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More of the Same at Navy Pier. Great.

By Roland Lara on Jan 6, 2006 3:43PM

They’re giving Navy Pier a makeover. Cripes. It’s like the makeover for Paula Jones: we guess it couldn’t hurt, but it doesn’t really help, does it?

Chicagoist holds little affection for Navy Pier. Sure it’s better to have businesses there than the wasteland that preceded it, but did it have to turn into a mall?

The Trib article describes the original vision in 1995 as “an entertainment district and exposition center.” Right. Ever tried making it to a show at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre? If it’s cold, and you have to walk the length of the pier indoors, it’s like walking through a food court in perpetuity. You Navy-Pier.jpgtry to treat your special someone to a fancy night of Rose Rage (yes, it started in Chicago, and it was amazing), and you get there smelling like pretzels and nacho cheese.

So what have the consultants (is it Bob and Bob?) come up with?

“... a floating hotel[,] ... converting most of the pier's Festival Hall exposition space into an indoor water park ‘like at the Wisconsin Dells,’ building a roller coaster and erecting a Ferris wheel much larger than the existing one[.]”


Let that sink in.

We’ve also had issues with the Ferris wheel since its construction. Yeah yeah yeah, we read Devil in the White City, too. The Ferris wheel has a big historical connection to Chicago. We get it. Doesn’t change the fact that in the last hundred years it’s been co-opted by county fairs and conjures images not so much of a World’s Fair but of carnies and mullets.

Chicago has the finest skyline in the world. Did we need to try to make it look like a low-rent Coney Island?

Wisconsin Dells. For the love of God. Chicago does public spaces with class that aren’t elitist. We heart Millennium Park.

Ugh. The freaking Dells. Just don’t let them bring the Ducks. Oh dammit. Too late.