Yesterday’s fog…

…rolled in and out throughout the day.

Take a look…and just enjoy!

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On my walk back home, I took this shot of the top of the recently renovated Farcroft building’s north facade.

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That statue in the lower middle always looked like a camel to me until I walked farther east on Fargo Avenue, zoomed in as far as I could, and caught this:

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Phoenix?  Goony bird?  I do know it’s not a cockatoo!

I’ve found no documentation as to what it is, but it’s definitely a pretty incredible, huge sculpture sitting atop that thirteen story building!

A close-up look at the neighborhood

Come…

...sit in the front yeard with me, and I'll show the colors all around us!

…sit in the front yard with me, and I’ll show the colors all around us!

Looking up, a cascade of leaves with tiny berries forming

Looking up, a cascade of leaves with tiny berries forming

Over there, some large Hostas, where last night's raindrops remain

Over there, some large Hostas, where last night’s raindrops remain

Across the way, Irises reflect in a dirty garden apartment window

Across the way, Irises reflect in a dirty garden apartment window

At the corner, the yellow and purple Irises are going strong...

At the corner, the purple, yellow and white Irises are going strong…

...as are the yellow and rust Irises right next to them

…as are the yellow and rust Irises right next to them

Glancing down, the tiniest of bees is gathering pollen from these delicate white blossoms

Glancing down, the tiniest of bees is gathering pollen from these delicate white blossoms

Down the street,neighbors have hung this happy guy in their tree.   I think he's enjoying the last few weeks of Spring as much as I!

Down the street, neighbors have hung this happy guy in their tree.
I think he’s enjoying the last few weeks of Spring as much as I!

A walk among the stones

As you saw in the previous post, Lake Michigan looked gorgeous on Easter Sunday afternoon…but a west wind prevailed, and it began to look as if rain might be on the way.

I had walked as far as Calvary Cemetery and figured, “Why not? I’m here and haven’t been for six years, so just stroll on through, take a few shots and return home the way you came!”

Not quite!

I ended up walking through from the Sheridan Road entrance to the arched Chicago Avenue, Evanston, entrance.

Here are some of the things I captured along the way:

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Within a few minutes, darker clouds moved in from the northwest, giving the cemetery a creepier feel.

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Looming over one of several obelisk monuments, I felt this cloud would surely bring rain.

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A notable monument to young Josie Lyon…

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…who passed long ago at age nine, sadly.

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One of the older monuments in Calvary Cemetery, ravaged by years of harsh weather.
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Older and newer monuments are interspersed here at Calvary, where it is said there is no more room–all the plots have been sold, though there are many open spaces.
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A rusted chain and lock secure the doors of a mausoleum dating from the late 19th century.
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A huge, flock of starlings were ‘practicing’ landing in the trees…it was at this point I met a ‘living’ couple, David and Lisa; we stood and talked in the cold wind for quite a time!
David Burnham (NOT related to Daniel Burnham!) is an architect with an office in Wilmette, just up the shore.  You might want to visit his new website, www.burnhamandvancleave.com, if you are interested in some very fine designs.
I think the man’s a genius and, though he has no moustache, looks an awful lot like Daniel Burnham!
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The inspiring archway of the Chicago Avenue entrance to Calvary Cemetery
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As I left to walk a number of lonely blocks down to Howard Street, I looked to the sky…quiet, amazing beauty in the late afternoon sun.
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Please Note:  These images were not processed in my usual ‘high contrast’ manner.  I reduced contrast significantly, in order to present a softness…in respect for all those who have passed before us.

Chinatown: Some Last Reflections

Chinatown Reflections-12 Horiz Grain

 

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Here are a few bonus images from Chicago’s Chinatown, when I chose to ‘look down’:

Taken on 22nd Place and Wentworth Avenue, five pigeons and a lone sparrow gathered for an early luncheon party...

Taken on 22nd Place and Wentworth Avenue, five pigeons and a lone sparrow gathered for an early luncheon party…

...and were joined by a sixth pigeon.  Funny, not a crumb of Dim Sum was to be found!

…and were joined by a sixth pigeon. Funny, not a crumb of Dim Sum was to be found!

At the corner of 23rd and Wentworth Avenue, this carved dragon sidewalk inset intrigued me...but not any of the other passersby!

At the corner of 23rd and Wentworth Avenue, this carved dragon sidewalk inset intrigued me…but not any of the other passersby!

Thank you for joining me on these many posts of Chicago’s Chinatown!

I hope they have been as interesting for you as they were for me.

There is so much more to this Chicago neighborhood and the wonderful Chinese inhabitants that I shall return, perhaps in a month or so!

Chinatown: The Pui Tak Center

The Pui Tak Center during its 2009 restorationPhoto courtesy: Wikipedia

The Pui Tak Center during its 2009 restoration
Photo courtesy: Wikipedia

 

From Wikipedia:

The Pui Tak Center (Chinese: 中心; Mandarin Pinyin: Péidé Zhōngxīn; Jyutping: pui4 dak1 zung1 sam1; Cantonese Yale: Pùihdāk Jūngsām; literally “cultivating virtue center”), formerly known as the On Leong Merchants Association Building, is a building located in Chicago’s Chinatown. Designed by architects Christian S. Michaelsen and Sigurd A. Rognstad, the building was built for the On Leong Merchants Association and opened in 1928. The Association used it as an immigrant assistance center, and the building was informally referred to as Chinatown’s “city hall”. In 1988, the FBI and Chicago Police raided the building as part of a racketeering investigation. The US federal government seized the building that same year.

