Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Sunday, December 10

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


Archie / July 23, 2004 11:27 AM


Stephen / July 23, 2004 11:42 AM

Origionally I thought, a big bean, this can't be any good. But when I went to see it, the statue turned out to be very interesting. The reflections are amazing where you can see the skyline and all the people around you from your one angle.

miss ellen / July 23, 2004 11:51 AM

love it; love ALL of it.

except, some of the areas aren't as well linked as they could be. and, some of the grass is going to get trampled unless they put up some small barriers.

on opening weekend, there was too many people trying to get places & unsure what was the best path. many times, it was the shortest path, which meant walking through very fresh grass & flowers - such a travesty, IMO.

caitcat / July 23, 2004 12:03 PM

took off my shoes and socks and played in the fountain last night!!! i like it when water comes pouring from the lips of the faces on the fountain- millennium park should be experienced at night! a hot summer night!!!!

plus the bean sculpture reminded me of flight of the navigator...

Naz / July 23, 2004 12:11 PM

My thoughts are over here of course and I'm glad I'm not the only one who was reminded of Flight of the Navigator.

Suzanne / July 23, 2004 1:12 PM

The activist in me hates it : $475 million could be better spent on say, Chicago's failing schools. Or in developing REAL affordable housing. Or countless problems facing both Chicago and the state of IL.

However, I realize that the park does provide positive public benefits and while the art is questionable ,(too much together and Gehry isn't all that in my book) I have to say I was quite impressed last weekeend while sitting on the rooftop of the Harris Theatre watching Ira Glass and Chris Ware's slide show. Not to mention the Lurie Garden and the Bike station- two of my favourite parts of the park.

I guess, like many things in life, I both love and hate it at the same time.

jennifer / July 23, 2004 1:14 PM

i think the bandshell is atrocious, but i have a little crush on the bean.

daruma / July 23, 2004 1:28 PM

I will wait to pass final judgement til I go to a concert and hear how the sound system sounds from the grass. It was definitely a blast to see Steve Silk "Jack Your Body" Hurley spin opening night on the Bank One Promenade though!

Dawson / July 23, 2004 2:57 PM

Pure awesomeness.

Russ / July 23, 2004 3:02 PM

I used to love watching the activity down on the IC tracks, so naturally I think it's a huge waste of money.

Kate / July 23, 2004 3:06 PM

I'm trying to be optimistic about the band shell. I have real problems with Gehry's other stuff because of how the flamboyant exteriors don't have any relationship with the often somewhat dysfunctional interiors (pace the new concert hall in LA); but of course a band shell basically has no interior, so it might work. You never know.

Andrew / July 23, 2004 3:09 PM

Russ, you'll just have to look south, to below the Art Institute from the Monroe St. bridge. Plenty to see, although there're fewer track changes.

I haven't been to the park yet, but it *looks* nice.

Don't forget to check out, your independently produced news source on the park.

Jake / July 23, 2004 3:55 PM

I think it's great. Yeah, that's a lot of money, but come on. You think the poor people would've ever seen any of that money anyway?

I went down there Saturday to see Ira Glass's thing (didn't get in -- too full -- wasted too much time drinking beer in the cafe), and ended up walking around the whole thing. I was amazed how "connected" the whole thing felt. No matter where I was standing, I'd look all around me and everything just felt tight.

Now, I think if I was in a blimp and looked down on it all at once, there would be parts that didn't work. Like the dopey columns in "Wrigley Square." But when you're standing there in the middle of them, everything fits together with everything you can see. It's cool.

I was impressed with how many little details got worked into the whole vibe. Like how the roof over the outdoor bar in the cafe echoed the beams over the music pavillion lawn.

Jake / July 23, 2004 3:56 PM

Oh, but those big spitting faces are going to look so dated. Like, yesterday.

Ron / July 23, 2004 4:07 PM

I'm going to offer a $50 reward to the first person who uses the bean to make reflectoporn.

No Photoshopping allowed.

Audrey / July 23, 2004 4:14 PM

Technically, taxpayers didn't pay the total $475 million dollars -- $200 million came from private donors. And I think even more technically, the remaining $275 m is coming from a TIFF fund that had to be spent in the downtown area (most neighborhoods fit into some sort of TIFF district) and bonds. So it's really your grandkids that will have fun with whatever the remaining bill will be.

Despite all the hype about the money, I think the park is beautiful and a great addition to the city. I love Cloud Gate (aka the Bean), but am a bit reserved about the Gehry structure (which looks like the Bean exploded) and the Wrigley columns (which don't really meld with the rest of the park).

I'm curious to see how this park will complement (or not) the new addition to the Art Institute scheduled to be completed in a 3 or 4 years (which may be about 15 in Chicago years). Renzo Piano is the architect for that project.

Naz / July 23, 2004 4:15 PM

Ron - that'll be hard to do - security everywhere, unless you do it real quick like and when there's no one there.

Here's a better challenge, who's going to be the first to tag it?

Jake - I assume those images will change, they're already throwing in nature scenes every so often.

But I agree, the place is remarkably connected and together and yet it's quite spacious. Eventhough there were a ton of people there over the weekend, it didn't feel overly packed. I'm amazed at the amount of space around Cloud Gate.

And the Ira Glass/Chris Ware thing was so lovely.

Mike / July 23, 2004 4:26 PM

I'm kind of curious if the bean will rust in a few years. Chicagoans aren't very good about metal preservation, (see: the EL, or any steel building in the Loop).

Naz / July 23, 2004 4:36 PM

I'm kind of curious if the bean will rust in a few years. Chicagoans aren't very good about metal preservation, (see: the EL, or any steel building in the Loop).

It seems they're polishing the sucker every night/morning and they keep doing work on it. I was there early yesterday and it was all shiny. Compared to over the weekend when I was there and it was all smudged up with fingerprints by 9pm.

Craig / July 23, 2004 5:22 PM

Re: Rust
I read an article that said Anish Kapoor had to guarantee Cloud Gate would last X amount of years. (Wish I could find the quote, but there have been so. many. articles.)

Re: Tagging
I will personally pay $50 to watch the citizens of Chicago beat the living crap out of the fist person tagging Cloud Gate.

Luke / July 23, 2004 6:54 PM

The Bean is contractually obligated to last 1,000 years.

I like how the hedges in the Lurie Garden are in cages. Is that to keep people out or to keep the plants in?

And it's too bad they couldn't engineer a way for the grass to slope. It'll at least be a nice place to hear the symphony, if not see it. I remember reading a long time ago that Gehry wanted it to have an incline, but that somehow couldn't be reconciled with the parking structure underneath. (One more reason to hate cars.)

Admin / July 23, 2004 7:23 PM

Okay so I guess I can get around to throwing in my two cents, obviously I am going to say its worth every penny, but its true. The garage revenue will pay for the bond issuance in a few years, and the city will get its money back in time with the added tourism, and condo's rolling in because of the park and the rest of Chicago's splendor. Look at London's Millennium Dome, that cost over a BILLION dollars and you don't see people running to see that. So the money issue aside, the park is amazing and how many other cities can you name that provide a world class outdoor venue and then don't even charge for admission? As always Chicago keeps reinventing itself. All in all, if you haven't experienced it go out and form your own opinion, but not this weekend because they're raising about $2 million dollars for the operations fund with an all weekend fundraiser.

Lyle from Lisle / July 24, 2004 12:22 AM

Haven't checked it yet, but my family made a major contribution...

That is, my dad was picked to be one of the fountain faces. Handsome older Asian gent, you should look so good at 60. (He's way older than that.)

