New sculpture unveiled at the Fairmont

Texas-based husband and wife artists build newFairmont sculpture 

A 1,200 pound, 10-foot copper patina panel featuring some of Chicago’s greatest historical achievements was recently installed at the Columbus Dr. entrance to the Fairmont hotel.

The piece was conceived and built by Dallas-based sculptor Brad Oldham and his wife, artist Christy Coltrin.

img_2183c“Christy and I tell stories through sculpture,” explains Oldham. “This is a story we wanted to tell for the Fairmont Hotel about the history of Chicago.”

The couple has completed “about eight” projects for Fairmont parent company, Strategic Hotels. Many of them appear in downtown Chicago. Oldham credits their collaboration for the success.

“We both sort of concept and work on the design together,” he explains. “She’s more of a writer and I’m more hands-on. I sculpt and handle the fabrication and installation.”

Along the way, Oldham has grown to “love” the Windy City.”

“Chicago is built on the backs of broad shoulders,” he says. “It is a beacon in the United States.”

— Daniel Patton SPACER03-01

FedEx Office at Illinois Center introduces eBay Valet Drop-Off Program    

Consumers looking to make money on eBay from their unwanted clutter but unwilling to go through the bother of selling it themselves can take advantage of the eBay Valet Drop-Off Program now available at the FedEx Office store in the Illinois Center.

The eBay Valet Drop-Off Program, a recently formed partnership between eBay and more than 1,600 FedEx Office locations nationwide, builds on eBay’s existing Valet Program. 

efed0001-01Under the eBay Valet Drop-Off Program, sellers are able to bring items worth at least $25 to a participating FedEx Office store. The eBay Valet Drop-Off Program accepts items from a “limited number of product categories,” according to a Business Wire news release. 

FedEx.com indicates that top-selling items include electronics,  musical instruments,  antiques and collectibles,  high-end clothing and shoes, sporting goods and small appliances.

“Consumers can even sell bulky items  — like golf clubs — alleviating the hassle of packing them up,” said Shawn, an assistant manager at the Illinois Center FedEx Office, who describes the service as “set it and forget it.”

According to Shawn, once customers drop their items off at FedEx Office, a team member will securely pack and ship the items to an eBay Valet. The eBay Valet will then photograph, list and sell the items. Once an item sells, the Valet will ship the item to a buyer. Unsold items are returned free of charge, typically within one week after the auction closes.

“Customers have to have a PayPal account,” to participate in the program, he added.

The service costs nothing for sellers upfront. On each item sold, FedEx and eBay will share a commission ranging from 20 to 40 percent. 

In addition to professionally packing and shipping items, FedEx Office team members can help new eBay users set up their accounts and research comparable prices to get an estimated value for their items.

For more information, visit FedEx Office, 111 E. Wacker Drive, (312) 938-0678, http://www.fedex.com/us/office/ebay-drop-off.html

— Shanti Nagarkatti

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New paved pedestrian path extends from Lancaster to Lake Michigan   

There is a new paved pathay providing direct route to the Lakefront Trail. Previously, pedestrians would access the lake by walking on an unpaved gravel path adjacent to the empty lot behind Lancaster.

— Angela Gagnon

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Wacker Drive street closures in effect

According to a memo issued by the Magellan corporation, McHugh Construction implemented street closures on Upper Wacker Drive due to Wanda Vista Tower construction on Friday, October 28.

Details and a graphic overview of the modifications are listed below. The closure will be in effect for the duriation of the construciton.Construction is expected to be completed in 2020.

  • Upper Wacker east bound lane will become a two-way street (currently a one-way turnaround).
  • Upper Wacker going west (north side) will be closed from the turnaround to the Columbus light.
  • Wacker ramp up from Mid-Wacker to Upper Wacker will remain open, but no left turn allowed onto Columbus. Must continue west bound on Upper Wacker.
  • Wacker ramp down to Mid-Wacker will remain open (one will be able to take a right from Upper Columbus to the Mid-Wacker ramp).
  • New traffic pattern striping and road barriers will be installed.
  • All busses will be rerouted to Columbus Drive.
  • Access to The Coast and the North Road (between Swissotel/Aqua/Coast) will also remain open. One can now take a left from North Road on to Upper Wacker to exit west bound.

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Lack of lighting on LSE park stairs — residents concerned   

The New Eastside News has received multiple reports of inadequate lighting for several flights of stairs connecting Lake Shore East Park to Harbor Drive.

According to local residents and property mangers, the darkness on the east of the Lake Shore East Park may even be responsible for an alleged assault and robbery of a pregnant woman by a group of young males who pushed her to the ground as she exited the elevator and then robbed her of her cell phone.

img952419cA nearby building manager stated that police were notified of the alleged incident but did not find sufficient cause for an investigation.

The manager further stated that several attempts to identify exactly who or what is responsible for maintaining the lights had been made, but to no avail.

Besides the City of Chicago, the manager reported, a handful of building management and real estate companies had been contacted, but none claimed responsibility for the structure.

New Eastside News’ confirms that at least three of the five flights of stairs do not appear to provide sufficient lighting. The way is not only unfit for pedestrians, the investigation concluded, but it is also for domesticated animals.

“I saw a man try to take his dog down the steps,” said Matthew Reiss after reviewing the area. “And the dog wasn’t having it.”

Three separate property managers confirmed that the structure is not the responsibility of the companies for which they work. Each of the managers stated that they were aware of the situation and had also made attempts to find a resolution.

“I just want the lights fixed,” wrote New Eastside resident Chris Galvin, who originally notified New Eastside News of the problem.

Update: As of November 3, the lights have been fixed.

