‘Myths and facts’

Now that the Children’s Museum’s Ant Farm plan for Grant Park has gotten another rubber stamp from what passes for local government, let’s look at some Myths and Facts about the place. The Myths are straight from the museum’s Web site, but since I’m skeptical of their Facts, I’ve provided my own.

Myth. Green space will be lost.

Fact. Lost space will be painted green. No one will be the wiser.

Myth: The proposal violates open-space protections.

Fact: So?

Myth: The proposal was changed to pass the City Council but it will be changed back later.

Fact: The proposal is changing all the time. There: We just changed it again.

Myth: The park would remain undisrupted without this proposal.

Fact: People walk through the park all the time. If that isn’t disruption, what is?

Myth: The museum has refused to explore alternative sites.

Fact: We just told everybody about a long list of alternative sites kids would love: Pluto, Sesame Street, My Neighborhood, Springfield. But the mayor simply wouldn’t listen.

Myth: The kids are being buried in a dark underground space.

Fact: The kids are being buried in a light underground space.

Myth: The proposal is illegal under Illinois Supreme Court decisions.

Fact: Not until it gets there, and a lot can happen between now and then, know what I mean?

Myth: This violates A. Montgomery Ward’s legacy.

Fact: Dead men can’t sue.

Myth: The plan includes tall structures.

Fact: Yes, but they’re underground.

Myth: The lesson from the book “Forever Open, Clear and Free: The Struggle for Chicago’s Lakefront” is that the museum does not belong in the park.

Fact: Thanks for buying a copy of Lois Wille’s book; she’s one of us now.

Myth: The museum is only used by children from affluent parts of Chicago and the suburbs.

Fact: The museum is used by rich and poor alike, as long as they pony up $9 a head.

Myth: The museum will create local traffic congestion.

Fact: The museum is not there to create local traffic congestion, the museum is there to preserve local traffic congestion.

Myth: The plan incorporates multiple for-profit restaurants.

Fact: Would you want to eat in a money-losing restaurant?

Myth: The museum is going to serve liquor to visitors.

Fact: Nonsense. The museum is going to sell liquor to visitors. But we card hard.

Myth: This amounts to rich people and corporations buying a piece of the park.

Fact: Not if we can get it for free.

Myth: Local taxpayers will be on the hook for the cost of the museum.

Fact: Not just local ones.

Myth: This is a private museum.

Fact: Asked and answered; if you’ve got $9, you can get in.

Myth: There is a requirement that museums in the park not charge admission.

Fact: Children under one get in free! Every day! Can the Art Institute say that? Oh, wait, at the Art Institute, children under 12 get in free. But we’re the ones who are all about the children, dammit!

Myth: There is little support for this proposal.

Fact: There’s support and then there’s support. Look in the mirror: Do you look like a Daley? A Pritzker? We’ll see your support and call.

Myth: The museum is a glorified playground.

Fact: Not quite. Ald. Brendan Reilly hasn’t glorified us yet. But he will. If he knows what’s good for him, he will.

Well, that was fun. Unfortunately, Daley and the museum backers seem immune to mockery. So the thing will probably pass the City Council today and head off to a long litigious period while city crews tunnel surreptitiously under the park.

You know, if they can build the thing underground, they can put it anywhere. How about under the sledding hill near Soldier Field? Indoor and outdoor fun for everyone! Plus, an entrance could be built near the Balbo monument not far away.

That’s the 2,000-year-old column given to the city by “Fascist Italy, with the sponsorship of Benito Mussolini . . . as a symbol and memorial in honor of the Atlantic squadron led by Balbo which with Roman daring flew across the ocean in the eleventh year of the Fascist era.” So says the explanation on the base, in both Italian and English.

If you’re not up on the Fascist calendar, the 11th year was 1933 to the rest of us, and came during the Century of Progress exhibition. The base has two blank panels, so an explanation can be added saying the Children’s Museum was given by Fascist Chicago, under the sponsorship of Richard Daley, as a symbol and memorial in honor of Major Donor in whatever year we wind up being lumbered with the thing.

Is Chicago the only place where Major Donor outranks General Welfare?

3 Responses to “‘Myths and facts’”

  1. Hrmm that was weird, my comment got eaten. Anyway I wanted to say that it’s nice to know that someone else also mentioned this as I had trouble finding the same info elsewhere. This was the first place that told me the answer. Thanks.

  2. Luigi Succar says:

    Hello, I found your blog in a new directory of blogs. I don’t know how your blog came up, must have been a typo. Your blog looks good, have a nice day.

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