I have spent 7 years of my life looking at this clock almost every day. Well, almost every weekday. From the window on the seventh floor. Back in the days when I had my soul crushing 9 to 5. I was lucky to have a window.
Did you guess where this clock and reflection in glass is? Intersection of W Jackson Blvd and S LaSalle St in Chicago. How can that be? We all know that LaSalle Street ends abruptly at the Chicago Board of Trade. It is. But it’s tricky. In fact LaSalle Street sneakily veers off to the left, jumps over the fountain, dives under this clock into the overhang under CBOT and continues a few more blocks to W Polk Street. But it’s not a mighty street after that, more like an alley.
It is another clock on the Chicago Board of Trade building. Not the main one visible from afar. It’s a smaller one in a courtyard between the main building of CBOT and 111 W Jackson. Reflection is from the Wintrust Building. Well, it became Wintrust only in 2015. Before that it carried a proud name of Continental Illinois National Bank. It was a seventh-largest commercial bank in the US until in 1984 it became insolvent and took the first prize as the largest ever bank failure. Sort of. That’s when the phrase “too big to fail” was born.
Time destroys everything. “Le Temps Détruit Tout”, a phrase uttered by Monica Bellucci in the first scene of Irréversible by Gaspar Noé. Time makes everything fluid.
Chicago Board of Trade itself now is nothing but an empty shell of its old glory. In 2004 the historic 1930 trading floor, unused and abandoned, was demolished and its pits filled with concrete. No more shouting, no more person-to-person trading. Now it’s done over the quiet hum of computers in data centers. Le Temps Détruit Tout.