— Daniel Patton

GEMS WINS MIES VAN DER ROHE AWARD

GEMS World Academy – Chicago received the prestigious Mies van der Rohe Citation of Merit for Innovation from the Illinois chapter of the American Institute of Architects during a special ceremony at the school on October 12.

img_0344awebCiting the colorful and innovative vertical orientation of the building designed by bkL Architecture, the AIA Illinois jury remarked that it “showed real creativity by inserting a complex educational facility in a dense urban context.”

According to a press release from GEMS World Academy – Chicago, “The Mies van der Rohe Citation of Merit for Innovation is one of five design awards that AIA Illinois presents every year.”

To arrange a campus “coffee tour,” please visit www.gemsworldacademy-chicago.com or call (312) 809-8910.

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Cultural Mile hosts Halloween gathering and parade Oct. 22   

The Chicago Cultural Mile’s second annual Halloween Gathering and Parade will fill Millennium Park with costumery, floats, performances, and thousands of guests on Oct. 22.

A Daytime Festival will occupy the Sir George Solti Garden from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The two-hour Spectacle Parade starts at 6 p.m. at Columbus Dr. and Balbo Ave. and proceeds south to Monroe St.

The family-friendly event includes arts and crafts workshops, gigantic puppetry and professional fire-breathers.

Last year’s event, which involved some 4,000 participants, attracted an estimated audience of 200,000, according to Chicagoist.com.

Preparations for the parade represent a year-round effort for the Chicago Cultural Mile, a nonprofit organization that was formed to celebrate and promote the stretch of Michigan Ave. from Wacker Dr. to Roosevelt Rd.

www. chicagoculturalmile.org

— Daniel Patton

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Mayor, Alderman help break Wanda ground

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Alderman Brendan Reilly spoke of prestige, jobs, and convenience while offering gratitude to China-based commercial property company Wanda Group at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Wanda Vista Tower on September 7.

img_9314a2webAddressing attendees from a stage overlooking the skyscraper’s future Wacker Dr. location, the Mayor informed the crowd that “the largest real estate investment by a Chinese firm in the United States of America is going to be right here in the city of Chicago.”

In addition to the thousands of jobs that the building’s construction will require, he continued, nearly 500 permanent jobs will exist after it is finished.

During his remarks, Alderman Reilly declared that the project would also include additional “much needed improvements” such as “connecting Upper Wacker to Waterside Dr.”

Upon its estimated completion in 2019, the Wanda Vista will rise 1,186 feet and become the city’s third tallest building.

— Daniel Patton

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Council on Global Affairs moves to New Eastside

After relying on outside venues for 20-plus years, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs finally came “home” to the New Eastside Sept. 7.

The organization’s new state-of-the-art Conference Center directly off Prudential One’s lobby at 130 E. Randolph St. makes accessing the world’s preeminent leaders a cinch.

logoThe city’s most prestigious think tank acquired the new space due to growing demand and a need for technology.

“Our main intention was to host events,” said Council COO Jenny Cizner. “We kind of feel like we’re in the middle of [things] here.”

The only “downside” is the frequent need for even more space.

According to Cizner, about 80 percent of last year’s programming attracted crowds of approximately 200 people.

For New Eastsiders, the prospect of direct access to the Council’s dynamic roster of dignitaries, thought leaders, and academics is a thrill.

“I had a member from the New Eastside say that the Council moving here was ‘the greatest thing ever to happen to me,’” laughs Cizner.

Nearly all events are open to the public. CCGA members enjoy reduced event fees. Memberships range from $40 for students to $100 for regular members. Approximately a third of its 7,000 members are aged 25 to 40.

Judging from a recent “gender equity” luncheon, an eager contingent will be right on their heels.

“I’ve been to a lot of conferences,” said Nicole Wojnoski, a junior at Whitney Young Magnet School, “and this was great. It was smaller, so I felt more connected and engaged.”

Students from neighboring tables also felt happy to attend.

“It’s a nice place to actually see what’s going on in the world,” said GCE Lab School freshman Lucas Meidinger.

For more information, visit www.thechicagocouncil.org.

— Tricia Parker

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Wilson Sporting Goods makes new HQ in New Eastside

102-year Chicago firm Wilson Sporting Goods announced in September that it would move its global headquarters to Prudential Plaza. According to Crain’s, the 400-person firm signed a 12-year lease and will move from its current location near O’Hare in late 2017.

— Daniel Patton

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Sports Summit brings the business of pro sports to New Eastside   

On October 5 at the Hyatt Regency, the inaugural Chicago Sports Summit will combine big league marketing directors, medical specialists, and agents to discuss the current and future state of business in Chicago sports.

summit02-01“The objective was to get all of the different professional organizations in the same place at the same time,” explains Dr. Brian Cole, who founded the event.

Dr. Cole is team physician for the Chicago Bulls and associate team physician for the White Sox. He will moderate one of three panels during the event, which runs from 7 a.m. to noon.

Titled, “Keeping Our Athletes Healthy: The Risks, Liabilities and Economics,” the panel will tap into his experience as host of popular ESPN radio program, “Sports Medicine.”

“The intesting things are how injuries affect players and the dynamics of taking care of professional athletes,” he explains. “You have a lot of stakeholders: the agent, owner, GM, trainer, family.”

Other notable guests include Chicago White Sox Director of Marketing & Analytics Beth Grabowski, who will be part of a discussion about marketing and franchising professional sports.

“Our goal is to make sure that the game day experience is as enjoyable as possible,” she says.

Besides ensuring the ongoing success of Free T-shirt Thursdays and Friday Fireworks, she helped secure the Guinness Record for greatest number of dogs at a park when the Sox hosted 1,122 four-legged fans at U.S. Cellular Field over the summer.

