Think You Know The Best of The Cultural Mile? | Discovering the Intersection of Modern and Historic

18 January 2018

South Loop and Historic Printer’s Row

The South Loop earned the 2017 Curbed Cup, awarded annually to Chicago’s best neighborhood by popular vote. The victory is well-deserved. Teeming with cultural, educational, sports, restaurant and retail options — not to mention privileged adjacency to Grant Park and Lake Michigan — 1000M’s neighborhood has a lot to offer, including a rich history.

The South Loop is home to historic Printer’s Row, a timeless enclave between Congress Parkway and Polk Street that was the heart of the Midwest printing and publishing industry from the late 19th to the first half of the 20th century. This perfectly preserved microneighborhood, boasting the iconic industrial design that secured Chicago place on the country’s architectural map, has been meticulously preserved to convey the aura of the past without kitsch or nostalgia.

 

Printer’s Row
Photo Credit: Richie Diesterheft

Printing Industry

One of the unintended consequences of the Great Fire of 1871 was to concentrate Chicago’s burgeoning printing industry into a single neighborhood in the Fire’s aftermath. The Near South Side of Chicago, now known as the South Loop, was ideal because of its proximity to energy and transportation — the Chicago River provided the water needed to produce steam power to run the presses and both the River and the nearby Dearborn Station provided transportation for shipping goods.

Printing companies poured in; the likes of Rand McNally, M. A. Donohue & Co, R.R. Donnelly & Sons and the Franklin Printing Company thrived. In 1886, Ottmar Merganthaler, the inventor of the Linotype machine, a revolutionary hot metal typesetting system used in printing, moved in at the intersection of Polk and Dearborn. The printing and publishing industry vitalized a district of the city that previously had a reputation for vice, and set the stage for vast amounts of textbooks, magazines, catalogues and maps to be printed throughout the late 19th and the early 20th century.

 

Pontiac Building in the 1000M neighborhood
Pontiac Building in 1902
Photo Credit: Chicagology

The printing industry drove not only the neighborhood’s economy, but also its architectural identity. Tall and narrow buildings rose, designed to support the printing machinery of the day and maximize natural light. The First Chicago School of Architecture, the city’s defining architectural style in the later 19th century, influenced the buildings, as well. This influence is well showcased in structures like the Pontiac Building a steel frame skyscraper with a brick façade and three tiers of bay windows completed in 1891.

Dearborn Station

The printing houses aren’t the only eye-catching structures. The Dearborn Station, a powerful presence in the neighborhood that was completed in 1885 and served as the premier passenger station in Chicago until the late 1940s, has an historic grandeur all its own. The Romanesque architecture rendered in red brick is topped with a 12-story clock tower. Tens and thousands of people, from immigrants to celebrities, set foot in Chicago in Dearborn Station, during the years when the Santa Fe Railway passed through on its way from New York to California and the Southwest.

Dearborn Station near 1000M
Dearborn Station, 33-57 W Polk. Cyrus L.W. Eidlitz, 1883. No longer a railroad station, now retail and offices. Photo Credit: Eric Allix Rogers

Printer’s Row began to unwind in the 1960s; as printing technology evolved, companies moved to the suburbs where greater space could accommodate sprawling automated press machines. When Amtrak consolidated in 1971, Dearborn Station closed and fell into disrepair; the neighborhood stagnated without the printing industry to give it purpose. A renaissance began in the mid-1980s when the Station was adapted to retail space and many of the neighborhood’s printing buildings were converted to residential and commercial spaces. In 1996, Printer’s Row was designated a Chicago landmark to memorialize this rich era of Chicago history.

Today, Printer’s Row is no longer defined by the industry of its namesake. The only major print house in operation is Palmer Printing, which opened in 1937. However, the architecture and, with it, the feeling of a distinct era, remain.

The residents, as well, celebrate the area’s origins. Since 1984, the Printer’s Row Lit Fest has brought together Chicago’s community of book lovers throughout the city. Connecting booksellers, serious collectors, casual readers and everyone in between, the Lit Fest is a venue for purchasing rare books, retro magazines, and antique maps, enjoying literary programming, and most importantly, engaging with fellow bibliophiles.

