TIME A leisurely hour
START Chicago Board of Trade
FINISH American Girl Place
Kick off your walk of greed by pondering your futures and options outside the Chicago Board of Trade(141 W Jackson Blvd, 312-435-3761). Don’t know a future from a Funyun? Neither do we. But look at this building: Somebody’s making money here. Bask in the 1930 Art Deco masterpiece, designed by architects Holabird and Root. Rub shoulders with traders taking a break from “the Pit” and consider the long, rich history of this institution, founded in 1848.
Saunter across LaSalle Street to the golden revolving doors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago(230 S LaSalle St, 312-322-5322). The million-square-foot building, fronted by stately Corinthian columns, is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks in the United States. Last year, the Chicago Fed processed $1.1 trillion in checks and $51.9 billion in currency. Of that, Fed workers caught 50 to 60 phony notes every day. Greedy bastards, aren’t we?
Cross the street to the Continental Illinois Bank Building(231 S LaSalle St, 312-828-1200), which houses the Bank of America. Stroll the shiny marble floors and window-shop the stores hawking expensive fountain pens and imported chocolates. Gaze toward the ornate ceiling tiles, puff up your chest and consider this quote from English banker Sir Edward H. Holden, painted high above you: AMERICA HAS A SYSTEM OF BANKING WHICH SURPASSES IN STRENGTH AND IN EXCELLENCE ANY BANKING SYSTEM IN THE WORLD. So there.
Continue north up LaSalle Street to the 1880s-era Rookery Building(209 S LaSalle St, 312-553-6155). Frank Lloyd Wright remodeled the building’s light-filled lobby in 1905. Today, you can drop some serious coin on a pinstriped power suit at the Brooks Brothers shop there. Remember: You’ve got to spend money to make money.
Until now, all the stops on this walk have had guards posted to keep out the riffraff. Cruise south on LaSalle, take a quick left on Jackson Boulevard and zip right on Clark Street to Van Buren Street and you’ll meet guards who keep the bad guys in. It’s the triangular, camel-colored Metropolitan Correctional Center(71 W Van Buren St, 312-322-0567), home to no shortage of people who let greed get the best of them. Chicago mobster Frank “the German” Schweihs—so vicious he even scared fellow Outfit members—was locked up there awaiting trial until his death in July.
Follow Clark Street north, past those mammoth banks, Daley Plaza, the Thompson Center and the County Building. Cross the Chicago River and turn right on Kinzie Street. That unfinished monster of blueish glass and steel beams is the ultimate temple of greed: Trump International Hotel & Tower(401 N Wabash Ave, 312-588-8000). What’s not to love? The Donald. The Hair. The Voice. The $4.50 soda at the bar. And the lawsuits from some condo buyers who say Trump cut them sweetheart deals he failed to honor.
Head past the Wrigley Building on Kinzie Street up to Michigan Avenue for a view of neo-Gothic beauty Tribune Tower(435 N Michigan Ave, 312-222-9100), bought in a leveraged buyout last year by gazillionaire Sam Zell. Better catch this landmark skyscraper now so you can tell your kids about the newspaper that used to be made here before condos and minimarts took over.
Make your way north on Michigan to ogle pricey sparklers at Tiffany & Company(730 N Michigan Ave, 312-944-7500) before taking a left on Chicago Avenue to end at American Girl Place(111 E Chicago Ave, 877-247-5223; scheduled to move to Water Tower Place on Oct 1). Watch little girls become greed-ravaged monsters over $90 dolls and matching girl-sized frocks.
Sure, money may be the root of all evil. But on this walk highlighting some of Chicago’s best architecture, you’ll verify that sometimes, greed can indeed be good.
WHILE YOU’RE THERE
Explore the art and science of numismatics at Harlan J. Berk Ltd.(31 N Clark St, 312-443-1931), part appraiser, part retail shop, part museum. Get your coin collection appraised or simply rub your hands together with delight imagining how much dough you’d score if you made off with some of that Byzantine change.