Admission to the Summit is $200.

www.ChicagoSportsSummit.com

— Daniel Patton

PAST NEWS

Maggie Daley Park to host Backyard Bash during National Park and Recreation Month

Park-and-Recreation-Month-Logo-250
Maggie Daley Park will celebrate National Parks and Recreation month with an inaugural old fashioned picnic on July 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is free to all and no RSVP is required.

National Park and Recreation Month is a celebration intended to help park-lovers “discover super powers at your local parks and recreation,” according to the event’s website. It is an annual function of the National Recreation and Park Association.

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CAPS WRAP — street performer noise, deceptive practice

Noisy street performers continue to disrupt the lives of people who live near Millennium Park, according to a number of residents at the June 16 CAPS meeting at The Heritage at Millennium Park, 130 N. Garland Ct.

Although Police officers had  explained during the April meeting that most outdoor performers are licensed by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and, therefore, allowed to play, people at the June CAPS meeting nevertheless expressed their frustrations.

“It’s becoming battle of the bands,” one remarked.

“Maybe we could get American Idol to take the good ones off the street,” responded one of three Chicago Police officers present.

Another resident said that research proves, “Professors cannot lecture, students cannot study due to noise from street performers.”

“Everyone’s got a place, like the skateboarders have a place,” noted the officer. He then suggested that perhaps a specific performance area should be created “somewhere in the park.”

Deceptive practice is a particular type of theft: bad check, dine and dash, run out on a cab,” explained an officer. “As usual, the thefts are our highest crime on the beat, due to restaurants and hotels, mostly.”

Although most residents do not encounter the problem because they are not running businesses, she advised remaining alert when patronizing such businesses, especially restaurants, in order to avoid other problems.

“Theft frequently involves items that customers bring with them and temporarily store under the table,” she explained, “purse, retail bags, sunglasses, iPhone, etc.”

Another officer suggested that this vigilance should be maintained at all times, especially by females. “Walk with your head up, don’t talk on the phone,” he said. “Every now and then stop and look around to see who’s following you.”

Fortunately, according to another officer, the amount of crimes reported in the area has been less than usual for the season. “The last couple months have been very nice,” she said. “Battery and theft are at a low. No patterns detected.”

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Mariano’s celebrates sixth anniversary

In 2010, Mariano’s changed the way people shop for groceries. Offering an exquisite selection of local and international foods in a store that included an Italian coffee shop, a sushi bar, a wood-burning pizza oven, and an abundance of samples, it soon generated a large and devoted following.

163742mar6annivheaderOver the next six years, the number of Mariano’s stores expanded from the original location in Arlingon Heights, IL., to cities and neighborhoods throughout northeastern Illinois, including one at 333 E. Benton Pl. in New Eastside.

From now until August 24, Mariano’s will host an Anniversary Celebration program designed to highlight the innovations that have satisfied customers for the past six years.

Free cake and coffee will be served on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 2 p.m. Special Anniversary Edition beverages and desserts such as Vero gelato and bella cupcakes will be available for purchase. Automatic entries into the Mariano’s Customer Appreciation Sweepstakes will be granted to customers who use their Mariano’s Rewards Cards.

Mariano’s is also hosting a Hot Dog Top Dog Instagram contest that runs until July 15. Those who enter hot dog photos will have a chance to win $100.

For more information, follow@marianosmarket on Instagram, visit www.marianos.com or call (312) 228-1349.

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Proposed museum no longer considering Chicago location 

Last month, George Lucas announced that he will no longer pursue plans to  build the George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Chicago.

The decision followed nearly two years of heated public debate about the private use of public land on Chicago’s lakefront, where Mr. Lucas and Mayor Emanuel wanted to build the museum.

Opponents included the nonprofit group Friends of the Parks, which filed a federal complaint to halt development of the project in late 2014. Among other things, the group claimed that the proposed location immediately south of Soldier Field would violate the Lakefront Protection Ordinance, which prohibits private development east of Lake Shore Drive.

Supporters argued that the museum would actually increase the amount of green space on what is now a parking lot and that it would generate tourism revenue and create jobs.

The city filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, but it was denied in February. The case was scheduled to be heard later this year.

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Daniel Patton, Staff Writer

JUNE NEWS

Street maintenance: Upper Wacker Drive reinforcement

IMG_1658dIron Workers Local 1 began replacing the links and pins of the expansion joints on Upper Wacker Drive, which connect the large sections of concrete that form the street, in May.

The stainless steel links are attached to both sides of the thoroughfare’s elevated pavement sections. They hold the street together while allowing a roughly two-inch gap to remain so that “the roadway can move in the hot and cold,” says Iron Worker Scott Witry.
The process requires crews to work on the north side of the structure while suspended by canopy some thirty feet over the banks of the Chicago River.

Meahwhile, G & C Construction replaced the black strips of plastic that extend from sidewalk to sidewalk and cover the joints on the street’s surface.

“We remove everything completely,” explains G&C’s Nick Garcia. “On the sidewalks, we recess one side and install a steel cover plate that will be flush with the existing concrete.”

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Landscaping at former Chicago Spire site

The gaping hole where the Chicago Spire was to be constructed in 2008 was recently beautified with fresh grass, trees and other assorted greenery. Take a look for yourself via the newly opened access to the DuSable bridge via the south west tower stairs.
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Movies in the Park at Lakehore East begin Thursday, June 30

One night every month throughout the summer, Magellan Development Corporation will turn the neighborhood into an outdoor movie theater. The program begins Thursday June 30 with Dirty Danicing followed by This is Love on July 28 and Star Wars on August 25. Movies start at sundown (approximately 8:30 p.m.) Pre-show music starts at 6 pm.

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MILA Tower ready for renters to move in

IMG_2177bThe 41-story MILA Tower at 201 N. Garland Ct. began showing apartments to potential tenants and welcoming new residents in May.

