CHICAGO, ILLINOIS (24 August 1999) -- John December visited Chicago to take digital photos of Chicago's Maxwell Street area. The photographs were taken as part of the release of the "CHI b l u e," Web site, <http://www.december.com/places/chi/blue.html>, published by December Communications, Inc. The album portion of the CHI blue site contains digital photographs of downtown Chicago scenes, the cow sculptures, and now Maxwell Street.
December says, "I was impressed by the vibrancy of Maxwell Street, even on the rainy day I was there. Vendors were selling clothing, and shop owners were doing their work inside. Iím upset that the University of Illinois is trying to erase Maxwell Street. I'm particularly upset with the tactics the University is using to push out current residents."
John was impressed with Original Jimís Hot Dog Stand. "I saw people from all over the city coming to Jimís. It is truly a signature place of Chicago, like the Water Towers. Iím lucky to have had the opportunity to visit and photograph it before it is gone."
John met Meryln McFarland, who still lives on Maxwell Street and is called "the Mayor" of Maxwell Street because he looks after the place and does volunteer cleaning there. Merlyn said, "Itís important to save the old buildings and the businesses here. This is history, the cityís history, that doesnít need to get destroyed."
John also saw Steve Balkin. Balkin is a member of the Maxwell Street Historic Preservation Coalition. Balkin said, "This is about placement of a parking structure. If the university would move their proposed parking structures one block by the expressway, as they originally intended, the place could be saved. The university sets up artificial constraints and then uses that for reasons to get rid of the people, business, and buildings, everything."
The photographs are an important part of the album portion of the Chicago Web site. December will be making future visits to Chicago to shoot more photos of Maxwell Street.