The building was purchased by the Chinese Christian Union Church (CCUC) for $1.4 million and renamed the Pui Tak Center in 1993. That same year, the On Leong Merchants Association Building was designated a Chicago landmark by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks. The CCUC spent $1 million raised from community donations to renovate and update the building’s neglected interior. The newly-named Pai Tak Center now hosts various religious, community, and educational programs, such as English-as-a-Second-Language courses (ESL).

In the 1920s, Chinese community leaders secured approximately 50 ten-year leases on properties in the newly developing Chinatown.  Jim Moy, director of the Association, then decided that a Chinese-style building should be constructed as a strong visual announcement of the Chinese community’s new presence in the area.  With no Chinese-born architects in Chicago at the time, Chicago-born Norse architects Christian S. Michaelsen and Sigurd A. Rognstad were asked to design the On Leong Merchants Association Building in the spring of 1926.  Moy decided to employ the pair again after Michaelsen and Rognstad’s firm built Moy’s Peacock Inn in Uptown in 1920.

After studying texts on Chinese architecture, Michaelsen and Rognstad’s final design was an example of Orientalism, a Western architect’s interpretation of Chinese architectural forms.  A good substitute for the liu li glazed ceramic found in traditional Chinese architecture, Rognstad designed exterior Teco sculptural accents, a type of terra cotta produced by Crystal Lake, Illinois‘s American Terra Cotta Company.  When the building plans were announced in the Chicago Tribune on July 4, 1926, the building was called, “One of the most expensive and elaborate buildings ever erected in America by the Chinese”.  Construction began in 1926 and was completed a year later for the cost of $1 millon.

In preparation for the restoration work, the structural and architectural engineering firm Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates completed an evaluation of the building’s eastern and southern facades, focusing on its terra cotta portions.  By using ultrasonic testing, engineers were able to evaluate the state of the terra cotta without further damaging the pieces. Severely cracked or damaged pieces were partially removed and a report was written from these findings.  This report provided recommendations for the masonry facade and terra cotta repair work.  Restoration work began in spring 2009 and is scheduled for completion in early 2010.  All of the damaged terra cotta elements have been replaced on the south tower and parapet, and scaffolding has been erected on building’s eastern facade in preparation for further restoration work.  Fully restoring the building’s exterior terra cotta pieces and clay roof tiles is the first step in a long-range $2 million repair plan.

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Here are a few images of the restored Pui Tak Center’s glazed terra cotta tile pieces, which I took during my short visit to Chicago’s Chinatown:

Pui Tak Bldg Detail-1

A bit of damage has been done here at the northeast corner of the building, because it borders on an alleyway used by delivery trucks.

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The south wall off the doors located in the final image of this post.  This peacock faces his twin, standing regally on the opposite wall.

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Here’s a closer look at the craftsmanship of this peacock.

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Looking up at the ceiling of the entrance seen in the next image.

Not exactly 'tile', but the door handles, rails, and leaded glass of this entrance truly intrigued me!

Not exactly ’tile’, but the door handles, rails, and leaded glass of this entrance truly intrigued me!

On the Magnificent Mile: X

At the Park Hyatt Hotel

It’s not a very technically ‘good’ shot, perhaps because I expected a bit more from this place.  I did much of their original outdoor planting before they opened in 2000, and know the interior quite well.  Though the address is 800 N. Michigan Avenue, this entrance fronts Chicago Avenue.

Pretty BLAH, as festive Christmas decorations go...I did not even go in to photograph their collection of Chihuly glass!

Pretty BLAH, as festive Christmas decorations go…I did not even go in to photograph their collection of Chihuly glass!

The little half-block long ‘western’ Michigan Avenue is where the carriages pick up their clientele, so the horses are always there, like this lovely mare:

All decked out, but she looked very, very bored...she was listening though, as her ears kept flicking back and forth!

All decked out, but she looked very, very bored…she was listening though, as her ears kept flicking back and forth!

If you turn 180 degrees, you face the western facade of the Water Tower, which was one of only a few downtown Chicago buildings to survive the Great Fire of October 8, 1871.

It's been more heavily decorated in past years.  There is usually a photography exhibit inside, but I didn't go in this time, because I had another destination, just kitty-corner across Michigan Avenue!

It’s been more heavily decorated in past years. There is usually a photography exhibit inside, but I didn’t go in this time, because I had another destination, just kitty-corner across Michigan Avenue!

At Water Tower Place

This year's theme is "Charlie Brown's Great Exhibit", sponsored by the Museum of Science and Industry.  It's a wonderful change from the somewhat scary 'dancing harlequins' which were used for more than five years!

This year’s theme is “Charlie Brown and the Great Exhibit”, sponsored by the Museum of Science and Industry. It’s a wonderful change from the somewhat scary ‘dancing harlequins’ which were used for more than five years!

Smaller trees, such as this one, are at the escalators which lead to the second floor...and are thoughtfully and sumptuously decorated.

Smaller trees, such as this one, are at the escalators which lead to the second floor…and are thoughtfully and sumptuously decorated.

Everywhere else, it’s huge lit snowflakes and lights dripping from the ceiling…quite an arduous installation!

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When you arrive at the second floor atrium, the elevators, normally see-through glass, have been covered with (from this side) several story-high “Peanuts” characters…here’s Lucy and Snoopy!

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After riding to the third floor (and getting my ears re-pierced–Christmas gift to self!), I walked back over to the escalators and found this maquette of the Water Tower…nicely done by ‘unknown’!

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Oh, lest I forget, I did see something I absolutely loved on the third floor…and I don’t remember which store!

Both these outfits belong in my closet, but I really took the shot because those little paper things truly intrigued me!  Maybe next year I'll do something with them as an inspiration?

Both these outfits belong in my closet, but I really took the shot because those little paper things truly intrigued me! Maybe next year I’ll do something with them as an inspiration?