By John Ruberry
Chicago’s largest shopping district, and its best-known, is North Michigan Avenue, which is just north of downtown. It’s known internationally as the Magnificent Mile.
The Mag Mile is dominated by luxury department stores and boutiques, including Nordstrom’s, Bloomingdale’s, Cartier, Macy’s Tiffany, Burberry’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Rolex, and many more.
So naturally it was a target of the Antifa-driven riots of last weekend in Chicago.
I was on the Mag Mile Thursday. Nearly every building was boarded-up at street level. Not all were looted, I assume. But who knows?
Someone tried to break down the glass doors at Rolex apparently with a sledgehammer, after which another hooligan sprayed “F*ck Trump” on one of the shattered doors.
Spontaneous protests aren’t attended by sledgehammer wielding thugs carrying cans of spray paint.
Many stores were looted–probably most.
There’s an American Girl Store on the Mile–it was boarded up. The Disney Store on North Michigan was not the happiest shop in the world–it was sealed off by plywood too.
There was rioting and looting all over Chicago and in the suburbs. On a personal note the area where I live, the inner northern suburbs, was not hit by rioting and looting.
The George Floyd homicide was an abomination. But I don’t believe there is any justification for the rioting, looting, and the arson, the latter of which didn’t strike the Magnificent Mile.
The Illinois lockdown is harsh. Dine-in restaurants are still closed–outdoor dining was allowed on May 29, except in Chicago, which had a June 3rd partial re-opening date. Many of the aforementioned retailers had been closed since late March and were looking at a June 3 reopening.
Then came the riots.
Chicago and Illinois’ recovery from the Great Recession was a slow one–political mismanagement, corruption, and unfunded pension liabilities saw to that. And those three underlying failures, particularly the pension bomb, have gotten worse since then.
Chicago and Illinois seem destined for more misery.
I want to add one more thought. Police brass botched the initial response to the downtown and Magnificent Mile riots. The Chicago River draw bridges were not immediately raised, an opportunity to block or at least separate the mob was lost. And Chicago police officers were guarding Chicago’s 18 miles of lakefront parks from walkers, runners, and cyclists, as they have been for over two months, while the riots and arson raged.
Those cops are still at the lakefront.
Anger–and stupidity–rules Chicago.
John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.