Besides its outstanding location Chicago’s Cultural Mile, MILA boasts a rooftop pool and offers room service and valet parking for guests of residents from the nearby Hard Rock Hotel.

For more information, visit www.milachicago.com.

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Louis Vuitton hosts America’s Cup World Series event at Navy Pier June 10

IMG_5078aThe Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series sails into the fresh waters of Lake Michigan — the first freshwater venue to host America’s Cup racing in the event’s 164-year history — on June 10. The event represents the initial stage enroute to the 2017 World Cup in Bermuda.

Competing teams will be awarded points based on their individual performances in what the race committee considers to be “an early opportunity to put points on the board that carry forward into the next stage of the competition.”

Besides the defending champion ORACLE USA, teams from Sweden, Great Britain, New Zealand, Japan, and France will compete in the event.

Each team will race “on foiling, wingsailed catamarans — an updated version of the AC45 raced in the last series,” according to a press release.

To enhance viewing accessibility and celebrate the occasion, Louis Vuitton and a number of sponsors will host a number of attractions including a beer garden and food court at “Race Village” in Navy Pier. Admission is $29 for children, $59 for adults.

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CAPS Wrap: attendee encourages residents
to oust “hustlers” from Lower Wacker Dr.

During the June CAPS meeting at 400 E. Randolph, a local business professional urged residents to provide assistance in an attempt to evict the individuals who appear to prey on motorists and passersby near the intersection of Lower Lake St. and Lower Michigan Ave.

“They’ve got a little hustle there and they approach cars to ask them if they are lost,” the person explained afterwards. “I want the city to clean it up.”

The person also supplied a number of “Criminal Trespass Affidavit” forms used by the Chicago Police Department to gain permission to enter premises and while homeowners and business operators are away.

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Mariano’s encourages New Eastside residents
to report unattended shopping carts

A representative from upscale New Eastside grocery Mariano’s at 333 E. Benton Pl. underscored the store’s committment to reduce neighborhood clutter by encouraging residents to call (312) 228 1349 to report any sightings of unattended shopping carts.

Once the call is made, the representative said, “We’ll send someone over.”
Additionally, Mariano’s schedules a “cart person” who retrieves the mobile grocery transporters at least once every hour from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., every day of the week.

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Friends of the Chicago River to host Summer Cruise

IMG_6689aOn Wednesday June 22, the McCormick Bridgehouse Museum will host a twilight riverboat cruise on a 250-passenger Wendella vessel launching from the dock of the Trump Tower in River North and rolling down to Bubbly Creek in Bridgeport.

Appetizers, drinks, and three pop-up concerts will nourish and entertain guests along the way. Tickets are $75. Proceeds will benefit the Friends Bridgehouse Museum. For more information, visit www.bridgehousemuseum.org.

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— Daniel Patton, Staff Writer

May News

CAPS meeting addresses street performer volume

The April meeting of  the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) at 130 N. Garland Ct. included a lengthy discussion between residents, police officers and a representative of Alerman Reilly’s office about the volume of street performers near Michigan Ave. and Lake St.

A local resident explained that music played outdoors sounds like noise to people indoors. Others implied that at least one of the performers is unable to play more than two songs.

An officer present stated that he had responded to several complaints in the past. He informed the group that most of the alleged sonic violators were licensed to perform by the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE). In such cases, he continued, the CPD can ask musicians to move to another location, but not order them to stop playing.

Although some acknowledged that passersby and tourists seem to enjoy street musicians, they felt that restrictions on licenses, volume, locations and/or hours are necessary to reduce the aural strain on the local residency.      

A representative from the Alerman’s office remarked that “Alderman Reilly in a million years would never issue these permits.” She encouraged residents to join Alderman Reilly in a letter writing campaign directed towards Michelle T. Boone, Commssioner of DCASE, as a “pre-cursor to an ordinance campaign.”

“At the end of the day,” she explained, “we want the person who issues these permits to understand how the performers effect the quality of your life.”

The Commissioner’s office responded to a request for comment by noting via email that it had “not heard about” the Alderman’s intentions but looks forwad to seeing his proposal and is “always happy to hear from the public.”

Alderman Reilly’s office did not respond to a request for additonal information.

By Daniel Patton | Staff Writer

Buckingham Fountain “Switch on Summer” event May 7

The Chicago Park District and ComEd have partnered to celebrate Buckingham Fountain’s “wake from hibernation” during the 2nd annual “Switch on Summer” event May 7.

WGN’s Ana Belaval hosts the 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. festivities. Highlights will include free giveaways, family activities, entertainment, and tips to save money and energy.

The Buckingham Fountain will mark the start of summer with a ceremonial bubbling eruption at 6 p.m., when it gets switched on by the lucky winner of a ComEd contest that ran through April.

Additional partners in the celebration include Adler Planetarium, Chicago Children’s Museum, Chicago History Museum, Navy Pier, Old Town School of Folk Music, and Lincoln Park Zoo.

For more information, visit www.comed.com/switchonsummer.

By Daniel Patton | Staff Writer

Randolph St. resident criticizes shopping cart courtesy 

A local resident underscored her dissatisfaction with people who take shopping carts out of Mariano’s and leave them on the sidewalk during the April CAPS meeting at 130 N. Garland.

Displaying numerous photographs of unreturned carts in the area, she claims to have launched an “artistic protest” by turning stranded carts upside-down and setting them in the Randolph St. median.

By Daniel Patton | Staff Writer

Lake FX Summit & Expo May 13 – 15

Lake FX, “the Midwest’s largest free convening of artists and creative entrepreneurs,” will include presentations, discussions and workshops at the Chicago Cultural Center, the Gene Siskel Film Center, and the Hard Rock Hotel from May 13 to 15.

