Trump is Right, Chicago is Still A Backward, ‘Second Tier City’…

https://www.theblot.com/trump-right-chicago-still-backward-second-tier-city-7721321

Trump is Right, Chicago is Still A Backward, 'Second Tier City'...

It has been a big week for Donald Trump. Even in terms of reality television, the king of the blowhards has taken the last seven days to remind us why he will always be king.

Chicago is where I currently make my home. Every morning I walk up Wabash Avenue toward my office. At almost all times of the workday, and even during the weekend, I am in the shadow of The Trump International Hotel and Tower, the towering monolith that Trump has built.

At 96-stories, the structure is situated along the Chicago River. Completed during the recession five years ago, an argument can safely be made that the city of Chicago owes Trump a debt of gratitude for funding so large a project, especially at at time when jobs were in desperate need.

The building itself has been heralded as an architectural triumph. For a time, it was the largest structure built in the U.S. since 9/11 and its inception came at a shy time for large-scale real estate development. With no shortage of curved lines and reflections, it is the kind of building that plays well with others. Unlike Trump, the Trump complements its counterparts and has been warmly welcomed into the neighborhood by its colleagues.

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Controversy came earlier this month when Trump, the man, decided the building should bare his moniker in large two-story lettering. Twelve stories up and facing out onto the Chicago River, overlooking The Loop, the name TRUMP can now be seen from afar.

In response, a collective shudder has been felt through the city, prompting the chief architect on the project to call the sign, “kind of tasteless.”

It even stoked a reaction from  Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanual, President Obama’s bullish former Chief of Staff, who said through a spokesman that the sign was “architecturally tasteless.”

Never one to back down from a fight, Trump, a known conservative tweeted out that his sign was, “magnificent and popular” and noted that  it had “become iconic in a short period of time.”

Capitalizing on the controversy, Trump has vowed to make a special viewing of the sign during a trip to Chicago in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, the Mayor has said that he will do what he can to get the sign reduced in size or removed from the building, altogether.

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Now seems like a really good time to remind all parties involved that there were 415 homicides in Chicago committed in 2013 and that the city public school system consistently delivers some of the lowest test scores in the country.

Likely in order to promote the controversy, Trump went on the Howard Stern Show on Tuesday. While there, Stern pressed him to choose between Jennifer Lopez or Kim Kardashian. Trump responded matter-of-factly that neither would be a good contender for his affections, noting that they were both just a little too curvaceous for his liking.

Out of the exchange, Trump got what he wanted most. His comments made waves, keeping his name in the headlines for a few more days to come.

As a newly minted Chicagoan, at least for the summer, I can understand what the hubbub surrounding the sign is about. For me, there is a carpetbagger like quality to it. Built with New York money, by a known conservative in a city run by a democratic machine, it bears the markings of a New York real estate mogul. The Trump sign is indicative of what Chicago has been fighting against for decades; the very idea that this teeming metropolis somehow is not mighty or independent. For all intents and purposes, Chicago is forever locked in battle with itself and its identity as a “second city.”

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If it were one of their own on the sign, things would be different. If the sign said, “DALEY,” things would be a lot different.

For me, I dig it. I dig the sign. I dig its design. I dig where it was positioned on the waterfront, and I dig the idea that we live in a country in which the man, who built the 12th largest building in the world, at a time when nobody else was willing to take such a risk, can do whatever he damn well pleases with the building once its been completed.

Joel Mazmanian is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine. He is also a second-year graduate student at the VCU Brandcenter. Follow him on Twitter @joelmazmanian.

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