Seeing red at Buckingham Fountain
05/26/2010 10:00 PM
Can someone tell me why Buckingham Fountain’s nighttime lighting this season is so strikingly mundane and unimpressive? Since I first became a South Michigan Ave. high-rise resident and an avid admirer of its Grant Park and lakefront dazzling views two years ago, the fountain’s dramatic multicolored, ever-changing, light shows have been a constant source of delight to me and have drawn certain “oohs and aahs” from my evening guests — until now. Since it was turned on last month, Buckingham’s lights after dusk glow only dimly, weakly, in a single unchanging color: red — steadily, unwaveringly, boringly red!
Buckingham Fountain is perhaps the oldest, the most iconic, universally recognized and treasured symbol of our city. It is Chicago’s glistening “jewel in the crown” and has been an inspiration to residents and visitors alike for as long as anyone can remember, so what, I wonder, would explain the city fathers’ decision in 2010 to abandon the gloriously fickle Old Lady’s spectacular many-hued wardrobe of decades past for the disappointingly drab, plain and common garb exhibited by this predictably ruddy, dull and inelegant recent stepsister? Might it be that the current half-hearted, scaled-down illumination of Chicago’s most beloved liquid landmark is simply a sad reflection of the stuck-in-the-red financial status of the city itself?