Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Demolition of the Adelphi Theater

This is a view of the demolition of the Adelphi Theater at the southwest corner of Estes and Clark fom last February. Right now the site is an empty sandlot surrounded by plywood barriers.

Generally they'll start demolition at the back of the building. By the time the casual observer realizes it's coming down, it's already gone. There's a large condo building proposed for the site, but for some reason construction hasn't started. Maybe they lost their money.

In recent years the owners could never seem to make this theater work. It opened once as a venue for Indian movies. Then it briefly opened again as a discount theater. For the longest time the marquee promised "Grand Opening- Coming Soon!" That was a bit overly optimistic.

This original theater was no masterpiece, but there's a long tradition of theater conversions in Chicago, from The Howard to The Century. Not always seamlessly done, but a decent way to maintain the identity of the street. I just hope the Alderman didn't trade a character defining building for a vacant lot.  Not that the Alderman could have stopped the demolition of a privately owned building, but he could have made it more difficult.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Our Neighborhood Shrine

Did you know that there's a shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe on Rogers Avenue, one block west of Clark? In 2001 people recognized the Virgin's outline on the tree trunk, about 8 feet up. I only found out about this later, and by the time I walked past I couldn't figure out where to look, or what shape to identify. Don't the outlines of all the saints look the same? Maybe if I had someone to point it out to me I would be able to see it.

Anyway, the area is draped with plastic flowers and votive candles. It reminds me of those impromptu memorials people set up on the side of the road where a child is hit by a car. What's amazing is that its remained for 5 years. It probably drives the Streets Department crazy. And people are still bringing fresh plastic flowers and votive candles to it. Some generous soul even donated a few old office chairs. Its a good example of messy neighborhood vitality, although I wouldn't mind seeing some real flowers there on occasion. After all, this is a saint we're talking about.