Sunday, December 30, 2007

Clark and Greenleaf, sign detail

I spent some of this morning snapping more photographs on Clark Street, this time focusing on details. Felix slept in his stroller. I like taking photographs while pushing a stroller. I'm obviously just another crazy on Clark.

I went back to Ohio last weekend for all of 24 hours. Angela stayed to visit with her Mom and brother, and I took a cheap flight from Hopkins to Midway. Wednesday Angela and Felix drove back with Anthony, and he visited with us for a couple days.

Tomorrow I'll be working, but I don't think it will be very busy. We might even be able to leave early...

Almost forgot! Angela ran a 5K race in the bitter cold. She said she saw a falcon catch a squirrel. Or a mouse. Or possibly a pigeon. I remain skeptical.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Clark and Northshore, southeast corner

This building has a nice little classical treatment on the corner and some decent brickwork.

Believe it or not, I now have some information about these buildings. I wasted a federal holiday to look up the permits. I hate microfilm- it makes me motion sick. Anyway, drumroll please:

6659-61 N. Clark
Permit Date: Dec. 13, 1922
Owner: J.J. Rosen
Architect: B. Leo Steif
Contractor: J.J. Erickson
Cost: $45,000

(Note: I've gone back and added some of this information to previous posts)

Useful, isn't it? Just for fun, I counted up how many more corner buildings I need to complete this project. 31 more. I have 13. At least I have something to work on over the winter.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rogers and Clark, northwest corner

Architect: Maurice L. Bien

By including the billboard in this picture am I a tool of corporate propaganda? And shouldn't I get paid for that?

Hey, mark down June 19th on your calendar. I'll be giving one of the Preservation Snapshots Lectures at the Chicago Cultural Center, from 12:15 until 1:00. This is a series of semi-informal talks sponsored by Landmarks Illinois. Hopefully I'll have something interesting to say by then. Maybe Ultra Local Geography 3 will be ready... Anyway, it's good to have deadlines.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Clark and Arthur, northwest corner

Built: 1916
Architect: C.W. Westerlund
Cost: $30,000

I have the day off! Basically, this means I get to finish painting Felix's room. Next weekend will be the hard part- getting out to IKEA, loading a toddler bed, and getting it home in one piece. Already Felix's room is pretty cool, complete with a remote control moon/nightlight hung on the wall. According to Angela, there are big cloud and airplane wall decals on their way.

We had great Fall weather this weekend. Nice to extend it for a day, even if there's no one around to enjoy it with me. I could have kept Felix home, but I'm not anxious to have him around a big bucket of paint.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Clark and Farwell, northwest corner

Built: 1923
Architect: R. Gregori
Cost: $125,000

I've always liked this little brick and terracotta building. And it's good to know there are plenty of lawyers in my neighborhood. You know, just in case...
Looking at this again, I realize that you can't read the signs, so my comment doesn't make much sense. If I had scanned it larger you'd be able to see all the "Abogados" signs on the building.

Clark and Wallen, northeast corner

Built: 1949

Still fascinated by the giant crayfish. Still haven't gone there to eat.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Clark and Estes, northeast corner

Built: 1914

Architect: L.E. Stanhope
Cost: $25,000

Looking for Bubble Tea in Rogers Park? You actually have two choices- China Hut (shown above) or Grande Noodles (a half mile south). If you're a real aficionado you can walk back and forth all summer long. But if you're looking for a cheaper option, try dropping a handful of flavor-free jelly beans into a McDonald's milkshake. Actually, I like Bubble Tea, but I'm in a cranky mood.

(Note:  Since this was posted China Hut has moved acorss the street into a larger space.  That's a good sign, right?)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Greenleaf and Clark, northeast corner

Built: 1911

Rocky's Futbol Taqueria! Burritos as big as a futbol! Last week they changed their awnings to a scary orange and black design. I guess this means they're doing well.

When I go to a new Thai restaurant I always order the Pad See Ew (which everyone spells differently). This way I can compare the same dish and decide if the place is any good. For Mexican places I recommend the same thing, but with chile rellenos (fried poblano peppers stuffed with cheese). I've been meaning to try out this method with all the Rogers Park taquerias. Some day...

Hey, Angela got a job! This means we can afford name brand cereal again.

I got my first cell phone, which does not make me proud. It's a Virgin Mobile phone, and all the advertising is geared towards 16 year olds without a credit card.
(Note: Since this was posted Rocky's Taqueria got some new awnings, which are not much better.)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Clark and Albion, part 2

Built: c.1974

I can't believe I'm still fiddling with this corner. I even have a tiny watercolor about the same size. I'm trying to find a graphically satisfying way to represent these buildiings, but in a way that can be cheaply reproduced on a copier. Maybe I should try some transfer textures to render tone. I know those reproduce pretty well. Or maybe I should just stick to crosshatching. But I do like these solid tones.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Weird Aluminum Animals at Pottawatomie Park

This is a drawing I did as a birthday present for Angela (July 25th, if you want to drop her a line!). North of us at Wolcott and Rogers is Pottawatomie Park, which has become a favorite. There's a nice playground with plenty of shade, and some candy cane shaped tubes that spray out water when you trip a sensor. Most of the equipment is relatively new, except for these old cast aluminum spring rockers. There are so many layers of mulch underneath that they no longer even bounce the way they used to.

I recognize these same stylized animals from when I was a kid at Lakeview Park in Lorain, Ohio. Angela recognizes them from her childhood in Ashtabula. Maybe in 30 years Felix will recognize them when he brings his children to a park. Strange to think that we're caught up in these huge cycles, just the way our parents were.

Angela likes the turtle, but I suspect her affection is mostly ironic.
(Note: We don't go to Pottawatomie as often as we used to.  Not since we watched some kid smash a bench to pieces with a baseball bat.)

