A Saturday morning tour of the South Loop pre-NATO
05/19/2012 12:45 PM
I did a tour of the Loop this morning and everything appears to be the status quo from yesterday. That is, there is heavy police presence surrounding all of the federal buildings, homeland security SUVs and Chicago Police as far down as and including the federal prison.
The view on Michigan Avenue was mixed. Things were quiet with inconsistent board-ups: Some residential high-rises are boarded up while their neighbors aren't. Similarly with commercial units. A majority of businesses have closed up for the weekend. It isn't deserted though. As you might expect, the board-ups stretch from downtown to McCormick place, where they are quite prevalent. Residents are enjoying the weather: I saw some young folks who looked to be heading to the Cubs/Sox game, walking dogs, and strolling with babies.
Over on Prairie Avenue south of 18th Street, the pedestrian underpass leading to Metra trains and Soldier Field/Museum Campus is fully barricaded. Moving south on Prairie, there are concrete barriers and homeland security stationed at the intersection of Prairie Avenue and Cullerton Street. Cermak Road is heavily barricaded east of Michigan Avenue, including a series of perpendicular (aligned in the direction of the street rather than across it) concrete barricades as well as fencing.
Helicopters spent a large portion of the morning here and there, but as of noon there are none.
I drove past 500 West Cermak, the purported headquarters for the Occupy Chicago movement, and all is quiet.