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Danger! The Sky Is Falling!

By Rachelle Bowden in News on Jan 26, 2005 12:51PM


New York, Chicago, Boston, DC: They all have skyscrapers, they all have snow. But of all the midwestern and east coast cold-weather cities we've visited, Chicago is the only one where we've seen falling ice signs everywhere. It's like the Cool Kid Club for buildings. You're not the shit unless you've got a sign out.

2005_01_falling_ice_close.jpgWe know that every year people are hurt by ice as it falls off of buildings around the Loop but what exactly are we supposed to do to avoid it? Walk with our eyes in the air, on the lookout for killer icicles, while we bump into everyone around us? If we're lucky enough to have sun, we're blinded when we look up. We try to walk a little farther away from buildings going from here to there, but the wind can carry ice farther out.. and even the building we work in has a falling ice sign one step away from the revolving door. . so what are we supposed to do? Not go to work? (Actually, that sounds great!) Seriously, though. How do you avoid falling ice when walking in and out of buildings? The falling ice signs are kind of like "Watch out for lightning!" or "Don't be an innocent victim of a driveby shooting!" The chances are very, very low and no matter what you do somebody is going to be killed by them at some point. But buildings don't put out signs to watch for lightening or gangsters.. so why ice?

2005_01_caution_falling_ice.jpgIn 2000, Donald Booth, a Wisconsin man, was walking down the sidewalk past the Neiman Marcus building when a microwave-size piece of ice fell from the sky, crushing his skull and vertebrae and instantly killing him. His family settled a $4.5 million lawsuit. This leads Chicagoist to believe that all of the buildings are putting signs out to cover their asses. If you get hit in with ice in front of their building, it's not like they didn't warn you. Bad luck for Mr. Booth to be right in that exact spot at the exact time the ice fell, but that's only one incident that severe that we've heard of. Is a slim chance of paying out $4.5 mil enough to scare everyone into putting falling ice signs out?

For more photos of falling ice signs, check out