Ten, twenty-five years ago, before the eruption of glassy condos in many reaches of the city, ghost signs stood as stark reminders of the staying power of oil paints largely larded with lead. Printers Row has a number of them. These faded reminders of past commerce and how it was promoted are clustered in a few blocks, unlike the random jewel that stares down at you on your daily rounds, that you don’t notice until it’s gone. At Dearborn and LaSalle, the neighborhood is announced by a beat-up 1970s-style “PRINTERS HOUSE ROW” sign and an Edwardo’s sign of the same era. Further south on Dearborn, faded letters and failed concerns nearly come into focus as you squint. Crane your neck on Dearborn south or Harrison for a pre-area code FOR RENT sign. And across from Dearborn Station, eight-nine stories up, a remnant of manufacturing past stands against a century of sunlight, Lee Jeans overcoats and shirts on offer.
Best of Chicago 2016