I arrived shortly after 5 PM yesterday at the Pontiac Building--built in 1891--for a little cocktail party given by the Friends of the Forest Preserves. They've been tenants in the building for almost six months; and they have a lovely suite of offices in the very well-maintained architectural landmark at 542 S. Dearborn in the heart of Printers Row.
The problem is that the building apparently goes on lockdown at 5 PM sharp. A small group gathered at the front door and tried to get someoen to release one of the massive front doors so we could enter. There was a telephone handset that a couple of us tried, without much luck. Someone would answer; we'd tell the person, who had a very heavy accent we wanted to get into the building and they'd put us on hold. And she was hard to hear in any case due to rush hour traffic noise along Dearborn. We surmised that the phone was hooked up to a call center in India.
Finally, we got a response after giving not only the name of the organization, but the name of the executive director, the floor and many more tidbits of information that only someone who had been invited would know. And we were let in; the door got released from lockdown.
Upstairs, the building
is as clean and beautiful as it can be. There was lovely food in the conference room and the Friends of the Forest Preserves people were very nice and welcoming and offered me a beer.
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