Saturday, January 28, 2017

Before I get to "Mr. Trump's...

...Wild Ride," or "Don and Mike's Excellent Adventure" (or is it Don and Steve? or Don and Jared? or Don and Reince? or Don and Kellyanne? Whatever), I need to catch you up on the "Wednesday Hike with Mike."

This past week we went to Navy Pier, but the week before the guys went to the Billy Goat Tavern on Lower Michigan Avenue. I was in California so Joe Duffy, a vocational consultant, volunteered to be our first Guest Hike Leader. Here are a couple of Joe's texts, lightly edited:
Wheels up! We are on the Blue Line headed for Clark and Lake. Then to the latest Riverwalk extension and take that east to Michigan. Destination Billy Goat for a cheeseburger. (John cued up the SNL sketch on the TV before we left!) 
Great group. I really enjoyed myself. Everyone kept up without any issues. Walked east along the Riverwalk. Talked about the Kennedys and Merchandise Mart (which I think they sold?) and then we chatted about Marina Towers and Meis' IBM building followed by Trump Tower, Wrigley Building and Trib Tower. Billy Goat was a hit and right as I was talking about how it is a hangout for journalists in walks Andy Shaw! Anyway. Fun evening!
Joe is right: the Kennedy family sold the Merchandise Mart in 1998 after owning the Art Deco masterpiece for over 50 years. Built by Marshall Field & Co., "the Mart" was the largest building in the world when completed in 1930 and had its own ZIP code until 2008!

Marina City (which you can just barely see in the left side of the picture above), consists of two corncob-shaped towers flanking a saddle-shaped auditorium and mid-rise hotel. It was designed in 1959 by Bertrand Goldberg and completed in 1964. The structure was the first urban post-war high-rise residential complex in the United States and designed to stem the flight of middle class residents from the city's downtown area. From what I understand, there isn't a right angle to be seen anywhere inside the towers.

The IBM Building, now known as AMA Plaza, was indeed designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, although the famous architect died in 1969 before construction began.

The Trump Tower, for which I'll have more to say next time, was originally intended to be the tallest building in the world but was scaled back after 9/11. When completed in 2009, the condo/hotel complex became the fourth-tallest building in the country and the second-tallest in Chicago.

The Wrigley Building, Chicago’s first air-conditioned office building, consists of two towers, between which the guys are shown walking. The taller south tower was completed in 1921 while the north in 1924.

The neo-Gothic Tribune Tower was rebuilt in 1925 after the original structure, which had been built in 1868, was destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Unlike the IBM Building, the Wrigley Building and the Sears Tower (I still call it that), the Tribune Tower still counts among its tenants the media company for which it was originally named. If you look closely, the building includes fragments from such famous structures as the Taj Mahal, the Alamo, the Great Wall of China and many, many others.

Finally, the Billy Goat Tavern, where the guys "dined," is located below and between the Tribune Tower and the old Chicago Sun-Times building. As Joe mentioned, it became a big "hangout" for journalists, particularly Mike Royko, who made the establishment famous in his columns.

Thanks again, Joe, for filling in for me. I checked with the guys later and they all enjoyed the Hike every bit as much as he did. (I may have to "up" my game.)

Next: our Hike to Navy Pier.

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