Wicker Park at the CTA Damen Stop

The heart of the Wicker Park neighborhood in Chicago is at the intersection of Damen, Milwaukee and North Avenue. The locations shown below are all at this intersection, which is just steps from the CTA Blue Line Damen stop. The Damen stop (and this vibrant community) is just minutes from Downtown Chicago. Hip Wicker Park has been a residential community since Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837.

The Blue Line Lounge and Grill
Lodge Hall
Stan’s Donuts
The Robey Restaurant in the Northwest Tower Building – Damen Avenue was previously called Robey Street
The Northwest Tower, aka the Coyote Building
Noel State Bank Building
Flatiron Arts Building – Holabird and Roche architects

Polish Triangle – Chicago

The Polish Triangle (or Polonia Triangle) is located in the West Town neighborhood of Chicago. It used to be referred to as the Polish Downtown area of Chicago. It is located at the intersection of Milwaukee, Division and Ashland Streets.

The Polish Downtown is the city’s oldest Polish settlement. It dates back to the 1800s in Chicago history. The area is still home to numerous Polish institutions such as the Polish Museum, Polish National Alliance and the Polish Daily News. It’s also home to the Chopin Theatre and Podhalanka Polish restaurant.

The area near the triangle has two beautiful Polish Catholic Cathedrals: St. Stanislaus Kostka and Holy Trinity Polish Mission. Pulaski Park is also nearby.

The triangle is conveniently located right at the CTA Blue Line Division stop. The actual triangle is a park around a fountain called the Nelson Algren fountain. It was named after the famous poet/writer because he lived in the area and wrote about the Poles.

I really enjoyed visiting the Polish Triangle, because to me it represents everything Chicago was in the past, is currently and will be in the future. I attribute this to the area’s architecture with buildings from the 1800s and tall futuristic looking buildings. What a special place!

James R. Thompson Center, a.k.a State of Illinois Building – Chicago

The Thompson Center (as it is mostly referred to) is located at 100 West Randolph Street in Downtown Chicago. It houses State of Illinois government offices. It was completed in May 1985 and was designed by architect Helmut Jahn in the postmodern style. The building has 17 stories and takes up an entire block in Chicago’s Loop. It is bounded by Randolph, Lake, Clark and LaSalle Streets. The sculpture in front of the building is called Monument With Standing Beast, by Jean Dubuffet.

The building hs been called both outrageous and wonderful in its open-plan design. All 17 floors can be seen from the building’s large skylit atrium. The open office plan was meant to convey the message of an open government.

In addition to the sculpture in front of the building, it also houses many specially commissioned artworks funded by the State. The Illinois Artisan’s shop is also housed in the building.

The spot was previously the location of the Sherman House Hotel until 1973.

Amid controversy, the building is expected to be sold, because the State says it is too expensive to do the needed renovation and maintenance. It is hoped that it will be sold to someone who will maintain it rather than destroy this beautiful “work of art” building!