've lived in Rogers Park that i've lost track. At one point it was a nice Jamaican/Belizean place with good jerk chicken, a very friendly owner, and homemade layer cake that tasted just like you wished your mother's did. Then it was a Cajun place where i stood waiting to order for ten minutes while the person working there labored over the chalkboard menu and ignored me until i left and never went back. Then it was empty for a few months until these much-welcome signs appeared. I hope that the food will be good and the business will survive. 

That block--on the south side of Morse between Wayne and Glenwood--has a poor track record, with the exception of the three stable businesses: Morse Gyros, the Golden Mini-Mart, and the dry cleaners. The other storefronts have either suffered frequent turnovers like the restaurant or sat empty like the creepy, abandoned laundromat that looked like someone locked the door one night and didn't come back for ten years. I always thought of it as the "laundromat of the damned," with its rows of empty washers and dryers, forgotten bottles of laundry detergent, and an old office chair all gathering cobwebs. It was finally cleared out last year and is apparently available for rent, but so far there've been no takers. The fact that this block was a popular gathering spot for local gangbangers didn't help much, but that situation has been much better in recent months.

So here's hoping that Fung's will have good food and be a good neighbor like Faisal Dossa at Morse Gyros.

***UPDATE: 20 April ***
There has been little evidence of activity at Fung's in the four weeks since i posted this picture. I hope this doesn't mean that this latest effort has already succumbed to the bad mojo that seems to plague this location.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

23 March 2013, Day 291

Buddha in the window of Uptown Tattoo Factory. 
I've taken pictures of a few of the other Buddhas in the Ten Thousand Ripples project (28 October, 30 October), but this one was a very pleasant surprise in an unexpected location.

Friday, March 22, 2013

22 March 2013, Day 290

On 11 March, i posted a picture of the badly patched surface of the 6900 block of N. Wayne Ave. One of the main reasons for the patching is the work that's been underway by Peoples Gas since last year. They're replacing and "modernizing" the gas lines, but somehow the new, state-of- the-art equipment (pictured above) looks like something out of a steampunk dystopian film. This in itself is not so bad, as i'm a fan of the steampunk aesthetic; i just find it hard to believe that this is the latest in gas-line technology. 

Notice the unfinished concrete work and splatters of cement on the wall. The sod that was installed after the parkways were dug up is equally unimpressive. I'm usually a glass-half-full kind of person and not much of a complainer, but this was one of the most disruptive and sloppy examples of a public works project that i've ever encountered. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

21 March 2013, Day 289

Another of the Rube Goldberg-ish sculptures on Morse Avenue. Others were pictured here on 20 August and 24 November.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

20 March 2013, Day 288

Emmylou Harris was the headliner, and i do like her, but i really went to see Richard Thompson. The combination of his hallucinogenic guitar playing and his hypnotic voice was as remarkable as ever; every time i've seen him in concert i've had an out-of-body experience. Oh, and he played "1952 Vincent Black Lightning," my favorite of his many wonderful songs.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

19 March 2013, Day 287

A squadron of Ritter Sport Pedi-cabs! Free chocolates! Finally, an effective treatment for the never-ending winter blues.

Monday, March 18, 2013

18 March 2013, Day 286

This noble half-a-knight has stoically maintained his post, watching over Wayne Ave. in all kinds of weather for many years. I have no idea of his origins or how he came to be here, but i'm glad he did.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

17 March 2013, Day 285

Enrico's Biscotti Company in the Strip District in Pittsburgh. This place is so good, it makes me want to move to the 'Burgh.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

14 March 2013, Day 282

A tale of two cities ... and two bridges

One of my favorite bridges in Chicago. I can imagine living in that little shack in the middle, riding up and down when a sailboat goes by.

