Two Sundays ago, a companion and I had brunch in Lakeview directly across from Wrigley Field during the day of an early evening home game between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals (Cubs won, 15-3). It was an uncharacteristically warm and sunny afternoon during the first Sunday of May, and people’s excitement for the warm weather was visible and audible through many smiles and festive banter. Many establishments had their windows wide open, as is often the case when the outdoor temperatures in Chicago are at the comfortable sweet-spot between being warm enough to let in fresh air, and yet not too hot as to mandate air conditioning.
The two of us were seated in the second-story eating area of Dutch & Doc’s, a new restaurant in the Wrigleyville area, at the table nearest the windows directly overlooking the iconic intersection of Clark & Addison. It was from this vantage point that I was able to easily spot four classic vehicles that passed by, the first of which was our featured, classic Cadillac – complete with hood-mounted bull horns.
So much has changed in this area since I moved to this city more than fifteen years ago. Even within the past couple of years, it seems like so many familiar buildings that had housed cherished institutions have been leveled, permanently changing the landscape of this area. Local places like the Salt & Pepper Diner, the original Sports Corner Bar & Grill, the Taco Bell and McDonald’s fast food spots across from Wrigley Field, Goose Island Brewery, and even the Starbucks and 7-Eleven have all been demolished, with the qualifier that the Sports Corner was rebuilt in 2010 into a newer, larger facility.
The flavor of Wrigleyville has exchanged much of its old-school-Chicago persona for that of a more family-friendly destination for year-round entertainment and mid- to upscale recreation. Some have likened it to “Disnification”. I was reluctant to like this new restaurant, as I saw it as being part of this new order, but I ended up really enjoying the visit, ambiance, great food, and the all-around positive energy in the air that day.
We also had a good view of Wrigley Field itself, and my companion, a veteran Chicago concierge of many years, pointed out the newly renovated suites and premium seating areas toward the top of the stadium, above the vintage, red-and-white “WRIGLEY FIELD – HOME OF CHICAGO CUBS” sign. This made me think of how nice it was to see reminders that even with this much change in the area, many things remain the same, as a meaningful tie-in to an illustrious past.
This ’67 DeVille convertible served very effectively as a personal metaphor for this. I must confess that the hood-mounted bull horns are not my favorite automotive accessory. Apart from the white ’70 DeVille convertible driven by late actor Sorrell Booke’s character of Boss Hogg on “The Dukes Of Hazzard” (one of my absolute favorite shows from childhood), the horns always make these cars seem a little on the lowbrow side, but perhaps within the context of many wealthy cattle ranchers who preferred Cadillacs, this trend makes a bit more sense. (For the record, I have never seen any Lincoln in the wild adorned with the bull horns though, yes, pictures do exist on the internet.) Twenty-two inch dubs, bull horns, custom paint, etc. – people have the right to trick out their cars the way they like, and I salute them.
This powder-blue beauty is one of just over 18,000 DeVille convertibles produced for 1967. Not that this is a truly meaningful comparison (as Cadillac offers no drop-tops in 2019), but this figure is about 12% of total Cadillac Division output for all of 2018 (roughly 154,000 units). Back in ’67, sales of the DeVille convertible accounted for just 9% of 196,000 total Cadillac sales that year (not counting the Seventy-Five model sedans and limos). As has been discussed here at Curbside Classic at great length, the automotive landscape has changed plenty within even just the past five years, with a snowballing shift in buyer preference from traditional passenger cars to SUVs and crossovers, even among the luxury makes. This seems to echo the sea change I’ve witnessed in Wrigleyville, even within the time this native Michigander has considered himself a Chicagoan.
As for the area around Wrigley Field, and also as I had referenced in my recent essay on an ’81 Corvette, it has been reinforced within me lately that it’s okay (necessary, really) to embrace change. Doing so doesn’t mean forsaking the past or memories of it. As I looked at many families enjoying both the delicious food at our restaurant, as well as taking in the sights and sounds of people walking along the sidewalks, I thought to myself that what the young kids were witnessing that day will likely, at some point, turn into their memories of what they will consider to be “old school Chicago”. I’m glad this classic Cadillac was here to be a part of that.
Lakeview, Chicago, Illinois.
Sunday, May 5, 2019.
Cinco de Mayo.