Tangent tempter: do you know any of the fountain faces, or do any remind you of someone?

sketchyguy / July 24, 2004 9:02 AM

re: Here's a better challenge, who's going to be the first to tag it?

better yet-- who's going to be the first to hack the fountain video feeds?

amyc / July 24, 2004 9:17 AM

I haven't been there yet, but every time I see pictures of the Bean, I want to become one with it. I want to live inside the Bean. I want to be the Bean when I grow up. I want a pocket-sized Bean to carry around with me and rub against my cheek when I get stressed.

beth / July 24, 2004 4:19 PM

I was there on Friday - it's unbelievably gorgeous with a clear blue sky. The reflections in the Bean are friend wondered if they're ever going to sell minature versions of it. Anyone know?

The view of the skyline from there is so Chicago...the whole place feels just like the city.

The rest of the park - I agree; I have to be at the band shell during a performance to really get a feel for it.

Chris / July 25, 2004 8:30 AM

I think it was way over budget. There are only two things worth seeing. The "Cloud Gate" sculpture and "The Crown" fountain. The bandstand, or whatever it's called, is freaken ugly.

Alfonso / July 25, 2004 9:22 AM

Nice. Not $475M nice, but nice.

I really do hope the wonderful Bean is not yet finished, because the soldered seams mar the reflective surface (it was supposed to appear seamless, remember?).

The Pritzker Auditorium is OK from in front, but from behind it looks like a forgotten construction site -- worse than the rail yards. Is it going to be? I don't think the denizens of the Prudential, Standard Oil, or Blue Cross buildings will be too happy with the view.

The Crown sculpture is pretty cool by itself, but what makes it amazing is the children playing in the water. Talk about unintended symbolism -- the water of life pouring from the mouths of Chicagoans upon the children of tomorrow. Either that, or Chicagoans spitting on tourists. Take your pick.

Marc / July 25, 2004 1:12 PM

Alfonso - they're going to be buffing the seams out.

I would also love to see someone tap the fountain video feed - maybe some goatse action would be appropriate?


Onid / July 25, 2004 7:08 PM

Maybe we could start a bean commune? All hail the bean!! All comfort and love can be found in the bean!!!

ron / July 25, 2004 11:10 PM


Reflectoporning the Bean.

O.K. nobody wants the fifty bucks so I'll do it myself.

Will I have to register as a sex offender if I get caught?

Will my family understand?

Qwert / July 26, 2004 7:33 AM

I like the fact that after 125 years, the city was able to take back one block of railroad tracks. But for close to half a billion dollars, they probably could have covered the tracks from Randolph to Cermak.

The Crown Fountain is public art for the masses verging on serving the lowest common denominator. I wouldn't be surprised if they run Old Navy ads in the winter.

I like the Ghery band shell. Channel 11 needs to get off it's money-crippled ass and start broadcasting outdoor music concerts filmed from this location.

The Lurie garden is the best attraction. The amount of blue to purple plants in bloom next year should be a shocker. I wonder about the trees though. Evergreens are usually dead dead dead in the center. Such a huge block of green with an open center. Perhaps hundreds of birds will move in.

Jake / July 26, 2004 9:58 AM

Jake - I assume those images will change, they're already throwing in nature scenes every so often.

I don't mean the people are going to look dated, fashion-wise. I mean the whole idea of a big video screen art installation seems sort "dot com" to me. Don't you think? So very 1999...

Then again, I would've thought a big chrome bean would seem very 80s Duran Duran era, so what do I know? I love the Bean. Everyone needs to go jump and down at the altar of the Bean.

steve_sleeve / July 26, 2004 10:52 AM

i think the whole place is visually fantastic.

and at some point i think i'd like to wander around there after taking hallucinogenic drugs.

Mike / August 10, 2004 2:54 PM

I'm with Steve.

Myki / August 26, 2004 12:31 PM

a park? and we still have toll booths, and schools unloading staff and programs.

GB store

Recently on Fuel

Urban Ethos [26]
What is Chicago's "urban ethos"?

Cool Glass of... [16]
What're you drinking?

Supreme Decision [22]
What's your reaction to the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act?

Taking it to the Streets [20]
Chicago Street Fairs: Revolting or Awesome?

I Can Be Cruel [9]
Be real: what is the meanest thing you've ever done?

View the complete archive

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15