The magical fruit

Millennium Park, Chicago’s new downtown monstrosity — dubbed by Millennium Park by some wags because its $270 million cost to taxpayers is 80 percent more than originally estimated and is three years late — may wind up making a lasting positive mark.

This Trib story highlights folks’ effusive reactions to “Cloud Gate,” a giant shiny metallic structure most have taken to calling the bean for its resemblance to the magical fruit. I hope to take a trip down to the Loop soon and really take a look around at the new digs. But I think the quotes that end Jon Yates’ story very well illustrate the mixed reaction:

Not everybody is a fan, though. Juan Figueroa, 48, sees “Cloud Gate” every day as a security guard for a building across the street on South Michigan Avenue. He said he tries to avoid looking at the structure — and Millennium Park as a whole — because he thinks the cost was too high. …

“I’m totally negative,” he said. “I think they spent way too much money on it, money that could be spent on the homeless and to help people find jobs. … I don’t even look over there. I’m disgusted with all the money they spent on it.”

Others, however, could hardly take their eyes off it Wednesday.

As she ate her lunch under a tree near the sculpture, Kathy Monahan of Oak Park seemed transfixed by it.

“I’ve been trying to think of how to describe it,” Monahan, 57, said as she watched from behind the fence. “It’s better than a mirror because it’s convex. It shows Chicago. It shows the world what the city is.”

This was supposed to be Da Mare’s lasting legacy. In some ways it is. It illustrates the city’s high ambitions and, how corruption and simple incompetence often get in the way. A perfect mirror, indeed.