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Monday letters: New bus shelter obscures ‘Miss Chicago’

A slow-motion tragedy is occurring before our eyes. Joan Miro’s gorgeous statue, originally titled “The Sun, The Moon, and One Star” — more affectionately known as “Miss Chicago” — is disappearing behind an enormous, ugly bus shelter that resembles a garden rake.

She is a casualty to the “Loop Link” construction along Washington Street, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s experiment in dedicated bus and bike lanes scheduled for completion later this year. As a Chicago resident and CTA commuter, I am sympathetic to the need for bicycle safety and bus efficiency in the Loop. However, as an art lover, I cannot fathom why this behemoth of a bus shelter had to be built right there!

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Chicago is supposed to be a beacon of architecture and public art. How many other American cities can boast Picasso and Miro sculptures literally across the street from each other? Strong and womanly, “The Sun, The Moon, and One Star,” with her concrete hips and steel crown, has been towering over us since 1981, reaching her arms out to embrace the city. Sadly, the new bus shelter is positioned directly in front of her, cutting off her plaza from the street, permanently separating her from her sister, the Picasso, penning her in.

Now our lovely Miro seems more like an infant trapped in a crib, her arms reaching feebly toward the bars of her cage.Why, oh why couldn’t the bus shelter be built a few more yards to the east? That’s where the bus stop has always been on Washington Street — nearer Dearborn. Alas, now the bus stop appears to be designed to take up the entire city block.

“Miss Chicago” endured insult when she was initially installed when a machinist threw an orange juice container at her filled with red paint. When police questioned his motivation, he replied, “I just don’t like the statue.” It appears our Miro still suffers such criticism today. Why else would she be made to endure such humiliation?I

am sad for her and I am sad for all of the future visitors to our gorgeous city who will walk right by “The Sun, The Moon, and One Star” without even seeing her. Future art and architectural guides to our city will have to include instructions on how to find “Miss Chicago,” to wit: look behind the bus shelter. No, look further. Yes, behind that big thing. Back in the plaza. Yes, there’s a plaza back there, too.

Karen R. Nussbaum, Rogers Park

Change CPS

The CPS must be changed from top to bottom. The Board of Education totally failed its due diligence and should be replaced, if not indicted.  Bankruptcy is sounding more like a realistic option so the “system” would need to start again with no charter schools and a new board.

Other related questions:

  • • Who pays for Barbara Byrd-Bennett’s attorneys?
  • Where did the 6,000 students who left the district go? To the suburbs? Why didn’t the CPS or CTU know about this? Again, lack of due diligence!

Beth Najberg, Near North Side

Bolster our defense

If we expect to maintain our position as one of the most powerful nations, we need to make national defense a priority. Now is not the time to cut the defense budget, especially considering the efforts our enemies are making to strengthen their military forces. While it may seem like we are doing an adequate job of protecting our troops overseas, we should be doing more. The military is asking for funding to modernize the Patriot missile defense system, but the Senate Appropriations Committee doesn’t want to authorize the spending. In fact, the committee is cutting the existing budget by about three-fourths.That doesn’t make any sense.

I was a Spec 4 assigned to a motor platoon in the U.S. Army. As a veteran, I believe it is very important that we do everything we can to protect our troops. I don’t have all the answers for this complex problem, but I certainly think we can help ourselves by modernizing our current technology.

The Patriot missile defense system has an outstanding track record of defending against missile attacks. It is time to upgrade the Patriot system, but the federal funds must be in place first.

SPC Gary Gustafson II, Johnsburg