 

A short stroll from 1000M, Printer’s Row is an exploration of where the historic and modern meet.

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Historic Printer’s Row // Between Congress Parkway & Polk Street

 

 

 

 

Seeking Beauty on a Winter Day | Grant Park Shines Covered in Snow

2 January 2018

Residents of 1000M will enjoy one of Chicago’s most gorgeous front yards: Grant Park. And while many people revel in the Park’s lush greenery and blooms, even a cold winter day delivers some dazzle, providing an opportunity to seek unexpected beauty in the colder months.

Walking through Grant Park when the snow falls — especially if you get there before too many people tread through the snow or enjoy some sledding — can give you a new perspective on life, love — or even the cold snap that’s making everyone grumble.

 

When you step off the beaten path, you will find yourself in one of the myriad lesser-known sanctuaries within Grant Park; here’s a bit about one of our favorites:

Just south of the tree field near Van Buren Street sits Abraham Lincoln: The Head of State, a larger-than-life bronze statue created by sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens in 1908 that sits atop a pedestal and exedra designed by architect Stanford White. It was installed in Grant Park in 1926, following its exhibition at the San Francisco World’s Fair in 1915 and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

 

The Head of State in snowy Grant Park 
Abraham Lincoln: The Head of State in snowy Grant Park 
Photo Credit: Justin Kern
Creative Commons License: http://bit.ly/RT9dL0

 

This seated Lincoln is one of our favorite sculptures in the city, possibly because it is so tranquil and contemplative. According to Saint-Gaudens, he wanted to illuminate the burdens Lincoln experienced during his presidency. Lincoln gazes south, out into the distance towards the Art in the Farm area of the park and further beyond.

We like to imagine he’s thinking about the future, about the country’s potential for greatness. That sort of fits into the fate of this area Grant Park, which was originally designated to house many sculptures and be called the Court of Presidents. (So far, Lincoln remains the solitary sculpture in the area, but maybe someday…)

 

Snow covered Grant Park bench

 

Leisurely walks through the snowy park are really all about optimism. As you cross the bridge over the railroad tracks, fascinating patterns emerge as you gaze down on the trains below at the steps leading toward the Sir Georg Solti Garden and Michigan Avenue — even when looking between the stone balusters south toward the Congress Hotel.

 

Grant Park Snow
Photo Credit: Curt Wagner

Recognizing the potential for beauty in all the stark grays, blacks and whites clears your head and gives you a lift, even on wintry Chicago days.

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Grant Park // 1000M’s Front Yard // A Winter Day

Think You Know The Best of The Cultural Mile? | A Cocktail With A View

21 December 2017

With its forever views and unrivaled amenities package, 1000M doesn’t hold back when it comes to options for celebrating your favorite beverage. There’s the Wine Tasting Room with private wine storage and Club 1000 with its elegant full-service bar. With this type of luxury, it’s tempting to stay in and enjoy a cocktail at home. But, when the gravitational force of the neighborhood pulls you in, the savvy choice for in-the-know Chicagoans — for brunch or a night out — is Cindy’s Rooftop Restaurant.

Cindy’s at the Chicago Athletic Association. Photo provided by Cindy’s.

Located in the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel (CAA) up the street from 1000M, Cindy’s is perfect for a boozy brunch or a lavish night out. The Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, in partnership with Land & Sea, has several rock star drinking and dining options that can fulfill most occasions. Cindy’s niche is the rooftop restaurant and bar that dazzles even the most jaded Chicagoans. Take an elevator up to the 13th floor of the CAA and step into an upscale Lake Michigan beach house fused with a classic rooftop bar. The terrace has panoramic views of Cloud Gate, Crown Fountain, The Art Institute and Lake Michigan. In the warmer months, an outdoor terrace bar means you do not have to stray from your view to re-hydrate.

 

The cocktail Howl at the Jun. Photo credit: Nick Gerber.

While Chef Christian Ragano’s food menu is nothing to scoff at, cocktails still take center stage at Cindy’s. The drink menu is designed like an old-fashion pharmacy, where drinks are healing and transformative potions and elixirs. Howl at the Jun, a take on a classic French 75 with kombucha fermented from raw honey, is a lighter, pink tangerine-colored drink served on the rocks. As a type of fermented tea lauded for its health benefits, kombucha is an apt fit for cocktails that promise to soothe. The sparkling wine, grapefruit juice and kombucha mask the gin, for a fresh taste with a hint of citrus. For something with a bit more punch, the Pillar of Hercules is predominately citrus, but has a surprising bitterness complemented by a touch of mint.

