Former Chicago Architecture Foundation docent Margaret Hicks has struck out on her own to bring Chicagoans a different view—underneath the city. She leads tours of the architecture and infrastructure of Chicago's five-mile pedway Mon/Wed/Fri, starting at the Puma Store in Block 37. We hopped on Wednesday's tour, which included a guide to the Block, once home to McCarthy Building, torn down in the '80s despite protests from historical preservationists. The Block sat empty (or was used for Skate on State) for more than 20 years before Joseph Freed and Associates started putting up the five-story mall at 108 N. State.
The tour continued underneath the Block and Macy's, going east to the Chicago Cultural Center. Once the Chicago Public Library, the Center is open to the public and home to some great views of Millennium Park (once you get above ground). As each section of the pedway is maintained by whatever business is over it, the character of the underground path changes accordingly. With lots of retail space for lease along the Block 37 portion going east towards the AON center, there's room for more creativity.