According the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, which hosts the event, “If you create, perform or produce… you’re in.”

Topics will include a flying physical workshop hosted by the Walkabout Theater Company, a candid interview with African American advertising legend Tom Burrell, and performances by Lupe Fiasco and Che “Rhymefest” Smith.

Times and locations of select highlights are listed in our Events section. Admission to all events is free, but advanced registration is recommended. To register and see a complete schedule, visit www.cityofchicago.org/dcase.

By Daniel Patton | Staff Writer

New Navy Pier Ferris wheel debuts May 27

Navy Pier’s luxurious new Ferris wheel  is scheduled to take its inaugural rotation on May 27.

The nearly 200 foot-tall structure will feature 42 enclosed gondolas with leather seats and video screens playing information about the pier, which celebrates its centennial this year.

The Pier’s former Ferris wheel has been relocated to Branson, MO, where it will become an attraction at Track Family Fun Parks.

By Daniel Patton | Staff Writer

Movable bridges raise for boats in May 

Twice a week from May 4 to June 29, the bridges spanning the Chicago River will raise to make way for vessells rolling down the river. Beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturdays and 9:30 a.m. on Wednesdays, the bridges will raise one at a time from Ashaland Ave. on the south branch to Lake Shore Drive.

By Daniel Patton | Staff Writer

Gospel Festival spans Grant Park, Cultural Center in early June

The 2016 Chicago Gospel Festival will feature concerts, discussions and a centennial mass in honor of the Great Migration in Millennium Park and the Cultural Center from June 3-4.

Performers and speakers will range from local high school choirs and new artists to veteran Grammy-nominees.

The Great Migration Mass will take place at 4 p.m. on Saturday June 4 with a special set by The Great Migration Choir at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

For a list of headlining performances, see our Events section. For the complete agenda, visit the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs at www.chicagogospelmusicfestival.us.

By Daniel Patton | Staff Writer

Hotel coming to Navy Pier in 2018   

On May 1, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Navy Pier officials announced plans for construction of a $90 million, five-story hotel to be located on Navy Pier.

Scheduled to open in 2018, the facility will be open year-round and help the city achieve its goal to attract 55 million visitors annually by 2020.

By Daniel Patton | Staff Writer

Hyatt Hotel converting Pedway shops into meeting spaces

In response to a growing demand for meeting spaces, the Hyatt Hotel has purchased several former retail locations in Columbus Plaza at 233 E. Wacker Dr. with the intention of converting them into meeting spaces for guests and non-guests alike.

According to Hyatt Hotel Marketing / PR representative Patricka Kanke, locations formerly belonging to the Khyber Pass restaurant, a Chinese restaurant and a music store are among the retailers that will be converted.

Spa di la Fronza’s former location will also be converted into meeting space, but the salon remains in the Pedway at a new location.

The location now boasts the new Lakeshore Meeting Space, which is open to visitors. Contact Hyatt for further details.

— Daniel Patton and Shanti Nagarkatti 

Springtime races

On the morning of May 22, Lakeshore East Park will once again be inundated with runners hoping to eat 13.1 miles for breakfast at the Chicago Spring Half Marathon.

According to Scott “Hootie” Hutmacher, Lifetime Athletic Events Regional Brand Manager, the event was “originally created to find a way to bring a special event into Lakeshore East Park.” Now in its eighth year, the spirit of this race really captures the uniqueness of Lakeshore East Park and its proximity to the Lakefront Trail.

In addition to the half marathon, the race program also includes a 10K and a Junior Dash, and all participants can relax and celebrate at the post-race picnic right in the park.

For New Eastside residents, it’s a short walk to the starting line and according to Hootie, the perfect way to “join thousands of race participants pushing themselves to meet new goals” in a healthy and invigorating kickoff of the spring season.

— Angela Gagnon

New Eastside real estate trends

In April, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) released its Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report, with some fascinating data on the trends of just who is buying. While the largest group of homebuyers, according to the study, 67 percent, are married couples, the second largest group is single females.

According to trade association, single women comprise 15 percent of all home buyers, and this number increases when looking at buyers between the ages of 51 and 60, to 20 percent. By contrast, single male buyers come in at 9 percent of the buying population.

So, what does this mean to residents in the New Eastside? Matt Farrell, Managing Partner of Urban Real Estate says in our market, singles looking to buy care most about our optimum location, and often the amenities of the building.  “Our neighborhood is attractive to those who want to be downtown, but still feel like they live in a community which is private enough to feel like you are away from it all,” Farrell adds. “We have a very special place in the city, and the right mix of businesses paired with buildings that offer stellar services to their residents to make our community attractive to buyers and renters, alike,” Farrell notes.

In the first quarter of 2016, Urban Real Estate sold more units in the New East Side community than any other office. Farrell concludes, “Singles looking to live here invest knowing that this can be their home now, and as their life evolves and perhaps family expands, they still see themselves as vested and wanting to keep their home for years to come.”

— Urban Real Estate

April News

Chicago Police mission attempts to dial down neighborhood noise

Cracking down on incidents of neighborhood noise on Lower Wacker and Lower Columbus Dr., the Chicago Police Department conducted a “mission” to punish volume-violating motorists over the first weekend in March.

“There were several citations,” an officer reported during a CAPS meeting at 400 E. Randolph on March 13. “I don’t know the exact number, but I heard it was a lot.”     

People at the meeting appeared to welcome the department’s effort, but still offered a handful of their own suggestions for maintaining peace and quiet.

One attendee recommended that the police use heat-measuring devices to identify vehicles with warm engines and then determine if the temperature resulted from illegal activity.