The cocktail Pillar of Hercules. Photo credit: AJ Trela.

Nandini Khaund, director of the beverage program and the bar’s “spirit guide,” is the steward for Cindy’s as a destination for special events. On any night, crucial social moments — meeting the parents, family reunions, savvy business get-togethers — are happening among casual drinkers. As a destination for large parties, the menu includes options for sharing cocktails, such as the Grey Garden, a refreshing, lavender cocktail that “cures” twenty. If liquor is not your thing, the menu also includes a list of thoughtful mocktails, as well, like the apple cider-based Blaze of Fall.

As part of the Cindy’s experience, the sound level can be boisterous, and you may need to sharpen your elbows to find standing room at busy times. But, for your inner claustrophobic, avoid the press by reserving a table for dining, so you can lounge out with table service instead of vying for the bartender’s attention as you try to secure a two-by-two’ space to view the drink menu.

1000M’s neighborhood is full of exceptional dining and drinking options, but Cindy’s has that special pulse of a must-have Chicago moment.

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Cindy’s Restaurant // 12 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL, 60603 // Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

Think You Know The Best of The Cultural Mile? | Magical Moments and Budding Stars on Stage at Merle Reskin Theatre

11 December 2017

With its Historic Michigan Boulevard District location, 1000M affords residents ample opportunities to find beauty from the past and to watch history in the making. Few places nearby illustrate that duality more than DePaul University’s Merle Reskin Theatre on Balbo Drive.

Chicago Cultural Mile: Merle Reskin Theatre
The Merle Reskin Theatre

What other neighboring building can boast — if its walls could talk — that it has hosted performances by iconic actors Lillian Gish, Dustin Hoffman, James Earl Jones, Maggie Smith and Joe Mantegna, but also newbie stars such as Joe Keery, who plays Steve Harrington in the hit Netflix series Stranger Things?

“He constantly comes up in my world,” said Leslie Shook, theatre manager for The Theatre School at DePaul University since 1982. “The kids always ask, ‘Did you know Joe Keery?’ Yeah, he was an actor here.”

Keery, who graduated from the program in 2014, starred as Hansel in the school’s production of Hansel & Gretel in 2013 at the Merle Reskin, which now serves as the home for the school’s Chicago Playworks for Families and Young Audiences. The oldest continually producing children’s theatre in the Midwest, Chicago Playworks has a long history of its own. It was founded as the Goodman Children’s Theatre in 1925.

Joe Kerry; Chicago Playworks production of Hansel and Gretel
The 2013 – 2014 Chicago Playworks production of Hansel and Gretel that featured Joe Keery, Photo Credit: Michael Brosilow

Keery is just one in a long list of artists — actors, directors, musicians and technical craftspeople — who have helped create the magic and beauty of live theater on the historic stage since it first opened on New Year’s Eve 1910 as the Blackstone Theatre.

The Early Years of Merle Reskin Theatre

Designed by architects Benjamin Marshall and Charles Fox in a French Renaissance style to mimic European opera houses, the Blackstone Theatre opened on New Year’s Eve 1910. The duo also designed the nearby Blackstone Hotel that still stands at 636 S. Michigan Ave.

 interior of the Merle Reskin Theatre
The interior of the Merle Reskin Theatre

The Blackstone Theatre was home to top talent and productions in its early years, hosting the first American tour in 1913 of what would become the Royal Shakespeare Company as well as the Theatre Guild’s touring productions in 1929-30.

After the stock market crash, the Federal Theatre Project, established by the Works Progress Administration in 1935, leased the Blackstone and staged more than 20 productions there.

Over the next several decades, Chicago audiences saw many iconic performances, some that remain Shook’s fondest memories of the place. Still in graduate school at UIC, Shook sometimes worked at the theater before DePaul owned it.

