posted by chicago pop
A few links that have popped up in my in-box, and are worth pointing out, in the dim hope that HPP's well-read audience has not already checked them out. Common theme: a bum economy is hampering everything from the surge to public transportation, the expansion of retail chains to development projects nationwide (think 53rd Street), and the Olympics may be a way to solve everybody's problems without having to fix them now.
, a story parallels that in yeserday's Herald about the break-up between the U of C and developers Baum and Brinshore. Astoundingly, Crain's gives the Hyde Park Herald credit for breaking this story. Maybe this bodes well for the future of local journalism -- or maybe the University is just doing favors with its press releases. Highlights: retailers nationwide are cutting back on plans for expansion, and B&B couldn't bring home the leases. As recently as fall 2007, the Harper Court & 53rd project had, according to the Herald, an "expanded-service restaurant and a national fashion retailer" lined up for the space. The latter pulled out, and it's back to Square One. So much for The Gap.
Sam Feldman of the
has an interesting blurb on a recent panel discussion on the pros and cons of Chicago hosting to the 2016 Olympic Games. U of C economist Allen Sanderson made the argument, which had previously appeared in the Tribune's
, that private sector investments in an Olympic bid would come with opportunity costs locally, and might better be spent on needed improvements now. Pro-Olympics folks argued that sometimes you gotta dream (even if history seems to show the economic benefits of Olympics are not clear-cut). And besides, how else are we going to stop the El from imploding?
On a related note, given how economic downturn + dreams of an Olympic bailout for crumbling transit infrastructure could all add up to a massive
for Hyde Park and the City of Chicago, it seems worthwhile to point out this article from the
Christian Science Monitor
, relaying data showing that, despite the surge to public transportation across the country, rising fuel prices for diesel (bus fuel) are forcing some agencies to consider reducing service. Just when people are showing some elasticity of travel preferences! Another argument for the Gray Line folks, I suppose...
Finally, I can't help but mention the off-line, hard-copy but nonetheless fascinating portrait of local academic celebrity J.Z. Smith, who I don't begrudge for having given me one of the lowest grades I received in College, and who also happens to be the guy who lives right next to St. Stephens. Yup, he's one of the folks who threw that contractual lasso around the developer who has made a few attempts to build on the property. See the famous
by our own Dr. Peter Rossi for details.
He also doesn't have a cell phone and has never used a computer. (Grey City, Volume 1, Issue 1 Spring 2008)
And finally, a kind reader encouraged us to reprint this, one of the Tribune's list of alternative locations for the
Chicago Children's Museum
-- right here beside the Museum of Science and Industry, in the Doctor's Hospital!
I've set the bomb and lit the fuse, now I'm running for cover.