In response, another attendee remarked that it’s not illegal to have a warm engine. He then cited a law in Title 9 of the Chicago Code that has been referenced at previous CAPS meetings.

Unofficially translated, Section 9-76-140 requires all motor vehicles on public roadways to “be equipped with a muffler in good working order” and operated only if the exhaust system is “labeled in accordance” with a federal regulation that specifies “noise emission requirements.”

The officers reiterated their commitment to neighborhood noise reduction and encouraged residents to report alleged violators to the department.

— Daniel Patton

Mezcalina announces remodeling 

In April, Mezcalina restaurant replaced its signage, website and voicemail with messages about a plan to temporarily close and work on a “new look” that will be unveiled during a Grand Opening celebration on Cinco de Mayo.

Explaining that, “we’ve heard great ideas that were shared by (our customers) and our peers,” the popular Benton Place eatery expressed its commitment to “take Mezcalina to the next level” while continuing to offer “delicous and authentic” food.

Further details will be reported on New Eastside News’ website — www.neatside.com — when they become available.

— Daniel Patton

Studio Gang Architects Presents Aqua Shared Space Renovations

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Aqua lobby conversion concept by Studio Gang

Studio Gang Architects presented design concepts for planned interior renovations to common spaces at the Aqua Condominium. The scope comprises the condo lobby, third-floor club rooms, and upstairs corridors.

Unlike the current angular configurations in these areas, the proposal calls for “light, fluid, textural, and translucent,” design elements to match the exterior’s undulating balconies.

Objectives of the project include imparting an open and airy feel to shared spaces; delineating between the condo and apartment lobbies; modifying finishes; and emphasizing verticality.

Hosted by the Aqua’s Board of Directors, the presentation gave owners a chance to see conceptual notions for the renovation at varying levels of architectural involvement and at corresponding price points.

The plans are a starting point for conversation among the building’s constituents and still require Board approval.

— Shanti Nagarkatti

Maggie Daley Park tennis courts open

On April 1, the tennis courts at Maggie Daley Park opened to the public.

Although the courts are available “for walkup use at no charge,” according to the park’s website, permits to reserve courts for three or more dates are also available for the following fees:

  • Monday – Friday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. — $15 / hour
  • Monday – Friday 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. — $20 per hour
  • Saturday – Sunday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. — $20 per hour

— Daniel Patton

GEMS World Academy students launch newspaper and newscast   

Middle School students at GEMS World Academy launched a newspaper and video newscast in March. Featured coverage includes classroom activities,  “Teacher of the Week,” and creative writing.

Besides presenting the information, students also handle much of the writing, editing and photography behind the scenes.

In related news, GEMS World Academy will host an open house on April 30. For more information, visit www.gemsworldacademy-chicago.com/

— Daniel Patton

New Starbucks to open in Mila Tower 

The street-level retail space in the Mila Tower at 200 N. Michigan recently displayed a sign indicating that a new Starbucks is moving in.

The nationwide coffery appears to be the first retail tenant in the apartment building on the corner of Michigan Ave and Lake St.

Designed by bKL Architecture and Design, the 41-story Mila Tower unveiled floor plans in late 2015 and is expected to begin accepting tenants in the summer of 2016.

— Daniel Patton

Chicago’s 2016 Draft Town will include a Ferris Wheel 

TOWN0003The football-centric village to be temporarily erected in Grant Park as part of Chicago’s Draft Town from April 20 -30 will add a Ferris wheel to its offerings in 2016.

Supporting the city’s role as the official home of the NFL’s 2016 pro draft, the ride will join a midway of team tents and athletic activities that helped draw more than 200,000 fans to the event last year.

The world’s first Ferris wheel debuted at Chicago’s 1893 Columbian Exposition in Hyde Park.

For more information about Draft Town 2016, click here.

— Daniel Patton

Chicago Park District opens registration for summer camp 

Maggie Daley Park will begin registering children ages six to twelve for field trips, explorations, crafts and more in April. The online process opens April 5 at www.chicagoparkdistrict.com. The in-person process opens April 9 at 337 E. Randolph.

The six-week day camp begins on July 5 and runs through August 12. Additional programs begin on June 20 and continue until August 22.

— Daniel Patton

“Floating resort” idea approaches the Chicago shoreline

BREAK001awebBreakwater Chicago’s proposal to anchor a “unique entertainment & hospitality destination” off the shores of Lake Michigan sailed closer to the Windy City when the company released new renderings of the concept in March.

Images of a boardwalk-bordered “party barge” containing semi-futuristic recreational dwellings and a water park were accompanied by messages asking “can you imagine dining and swimming on top of Lake Michigan?” that cruised across several social media channels on the internet.

Launched in 2014, the idea has since generated more than $60,000 from an online Kickstarter campaign.

— Daniel Patton

Temporary parking restrictions for street sweeping take effect

Beginning April 1, several temporary parking restrictions will take effect on streets surrounding the New Eastside as the city beautifies its roadways.

In a memorandum from Alderman Reilly’s office, drivers are reminded to “be mindful of all temporary and permanent street sweeping parking restriction signage.”

Although none of the scheduled maintenance is scheduled for the streets that border Lake Shore East Park, a number of those directly outside the neighborhood will be effected.

For more information, including an interactive map and cleaning schedule, visit www.ward42chicago.com/ or call (312) 642.4242.

— Daniel Patton

Tower occupancy surges in Maggie Daley Park

IMG_9381webThe Lighthouse in Maggie Daley Park appeared to experience a notable increase in tenancy during a weekend of unseasonably warm weather in March.

Nestled within an 8,500 square-foot area known as “The Sea” that also contains a Whale and a scale-model ship, the Lighthouse is equipped with “kid-powered light generation, talking tubes, viewing scopes, and a spiral exit slide,” according to the Maggie Daley Park website.