Chicago Playworks spring 2017 production of Cinderella
The Chicago Playworks spring 2017 production of Cinderella: The Remix, Photo Credit: Michael Brosilow

“It was always a place which was so dynamic and so beautiful,” she said, adding that in 1984 she was invited to watch a Lena Horne press conference during the run of her The Lady and Her Music show.

“It was outside my current Reskin office,” she said. “She took questions from countless reporters for hours, literally, and that was just wonderful to listen to firsthand. That was really special.”

In 1978, she saw legendary actors Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy star in The Gin Game and in 1980 she watched, several times, David Bowie star as The Elephant Man.

“That was pretty cool,” she said of Bowie.

Famous Grads of The Merle Reskin Theatre

DePaul purchased the theater in the late 1980s and in 1992 renamed it the Merle Reskin Theatre. It became the main stage for The Theatre School until 2013 when a new facility was built on the school’s Lincoln Park campus. During that period, several now famous grads appeared in productions, including David Dastmalchian (Blade Runner 2049), Larry Bates (Big Little Lies), Aaron Abrams (Hannibal), Alexander Koch (Under the Dome) and Chicago theater actress Taylor Blim.

Lighting designer Heather Gilbert and stage manager Brent Beavers are among the behind-the-curtain talent who got their start with Reskin productions.

The Merle Reskin Theatre still is making history — and futures stars — with three children’s theater productions a season and one production of the DePaul Opera Theatre each season.

Joe Kerry; Chicago Playworks production of Hansel and Gretel
The 2013 – 2014 Chicago Playworks production of Hansel and Gretel that featured Joe Keery, Photo Credit: Michael Brosilow

And if you think that just because these productions are for children they aren’t gorgeously staged and well-acted—think again. Shook said everyone brings their A-game.

“We fully produce and create these shows on a very large scale. We’re doing this play called Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook, and we’re doing the Cat in the Hat this year,” she said. “They are fabulously beautiful.”

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The Merle Reskin Theatre // 60 E. Balbo Drive. // The Cultural Mile

For current production season: https://theatre.depaul.edu/on-stage/current-season/Pages/default.aspx

For The Theatre School’s history: https://theatre.depaul.edu/about/history/Pages/default.aspx

For past shows and casts: https://theatre.depaul.edu/on-stage/productions/Pages/default.aspx

Think You Know The Best of The Cultural Mile? | Transfixed by Centuries-old Mystery

8 December 2017

1000M is more than a little bit magical. With otherworldly views and transcendental interior and exterior design, the 1000M experience has an enchantment all its own … so it’s no surprise that the neighborhood is seeped in Chicago’s rich history of magic, entertaining trickery and mysterious spectacle, as well. During the Golden era of modern magic in the late 19th and early 20th century, Chicago was alive with magical performances from the likes of celebrity magicians Alexander Herrmann and Max Malini, who astonished audiences in 1000M’s neighborhood.

The allure of magical performances is alive and well today, too, as we learned from Sean Masterson a Chicago-based magician and author of a blog that celebrates the history of magic. “I became interested in magic at seven and was performing by 12,” Masterson said. “No magician really starts as an adult. You must have a certain type of curiosity that you can’t grow into,” he added of the magician’s persona.

Chicago magician and mentalist Dennis Watkins had a similar experience. The third generation in a family of magicians, he became interested in magic as a child. “Magic was very different from anything my friends were doing. Magic gave me an outlet that was unique.”

Alexander Herrmann: “Herrmann The Great”

Alexander Herrmann, a renowned magician better known as “Herrmann the Great,” began showing interest in magic when he was eight and was soon performing as his older brother’s assistant at performances. Just up the street from 1000M, Herrmann, hosted an extravagant party in 1894 at the Auditorium Hotel (in what is now Roosevelt University), celebrating his 35th year in show business. The party included his famed magic tricks and a 20-course French dinner that began at the stroke of midnight.

0th floor banquet hall of the Auditorium Hotel
Herrmann likely held his midnight feast at the 10th floor banquet hall of the Auditorium Hotel.

“Alexander Herrmann’s appeal was not spectacle, but humor and charisma,” explains Masterson, distinguishing Herrmann from performers more in the realm of Vaudeville, like Harry Houdini.

