Hippie chic, of course, but nonetheless a nice sentiment.  Hot summer day carry me along, or at least make me forget momentarily the shootings in Dallas, St. Paul, Baton Rouge, and Chicago. 

Hot summer day, and it was:  85 degrees and very high humidity, but at 2:45 PM, it was the clouds that caught my eye.  Spectacular, so out I went with the Arca-Swiss.  Walked from Belmont Harbor to the Drake Hotel, stopping along the way.  

Imagine wasting money hiring a plane to fly an anti-abortion banner over the beach on such a beautiful day?  Somebody did, and I suspect nobody paid much attention.   Whether pro or con, most beachgoers had other things on their minds.  With all the scantily clad bodies, maybe it was some sort cautionary note:  Look, but go no further.  Hot summer day.

The beach was not all that crowded.  Many of the regulars were probably down at the Taste of Chicago shoving cheesecake and Robinson's ribs down their gullets.  Can't imagine anything worse on a hot summer day.  While the beach may have had plenty of space to spread out a blanket, Lake Shore Drive didn't.  Headed south, bumper-to-bumper traffic from 3:00pm to 6:30pm.  No place to be on a hot summer day.

I love how the haze cuts off the bottom of the cloud in the cover photograph.  As for the power of high resolution lenses and medium format cameras:  When this photograph is displayed at its native 2 by 3 feet size (300 ppm), you can read the name (Dejanira Chicago) of the boat leaving the harbor and see the bicyclist lying on the shore wall holding his smartphone with both hands. 

A panorama (3 photographs stitched together), taken from the new land fill site at the Fullerton exit.  What once was water, has been reclaimed with a grass terrace that plenty of people are already taking full advantage of.  

Taken on the breakwater just south of North Avenue Beach--just east of the bike path and the chess pavilion.  The light on 999 East Lake Shore Drive is spectacular, but it comes and goes in just seconds, as rapidly moving clouds pass in front of the sun, which is now beginning its descent in the western skies.

One of my favorite buildings in the city, 999 East Lake Shore Drive, wraps around the corner. Built in 1913 on landfill by Benjamin Marshall (Marshall & Fox) in an effort to make apartment living popular among the wealthy, this classic 10-story structure proves a challenge to photograph.  Maybe it can be done from a boat, but the ribbon of concrete that runs along the lakefront would probably prove to a problem.  From the bike path, it is possible to get close, but more concrete and ugly cars speeding by will pollute the image.  I've tried from the sidewalk, but a really wide-angle lens is necessary, and even then it is impossible to capture the entire building and there is lots of distortion.

It turns out that I have have found a good position, midway between the southend of North Avenue Beach and the Drake hotel.  I suspect if I further south, with a long lens, in the winter, I can get a clean shot that highlights the building.  

It is a tragedy that the ugly white building pollutes the landscape behind 999 East Lake Shore Drive and the two buildings adjacent to it to the west, which apparently ware also Benjamin Marshall designs.

Rick Fizdale, a resident of 999 East Lake Shore Drive, has written history of the landmark entitled 999: A History of Chicago in Ten Stories.  Fizdale tells the story of each unit in the building through an examination of each person who occupied the unit. Some interesting folks have lived in the building, including the maker of the Duncan Yo-Yo, an army officer who chased Pancho Villa across the Rio Grande in a Cadillac, McCormick, Ryerson, Swift, and Pullman family members, several spies, a Rockefeller, and the couple who developed Aspen, Colorado.  Fizdale is no slouch himself.  He was the chief creative officer, CEO, and chairman of advertising powerhouse Leo Burnett Co.  

Source:  Rick Kogan, New Book Explores History of Chicago's Swankiest Residence, Chicago Tribune (July 3, 2014).

Return to Blog Index

Copyright 2016, Jack B. Siegel.  All Rights Reserved