There was a story out of Chicago Wednesday about the Willis Tower (known for decades as the Sears Tower), There is something outside the Skydeck on the top 103rd floor called "The Ledge" that is rated to hold up to 5 tons which tourists can stand on. The story begins --
"A family visiting from California got the scare of their life on Wednesday during a visit to Chicago's Willis Tower Skydeck, the 103rd floor tourist attraction atop the city’s tallest building.
"One of the four glass enclosures jutting out from the side of the building, collectively called The Ledge, appeared to show cracks, said Alejandro Garibay, his brother and two cousins were on it."
The full story and pictures are here, but this will give you some idea.
(There is no truth to the rumor that the tourists got a lame apology from the building and turned it down by saying, "What you talking about, Willis???!!!")
Happily, there's a good update to all this. Inspectors have been completed, and it's been determined that it wasn't the glass that cracked, but rather a protective coating on the glass is what created the crack-like appearance. Officials say that no one was in danger standing on the Ledge, and all the bays have re-open.
I completely believe them. They have too much at risk not to be sure. Me, though, I'd still let others test it out first...
I was just in Chicago for a month, up to this past Tuesday, and as you might have noticed here had visited the Art Institute downtown. I took the train in from the suburbs, and the walk from the train to the museum took me directly past the Willis Tower. In fact, here's a picture I took from the sidewalk.
Let's just say this is one tall sucker. It's worth noting that beyond what the article says above, the Willis Tower is not just the city's tallest building, it's the second tallest building in the world. And that just because some building in Dubai (I think) put really, really, really tall radio antennas on top, which counts.
It's scary just looking up I can't even imagine how scary it would be falling down. Or just thinking you could possibly fall down as the cracks appeared. At least standing on the ground if there are cracks in the sidewalk, you're okay.
My only other reaction when reading the initial story was, "This is what you get for changing the name from the Sears Tower."
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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