Roos Collection worth the wait
I love the Roosevelt Collection because it is something from 'out there' that has been plunked down 'right here.'
02/03/2010 10:00 PM
OK, so it’s only a first impression. But I am in love with the Roosevelt Collection. For those of you who may not know, the Roosevelt Collection isn’t a set of coins, a set of books about Teddy, the Rough Rider or a set of fine plates like you’d get from the Danbury Mint.
The Roosevelt Collection is a condo and commercial complex that — because of hard times — took an overly long time to build on Roosevelt, just west of Target and east of Whole Foods, and which has had to go rental until the hard times are over. Most of the commercial space, with square footage for shops and eateries, all on a phony street called “Delano” (named for the wrong Roosevelt for whom the road is named) won’t be up and running for another year.
Most of my acquaintance with the Roosevelt Collection has been passing by on foot or on a bus during the aforementioned hard times, which lasted for years while the buildings were covered with a kind of green board that I presume was a new sort of moisture repellant house wrap. It was pretty ugly.
In any case, those days ended and the Roosevelt Collection was completed. It connected itself to the architecturally and aesthetically significant Roosevelt Road Bridge. And it’s very easy to walk into it (or drive into it) and see the result. Which I truly love.
The Roosevelt Collection gives me the feeling that I am on vacation in Miami — or Pinehurst, North Carolina. Or at least on a shopping spree in a new mall next to a gated community in Oak Brook. It’s about a block walk to the back of the Roosevelt Collection on the north end and I imagine I’m strolling through a pristine modern mall with concrete and brick forged into multi-levels with benches and perches of all kinds.
Roosevelt Collection is bright and cheery during the day. Much of the colorful cheeriness is due to huge arty posters that cover up the empty storefronts. And when night falls, there are rectangular, fluorescently cool-colored lights of varying hues ensconced sculpturally on “trees.” They totally make me feel modern and new and like the sky’s the limit.
Which it is — spreading like a blanket over the complex.
Then there’s the crowning glory: at the end of the concrete block-long walk to the inner sanctum of the Roosevelt Collection lies a 16-screen Kerasotes theater, complete with a beautiful lounge where you can buy a gourmet pizza concocted by restaurateur Jerry Kleiner (or at least his staff) and a fancy martini.
The restaurant/lounge is lined along the back by a glass wall facing north and it gives us South Loopers a new centrally located view of 9th Street and the newly paved Wells Street and the downtown skyline that we could never see precisely that way until now.
All of the pizza, cocktails and good views practically makes one forget that popcorn (with real butter), huge diet cokes and candy galore awaits along with the movies, thereby completing the enjoyment of that insulated feel of upscale and hopeful suburbia. And the seats in the theater are so ergonomically correct that when you first sit down they feel hard and small but somehow end up being very comfortable. Kind of like orthopedic shoes.
So that’s that. I love the Roosevelt Collection because it is something from “out there” that has been plunked down “right here.” The lights, the concrete, the glass, the multiplexes — the whole out-of-town feel of it all put together in the scrappy, hardness of Chicago’s South Loop. It makes me feel like I’m somewhere else yet I’m totally close to home at Roosevelt and State. I can vacation there but sleep in my own bed. I can get away from it all even though I’m not far at all.
It was a long time coming, but the Roosevelt Collection has arrived.