WEST LOOP — When a giant orange sphere arrived in a corner of Mary Bartelme Park this week, residents were left asking themselves: What is it?
Is it a new sculpture? Or a fountain, neighbors wondered?
In fact, the mysterious orange globe on wheels is a juice stand, Chicago Park District officials confirmed Friday. Juicy Jay's, which will sell fresh juices, smoothies, sno-cones and hot dogs at the northwest corner of the park, will open for business Saturday.
Because the juice bar wasn't yet open for business and the stand's roof can be lowered, making the stand into a ball, neighbors were perplexed as to what the contraption might house.
Some neighbors have called it an orange ball, while other said the round figure takes on a yellow hue.
West Loop residents joked on Facebook and Reddit that the stand looked like "an alien spaceship from the planet Citron," a Giant Pac-Man or a "Bluth's Banana Stand," referencing the fictional frozen banana stand the Bluth family operated on "Arrested Development."
Another Reddit user wondered if the object was an oversized trash receptacle meant to collect "all of the dog s--- that people aren't cleaning up."
Jacob Gasienica, owner of Juicy Jay's and a West Loop resident, said that the stand "is an orange that opens up."
"I come over to the park with my dogs and I really like it," he said. "It's a unique park."
Gasienica applied during the park district's fall notice advertising vendor opportunities in the city's parks. While Bartelme Park was not listed as a specific opportunity, vendors can propose a new location that they'd like to set up shop to the park district, according to Jessica Maxey-Faulkner, park district spokeswoman.
Gasienica also operates a Juicy Jay's in Grant Park.
Armando Chacon, who lives across from Bartelme Park, said he can understand his neighbors' confusion. The Bartelme Park Advisory Council vice president said the group was not notified the stand was coming ahead of time.
"It came out of nowhere," Chacon said. "I stood on my balcony [when it arrived] and thought, what is this thing?"
Juicy Jay's will be open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends.
This is what the juice stand, new to Bartelme Park in the West Loop, looks like when it is opened up. [Armando Chacon]
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