Yesterday, I rode bikes around the Printers Row neighborhood and took notice of architectural details that I normally overlook. At the time, I failed to get a picture of the old printing press in front of the Digital Realty building so I went back this morning, took care of that, and added it to yesterday’s blog post like it had always been there. The security gaurd came to the door immediately, and he had a bewildered expression on his face. He stared at me, wondering if I was up to no good, and if he would be forced to come outside. I waved at him and he smiled and went back to his chair. It happens often, because these security gaurds just can’t understand what someone would be doing fucking around at #333am. It happened at the Sears Tower once, you can even see the security gaurd in the photo from that day as he peers out the front doors.
For the first time, I sat near the fountain at Printers Row Park, which hasnt been turned on for summer yet. The park borders the Transportation Building, which is where Eliot Ness was headquartered and from where he tried to bring down AL Capone. I stared through the windows for a bit, wondering which door Eliot Ness and The Untouchables would have used as an entry on their way into the office. To his probable dismay, he wasn’t the one who ended up dismantling Capone’s operations, but rather it was the IRS that nailed him for tax evasion. Eliot did receive the honor of transporting Big Al to Dearborn Station, where he was handed off to U.S. Marshalls. You won’t see him in photos from that day though, as the cameras remained focused on Capone.
A few weeks ago I was checking out some of the art and stickers behind Reggie’s, and without knowing it, I had come very close to the scene of a big beer bust. Looking at a map showing prohibition era brewery raids in Chicago, I noticed I was standing behind Room 21, located at 2110 Wabash. It’s the area where the CTA tracks are currently located. The Untouchables had some unsuccessful raids, and were far less effective than the TV show and movie depict, but this was one of their triumphs. Usually, it took them too long to break down the reinforced doors Capone had installed and by the time they got in, everyone had vanished out of secret exits. The lawmen eventually attached a giant piece of steel to a snow plow and used it as a battering ram. That’s how they made their way into the Wabash Brewery. Ness liked getting his name in the newspapers and the Wabash bust gave them 5 or 6 arrests with a lot of booze to showoff for the newspapers. He was known to “enjoy his scotch,” and reminds me of a politician who preaches against cannabis then goes home and eats weed gummy bears. I bet he was drinking confiscated booze and banging hookers in the executive offices the FBI occupied on the 22nd floor of the Transportation Building. They had the entire 3rd floor to themselves as well.
There is a 7-11 located in the Transportation Building now, and an employee came out to smoke a strong smelling cigar, which I found off-putting, and quickly rode my bike away, knowing that I would carry that smell with me all day if I got wrapped up in it. At about 530, I sat on a bench behind Dearborn Station in park watching the various dog breeds that came through on their morning walks. I figured there probably used to be train tracks in the exact spot I was sitting and if I were to dig up the ground, I’d probably find evidence of it with minimal effort.
“Doubts raced through my mind as I considered the feasibility of enforcing a law which the majority of honest citizens didn’t seem to want.” -Eliot Ness