Last Friday, Chicago celebrated the Blackhawks' first Stanley Cup victory in half a century with a ticker-tape parade in downtown ending with a rally at the foot of the Michigan Avenue bridge, kitty-corner from the recently completed Trump Tower. According to estimates by the city, 2 million people joined in the celebration, all jam packed in ridiculously small street footage.
A few things:
1) We're curious to find out the reasoning behind the decision to hold the rally in what is essentially a street intersection. The nearby Millennium Park is maybe too precious and dainty to survive the revelry, if it even could contain such a large crowd, but there's Grant Park. It's an incredibly rugged urban park, proving summer after summer that it can handle a stampede of wild festival goers. It's spacious, and there, more people might actually have seen or at least heard what was happening on the stage besides a sea of heads. Then again, why would you need a clear sightline when, even if your view was blocked by a skyscraper, you could probably get instantaneous updates and live feeds from your social network via a mobile device. It's the urban spectacle of the early 20th century amended by the network culture of the early 21st century, perhaps in the process mitigating the monopoly of Victorian and American 19th park typologies for such occasions.
But we'll probably just end up learning that the choice of venue was informed by budgetary issues or simply that the parade ended there.
2) We're also curious to find out what tactics the city would have employed if they had an urban panic on their hands.
3) We were reminded of Studio Gang's proposal for a sports stadium built right smack-dab in middle of the cramped innards of a city.
“Designed for the U.S. Pavilion at the 2004 Venice Biennale,” we are told, “the stadium design explores the potential of an urban stadium to accommodate throngs of people and disappear when not in use. The proposed structure would employ a kinetic seating bowl, lifted 30 floors above street level, comprised of a series of transforming seating and support elements, many constructed to fold into the adjacent high-rise buildings in a dense urban center.”
Considering the timeframe of its development, one wonders how much cross-pollination was going on between this project and the then nearly finished Millennium Park, that Frankenstein of programming and constituencies “lifted” above a multi-story garage, as well as New York City's failed bid to host the 2012 Olympics for which, at least in the early proposals, the Olympic Stadium would have been built on the West Side of Manhattan.
Perhaps Studio Gang's hyper-programming was more directly informed, after Burnham, by early 20th century epic proposals to build airports, not just way stations for blimps but humongous concrete surfaces filled with winged vuvuzelas, in the bowels of dense metropolises.
In any case, since everyone is predicting multiple championships for the Blackhawks in the near future, perhaps a retrofit in the manner of Studio Gang's stadium might be in order for that particular street intersection for future rallies. To use phraseology en vogue, let's do some urban and infrastructural hacking.
On the day of the event, skyscrapers pop out viewing boxes and lower gangplanks bolted with seats. Windows become electrified and aggregate into a giant television screen. Even the Michigan Avenue bridge is raised to reveal more seating areas. Someone will then shout, Trump Tower, transform! And it will!
Not only will 2 million people be then able to fit in but also the entire population of the Chicagoland area. (It might not, however, adequately contain the apocalyptic hysteria during the victory rally to be held for the Cubs after they finally win the World Series.)
When the crowd dissipates, so too will this hyper-intersection.
4) Just in, via @SubMedina via @loudpaper: RUX's vanishing mosque. “What if a mosque was not a building? What if it vanished into the fabric of a city?”