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In Pictures: Open Streets on State Street

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 3, 2011 7:45PM

For five hours Saturday State Street from Lake Street to Van Buren was, in the words of a passer-by, "shut down and turned into a stupid ass park."

We couldn't disagree with the man. Open Streets on State Street, an attempt to bring an open boulevards aesthetic to the heart of downtown Chicago's most recognizable street, lacked an attention to detail. The free reign among walkers and bicyclists could have led to some serious accidents; we're actually surprised we didn't witness any. The sparse activities dotted along the Great Street were so spread out we had the sensation of walking State Street in the dead of night.

The activities picked up along the southern edge of the of the event. State and Van Buren was transformed into a skate park and skateboarders were taking advantage of it. The Windy City Rollers were hosting demos a block north where we learned more about roller derby in a 30-minute exhibition than in an actual bout. Dance exercise and yoga exhibitions were to be had further up, while a dunk tank was surprisingly busy on a chilly mid-morning.

For an inaugural event, Open Streets on State Street was unique. Here's hoping future editions capitalize on the open space and make it a marquee event and less of turning State Street into "a stupid ass park."