Monday, July 30, 2007

SE Corner of Lunt and Clark

Built: 1926
Converted and altered: 1944

I think I must have drawn this corner more than any other in Rogers Park. To me, it's the perfect representation of change in the neighborhood. On the Lunt side, it's still a limestone and granite bank, complete with columns. On the Clark side it's a terra cotta storefront from the 40s. In the background the bell towers of St. Jerome's watch over everything.  I've been looking for a photo of this building prior to the alterations, but all I've found is blurry microfilm scan in the Chicago Tribune archives.

We went to the Newberry Library book sale on Saturday. One of us would play with Felix in Washington Square Park while the other browsed the selection. The Bughouse Square Debates were going on too, but they're never as much fun as the book sale.

Oddly, there were about 5 or 6 people in the park painting with big portable easels. And most of them were painting trees. I would think that if you're painting in Chicago you could find something a bit more interesting than trees...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Civic Opera Entrance Detail

I walk past the Civic Opera Building twice a day. Once in the morning, when the sun is blasting in my eyes down Washington from the east, and once in the evening, when the sun is blasting in my eyes down Washington from the west. Don't they build grids on a diagonal anywhere?  Maybe Washington D.C.  Anyway, this is a detail from one of the cast iron door surrounds on Wacker Drive.  Nice stuff.

City Hall Grill Detail

I don't know why I bother to promptly scan and upload these into Photobucket when it takes me months to post them to this blog.

Anyway, this is from the ground floor of City Hall (bounded by LaSalle, Washington, Clark, and Randolph). Although I don't work in City Hall I'm over there several times a week to pick up or return rolls of permit drawings for landmarked buildings. We use a big plastic garbage can to transport everything from one building to the other. Although it never happened to me, people will sometimes toss bits of trash into the bucket. So much for dignity.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Clark and Touhy

Built: 1924

Here's something rare on Clark Street. The corner building and those to either side were all built at the same time with the same brick and terra cotta details. One is mixed use, one retail only, and one residential only. It makes a nice composition.

The central building houses the only combination Taqueria/Pizzeria I've seen. Maybe they're more common in other neighborhoods?

Monday, July 9, 2007

Clark and Estes

Built: 1922

Architect: Lowenburg

The beer sign really makes this image. But a nice corner building here. Our local AA chapter meets in one of the storefronts. I always see them smoking like crazy out front.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Clark and Columbia

Built: 1926

Architect: Loewenberg
Cost: $75,000

This is a pretty nice building at the northeast corner of Clark and Columbia. For the longest time it was the last video arcade in the neighborhood, "Dennis' Place for Games." Their symbol was a young blonde guy wearing a military uniform. I always wondered why that was appropriate for a video arcade. When Dennis' place went under they took out the plylwood that had been in the windows for decades and built new storefronts. Then it became a liquor store that couldn't get a liquor license. It's remained shuttered ever since. Someone should have explained the difficulty of getting a liquor license within 3 blocks of a high school and a grammar school. 

(Note:  This business finally did get its liquor license)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Howard and Rogers (but mostly Larry, home sick)

Well, I'm home sick. I don't know exactly how it happened. I woke up this morning feeling kind of disassociated and cranky, but that normally goes away after a cup of coffee. Going into the second hour of our Monday staff meeting my face felt really hot and I left the meeting to take an aspirin. I mentioned to my supervisor that I wasn't feeling so good and might take some sick hours if the aspirin doesn't kick in. She had strong feelings about the matter, and suddenly I found myself with a free afternoon.

Honestly, I really didn't want to go home. Felix and Angela are in Ohio, and the cat is still mad at me for painfully combing out half a pound of snarled fur. I knew if I went home I would lie around feeling depressed. So I went to Starbucks and drank iced tea. About 20 minutes later I felt my fever drain away. What now? I needed groceries for sandwiches. Maybe I could get them downtown?

You might think that the Loop would have a grocery store. It doesn't. The nearest grocery is a Dominick's on Madison just west of the expressway. Luckily it's just a few blocks from Ogilvie Station. I bought salami, cheddar, bagels, and about half a gallon of half and half (the only size that was left).

I walked back to Ogilvie Station, where I had about 50 minutes to kill until my train was ready.

The best view at Ogilvie is from the Caribou Coffee looking out on Riverside Plaza. Never get stuck in their food court. It's just too depressing. I had the best cup of coffee I'd ever had at Caribou. Which is to say, I didn't feel like spitting it out. And for the first time I wasn't angry about their fake stone fireplace.

Forty-five minutes later I walked over to the depot and got on the northbound line. It was packed. Who goes home at 2:30 p.m.?

So here I am. The cat resents my presence, and I can't stop thinking about the things I needed to do at work. Maybe I should have some vodka. Is that good for a cold? Probably not.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Carson Pirie Scott Building, detail

Louis Sullivan's Carson Pirie Scott Building is pretty awesome. Even through it's lost detail and ornament over the years, it's still a jewel on State Street. It's easy to be overwhelmed by the by the explosion of cast iron. Imagine my surprise to find that the detail above is based on a simple cluster of cherries.

In his later, sadder years, Sullivan published a book about his system of ornamentation. He would start with a simple geometric shape and add layer after layer of complexity. It may have been meant to be instructive, but no one could beat Sullivan at his own game. Which I'm sure he knew.

After a hundred years Carson's is leaving the space. Odd. Sad. But expect the building to live on, better than ever. It may not look it, but it needs a major overhaul to guarantee all that ornament doesn't smash to the ground. And it'll get it. Like many of the great buildings of Chicago, it's identity has mingled with that of the city. Lucky for all of us.