a little bit of everything

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Marshall Field's, a Chicago Icon

There are certain things one is reminded of when they think of Chicago; Michael Jordan, Wrigley Field, Al Capone, the 1968 Democratic Convention, the Sears Tower, the World's Fair, the '85 Bears, and Marshall Field's. Well as of yesterday morning that last one, Marshall Field's, will have to remain in our thoughts. Terry Lundgren, CEO of the Federated Department Stores and Field's new owners, gently broke the news to Mayor Daley that they would indeed be changing the names of all Marshall Field's stores to Macy's, ending months of speculation, begging, pleading, and petitioning by Chicagoans.

We'll have to chalk this up as yet another Chicago mainstay being lost in exchange for corporate naming rights. Anybody remember where Jordan and the Bulls won their first three titles? Not the United Center, the wondrous, albeit dilapidated, Chicago Stadium. I can understand why the stadium needed to be torn down and rebuilt, but did we also have to do away with it's name, not to mention destroy the world's largest pipe organ because it would cost too much to extract it. More recently the new Comiskey Park, a new stadium that kept the historic name, has been changed to U.S. Cellular Field, or the Cell for short. This caused an uproar with all Chicagoans, not just Sox fans, many of whom refuse to call it by it's new name. Now, come September 1, 2006, when the name change will be complete, we'll no longer see those forest green shopping bags bouncing up and down State Street, the Field's clock will be the Macy's clock, and Chicago will have lost another icon.

I understand that this is business and it all boils down to the all mighty dollar, no matter what PR spin Lundgren is putting on it, but still do we have no sense of history. Field's helped build this city just as Macy's did with New York. I have nothing against the Macy's stores, I've even been to the Macy's store in Herald Square and it was incredible. But how would New Yorkers and loyal Macy's shoppers feel if the roles were reversed? What if the Field's company bought out Macy's and wanted to change the name of all Macy's stores to Marshall Field's, including the famed Herald Square store? I'm sure that would not go over big, nor should it. And even though I'm not a New Yorker or a Macy's shopper I would still object. Field's is not New York, Macy's is, and Macy's isn't Chicago, Field's is Chicago.

I fear the day when our government can no longer afford the maintenance of our National Monuments. A map of Washington D.C. may too closely resemble a Wal-Mart aisle with the Parker Bros. Lincoln Memorial, the Velveeta Arlington National Cemetery, and the appropriately sponsored Trojan Washington Monument.


  • At 12:15 PM, Blogger Wayne said…

    What next? Change the name of Comiskey Pa...


    Never mind.


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