Constructed between 1886 and 1889, the Auditorium Hotel was Chicago’s Civic Center, hosting theater and opera. Designed by Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler, the Auditorium’s undeniable grandeur was an apt space for an evening of grandiose celebration.

Max Malini Master Illusionist

An admirer of Herrmann’s and one of Masterson’s favorite magicians, Max Malini also delighted 1000M’s neighborhood; he performed at The Congress Plaza Hotel. He was known for close-up magic that captivated his audiences; politicians, including Presidents, royalty and notable families like the Vanderbilts sought out his performances.

A spectacular showman, Malini traveled broadly but considered Chicago, the city where he became an American citizen, his home.

Max Malini
Famed magician Max Malini was known for close-up magic.

Modern Day Magic Parlour

While tarot card reading and other forms of mysticism are trending again, the golden era of magical performances is seeing a new glow with a strong community of magicians in Chicago and opportunities for spellbinding tricks that are still readily available in the 1000M neighborhood.

“As an art form, magic is definitely timeless,” explains Watkins. “We magicians certainly have to work to stay relevant. And, with all the knowledge in the world available to our audiences on their smartphones, we have to work to find new ways of being magical. But, people still want to be amazed. People still need to wonder.” He added, “I think that Malini or Herrmann could still attract audiences if they were with us today.”

Watkins hosts Magic Parlour, an evening of magic and mind-reading at the Palmer House, a historic building in 1000M’s neighborhood. “From the moment you walk into the unbelievable lobby, you feel like you’ve entered a different world at the Palmer House. In my mind, there’s no better place for (Magic Parlour) than a grand, historic building like the Palmer House.”

Watkins adds, “The thing that makes performing magic in Chicago special is most certainly the eagerness of the audiences. Their willingness to sit and imagine and suspend their disbelief makes my job a total joy.”

Dennis Watkins at the Palmer House
Dennis Watkins performs at the Palmer House. Photo by Michael Brosilow

Dennis Watkins performs Magic Parlour most Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm and 9:30 pm. A full schedule can be found on the Magic Parlour website.

Sean Masterson will be appearing in SPACE and the Timeless Magic Show at Skokie Theater this month. Check his website for a full list of upcoming shows.

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Luminary Artist Kerry James Marshall Shares His Vision of Beauty and Dignity On Chicago’s Cultural Mile

4 December 2017

Kerry James Marshall Chicago Murals

A new artistic wonder has come to 1000M’s neighborhood in the form of a massive mural celebrating the who’s who of women in Chicago’s art and culture world. The mural, by famed artist, MacArthur Fellow and Chicago resident Kerry James Marshall, is installed on the Chicago Cultural Center’s Garland Court facade, between Washington and Randolph on the city’s renowned Cultural Mile.

The mural which was dedicated to the City of Chicago on Monday, December 4th, was funded by Murals of Acceptance with the goal to bring art to all people in public areas.

Marshall’s mural represents women across the Chicago art spectrum

The noteworthy Chicago women include founders and leaders of internationally known arts organizations, literary icons, creative innovators and longtime supporters of the arts.

Susanne Ghez, Director and Chief Curator for nearly 40 years, The Renaissance Society

Barbara Gaines, Founder and Artistic Director, Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Jacqueline Russell, Founder and Artistic Director, Chicago Children’s Theatre

Ruth Page, Dancer, Choreographer and Founder, Ruth Page Center for the Arts

Lois Weisberg, Longest-serving Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs

Maggie Daley, Longest-serving First Lady of the City of Chicago

Jackie Taylor, Founder and CEO, Black Ensemble Theater

Monica Haslip, Founder and Executive Director, Little Black Pearl

Abena Joan Brown, Founder, eta Creative Arts Foundation

Margaret Burroughs, Founder, DuSable Museum of African American History

Harriet Monroe, Founder, Poetry Magazine

Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Co-founder, Goodman Theatre / Dearborn Homes Youth Drama Workshop

Sandra Delgado, Founding Ensemble Member, Collaboraction

Jane Saks, Founding Director of the Ellen Stone Belic Institute and Project&

Barbara Jones-Hogu, Founding Member, AfriCobra

Gwendolyn Brooks, Literary Icon

Sandra Cisneros, Literary Icon

Achy Obejas, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist

Oprah Winfrey, Cultural Icon

Joan Gray, Dancer and Longtime President of Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago

The mural, which will be Marshall’s largest yet at 132-foot by 100-foot, is an element of Chicago’s Year of Public Art, which strives to illuminate the city’s vibrant art scene and bring internationally recognized artists to the city.

