You might naturally assume that this sign is part of a marketing campaign for the National Ham Advisory Board, borrowing a page from the “Got Milk?” campaign. But no, it’s one word: “Gotham.” As in “Gotham City.” As in Batman, fer cryin’ out loud! Yeah, those Rory’s First Kiss signs really did the trick! Did they think no one would notice that this big building a block from Union Station surrounded by giant lighting cranes had been renamed “Gotham National Bank” in huge letters? I heard about it from a coworker yesterday and went out today, camera in hand, to document the matter.
I rarely bring my camera to work, so I took a stroll around the Loop during my dinner break and photographed some favorite scenes near the office.
Here’s the entire photo from which I pulled the “Gotham” detail. I tend to think it’s no accident that they chose a building that faces north. The result of this is that the front will get a minimum amount of direct sunlight, giving the filmmakers more control over lighting conditions. In spite of the building’s appearance here, there was no direct sunlight hitting it when I took this picture.
The Marquette Building on South Dearborn has some lovely mosaics encircling its main lobby regarding the life of missionary and explorer Jacques Marquette. This shot was taken from the second floor, overlooking the lobby.
Directly across Dearborn from the Marquette Building is a fairly new office building with a striking piece of sculpture in its lobby. A plaque on the statue’s base reads:
The Winged Victory of Samothrace
Greece, circa 200 B.C.
Cast from a mold of the original sculpture in the Louvre Museum, Paris, France.
Yeah, the color is all wrong, but wow! – That’s one powerful visual to contemplate. It beats the heck out of looking at a grainy, two-dimensional photo in some tedious history book, I can assure you!
This is Alexander Calder’s “Flamingo” sculpture, with the Sears Tower peeking over its shoulder in the left-center of the picture. The sculpture is made of steel and stands 53 feet tall at its highest point. Whenever I see it, I am reminded of my first trip to Chicago, about 25 years ago, when my brother Dan and I strode right past this sculpture as we were walking to Comiskey Park. If you know your way around Chicago, you may wonder why we would walk such a dreadful distance when public transportation options were nearby and cheap. All I can say is this: we were young, energetic, and stupid – and we didn’t know our way around Chicago!
This is one of my favorite buildings in Chicago – the Monadnock Building. When it was completed in 1893, it was the world’s largest office building, but that’s not what really grabs me about it. First of all, you could say that it’s actually two buildings built side by side. The one you mostly see here was built using load-bearing masonry walls. This required that the exterior walls be built very thick at the base, as you can see in the photo below. But literally as the Monadnock Building was being built, the technology of the skyscraper was being perfected, by which I mean steel frame construction. The southern half of the building, which you can see on the left-hand side of this photo, was built using this new technology. Though I haven’t documented it photographically, the southern half has larger windows and much thinner walls. Another revolutionary aspect of the building’s design is its lack of ornamentation. To we people of the 21st century, accustomed as we are to the clean, simple lines of innumerable structures, this building may not seem notably unadorned, but for the late Victorian era, this building was weirdly stark in its design. People of the 1890s would jokingly ask when they were planning on finishing construction of this building.
I have to say that was a lot of fun, walking around the Loop and documenting some of my favorite sights. I hope you enjoyed it too!