Wednesday, March 1, 2017
The Riverwalk: Promenade, jogging path, ramp to a penal colony on Mars
Oddly, the two things I most meant to say when I set out to write this — how Rahm Emanuel, when he first took office, said he wanted to revitalize the river front, and how the river forms an artificial coast, giving a sweeping vista of skyline — didn't make it through cutting this for size.
Sure, Rich Daley wrecked the finances of the city and left behind a ruined economic shell. But Millennium Park, man that's something. And the Bean! I just love the Bean.
And yes, our current mayor, Rahm Emanuel, doesn't have a clue what to do about the violence convulsing our city. But he did build the Riverwalk, and it's nice.
Last month, the Riverwalk opened its latest stretch from the Franklin Bridge to Lake Street and that, coupled with the February warm weather seemed to demand an in-depth journalistic investigation.
One afternoon last week, I crossed the river on the Orleans Bridge, turned right, strode down the concrete ramp, took a hard left, walking to the base of the Lake Street Bridge. I paused, fired up a Rocky Patel, and started to stroll, err, probe.
I would like to report that the new ramp is a cleverly designed modernistic fantasy of concrete and metalwork. But it's not. It looks like the entrance chute to a penal colony on Mars, a spew of naked concrete and chain link fence. That's the bad news; the good news is, it may not done yet, at least according to the an architect's rendition I noticed in city materials. I phoned the mayor's press office, several times, over a period of days, and emailed, trying to get clarification. They're working on it.
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I paused to listen to musician Sean Black on the Riverwalk. This is his song, "The One."