Monday, June 16, 2014

T-R-U-M-P – all a matter of perspective

The Trump-less way many would prefer to think of Chicago skyline

I had to be at the Daley Center courthouse last week for another hearing in an ongoing lawsuit I’m writing about these days, and one of the things I like about trips there is when I can cover something in one of the top floors of the 30-plus story building.

You can get some up-close and personal views of the Chicago skyline – such as being able to look DOWN on the First United Methodist Church building located across the street.
Trump contribution to Chicago

BUT BY CHANCE in a bit of down time during a court hearing, I happened to catch a glimpse out of a window facing to the north of what has become an architectural controversy (or travesty, depending on one’s opinion).

The Trump Tower right on the Chicago River that is one of the city’s tallest buildings (albeit not as big as the Willis Tower that so many of us still call Sears).

And from my perspective on the 25th floor, I could look down on the building and see the letters that are getting so many people riled up.

T-R-U-M-P. As in The Donald wants to ensure that EVERYBODY knows this is his building in Chicago. One with a riverfront view as such that everybody along Wacker Drive can see it – as well as anybody coming in from Lake Michigan into the city on the river.
Looking down from Daley Center
THE BUILDING IS just like the man himself – all about garishness being mistaken for class. Just like way too many rap and country/western music stars!

Yet I have to admit that from my Daley Center view, the lettering that gets so many people all worked up seemed to have a proper perspective.

It is, after all, one of the city’s tallest buildings (nearly 1,400 feet tall). So the idea of letters that are 20 feet tall is a matter of perspective.

The “TRUMP” sign wasn’t any more ostentatious than the letters atop the building advertising that Kemper Corp. insurance is located at 1 E. Wacker Dr. I noticed their sign as well.
Palmolive Building view before iconic sign
I’LL BE THE first to admit that the New York-based real estate developer is way too overbearing for us to have to put up with. Particularly since he comes across as though he believes the structures he is erecting are permanent reminders of his existence on this planet.

Does Trump believe his tower in Chicago is his reminder to the Midwestern U.S. that he was here? That the structure will still be standing some 3,000 years from now?

As though it makes him immortal?

Heck, I’m old enough to remember when the Palmolive Building bore the name of PLAYBOY, and had that “Bunny Beacon” atop the structure that could be seen from several hundred miles away.

NOW, WHO REMEMBERS that the magazine’s sign was ever there. Or even that Hugh Hefner’s attempt at a sophisticated girlie magazine was ever a Chicago-based company?

A large part of the reason I can’t get too worked up at the sight of T-R-U-M-P on the Chicago River is that I know full well the day will come when the sign will be no more.

Do I think Mayor Rahm Emanuel is letting himself get way too worked up with his governmental efforts to try to force the sign’s removal? Of course. If anything, he’s merely feeding into Trump’s ego by making him think he’s all the more important on the Chicago scene.
A real iconic sign
Emanuel ought to let this fight go. He’d find out just how quickly Chicagoans would learn to ignore this bit of garishness. Heck, we manage to ignore a lot of tacky (the remodeled Soldier Field, for example) items that exist in our city.

IN THE END, Trump will get his comeuppance when his attempt at a memorable structure winds up getting lost in the skyline shuffle.

And a century from now, nobody will be remembering the T-R-U-M-P lettering as anywhere near iconic as the Magikist lips!


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