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Chicago Cultural Center // Garland Court, 78 E. Washington St. // The Cultural Mile 

Think You Know the Best of the Cultural Mile? | 10 Hottest Restaurants in the Chicago Loop

1 December 2017

If you’re a foodie, you’ll know that there’s no shortage of outstanding restaurants in the Chicago Loop.  But with all those options, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.  Whether you want a delicious weekend brunch, a quick lunchtime bite, or a sophisticated dinner, we’ve included the best of the best below, all located within a mile of 1000M.

1)    Acanto – 0.8 miles

This Italian restaurant knows its wines – as a winner of the Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence and the Fine Wine World’s Best Wine List (both two years running), there’s an option for every wine enthusiast.  Paired with some unusual takes on traditional Italian dishes, including a delicious Lamb Rigatoni, it’s a standout amongst Chicago Loop restaurants.

2)    The Gage – 0.8 miles

Paneled in rich, dark wood and accented with muted subway tiles, The Gage’s atmosphere calls to mind an old-fashioned study that’s anything but traditional when it comes to the menu.  The House Poutine rivals Quebec’s finest, and for carnivores, a variety of game including elk, bison, and duck dishes are on hand to satisfy.  Don’t miss their award-winning dessert program as well, including a Roasted Pear and Almond Croustade.

3)    Niu B – 289 ft

This hidden gem is conveniently located a block from 1000M and serves varied Japanese and Asian-fusion bites, from Honey Sesame Chicken to Korean short ribs.  Asian-inspired cocktails and traditional sake are ready to complete the meal.

4)    Kurah Chicago – 0.4 miles

A colorful, upscale atmosphere brings an authentic Mediterranean menu to the Chicago Loop.  Classic hummus is sure to hit all the right notes, and the Grilled Kabob Platter won’t disappoint.  And how can anyone resist freshly baked pita bread?

5)    Mercat a la Planxa – 0.2 miles

Mercat a la Planxa defies the stereotype of mediocre hotel restaurants and delivers great Spanish cuisine daily.  Located in the Blackstone Hotel, it boasts a tranquil atmosphere, which allows dishes like a delectable Serrano Ham and Fig Salad and Paella de Carnes to shine.

6)    Seven Lions – 0.7 miles

Across from the Art Institute, this Chicago Loop restaurant takes classic American fare to new heights.  Spacious and industrial inside, the Seven Lions boasts something for everyone, from old-fashioned burgers to Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower.  Come early for brunch and grab their Blueberry and Poppyseed Pancakes.

7)    Remington’s Restaurant – 0.9 miles

A nice steak or seafood dinner starts at Remington’s Restaurant.  Rustic yet sophisticated, they offer classics like filet mignon and crab cakes, all cooked to perfection.  It also makes a great lunch meeting destination.

8)    Cindy’s − 0.8 miles

Cindy’s is a standout amongst restaurants in the Chicago Loop for a particular reason – it’s spectacular views of Millennium Park. Perched atop the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, the hip bar, and restaurant is home to some of the best and most unusual cocktails in the area.  Nandini Khaund is the resident “Spirit Guide” at Cindy’s, pouring such mixtures as the Western Cape, a peachy version of a Moscow Mule, and the Howl at the Jun, made from a Tibetan form of kombucha.

9)    Terzo Piano – 0.7 miles

Host to Chef Tony Mantuano’s signature Italian cuisine (you might know him from his restaurant Spiaggia), Terzo Piano is a must for art enthusiasts and foodies alike.  Diners can take in the Modern Art Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago while enjoying freshly prepared seasonal pastas, and for the more adventurous, Charred Octopus or Spanish Mussels.  Large windows offer a view of Michigan Avenue to accompany the meal.

10) Bongo Room – 0.2 miles

Last but certainly not least, Bongo Room’s offerings hit the spot for a weekend breakfast or brunch.  Breakfast burritos and classic omelets are a savory and satisfying way to start the morning, while seasonal pancake flavors like Cranberry and Orange are perfect for those with a sweet tooth.  Get there for a Sunday brunch and try the Deconstructed Lobster Roll Benedict, their spin on eggs benedict.

