Friday, March 21, 2008

ChicagoRound: Falling Ice

The moment we get even a hint of winter precipitation in Chicago, the sidewalks in front of every building over 10 stories tall immediately become littered with signs like this:

While these signs are obviously a CYA exercise for the buildings' insurers, in the seven winters I've lived here I've watched countless sheets of ice slide gracefully down the sides of our skyscrapers until they hit a windowsill or a bit of ornamentation that sends them tumbling out of control in every direction but up. Even the smallest chunks make a pretty impressive splat when they hit the awnings and planters and sidewalks below them. So I'm always wary of walking near tall buildings in the days after a huge snow or ice storm. And I'm surprised we don't get more falling-ice injuries or deaths in Chicago than the handful I read about every year.

It's almost the end of March, though, and we haven't had any significant snowfall for a couple weeks. So I was surprised to see this sign out on a sidewalk near the Magnificent Mile tonight as I walked to meet my friend Matthew for dinner. Then again we're in Chicago, where winter isn't officially over until they announce Best Musical. (If you have no idea what that means, you're probably new here. Welcome! One warning: In addition to falling ice, you also have to keep your eyes peeled here for dropping innuendo. And for the record, the Best Musical is the final Tony award, which is always announced on a Sunday night in early June.)

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