Stories by nick blumberg

Outdoor Dining, Carryout and Uncertainty: What Restaurants Are Facing This Winter

(WTTW News)

With cold weather here to stay for the foreseeable future, some restaurant and bar owners fear outdoor dining and carryout will not be enough to keep their businesses alive.

‘Laziness Does Not Exist’ Explores How and Why We Overwork Ourselves

Meet a local author who argues that the idea of laziness is a lie — one that’s having a detrimental effect on Americans during the pandemic.

Bears Face Jaguars With Playoff Hopes Still Alive

Former Bears offensive lineman James “Big Cat” Williams previews the Bears matchup Sunday against the Jaguars.

COVID-19 Delays Completion of Navy Pier Flyover; Now on Track for Early 2021

The Navy Pier flyover. (WTTW News)

The eagerly awaited and often delayed Navy Pier flyover has been delayed yet again, this time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

CTA Wins Federal Approval for Next Phase of Red Line Extension; Construction Could Start in 2025

(WTTW News)

The CTA hopes to fund about half of the $2.3 billion project — the largest in the agency’s history — with grant money from the Federal Transit Administration.

Food Pantries Already Facing Unprecedented Demand in 2020 See Holiday Spike in Need

Volunteers at the Greater Chicago Food Depository. (WTTW News)

During the winter holidays, the demand on food pantries spikes, and this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has already exacerbated hunger around the U.S. How food pantries are keeping their clients and volunteers safe.

How Essential Workers Who Rely on Transit Have Handled the Pandemic

(WTTW News)

Over the last nine months, the ways in which people are getting around Chicago — and their need to do so — have shifted dramatically. But the demand for public transit from essential workers has remained steady.

Jeannie Morris, Groundbreaking Sports Journalist and Author, Dies at 85

Jeannie Morris joins Phil Ponce on “Chicago Tonight” on March 31, 2014.

Trailblazing sports reporter Jeannie Morris, the first woman to cover the Super Bowl who is perhaps best known for her book “Brian Piccolo: A Short Season” that was later turned into the film “Brian’s Song,” died Monday.

City Says Long-Awaited Navy Pier Flyover on Track to Open by Year’s End

The Navy Pier flyover. (WTTW News)

Chicago’s lakefront trail has been battered by winter storms this year and closed down by the mayor. But there is some good news on horizon: the long-awaited Navy Pier flyover appears to be close to completion.

Winter Biking in Chicago: A Guide to Gear, Care and Everything Else You Need to Know

(Photorama / Pixabay)

Riding a bicycle through a Chicago winter may sound daunting, but with a bit of preparation and the right attitude, it’s a manageable feat. Here’s some advice from avid cyclists for your winter riding safety — and pleasure.

CTA Awaiting Federal Approval for Next Phase of Red Line Extension

(WTTW News)

The Chicago Transit Authority hopes to learn in the coming weeks whether it’s received federal approval to move into the next phase of its massive Red Line Extension project, which would extend the city’s busiest train line to Chicago’s southern border.

Chicago Businesses on Bracing For the Winter, Hopes for the Coming Months

(Free-Photos / Pixabay)

With loan and grant money starting to run dry for some businesses—and what’s likely to be a difficult winter fast approaching—we check in with some familiar faces to ask how they’re coping with the coronavirus.

Andrew Bird on New Holiday Album, Acting Debut on ‘Fargo’

Andrew Bird appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (WTTW News)

He’s a talented violinist, singer, songwriter — and whistler. Chicago-area native Andrew Bird has long been celebrated for blending styles. And he recently added a new skill to his resume: acting.

Some Catholic Schools May Move to Remote Learning After Thanksgiving

(WTTW News)

The Archdiocese of Chicago has announced schools will have the option to transition to remote learning after Thanksgiving, but says it’s not yet clear how many schools will choose to do that. 

‘It’s About Time’: City Outlines Comprehensive Plan to Tackle Infrastructure Backlog

(WTTW News)

A newly released five-year plan to invest in Chicago’s roads, bridges, bikeways and other infrastructure needs is a welcome shift away from short-term, less comprehensive projects, some analysts and city officials say.

CTA ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ About Second Round of Transit Stimulus Money

A passenger wearing a face mask boards a CTA bus in Chicago. (WTTW News)

The Chicago Transit Authority’s Board of Directors approved the agency’s 2021 operating budget of $1.645 billion on Wednesday, but CTA staff warned of drastic service cuts without another infusion of cash from Congress.

Joe Walsh: ‘We Can’t Normalize’ President Trump’s Behavior

President Donald Trump speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020. (WTTW News via CNN)

President Donald Trump has aggressively promoted misinformation and disinformation questioning the results of the election, which he lost. Former Illinois U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, a fierce Trump critic, weighs in.

Food Insecurity Still High Amid Pandemic in City, Suburbs and Rural Areas Alike

(WTTW News)

One of the many devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past several months has been a dramatic increase in food insecurity. 

CTA Hopes to Start Next Phase of Red Line Extension Planning ‘Very Soon’

A rendering of a planned CTA Red Line station at 103rd Street. (Courtesy of the Chicago Transit Authority)

Plans to extend the heavily used train line south of its current endpoint at 95th Street have been discussed as far back as the 1950s. But the project has been steadily moving from idea to reality in recent years.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Geneva

West suburban Geneva has been under tightened coronavirus mitigations for nearly two weeks, with some business complying with the rules and others defying them, including serving diners indoors.

‘We Paid a Heavy Price’: Durbin on Madigan’s Leadership, the Presidency and the Senate

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says embattled House Speaker Michael Madigan’s leadership of the Illinois Democratic Party hurt Democratic candidates and causes statewide in Tuesday’s election.

Kim Foxx Wins Reelection as Cook County State’s Attorney

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx appears on “Chicago Tonight” on March 18, 2020. (WTTW News)

State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has declared victory in her contested bid for reelection against Republican challenger Pat O’Brien in what was likely the most contentious race on the Cook County ballot.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Kenosha

Kenosha, Wisconsin, just over the Illinois border, became the epicenter of violent unrest this summer after the police shooting of Jacob Blake. A few months later, Kenosha is in the midst of early voting – and it’s a hotly contested county.

New Documentary Series ‘City So Real’ Profiles Chicago at a Crossroads

Filmmaker Steve James appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. (WTTW News)

For more than a year, documentary filmmaker Steve James and his collaborators fanned out across Chicago at a pivotal moment. James tells us about the resulting five-part series that premieres this week on NatGeo and Hulu.

New App Lets Cyclists Report Bike Lane Obstructions, Hazards

(WTTW News)

The coronavirus pandemic has given rise to a cycling boom in Chicago, but many riders face on-street bike lanes that are blocked or in disrepair. An advocacy organization wants to combat the problem with its new mobile app.

The Week in Review: COVID-19 Restrictions Return to Chicago

(WTTW News)

COVID-19 rollbacks hit Chicago and the collar counties. Tax hikes, borrowing and layoffs are in Mayor Lightfoot’s budget. A state supreme court race gets political. A recap of the final presidential debate.