Tuesday, October 31, 2006

City In The City

News readers on the Big 550, KTRS, were discussing the recent crime report which puts St. Louis on top as the most dangerous city in the nation. The news people were asking, "Do you feel safe downtown". Most replied "yes".

One caller asked for the news people to give their definition of "downtown". George Woods, the anchor, stated he included the entire city of St. Louis when he thinks of downtown. Others in the studio were debating the defintion. Is it Washington Avenue? Does it include outer neighborhoods? They were pretty vague on city geography.

Downtown is one of 79 offical city neighborhoods, and represents about 5 percent of the city's land area. It's also one of the safest neighborhoods. For a different angle, it would be good to hear interviews with leaders from St. Louis' neighboring communities.

A couple possible questions to ask..."What would happen to the crime rate in the city if it were merged with its adjacent communities? Would that be good move for the region?"

Monday, October 30, 2006

Another List We Could Make

In STL, misleading as we know it is, we receive negative press for being a city with a high crime rate. Here's a different sort of list we could try to make...

Make it and we'd instantly drop from those lists of top ten crime story cities...

2006: A Great STL Year

2006 will go down as one of the best years in St. Louis history.

Visitors to STL Rising will note a recent drop off in posts. The last entry gave a list of possible St. Louis Cardinal accolades. Hesitant it might be bad mojo, I figured better to not change the blog until the Cardinals finished their post-season run.

Better still, after a Cardinals' loss in game 2 in Detroit, Fox 2 in St. Louis did a live remote from a block party, game-watching event in one of our neighbor's back yards. The reporter asked me for an on-air prediction. "Cards in 5" was mine. And it held!

The list of good things happening in STL is starting to boggle the mind. A great example was the ribbon cutting last week in Old North St. Louis at North Market Place Apartments. The event had a quality unique to any ribbon cutting I've ever attended. The success celebrated in Old North represents the culmination of over 30 years' effort by neighborhood residents.

Like Jeff Weaver, the cast-off pitcher salvaged from baseball's trash heap and finding new life in St. Louis, abandoned buildings in Old North are being rehabbed, despite gloomy forecasts of "experts" around the country predicting their demise.

The day the Cardinals won the World Series was the same day a deal was announced for Ballpark Village. And early indications are that even our town's most vocal urban critics are showing love for the plan.

Word on the street is that Target (and Trader Joe's?) are scouting locations in Midtown St. Louis.

Today, news reports say that St. Louis is the most dangerous US City. Tell that to San Diego, New York, and Detroit. I'm sure they would agree.

Strange thing, by all accounts, the 300,000 people enjoying the streets of downtown yesterday were totally at ease!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

STL Pride: 2006 Cardinals

As of last nite, the Cardinals are only one win away from another trip to the World Series. A Cards/Tigers series would be a rematch of the 1968 World Series, when the Tigers beat the Cardinals. Baseball legends were born in those days, with players like Bob Gibson, Denny McClain, Mickey Lolich and others starring.

The 2006 Cardinals have a legitimate shot at a year-end honors sweep...consider these possibilites:

MVP: Albert Pujols (or runner up)

Cy Young: Chris Carpenter (or runner up)

Rookie of the Year: Chris Duncan (or runner up)

NL Manager of the Year: Tony LaRussa (should be in the bag)

NL Champs: STL Cardinals (one win away)

World Series Champs: STL Cardinals (five wins away)

Cover of Sports Illustrated, Time Magazines: Cardinals Rookie Bullpen

Comeback Player of the Year: Jeff Weaver (in the bag?)

Post Season Clutch Personality and 2006 Fashion Statement Impresario: Scott Spezio

The Cardinals victory last nite against one of baseball's best, Tom Glavine, was the best yet. Unlikely pitching star Jeff Weaver has been lights out in post season.

The young Cardinals bullpen is showing the heart of the team and the solid leadership and excellent coaching of Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan form the foundation for the team's success.

Who's up for a Cardinal parade down Market Street, ending at the new ballpark, say in about ten days?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

STL Rising: Historic Golf Settings

Being situated along the west bank of the Mississippi River, St. Louis holds the distinction for being first for many things "West of the Mississippi".

Among those many firsts are some great historic golf courses. You find these beautiful old courses located in historic neighborhood settings with mature trees and well manicured grounds. This time of year, if you don't mind occasionally searching for your ball under fall leaves, October is a great time to get out on one of our historic courses.

Built in 1903, Normandie Golf Club has the distinction of being the oldest golf course west of the Mississippi.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Feburary of 2005, Norwood Hills Country Club (private) is one of our area's most famous courses.

And this weekend, we're going to try and reserve a tee time to play a great 9-hole, very affordable, public course in University City, now celebrating its 75th year, Ruth Park.

Monday, October 16, 2006

STL Rising: Promoting STL Progress

The theme of this blog has officially changed from "supporting" the continuing progress of St. Louis to "promoting" that progress.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

STL Rising: More Taxis For Downtown?

Yesterday I left the house without a jacket, unaware the temperatures were about to plunge. Then around noon, I had an appointment on the other side of downtown. An easy fifteen minute walk, but with just a shirt and no jacket, it'd be a chilly one.

What about more cabs downtown? Yesterday I would have loved to take a cab, but there are hardly any around. And the ones you do see are mostly looking for airport fares. Nothing annoys a cabbie more than getting a short ride fare when he's waiting for a $25 airport fare.

Cabs buzzing around downtown livens the street. Riding in cabs is fun. It's romantic. It's a city experience. Do you think there'd be cabbies interested if they could get a downtown district license?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

STL Rising: Uncomplicating Your Life

This late 70s moped is the model I drove during college and back and forth to my job waiting tables. It was a belt-driven, Peugeot 103, 49 cc, 2-stroke. It made about 60 miles per gallon. On a flat road, with the wind at my back, it would get up to 40 mph. I paid $450 for it with about 1000 miles on it, drove it another 10,000 miles, then sold it some years later here in St. Louis for about the same price.

And here's a picture of the first model of car I bought for myself. It was a 1967 Volvo 122S. Mine was stock (picture it without the alloy rims, fog lights, and racing graphic...same color though). I bought it in 1978 and paid $2,200.

Back in those days, I was my own mechanic, body and fender guy. There was a sense of accomplishment, not to mention cost savings, in performing the maintenance ourselves on the cars we drove. Cars today have become so hi-tech that most people never do their own work any more.

Simplifying life, including figuring out ways to get back to basics with transportation, is definitely making more sense every day.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

STL Bloggers Rising

When the story of the successful revitalization of STL is written, internet activists will have played a key role. Maybe even a nomination for Jeff Weigand on the U City Walk of Fame?

However, there is heavy lobbying going on in Congress to make the internet a pay-to-play, corporate dominated media.

What that would mean to the free STL bloggers we like to read, I'm not techie enough to know. It doesn't sound good.

Read more about the "Network Neutrality" issue here:

Save The Internet

Monday, October 09, 2006

New Stadium The Rx for Cardinals WS Drought?

The Cards are entering their second round of post-season play this year. So far, they have celebrated twice in their new Busch digs, once for clinching the NL Central, and last nite for winning round one of the playoffs.

Back in the early years of old Busch, the Cardinals dominated the National League. The middle sixties were the last real dynasty years for the Cardinals, just following the opening of their then-new ballpark.

Could this be the year they return to World Series greatness? Maybe all the Cardinals needed was a change in scenery.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Thomas Kempland Glass Plate Photography Collection

Check out this site for great historic views of St. Louis.

Thomas Kempland Glass Plate Photography Collection

Mr. Kempland found these images at a STL yard sale.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Macy's Cleans Up Downtown

What a beautiful sight it was on Olive today in front of the new Macy's.

There was a team of workers with a power washer cleaning off those brand new black awnings on the front of the store.

The awnings haven't been up for maybe a month, and already the management team at Macy's has them on a maintenance schedule.

Way to go, neighbor!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Scoreboard Watching

Around 11:00 yesterday morning, the family team is working the front lawn, core aerating and overseeding. Then in a total surprise, our neighbor walks up to us and offers us two tickets to yesterday's Cardinal game. It would be the biggest game of the year, with the Cardinals having a chance to clinch.

The seats were incredible, 9th row of the field boxes, between home plate and the mound. It was the last day of the season, with the stadium filled to capacity, including standing room areas.

The Cardinals magic number was down to one. A Cardinal win or a Houston loss would mean another post season trip for the Cardinals, their 6th in 7 seasons.

At game time, according to the right field scoreboard, Atlanta was already beating Houston 2-0.

LaRussa changed his pitching plans for the day, opting to start Anthony Reyes on only three days rest, and saving Carpenter for either the first post-season series, or a decisive one-game playoff situation.

Reyes was wholly ineffective, allowing 4 earned runs, giving way to a 1st inning reliever. Not to worry, though, by this time, Atlanta was up 3-0.

Now it's late in the game, and the Cardinals are down 5-0. But most people are watching the Atlanta-Houston score in the outfield. Atlanta is up 3-1, but Houston is batting and it's taking a life time to finish their half of the 7th inning. Is Houston having a big inning? Why is this 7th taking so long???

Heads keep turning from the action on the field to the scoreboard. The score stays 3-1, but its still the top of the 7th. The 7th goes on, and on. Then finally, the asterisk switches to the bottom of the 7th, with Atlanta batting, still leading 3-1.

Now its the 9th in Atlanta, and the Braves are still up 3-1. Fans in the left field corner at Busch start peforming the "Tomahawk Chop".

If there's a team I detest more than the Houston Astros, it's the Atlanta Braves, and there can't be a more annoying cheer than Atlanta's "Tomahawk Chop". But now, in St. Louis, it's the 9th in Atlanta, and the fans at Busch are standing, all doing the Tomahawk Chop. If Atlanta can "chop" Houston, the Cards win the NL Central.

Then along the right field line, fans start cheering. No sign from the scoreboard yet. Then on the big screen, they show the Houston manager, Phil Garner with a sour-milk look on his face, then they show a ninth inning play, with Houston making an out, then the Cards fans get louder with their Tomahawk Chop, now chanting that horrid "Chop" theme, backed up by the Busch sound system.

Then the score board changes the "9" to an "F" for the Braves/Houston game. Braves win. Cards clinch! Celebration breaks out at Busch.

Beautiful Day on Cherokee

For getting downtown from points in South City, Cherokee is an excellent connection, bridging the stretch from Gravois to Broadway.

Before 8:00 AM, the strip is quiet, with only the occasional group of school age kids gathered at a corner or a rehab contractor unloading equipment from the back of a pickup.

Buildings are in a rapid state of repair. A couple of half-rehabbed ones are available for purchase.

The Lemp Brewery complex is reportedly up for sale, with commercial real estate brokers estimating its value at around $30,000,000. The property was purchased just a few years ago for a tiny fraction of that amount.

Broker-developer types are touting the Lemp complex as a world-class, adaptive reuse development site.

Dumb question...is there a parade on Cherokee? Tiny neighborhood commercial streets can make the best parades.

Think Mardis Gras on Bourbon Street, the Chinese New Year Parade on Grant Avenue in San Francisco (before it was moved to a wide street in the Financial District), and the Hibernian parade in Dogtown down Tamm.