It is part of an even larger section of Maggie Daley park known as the “Play Garden,” which was specifically designed for kids and is open from 6 a.m to 11 p.m.

— Daniel Patton

March news

GEMS World Academy announces new head of school

Kim Wargo, a 20-year veteran of the independent school world who has led private institutions in Dallas, San Francisco, and New Orleans, will assume the helm of GEMS’ Academy’s Chicago campuses in July, the school announced this month.

Before joining the independent, international educational organization that boasts two Chicago campuses, Ms. Wargo served as Eugene McDermott Headmistress of The Hockaday School, a PK-12 boarding school in Dallas, TX.

According to a press release, she will transition into her new post this month by holding “the first of what is expected to be a series of meetings with GEMS families and teachers.”

She replaces Geoff Jones, GEMS Academy’s founding Head of School, who is retiring. Mr. Jones is credited with being among the visionaries who helped to shape GEMS’ respected reputation.

The GEMS organization educates children aged kindergarten through 12th grade in 83 schools spanning 14 countries.

Lucas Museum may not be built in Chicago

The George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, after announcing plans to locate in Chicago next year, may not be coming to the Windy City after all.

The Friends of the Park — a not-for-profit citizens’ organization with a mission to “preserve, protect, improve and promote the use of parks and open spaces throughout Chicago” — sued the museum last year on grounds that its Chicago intentions do not represent the public interest.

The museum almost immediately filed a motion to dismiss, but it was denied by Chicago U.S. District Judge John last month.

According to some reports, the city of Oakland, located much closer to Lucas’ hometown and production company, is currently preparing a bid for the alleged $700 million dollar institution.

IMG_9165gNeighborhood maintenance

S&J Construction replaced the pin and links that connect the large sections of Upper Wacker Drive north of Columbus Dr. The process required workers to remove the old bolts by melting them with a welding torch.

Early Voting

From now through March 12, residents can participate in early voting for the upcoming March 15 primary in two nearby locations:

· Museum of Broadcast Communications, 360 N. State Street

· Board of Elections, 69 W. Washington Street

March CAPS beat meeting

The next monthly meeting to cover issues within police beats in and around Chicago’s 1st District will take place on March 10 from 7 to 8 p.m. at 400 E. Randolph. The 1st District extends from the Chicago River to 31st Street, and from Lake Michigan to Des Plaines. There are eleven beats within the area including the 14th, which is dedicated to the New Eastside.

Chicago Public Schools cuts jobs

Citing an $85 million budget cut, CPS Chief Executive Officer Forrest Claypool on February 29 announced that 62 employees, including 17 teachers, were to be laid off.

Although he referred to the move as “painful,” he said it was necessary “to secure fair funding for our students, bring Illinois up from last in the country for education funding and work with Springfield to start treating students in poverty fairly, so our students get the education they deserve.”

— Daniel Patton | Staff Writer

February News

By Daniel Patton | Staff Writer

GEMS Academy preschool program

GEMS World Academy will launch an Early Childhood unit for 3-year-olds beginning next Fall. The full-day, five-days-a-week program will educate young students in the Lower School, where the existing pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes are located. Enrollment is open to children who will turn 3 by December 31, 2016. For more information, contact GEMS admissions office at (312) 809-8910.

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2016 Halloween Parade announced

The Chicago Cultural Mile will host this year’s creative and family-friendly Halloween celebration on October 22, 2016. The event will begin as an afternoon festival from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Sir George Solti Garden in Millennium Park and then transmogrify into a spectacle parade along Columbus Dr. from Balbo St. to Monroe St. The occasion is designed to thrill both kids and adults by celebrating Halloween as an “artist’s holiday” that will include “craft and dance workshops, live performances and a kids’ costume procession.” Participating institutions include the Field Museum and The Art Institute of Chicago; artists and organizations include Louder Than a Bomb and Silent Theatre Company. Visit www.chicagoculturalmile.org for more information.

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1st District issues theft / robbery alert

The Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) issued on January 28 an alert notifying taxicab and uber drivers in the 1st Central District that an increased amount of theft and robbery has been reported during the month of January. The incidents frequently involve perpetrators working in groups, the report notes, on both sides of the vehicle. While a “ruse” distracts the driver (such as someone “handing out flyers”), accomplices on the opposite side of the car “open the front passenger door and take the driver’s phone.” Citizens who wish to report additional information should call the Bureau of Detectives at (312) 747-8384.

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Commissioner of Streets & Sanitation addresses concerns

Charles L. Williams, Commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Streets & Sanitation, toured the New Eastside with resident David Sudler to investigate the neighborhood’s infrastructure on Wednesday, January 28.

“David is an extremely knowledgeable individual,” said the Commissioner, who also reviewed several of Sudler’s photographs of “drainpipes on Wacker Drive that are supposed to be transporting water away from the streets.”

Although he discovered that many of the issues fall under the responsibility of other departments like CDOT, the Commissioner told New Eastside News that “We’re going to connect him to the right department and get the job done.” He also may contact building owners to initiate additional repairs for which they are responsible.

“We try very hard in the city of Chicago to be proactive,” he explained. “But if a citizen sees something, he or she is welcome encourage he or she to reach out to 311.”

Sudler, the neighborhood’s unofficial gardener and builder of the Wacker Drive igloo that created a sensation in January, enthusiastically reported that CDOT had begun repairing some of the drainage pipes within two days.

“They were true to their word,” he said.

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CAPS Wrap

The January CAPS meeting concluded with residents expressing concerns about drag racing on Lower Wacker Drive and marijuana use within high-rise condominiums. Below is a summary of their comments:

  1. · The sound of “cars doing donuts” still emanates from the lower streets despite city efforts to deter the illegal automobile activity;
  2. · The affects of marijuana smoke that seeps into residential hallways is not only illegal but also a health risk.