Any one of these eateries would make a great addition to your restaurant rotation, and are just some of the fantastic locales you’ll find in the 1000M neighborhood.

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Discover City History on Lake Michigan | Columbia Yacht Club

28 November 2017

While residents of 1000M will enjoy incredible views of Lake Michigan from their luxurious homes, imagine getting even closer to the lake by taking advantage of the nearby Columbia Yacht Club.

A year-round home for lovers of the lake, sailing enthusiasts or people who enjoy good food in a relaxed atmosphere, the Columbia Yacht Club has been around for 125 years.

The club’s current home, a 372-foot former icebreaking ferry called the MV Abegweit, is moored at the foot of Randolph Street just east of North Lakeshore Drive. The Abby, as it’s known to the club’s 921 members, has been the club’s home since summer 1983 after operating in Canadian waters from 1947-1982.

While The Abby still looks like a working ship from the outside, once you take an elevator up to the lower salon lobby you’re transported into something more striking. The lobby, bar and library, where members gather to relax, have been gorgeously restored with wood paneled walls and display cases showing the histories of the ship and the club along with ephemera from sailing competitions.

The Sailing Club Dock

The Abby also houses five restored areas used for meetings and private events like wedding receptions: the rail deck, aft deck, upper salon, board room and bridge. The Columbia Sailing School operates from the forward hull of the ship and the dock area just south of The Abby.

The member dining room serves American bistro fare that includes newer items as well as dishes Chef Alberto Garcia and his staff call “Columbia Classics.” The Short Rib Stroganoff with sautéed onions and mushrooms, for one, is unforgettable.

“It’s like eating a hug,” said the club’s general manager, Nick Philp.

Like The Abby, the Columbia Yacht Club itself is steeped in history — a history that’s tied to Chicago’s own progress through the years.

A group of yachting enthusiasts — many who were city planners working with Daniel Burnham — established the club just a year after the Great Chicago Fire of 1891, as the city was rebuilding while preparing for the Columbian Exposition of 1893.

They named their club after the upcoming Exposition, and gave it the same welcoming spirit that drew nearly 27 million people to the Exposition.

“The club’s always been very open to all ethnicities, walks of life, religions,” Philp said. “The club has a history of not discriminating against anybody from any background, for any reason, which was especially in the yacht club world pretty unique. We’re fortunate for that. We continue that to this day.”

So if you’re worried you’ll need to don an ascot, blue blazer and stuffy attitude to join the fun, don’t. Two fairly recent guests for brunch agreed that members of the Columbia Yacht Club are anything but pretentious.

The Steering Wheel of The Abby

For Philp, that relaxed and friendly nature of the members sets Columbia Yacht Club apart from other private clubs in the city. Members sponsor numerous philanthropic events, and host member-employee events to create whet he calls “a unique atmosphere.”

“The people really are the best thing about this club,” Philp explains. “As far as the club’s operation, we’re probably 50 percent professional and 50 percent volunteer. A lot of people are very personally invested in the club. That creates a unique environment for progressive thought and for positive, forward thinking.”

But Philp doesn’t think you should take his word for it. He encourages anyone who is thinking about joining to experience the club for themselves. The club offers weekend passes to potential members that allows them to wine, dine or just hang out on The Abby.

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The Columbia Yacht Club // 111 N. Lakeshore Drive // www.colyc.org

Think You Know The Best of The Cultural Mile? | Seeking Beauty on The Printed Page

21 November 2017

1000M’s prime location places it at the center of Chicago’s robust art scene. It’s walking distance from great galleries, world renowned museums and spectacular public art on the lakefront. This weekend, the neighborhood enjoyed a creative novelty just up the street at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel with the inaugural Chicago Art Book Fair (CABF), which ran from November 16 to November 19.

Unlike anything else in Chicago, the CABF’s robust programming celebrated small press arts publishing and showcased more than 120 local, national and international publishers, small presses, book artists, comic artists, zinemakers and printmakers who all exhibited at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel. CABF also included presentations, panels, and discussions with the artists throughout the city. Co-founded and co-directed by Alexander Valentine and Aay Preston-Myint, all programming was free and open to the public.

