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The Bean or Cloud Gate? We Found Something All Chicagoans Agree On

[DNAinfo/Kelly Bauer]

CHICAGO — Chicagoans are no shrinking violets.

We have a lot of strong opinions — and good luck getting us to change them. Ketchup on a hotdog? Never. Gonna. Happen. A hundred-plus year losing streak? Still winners in our book (maybe next year). 

So when WE decide what to call something, it sticks like a humiliating middle school nickname, regardless of what that thing might actually, technically be called.

There's perhaps no better time to celebrate our storied history of good-natured insubordination than this weekend, on the eve of the 10th birthday of our favorite reflective Downtown landmark, The Bean. 

That's right: The Bean. Because we're nothing if not a direct bunch, and a legume-shaped, three-story structure by any other name in our "front yard" just wouldn't fly.

So we call it The Bean, even over opposition from its creator, Anish Kapoor, who said his first reaction to our nickname was "Oh no!" 

After a 2004 Chicago Sun-Times story first referred to "The Bean" in a headline, Kapoor went on record calling the nickname for his at-the-time untitled sculpture "completely stupid."

(Over time we've worn him down. "Those things happen, it’s serendipity," he said last year.)

The Bean might be our latest example of gleeful rebellion, but it's far from the only one. In our city's 183-year history, The Man has tried to rename our landmarks time and time again.

And for almost as long, we've politely declined. (Pretty much since the French got "Chicago" from "shikaakwa," meaning "stinky onion").

• The Sears Tower was so named in 1970 when Sears, Roebuck & Co., then the world's largest retailer, announced plans to build its headquarters at 233 S. Wacker Drive in the tallest building in the world.

In 2009, London-based insurance broker Willis Group Holdings Ltd. leased three floors of offices in the tower and negotiated the naming rights as part of the deal. The building was re-christened the Willis Tower that July.

Chicago's reaction? "Nah."


stand strong, kiddos #searstower4ever

A photo posted by lizzie teee (@lizzieteee) on

Chicago students fight the good fight: Art in the window of an Uptown daycare center. [Lizzie Schiffman Tufano]

• Comiskey Park was the home of Chicago's White Sox from 1910 to 1990. That year, the team moved to a new ballpark across the street, also called Comiskey Park — for a little over a decade, at least. 

In 2003, U.S. Cellular bought the naming rights for $68 million. Since then, the field has had a bit of an identity crisis.

Some call it "Sox Park," some are "Comiskey" holdouts, and the closest we get to acquiescing is a shorthand "The Cell." 

"It's disgusting. I just don't like the sound of it," 12-year-old Sox fan Ambrose Jacobson told the Tribune when the name change news broke. Also against it? Charles A. Comiskey II, who died in 2007. 

"The Comiskey name has lasted a lot longer than a lot of these cellular companies," he said in '03. 

And he was right. U.S. Cellular left the Chicago market in 2012.

• Sorry, Jane Byrne — that circle of winding, criss-crossing expressway lanes that connect the Dan Ryan, Ike and the Kennedy looks too much like a bowl of spaghetti to ever be known by any other name.

Some call it "the Circle Interchange," but few outside traffic reporters acknowledge that it was renamed after Chicago's first female mayor on Aug. 29, 2014.

It just feels so right. [DNAinfo/Lizzie Schiffman Tufano] / [Flickr/Dina-Roberts Wakulczyk | Shutterstock]

• Put as many red stars and signs as you want at the corner of State and Washington streets, Macy's — that massive mall with the Tiffany ceiling, holiday windows and and weathered green clocks — will always be Marshall Field's to us.

Ahead of name-change day in September 2006, stubborn Chicagoans flocked to the Downtown landmark in droves, where they clutched their green Marshall Field's bags like jewels, according to an NPR report. Terry Carsos, who reporter Cheryle Corley grabbed on the scene, said she had many friends "that just threw their cards away. They're not going to be shopping at Macy's."

Then in a giant faux pas this past winter, the East Coast-based chain burned its bridge to the Midwest when it lazily re-purposed a New York holiday window display by throwing Chicago buildings onto a map of a city on an Island. 

View post on imgur.com

Dead to us. [Imgur]

Whether it's sticking with "Northerly Island pavilion" instead of trying to keep up with Charter One First Merit Bank, resisting "The Millennium Mile" on principle or thoughtlessly dropping "Osco" from "the Jewels," Chicago has a language all its own, deeply rooted in its stubbornness.

And we love it.

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