Tuesday, July 05, 2005

celebrating with a bang

so in honor of independence day, we decided to take the 'untouchables tour.' (i know, that doesn't really have anything to do with the birthday of the country, but gangsters sure took liberties in the 20s.) i don't know enough about the city, and my pal is from out of state. we both love a little lore and thought it'd be fun.

we hopped on the *bus* and were greeted by two men dressed in gangster regalia. the show was informative and entertaining and even had a faux shootout scenario. cheesy fun with a little bit of local history. what more can a certifiable dork ask for?

there were some cool tidbits. like how Holy Name Cathedral has these unnecessary steps around it to cover up all the bulletholes from when Al Capone's tommyguns took out 'deanie' o'bannion from across the street. you can still see a stray one higher up. in fact people take their wedding pictures in front of it.

during the two-hour tour we saw nearly every major area of the city. unfortunately most of the historic places are now parking lots, parks -- and most overwhelmingly -- condos. that was the saddest part of the day. sadder still is that i may eventually end up contributing to the problem.

it seems every inch of this city will very shortly be turned into condominiums. the maxwell street area, a very modest place not too long ago where most of the city's immigrant groups have at one time or another made a very meager living, is building condos starting at $300,000. same with chinatown and even pilsen. but the worst offender was the blackstone hotel on michigan ave, where louis armstrong and billie holiday once played. soon it will be luxury condos starting from 3 to 8 million dollars a pop. the ad tagline? the blackstone: for those who enjoy life and success. as if the rest of us are too busy soaking up death and failure.

that's more depressing than hearing about all the people gunned down by gangsters.

9 comments:

omar said...

Yeah, in my area, they're eating up all the green space and putting in either homes or car dealerships. It really is quite depressing.

Ale said...

thats so cute- love tours like that- were you given bootleg liquor on the bus??? that would be hot- whooooo is the pal from out of town???? telll

Ale said...

oh, haaaha just got your title :)

lucasjackson7 said...

they are building these monolithic condos in the warehouse district of new orleans. hence, the name warehouse district means you should try and bring in some businesses that might need "warehouses" not condos!

speaking of history tours, there is a ghost tour in the french quarter where the tour guide has to dress up as a vampire and talk in Transylvanian dialect. it's a definite must if you ever come to the city.

jazz said...

i've never heard of this tour. i want to go next time i'm in town!

which reminds me: must get ravinia tix for august!

cadiz12 said...

i know, it's really sad. every stop was 'right there, where those new condos are, is where...'

i love history tours. especially in chicago b/c there's so much i don't know about it. that's why i loved 'the devil in the white city' so much. you guys know that the ferris wheel was invented for the columbian exposition here?

oh and my pal copychief is originally from ny, but has been here a few years. we get lost, but it's always a good adventure.

Andy said...

"the blackstone: for those who enjoy life and success. as if the rest of us are too busy soaking up death and failure."

Amen to that. It's almost like rubbing your nose in it. It's sad that a condo is a way of expressing an opulent lifestyle. Oh well, I guess that's what they get for being successful.

jazz said...

so whaddya think cadiz? you up for a spot on the guest hosting roster? i'm building it up as we speak. shoot me an e-mail or a comment to let me know if you're in. omar, glo, and intern andy are helping so far....

Gloria Glo said...

I can't handle the pressure! Such exalted company....must think more creatively...