Exhibitors were selected through a juried application process. Twenty-two arts and publishing professionals reviewed over 260 applications, with 120 selected to represent the vibrant world of small press arts publishing. A fair of this breadth and inclusivity has never existed in Chicago.

Many of the artists of CABF’s Open Program exhibited in the one-time pool of the Chicago Athletic Association.

Valentine and Preston-Myint did their homework by traveling extensively to national and international small press arts publishing fairs, and came to believe their hometown Chicago has the talent and interest to support its own. “Chicago has a lot to offer in terms of arts printing,” said Valentine, who is the publisher of No Coast and a lecturer at the Yale University School of Art. “We wanted to create something inclusive” of the diverse works that exist under the umbrella of small press arts publishing.

And inclusive it was. Exhibited works at the CAA included risograph prints, buttons, patches, zines, hand stitched poetry books, newspapers and puzzles of cereal boxes, among much more.

Prints and other works by artist Jamiyla Lowe

Boyang Hou, part of a three-person team that manages the Fernwey Gallery in West Town that exhibited at the CABF, said, “There are so many forms to explore and ways to approach different mediums. It keeps it interesting for the artist.”

Scott Speh, owner of the Western Exhibitions Gallery that hosted the CABF official after-party Friday, and an exhibitor, believes a focus on form or how to define small press arts publishing should not be the focus. “I’m not necessarily interested in any particular art medium,” he explains, “but what a piece communicates.”

Western Exhibitions, a Gallery in West Town, hosted the official CABF after-party on Friday.

An overarching characteristic of the works arguably is accessibility; small press arts publishing does not break the bank for creator or consumer. At the host site, where most exhibited works were available for purchase, prices ranged from less than $5 to $500. Most art shows exhibit works in the tens of thousands of dollar price range (or more).

The Video Data Bank table exhibited videos for purchase by and about contemporary artists.

Valentine explains, “At the universities where we teach, Aay and I see a lot of young people who are or want to be involved in small press arts publishing. It’s accessible, both because of price and cultural barriers.” He added, “Small press arts publishing isn’t dependent on any cultural gatekeeper” like other mediums.

Some of our favorites were a limited-edition puzzle based on a fruity pebbles’ cereal box by Kevin Goodrich, exhibited through the Fenwey Gallery, and Adjunct Commuter Weekly — a one-off newspaper edition that showcased the struggles of American Adjunct professors. Paper Monument, a non-profit art press based in Brooklyn, exhibited The Weekly.

Speh’s table showcased a newly-published monograph of Robyn O’Neil’s work. On Saturday, O’Neil, who is known for her large-scale graphite drawings, signed copies of the book; she is known for sometimes slipping surprise free drawings into the pages of some of the books she signs.

Robyn O’Neil is known for her large scale graphite drawings.

In the same week that Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi was auctioned for $450.3 million, CABF’s offerings were a welcome counterbalance in the often-pricey and sometimes culturally-guarded art world.

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The Chicago Art Book Fair // Chicago Athletic Association Hotel // Partner Institutions throughout Chicago // Free and Open to the Public // 11.16 – 11.19

Think You Know The Best of The Cultural Mile? | The Inaugural Chicago Art Book Fair

9 November 2017

The inaugural Chicago Art Book Fair (CABF) will debut on November 16 and run through November 19. While programming occurs at several partner locations throughout the city, the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, just up the street from 1000M , will act as the Fair’s host site. Unlike anything else in Chicago, the CABF’s rich programming celebrates small press arts publishing, and will showcase more than 120 international publishers, small presses, book artists, comic artists, zinemakers and printmakers — along with robust presentations, panels and discussions with the artists. Co-founded and co-directed by Aay Preston-Myint and Alexander Valentine, the Fair’s programming is free and open to the public, and brings an oft-overlooked medium to the forefront of the Chicago art scene.

Can’t make it to CABF? Check back soon to get the highlights here, or follow @1000MChicago on Insta.

The Chicago Art Book Fair // Chicago Athletic Association Hotel // Partner Institutions throughout Chicago // Free and Open to the Public // 11.16 – 11.19