On Thursday evening, key members of our Magnificent Mile and Streeterville Community came together at Seneca Park & the Eli M. Schulman Playground at dusk for the lighting of Park. It was one year before the  Magnificent Mile Lights Festival started in 1991 that the then newly reconstructed Seneca Park & the then new Eli’ M. Schulman Playground was lit for the first time. The lighting is 100% privately funded and would not be possible without the support of the neighbors and friends to the Park.

We extend our deepest thanks to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Children’s Memorial Hospital, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the American Dental Association, the Lookingglass Theatre, the Ritz Carlton Hotel, American Girl Place and Philip Corboy and Mary Dempsey for their generous support.

We also thank the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association and the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents who work together to make our neighborhood a wonderful place to live, work and visit.

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When the Eli M. Schulman Playground was dedicated in 1988 and fund raising efforts began to reconstruct Seneca Park and build the Playground, it would be hard to believe that the future neighbors of the Park would include Prentice Woman’s Hospital, Children”s Memorial Hospital and the yet to be founded American Girl Place. We have been so fortunate to have these new neighbors all dedicated to serving children and families as well as the long term support of Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the American Dental Association  and so many other neighbors. For the third consecutive year, the Friends of Seneca Park & the Eli M. Schulman Playground gathered to light the Park for the holiday season.

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The relationship of Eli’s and the Schulman Family dates back to 1966 when Eli’s the Place for Steak opened in the Carriage House, a luxury apartment hotel located just east of what was then Wesley Memorial Hospital. A few years later Northwestern Memorial bought the Carriage House and converted it to residences for nurses and house staff. Today, Eli’s the Place for Steak and the Carriage House are gone replaced by the new home of Children’s Memorial Hospital and Wesley has been replaced by the new home of Prentice Woman’s Hospital but the partnership of Elis & Northwestern Memorial continues. The lighting of Seneca Park & the Eli M. Schulman Playground would not be possible without the organization and staff of Northwestern. Above, Dr. Michael Ruchim, Dennis Murphy, Rob Christie, Ralph Weber and Dean Harrison celebrate the opening with Eli’s Marc Schulman.

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Dr. Michael Ruchim and Ralph Weber of Northwestern Memorial with Eli’s Maureen and Marc Schulman. Ralph  Weber, with 30 years at Northwestern and as a former Chairman of the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association has been a leader in the community and in the maintenance and enhancements to the Park.

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Maureen and Marc Schulman enjoy the very special day when the lights go on at Seneca Park & Eli’s Playground.

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Eli’s Marc Schulman thanks community leader and neighbor Sally Park for authoring a poem in honor of the lighting of the Park.

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Eli’s Marc Schulman with Dr. Michael Ruchim at Engine Company 98 of the Chicago Fire Department which is directly west of the Playground. For over 100 years, Engine Company 98 has protected the Magnificent Mile and Streeterville Community. In fact the Fire House predates both.