31st marked what would have been the 94th birthday of Eli’s dear friend, Irv Kupcinet, who died in November of 2003 at the age of 91.
Although missed by so many, it was a great day for Kup as we participated with many of his friends, family and city and state officials in dedicating the “Kup” statue at the northeast corner of Wacker & Wabash, just east of the Wabash Avenue Bridge that was dedicated to him ten years ago.
The nine-foot-tall imposing statue stands on a three-foot-high granite base, and was created by renowned local artist/sculptor Preston Jackson, who is a professor of sculpture at the School of the Art Institute.
The following message from Mayor Daley is engraved on the sculpture: “Irv Kupcinet, Mr. Chicago, embodied the city he loved with all his energy and enthusiasm. In his Chicago Sun-Times column and on his television shows, Kup was honest, accurate and fair and his commitment to charity was one we should all aspire to match.”
Inscribed below the message from the Mayor is the names of the donors who supported the privately funded gift to the City. We are proud that the “Schulman Family” is listed as one of the supporters. Kup and Esee were wonderful friends and supporters for Eli and Esther and our restaurants over the years. After my father passed away in 1988, Kup was our most loyal customer at Eli’s the Place for Steak dining there for lunch and dinner regularly and also including us regularly in our column.
We miss Kup greatly but know that this statue will bring pleasant memories to the family and friends of Kup for many years to come, just as the Eli M. Schulman Playground at Seneca Park and its plaque to Eli brings us joy every time we walk through the Park.
There was a standing room only crowd at the corner of Wabash and Wacker Drive for the dedication of the Kup Statue.
Alderman Burt Nataurus has represented the 42nd Ward in the Chicago City Council, which includes the Magnificent Mile, Rush Street and Oak Street, for over 23 years. At the dedication of the Kup Statue, he recounted meeting Kup at Eli’s Stage Delicatessen on Oak Street when Eli, Kup and the late Ira Colitz were busy working on behalf of their friend, world champion fighter Barney Ross.
Eli’s Maureen and Marc Schulman with Jerry Kupcinet, the son of Irv Kupcinet and the driving force behind the creation of the Kup Statue
The plaque at the base of the Kup Statue.