Pittsburgh has changed a little since the last time i was here, but since that was in the 1970s, i guess that's no big surprise.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

12 March 2013, Day 280

I've posted pictures of sections of this mural on the east side of Glenwood Ave. between Farwell and Morse before, but there is so much detail to it that i could post pictures of it for about two weeks without duplication. I like this very angry section; i'm often tempted to burst into that rousing song from Les Miz when i walk past it, but i fear that the neighbors might call 911 in terror if i did. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

11 March 2013, Day 279

Not a pretty picture, but then it's not a very pretty day. 

This is something that really bothers me. The 6900 block of North Wayne Ave. in Rogers Park is one of the few brick-paved streets i've seen in Chicago. It's rare, it's charming, and it serves as a reminder of the history of this unique neighborhood. Sadly, it is also rapidly disappearing. Thanks to the sloppy repair jobs that are done every time a part of the street needs to be dug up, the road is becoming a patchwork of asphalt and concrete. I'm not the only one annoyed by this lack of respect for a fine old road; here's a link to a fellow Rogers Park blogger, who also recently called attention to this situation.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

10 March 2013, Day 278

Dear reader, I am weary and the weather is dreary, so i feel disinclined to go out today in search of something remarkable to photograph. I invite you instead to sit back, relax, and join me for a refreshing drink of delicious Sprecher's Ginger Ale.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

9 March 2013, Day 277

This building, at 6560 N. Sheridan Road, has some of the most beautiful glazed terra cotta I've ever seen, including a panoramic view of the Chicago skyline. It's future seems uncertain since Loyola University has purchased and torn down all the buildings that surround it (If the weather is half-decent tomorrow, i'll go back and take a picture from the other side of the street to give a better sense of its surroundings). It would be a real tragedy if this architectural gem was lost to the neighborhood. So far, Bruno Roti, the owner of the property and proprietor of the grungily iconic Bruno's Lounge next door, has refused to sell. I hope he can hold out forever. Even though a building like this one might not be old enough to qualify for historical status, it is unique and beautiful and deserves to be saved.   

Friday, March 8, 2013

8 March 2013, Day 276, Pt. 2

Today's bonus shot: Blue sky, terra cotta, and a fire escape on Peoria St. in the West Loop. 

8 March 2013, Day 276, Pt. 1

The large white building on the right is the new home of Rush University Medical Center, which opened in January, 2012. The building on the left with the copper dome is Notre Dame R.C. Church. In my wildest fantasies, i hit the lottery and treat my long-suffering coworkers to a fresh perspective by paying to have the windows in University Hall washed. It's such a shame that a building with such gorgeous, unobstructed views in every direction hasn't had its windows washed in at least a decade. Unfortunately, given the dire fiscal condition of the state of Illinois, there's little chance that they'll get washed anytime in the near future.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

6 March 2013, Day 274

Puppy in Deep Snow

All of him goes under,
even tail, till, like a tiny whale,
he will surface anywhere
with a leap and then be lost
like a diving loon and then be tossed
like Saint Teresa making grands jet├ęs en l'air.

                                                    -- Annie Dillard 

Monday, March 4, 2013

4 March 2013, Day 272

This scene seems especially peaceful tonight in the fading light, waiting for another snowstorm to descend on us tomorrow. The rooftop doorway on the other side of the L tracks always reminds me of On the Waterfront. The only thing missing are the pigeon coops.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

3 March 2013, Day 271

I was out walking the dog this afternoon, feeling completely uninspired by my surroundings and despairing of finding anything worth photographing. Then i came across this noble beast on Lakewood just south of Morse. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

2 March 2013, Day 270

One of the perks of my mission to take at least one picture a day is that i get to choose what i will "see" and what i will ignore. Today i chose to avert my eyes from the increasingly dirty piles of ice and snow and look upward instead at this fading sign predating the 773 area code; as a special bonus, i got to witness a much-needed hint of blue in the sky.

Friday, March 1, 2013

1 March 2013, Day 269

Colorful mural entitled "For a New World" on the western wall of Holy Covenant United Methodist Church on Diversey Blvd.