Thousands Attend Celebration of The 606’s First Anniversary
The 606 Block Party featured a community festival, musical performances, food, an illuminated promenade and art
CHICAGO, June 6, 2016 — Thousands of Chicago families, neighbors and visitors of all ages and backgrounds joined The Trust for Public Land and the Chicago Park District on The 606 to celebrate the first anniversary of Chicago’s elevated park and trail system. The 606 Block Party was held on Saturday, June 4, and echoed the park’s opening day festivities on the city’s northwest side last year. Colorful community-led processions, circus arts demonstrations and crafts for kids took place on the Bloomingdale Trail and in the ground-level parks, while country, hip-hop and cultural performances on two music stages had attendees dancing on Humboldt Blvd.
“An abandoned rail line that used to divide four neighborhoods is now uniting them and bringing residents from across Chicago to walk, bike, or simply enjoy this unique public space,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “In just the first year, the 606 has become a true community corridor and one of Chicago’s great promenades. On this special first anniversary, I want to congratulate everyone from the community who never gave in and never gave up, as well as all of the partners who helped make the 606 a reality.”
“It was no small task to turn an unused rail line into a green, open space — with a network of parks, art installations and community programming that supports recreation, education, and wellness,” said Jamie Simone, Interim Chicago Region Director of The Trust for Public Land, the lead private partner and project manager of The 606. “The 606 Block Party is our way of thanking the communities, partners and donors who helped build this beloved Chicago park and make it a success.”
The 606 Block Party activities kicked off at 10 a.m. with a festival at Humboldt Boulevard between Wabansia Ave. and Cortland Ave.–featuring two music stages, one with acts presented by Vocalo and Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center, and the other featuring SummerDance-style programming. Performances included: Luis Palermo and the Barsa All-Stars (Salsa), The Flat Five (Alternative Country), The Chicago Mariachi Project, Los Vicios de Papá (Latin Ska /Reggae), and two-time Grammy nominee Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players.
Throughout the day, the Chicago Park District’s Kidsmobile provided crafts at Julia de Burgos Park, artists from Opera-Matic and Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center created performances along the Bloomingdale Trail, and Aloft Circus Arts performed tightrope walking and aerial demonstrations in the parks and at the Damen Arts Plaza. Neighbors and friends of The 606 — block clubs, book groups, soccer teams, local businesses — showed their community spirit by forming their own processions along the Bloomingdale Trail toward the Humboldt Boulevard festival to enjoy food, music and 30 booths with family activities.
The 606 Block Party ended with a spectacular “Illumination Hour,” for which Opera-Matic artists helped attendees make lighted objects, and led the illuminated procession on the Bloomingdale Trail.
The Trust for Public Land would like to recognize: Comcast, NBCUniversal, and Northwestern Medicine for being the official partners of The 606 Block Party; The Reva and David Logan Foundation for supporting quarterly community celebrations; Goose Island, serving as the official beer sponsor of The 606 Block Party; Vocalo, serving as the official media sponsor; and other key supporters of the event, including Under Armour, Boeing, Clif Bar, Chiro One, Micro Kickboard and Flood Brothers.
Reasons to celebrate
Partnerships with local businesses, community organizations, and corporations helped make The 606 a true community resource in its first year of operation. These include:
- Installation of Chakaia Booker’s “Brick House 2015” sculpture at the Damen Arts Plaza with support from the Joyce Foundation;
- Star-gazing events with Adler Planetarium and Chicago Park District at the Exelon Observatory;
- Youth Ambassadors promoting bike safety on The 606 with West Town Bikes and support from the National Recreation Foundation;
- Moos Elementary School students participating in an after-school running club with help from Under Armour; and
- Quarterly celebrations and community events with Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail.
On 6/06/2015, an unused Chicago railway was reborn as The 606, featuring its centerpiece, the elevated Bloomingdale Trail, connected to four ground-level parks. A collaboration between The Trust for Public Land, the City of Chicago, the Chicago Park District, the Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail and dozens of supporting community organizations, The 606 now serves more than 80,000 people living within a 10-minute walk. The 606 has quickly become part of the fabric of life on Chicago’s northwest side, and an iconic destination for visitors from around the world.
Among the many awards won since opening: the Metropolitan Planning Council’s 2015 Daniel Burnham Award for Excellence in Planning, Chicago Magazine’s Best New Public Art in 2015, and the American Planning Association’s National Planning Excellence Award for Urban Design in 2016.
The Trust for Public Land will continue fundraising efforts to add two more parks, as well as additional partnership opportunities to enhance the arts, and support youth and community-based programming.
About The 606 The 606 is Chicago’s innovative park and trail system — featuring its centerpiece, the elevated, 2.7-mile-long Bloomingdale Trail — as well as four connected, ground-level neighborhood parks (with two more parks to come), the Exelon Observatory, public art installations, educational programming, and other amenities. Kids are learning to ride their bikes here, commuters are finding a new shortcut to work, and neighbors are making new friends. Serving more than 80,000 residents from surrounding neighborhoods and visitors from throughout Chicago and beyond, The 606 is changing the way you see our city. For more information, visit The606.org.
About The Trust for Public Land The Trust for Public Land serves as lead private partner and project manager for The 606 on behalf of the City of Chicago and the Chicago Park District. The Trust for Public Land’s mission is to create parks and protect land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To learn more, visit www.tpl.org.
About The Chicago Park District The Chicago Park District is the 2014 Gold Medal Award winner, recognized for excellence in park and recreation management across the nation. For more information about the Chicago Park District’s more than 8,500 acres of parkland, more than 595 parks, 26 miles of lakefront, 12 museums, two world-class conservatories, 16 historic lagoons, nearly 50 nature areas, thousands of special events, sports and entertaining programs, please visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com or contact the Chicago Park District at 312/742.PLAY.