Thursday, December 02, 2010

Marina City at 50

Name that building.

This is a pedestrian's view of part of Marina City -- one of the two corncob-like residential towers of that pioneering mixed-use development -- in downtown Chicago, on November 22, 2010. The date is noteworthy because it was the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking for the complex, which also includes a hotel (originally an office building); an entertainment venue (these days a House of Blues); some restaurants (such as Bin 36, where I had one of my few three-martini lunches, except it was wine); a marina on the Chicago River (I have nothing parenthetical to add); and a bowling alley (I played there on February 2, 1987).

I remember that date so exactly because that happened to be the first day I worked for a certain downtown Chicago publisher, and by coincidence, the rest of the staff was going bowling there that evening. It was a fairly ordinary bowling alley in those days, but judging by the entrance now, it looks like frou-frou bowling.

I went to Marina City for a press conference on the 22nd, held by the Portland Cement Association in honor of the 50th anniversary. The PCA is fond of the property, and for good reason. It shows that concrete construction doesn't have to look like a communist-era bus station in Vladivostok. More about Marina City here.

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