In case you’ve been living under a rock or in a Lower Wacker garage, you’ve probably heard the ruckus about the two-story high letters spelling out TRUMP that have been affixed to Donald Trump’s eponymous hotel and residences at Wabash Avenue. They’re nearly the size of the man’s ego.
Of course, everyone has an opinion on the situation. “It’s his building to do as he pleases, but does it have to be so darn ugly?” “That New York trash has ruined our riverfront.” As the residents of Chicago, we have the right to be bothered. After all, we’re the City of Big Shoulders, not the City of Big Logos, especially now that major improvements have been made to the river walk. Tourists from all over the world are now being photobombed by the house of TRUMP.
Honestly though, should we be surprised by his antics? Trump’s cheesiness and lack of class have dominated the news for the past 30 years. While the seemingly-all-powerful Mayor Emanuel has termed the sign “tasteless,” there is nothing he can do—the sign was approved five years ago, before his term began. Last week, Emanuel’s office said the mayor is considering a variety of options, including a ban on new signs facing the downtown riverfront, to prevent such eyesores from popping up in the future.
Trump has addressed the brouhaha with his typical acerbic dismissiveness, attacking his critics head-on. He’s boasted about how “magnificent” the sign is compared to the Sun-Times one that previously occupied the space, thrown down the gauntlet at Emanuel and even made false statements about the career of the “third-rate,” Pulitzer prize-winning Tribune architecture critic who dared speak out against his self-homage. All this from a guy whose hair looks like cotton candy from Navy Pier. Should I be afraid of the repercussions of this column too?
As a designer whose office window faces the tower, I stare at the sign for hours every day, and my single biggest complaint is that the kerning between the letters is off. If Trump ever needs to yell “you’re fired!” it should be at the people who installed this monstrosity. There’s too much irregular space between the R and the U, as well as the U and the M. And worse, if I tilt my head, I only see the words RUMP or RUM, which has been killing my plans for a sober, healthy summer.
We have a world-class skyline—the key word here being “class”—and we should keep it that way. Trump has previously said that he believes in bragging and naming things after himself. There’s probably only one other Donald in this country who’s a bigger ass—and that guy currently owns a team in Los Angeles.
MATT KUTTAN IS A REDEYE SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR