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Northwestern Medicine Helps Light Up Streeterville Park

The tradition continued along Chicago Avenue when Northwestern Medicine and its Streeterville neighbors ushered in the holiday season with the annual lighting of Seneca Park & the Eli M. Schulman playground.

Among others, Dean Harrison, president and CEO of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare, and Marc Schulman, Eli's Cheesecake Co. CEO, attended the Nov. 21 ceremony. In 1988 the park was named in memory of Mr. Schulman's late father, Eli Schulman, who opened and operated Eli’s the Place for Steak for decades.

“We are so fortunate to live and work in the Magnificent Mile/Streeterville neighborhood - a community where everyone works together to make sure we have a safe, beautiful community with the best restaurants, hotels and shopping for visitors, workers and residents,” said Mark Schulman. “The ongoing support of the lighting of Seneca Park and the Eli M. Schulman playground is just one example of our neighbors and businesses working together.”

The Schulmans opened their first restaurant, Eli’s Stage Delicatessen on Oak Street in 1962. Four years later, the couple opened Eli’s the Place for Steak, just south of the Seneca Park on the site of what is now the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

Eli’s son Marc Schulman led a campaign to totally rebuild Seneca Park and the Eli M. Schulman Playground and raised more than $350,000 to fund the reconstruction and to purchase the equine sculpture, “Ben,” by Deborah Butterfield.

The lighting of Seneca Park & the Eli M. Schulman Playground is 100 percent privately funded by Northwestern Memorial Healthcare, the Museum of Contemporary Art, American Girl Place, the American Dental Association, the Ritz Carlton Chicago, The Eli’s Cheesecake Company, Lookingglass Theatre Company, the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Broadway in Chicago, CBRE and Moore Landscapes.

Reigning Olympic Gold Medal Figure Skater, Evan Lysacek (a native of Naperville), served as the celebrity to turn on the lights. Lysacek is a long time friend of Marc and Maureen Schulman who coordinated the event with Sarah Burke of Northwestern Healthcare.

Attendees at the Lighting included 2nd Ward Alderman Robert Fioretti, Susan Hayes Gordon of Lurie Children’s Hospital, Peter Roth, recently named GM of the Park Hyatt, John Chikow of the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association and Gail Spreen of SOAR.

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