CPD officers indicated that they can patrol the lower streets more strictly but encouraged residents to contact their building associations about marijuana smoke because the time and expense required to obtain proper search warrants is frequently unavailable.

January News

By Daniel Patton | Staff Writer
SPACER03-01 Neighborhood maintenance

The passageway between the southwest corner of Lake Shore Drive Bridge and the New Eastside received a makeover to increase its appearance and safety. In addition to installing handrails for pedestrians, CDOT removed graffiti and applied a fresh coat of white paint.

Catch basins, manholes, water valves and inlets on East Randolph St. from Stetson Ave. to Field Blvd. were temporarily removed and adjusted to make way for the street resurfacing project completed in December.

The traffic lights at the intersection of Randolph St. and Columbus Dr. were modified to include right-turn arrows that allow automobiles an exclusive time phase to turn southbound and westbound.

Alderman Reilly initiated the change on behalf of residents who expressed concern about the congestion caused by busy pedestrian activity combined with a “no turn on red” sign that made it impossible for any more than “two or three” vehicles to turn during a typical light change, according to Reilly’s office. At his request, CDOT conducted a study and determined that the sign should remain and the light should be modified to include turn arrows.
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Skating ribbon open for the season

The Skating Ribbon in Maggie Daley Park is open every weekday from noon to 8 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Hourly closures for ice resurfacing will occur Monday through Saturday at noon, 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Skate rentals are available up to 30 minutes prior to closing time.
SPACER03-01 Christmas tree recycling in Chicago
Chicago’s Christmas Tree Recycling Program runs until January 17 and includes two drop-off corrals within proximity of the New Eastside:

  1. The intersection of Cannon Dr. and Fullerton Ave. in Lincoln Park;
    2. 900 S. Columbus Dr. in Grant Park.

The partnership between the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Department of Streets & Sanitation helped residents recycle 10,000 trees last Christmas.
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Winter overnight parking ban in effect

Chicago’s winter overnight parking ban is in effect until April 1. Designed to make way for snowplows by preventing and removing automobiles from parking on 107 miles of the city’s “critical arterial streets” between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m., the ban includes a $150 towing fee, a $60 ticket and a $20 daily storage fee for owners of vehicles who violate it, according to Alderman Reilly’s office. Although an online map of priority arterial routes and overnight parking restrictions provided by the Department of Streets & Sanitation does not appear to designate any roadway within the New Eastside as “critical”, neighborhood drivers are nevertheless cautioned to read all signs posted near parking spots before leaving their vehicles.
SPACER03-01 CPS credit rating downgraded … again

The bond rating of the Chicago Public Schools was downgraded from Baa3 to B1, also known as “Junk,” by Moody’s Investment Service on December 21st. With a $5.5 billion outstanding tab compounded by a $480 million budget gap and a partisan fiscal standoff in Springfield, CPS’ creditworthiness may plunge deeper during the next three months. According to Crain’s Chicago, Moody’s cited the school system’s “precarious liquidity position” and “high credit risk” among the factors currently forcing it to remain “under review.”
SPACER03-01 Head sculpture removed from Millennium Park

Jaume Plensa’s Looking Into My Dreams, Awilda — the giant sculpture of a head that has graced Millennium Park since it was installed to honor the park’s 10th anniversary in 2014 — was removed during the first week of the New Year. Presumably, it will continue it’s international tour, but its next location has not been released.

Local neighborhood Target serves beer and wine

By Shanti Nagarkatti | Community Contributor

Filling a basket or cart with groceries and sundries is a key component of any Target run. Relaxing in the store with a glass of wine does not enter into the experience, until now, with the opening of a new, 24,000-square-foot Target Express at 401 E. Illinois Street.

The small format Target, housed in the space formerly occupied by upscale grocer Fox & Obel, features an edited selection of merchandise shoppers often seek on a quick errand run. The new location is Target’s first store to serve alcohol on site, in a Starbucks. Customers can purchase wine and beer at this Starbucks beginning at 2 p.m. on weekdays (Monday-Friday) and 12 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Alcoholic drinks must be consumed only within the café and may not be taken to any other part of the store. The “Starbucks Evenings” menu features wine and craft beers as well as a selection of small plates, with items like bacon-wrapped dates, truffle mac and cheese, flatbreads, and a cheese plate.

Although this Target is scaled down compared to traditional locations, it is a convenient addition to the neighborhood, serving tourists, workers, and condo and apartment dwellers.

A recent Sunday afternoon saw several guests seated in the café, taking in the sun coming through ample windows and enjoying an unobstructed view of the Chicago River. Exposed-brick walls and open rafter ceilings lend industrial chic character to the space and make visitors forget that they are in a shrunken big-box store.

Target’s in-store bar is part of a growing trend of traditionally “dry” retailers testing the waters of allowing their clientele to imbibe. In Chicago, Mariano’s and Whole Foods serve food and alcohol inside their stores. A Taco Bell Cantina in Wicker Park has wine, beer, and boozy freezes on the menu, while the Mag Mile Nordstrom has added to its second floor Habitant, a casual lounge featuring light fare, wine, and handcrafted cocktails. At the 101-year-old Three Arts Club building in the Gold Coast, a new, swanky Restoration Hardware flagship has set up shop, unveiling six floors of furniture and home décor. The store’s Arts Club Café, on the first-floor atrium, includes a coffee shop, wine bar, and restaurant for thirsty and hungry shoppers. These establishments and the prospect of more new entrants promise to promote an interesting local shopping and sipping scene.

Target Express, 401 East Illinois Street, (312) 894-1764, open 7 a.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday.

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