They were lighting the tree the other night at
But when it comes to holiday dreaming, everything is relative. It all depends on what is your every day.
Head to the Rockefeller ice rink and you're already on the romantic streets of
Now I-294 is an especially hellish experience: multilaned and full of trucks and hideous billboards, it drives defiantly through industrial parks, a huge rail yard, an absurdly massive toll plaza, a plethora of ugly low-rise commercial buildings, and the ugly rump of the airport. Exits come quickly—it's easy to miss I-88, go the wrong way on I-90, or end up on I-290 instead—so most drivers are tense. But ever since the rink at the
It's not just the ice rink. MB Financial Park—the name, I know, but it's Rosemont—actually is a little neo-urbanist collection of populist, good-night-out-no-food-critics-please restaurants, a bowling alley, bars and a movie theater, all centered around the ice rink. Weirdly, the whole place has a distinct sense of community—intensified because everything around it has no sense of community whatsoever.
It was palpable the other night in the Five Roses, an extravagant Irish pub named, predictably enough, in honor of the five decades of service by the late Mayor Donald E. Stephens who, depending on your point of view, was either the patron saint of Rosemont (for with development cometh jobs) or the epitome of its long, complex, well-documented relationship with no-bid contracts, dubious characters, and old-school graft. Well, John D. Rockefeller was no saint, either. Stephens' son, Mayor Bradley Stephens, deserves a lot of credit for helping get this place built in this economic environment. So what if I had to eat my Shepard's Pie under the elder Stephens' picture?
Through the window, I could see parents exiting with a warming Guinness (drinks are allowed outdoors at MB Financial Park) as their giggling kids headed for the rink with the smooching couples, who were just out of a movie, or the restaurant named in honor of the country star
Ah, Rosemont Christmas dreaming. Whodathunk?
It's a bizarre thing, given that had the Illinois Gaming Board not deemed
MB Financial Park is not the only neo-urban entertainment district in an unlikely setting, of course.
I think MB Financial Park might also be good for cleansing Rosemont's soul; it could signal a new direction. It could well end the village's chip on its shoulder when it comes to Chicago and its perceived representatives. Chicago has
On Dec. 14, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular arrives in Rosemont at the Akoo Theatre — the name, I know, but it's Rosemont. The Rockettes have been there before, several times, and I remember writing, many times, something along the lines of how the show is great family traditionalism, but the ambience, well, the Rosemont police officers waving their flares in your face don't exactly put you in the mind of a stroll down Fifth Avenue with Daddy Warbucks.
But Rosemont has changed a little while the Rockettes have been gone. Maybe this year, with a little entertainment city now sprouted in walking distance from the theater, the ambience and the synergy will be different. I'm told there is a new sequence in the show wherein the Rockettes, stuffed like clowns into a double-decker bus, take you on a video-fused tour of New York by night, eventually spilling out in Times Square.
I know, the MB Financial Park does not sound like the stuff that dreams are made of, even if you live stacked in an exurban warehouse by the side of the freeway for the rest of the year. It sounds ridiculous. But I now dread I-294 a little less. And you can't skate in Times Square.