Willard Says...

September 19, 2018

Retro Chicago

By Jonathan Zimmerman

So, Chicago is going to have a new mayor in 2019. In reviewing the rather uninspiring list of candidates thus far, the thought crossed my mind: what could one of them do to step up to the forefront and win my support? Here are 25 suggestions:

1) Issue an edict permanently renaming 233 South Wacker Drive as “The Sears Tower” and 875 North Michigan as “The John Hancock Center” until the end of time.

2) Macy’s, back to New York you go! Welcome back, Marshall Fields. I miss those green bags. While we are at it, as beautiful as the renovated Sullivan Center turned out, let’s bring back Carson Pirie Scott as well.

3) The city should have never bothered pushing the Block 37 development. Skate on State was just fine. Haul in the hoses and cold weather and lace up those skates.

4) Immediately reconstruct 300 West Washington. I never understood why this building was demolished and the land is still sitting empty 20 years later.

5) Restore service to the State & Washington Red Line station.

6) While on the topic of the CTA, bring back the tokens. No particular reason.

7) There are so many dearly departed restaurants which need to be re-opened. For starters, there is a huge void in the hot dog category. Fluky’s, Demon Dogs, Hot Doug’s and Irving’s shall be reconstituted day one of the new administration. As a side note, declare putting ketchup on a hot dog a Class B felony.

8) Other restaurants that will be making a comeback: Las Pinatas, Ina’s, Basta Pasta, Greektown Gyros (oh how I miss the 3:00 AM gyro, pizza puff, and cheese fry combo), Bones, Chicago Brauhaus, and Sabatino’s (you are not really closing soon, are you?)

9) We cannot leave out the classic bars and taverns that need to reappear: John Barleycorn on Lincoln, McCuddy’s, Life’s Too Short, The Artful Dodger, The Big Nasty (including Elvis on the roof), Thurston’s and Lounge Ax.

10) Grocery shopping? One word: Dominick’s. If for no other reason, so they can bring back the “Let’s Go To The Races” game.

11) Guaranteed Rate Field/U.S. Cellular Field shall permanently be re-christened as Comiskey Park.

12) I like the United Center, but it will never compare to the Chicago Stadium. The real Madhouse on Madison shall be reincarnated.

13) Ozzie Guillen shall be signed to a lifetime contract to manage the White Sox. Same thing with Coach Ditka and the Bears, just so we can enjoy the grand return of “The Mike Ditka Show” starring Johnny Morris before every Bears game.

14) Speaking of Johnny, he along with Bill Kurtis, Walter Jacobson, John Coughlin and ace reporter John “Bulldog” Drummond will be restored as the primary Chicago news team. If for some reason they are not available, we will then take back Ron Majors, Carol Marin, John Coleman, and Marc Giangreco.

15) Son of Svengoolie will return to television every night.

16) On the radio, the Loop AM & FM will be back. Classic rock will be covered on the FM side, while the AM will welcome back Johnny B, Kevin Mathews (with Jim Shorts), Steve & Garry and Chet Coppock.

17) For the kids, Costco in Melrose Park will be razed immediately to make way for the return of Kiddieland

18) Enough of Taste of Chicago. ChicagoFest will be a thing once again.

19) This so-called Jane Byrne Interchange will resort back to whatever it was before. That cannot possibly be worse than the traffic mess we have now.

20) For those needing a place to shop for fine clothing, Bigsby & Kruthers shall reclaim its rightful position on Clark Street. While we are at it, bring back Bigsby’s Sports Bar & Grill, too.

21) Parking meter deal? What parking meter deal?

22) Dibs will be legalized.

23) Celozzi-Ettleson (Where you always save more money!) and Schmerler Ford (Home of the Singing Ford Dealer!) are back in business, just so we can experience the legendary commercials again.

24) Enjoy the grand re-opening of Flip Side and Tower Records. After all, vinyl is in vogue again.

25) On a personal note, 100 West Monroe, 11 South LaSalle, 29 South LaSalle, 39 South LaSalle and 203 North Wabash will become office buildings once again.

If there is a mayoral candidate out there who can deliver on at least some of these items, I will be first in line to cast a vote in their favor. Better hurry, the election is right around the corner.