Editorial: Why we love the Trump sign and think you will not find it awful
Loop North News

Photo by Steven Dahlman Editorial: Why we love the Trump sign and think you will not find it awful

12-Jun-14 – Before I make my argument, I’d like to make the argument of my esteemed colleagues. We don’t want some clown from New York coming in here and forcing a big sign down our river.

On that, we can all agree.

Five years after completion, on an unused part of the south face, at about the 16th floor of a 98-story building, Trump International Hotel & Tower – after turning River North into a haven for swanky hotels – is very slowly installing a five-letter sign.

Surely I don’t have to point out all the buildings along the Chicago River that have large signs at their tops. Kemper had owned the Unitrin Building for less than a year when it swooped in by helicopter, shut down traffic, and with great fanfare installed a new sign at the top of its 41-story, 52-year-old building. And we cannot wait for them to do that again.

To be clear, if the William Wrigley Jr. Company wanted to put on its building a giant stick of gum that spelled out WRIGLEY in neon, we’d all be alarmed. We’re not savages here.

But here’s a company that has spent $850 million on a brand new building. Five years is not enough time for us to be preaching about preserving the architectural purity of Trump Tower.

I’m not going to say, “it’s just a sign,” because architecture is what we’re all about here in downtown Chicago. If something doesn’t fit, it dents our reputation. You want to put up something big and splashy? It better be good or we will run you of town on a rail.

But we need to give this a chance. Perhaps some summer as you walk along your $99 million Riverwalk, in one of the nicest, most upscale, and safe parts of town, you’ll look up at Trump Tower and see a five-letter sign glow softly at night or reflect its environment by day, and it won’t seem so awful. Photo by Steven Dahlman

Some people look at the sign and see Donald Trump. He is what he is. I could tell you, truthfully, that if you met him and watched how he interacts with people and answers difficult questions, you’d see he is not the cartoon character he plays on TV. But I’m probably not going to convince you of that.

But if a building owner is going to brand his building, there are surely worse ways of doing it than this. Sorry, Mr. Trump, we don’t think this will ever have the iconic firepower of the Hollywood sign. But it’s going to look nice. It is nothing we have to go to war over.

Come on, folks, we’re [expletive deleted] Chicago. We’re the ultimate bobbers and weavers. We took a heap of smoldering ash and rebuilt the world’s greatest city. Do not try to tell me a five-letter sign on a 98-story building is more change than you can stand.

By Steven Dahlman | Loop North News | sdahlman@loopnorth.com


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