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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