The top deck had round tables and white tablecloths and the cheese and crackers and roast beef sandwiches and mini burgers and mozzarella and chicken skewers were from Harry Caray's. The beer and the wine were unlimited--and as we glided under the main branch bridges, their undersides became our ceilings, one after the other after the other. The deck below where the food and bar were was darker and less fancy and all open without chairs.
The air was cool and comfortable and the sky was clear during Alderman Bob Fioretti's fundraiser on Shoreline's "Evening Star."
We travelled as far north as Chicago Avenue on the north branch and as far south as Ping Tom Park
on the south branch. The river corridor running through the South Loop from Bertrand Goldberg's River City
at Polk Street to what the neighbors now call "Tony Rezko Park" at Roosevelt
, looked beautiful against the early evening sky as the sun was setting. (Rezko was the last to own and
have serious development plans for the city's last and biggest undeveloped swath at Roosevelt and Clark and the river.) The 2nd Ward part of the south branch looked like a glorious mix of modern concrete and glass--and wild foresty land. A disjointed juxtaposition that engages the imagination. A perfect metaphor for the ward.
Fioretti, still recovering from tonsil cancer
, spent his time communicating with his constituents, explaining that he'd just had an MRI and a scan and "everything else they do." And the results were perfect, he reported. And then he told the story of the day's visit with First Lady Michelle Obama, who was visiting Chicago
for her husband's campaign. She knew right away who he was when he greeted her--"Alderman of the Second Ward," he said she said. "And you also have those beautiful flowers at your house," he also said she said.
Nicki Pecori, the alderman's significant other liked that comment--she's the gardener. And her mother is a Master Gardener
in Springfield, "so she'll be really happy to hear what Mrs. Obama said," said Pecori. Fioretti joked that he thought the First Lady was viewing his house--and flowers--via "one of those satellites they have."
Actually, the Obama girls have friends who live on Fioretti's block so the First Lady is familiar with his house, Fioretti explained.
One of Fioretti's most ardent supporters, Chicago Teachers Union organizer Marty Ritter
had a little flyer he gave me during the cruise about the latest union demands: smaller classes; a better school day--not just a longer one; fair compensation; and job security to keep experienced teachers. Because at a fundraiser, there's always room for issues. And politics. And making things better in the future.