I wait outside of Channel for the light to change. I am on the most expensive block of real estate in Chicago. I am looking down at this mucked up excuse of a sinking manhole cover. Just fix it. Do it right the first time. I would avoid the street by going under the street through the pedway - guess again. Pedway closed. Good thing, because it was crumbling, smelly and quite frankly, a little scary. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the gateway to our magnificent lakefront. Real impressive to the many tourists who visit our beach. We recognize them by the hotel towels and the foreign accents.
The light changes and I cross north onto the sidewalk. Time to fix/change these signs. Not only are they crooked, they are also misleading. The pedway is closed and people turn on red any old time they want to. I pass the welcome sight of the Chicago Police Department team assigned to the beach that day. I thank them for being there. Those bullet proof vests must be hot on such a glorious beach day.
I walk down the ramp to the beach tunnel, hoping some hot-rod biker or skateboarder doesn't forget which side of the ramp is his or her side and wipe me out. The graffiti is under much better control this year, and the far wall at the end of the tunnel now has a colorful mural that the taggers have still not defaced. One of the images is of our friend, Bruce, the massage guy. A very good likeness. He has become the mayor of Oak Street and he cares for the beach by picking up garbage every morning when he arrives. Thank you, Bruce. Sticking out of the wall across from Bruce's likeness are some exposed wires. I sure hope they're not alive. the bottom of the cement wall is crumbling.
Up the steps onto the boardwalk which leads almost to the water's edge and I am on the beach. The boardwalk is a big improvement, especially when the sand is burning hot. Thank you Park District.
Thanks also for the awareness campaign and having beach goers sign a pledge not to feed the seagulls. It is making a difference.
Now to the real reason this place needs a rehab. The lakeside restaurant. It used to be the Oak Street Beachstro. Caring owners, well maintained, good somewhat pricey food. I always hated the palm trees, but others seemed to enjoy their shade and the novelty. This year a new owner took over. Mediocre to bad food, pricier than pricey prices, tacky music ( not really music, just bass thumping).
Every time I hear of plans to spend zillions on re-making Navy Pier to attract more tourists I get livid. I know it is two different pools of dollars, but lets fix what we've got. And that goes for the crumbling infrastructure of the downtown El stations and subways. Navy Pier is already the number one tourist attraction. If visitors have to take their lives in their hands to get there - what's the point?
You can start with my beach.