Thursday, October 21, 2010

SF Rising

Having spent my first 30 years in the Bay Area, I grew up on Giants' baseball, watching Hall of Famers like Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, and Gaylord Perry on the field. But we never saw a World Series winner. Places like St. Louis and Oakland got to experience those thrills.

The years of Candlestick Park baseball were long, cold, and difficult. Since moving out of New York, the Giants have never won a World Series. For all the fans of the Giants in the Bay Area and elsewhere, let's hope this is their year.

The Giants of 2010 are a fun team to cheer. They're built around pitching and youth. Their manager, in classic San Francisco tradition, is a gravelly-voiced Italian named Bruce Bocce. You can imagine seeing him dining at one of the City's North Beach restaurants after a game.

The 2010 team has an inspiring narrative in young catching and hitting star Buster Posey. The team's orange and black color theme is dull for most of the year, but a perfect match for October baseball.

St. Louis has a rooting interest in former Cardinal Edgar Renteria filling in at shortstop for the injured Juan Uribe. Renteria brings multiple post season championships and overall veteran experience to the clubhouse.

After many years of possibly leaving the Bay Area for warmer, friendlier playing confines, at ATT Park, the Giants now play in what is arguably the most beautiful ballpark in the country.

Could 2010 finally be the year for a World Championship parade for the San Francisco Giants down Market Street? Is the new ballpark the difference?

Perhaps ATT Park is an example of how architecture improves our quality of life. Or, can architects help you win a World Series? Maybe in San Francisco!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sitting amongst subsidized millionaires...

...well, not exactly amongst, let's say above.

On Sunday we attended the Rams/Chargers game at the Edward Jones Dome. Our seats were located halfway to the top of the nose bleed section. Corner of the end zone. Great game. The resurgent Rams won by a score of 20-17, evening their record to 3 wins and 3 losses.

These days, professional sports teams get subsidies to build stadiums. I like football and I like baseball, so I don't mind part of my tax dollar going to such things, especially when we have a winning team. If that's what it takes to keep big league sports in town, I'm open to it.

Our society subsidizes lots of things. Highways, military spending, the arts, police and fire protection, libraries and schools. Why not entertainment?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Welcome Sign In "The Grove"

Never mind that old "don't forget to turn out the lights" line people used to say about St. Louis.

From the Washington University Medical Center Redevelopment Corporation comes word that the Grove/Forest Park Southeast neighborhood will soon be welcoming residents and visitors to the area with a bright new illuminated sign over Manchester Avenue.

Click here for more details and photos.

One block of downtown street grid re-connected

After more than two years of closure, 8th Street between Washington Avenue and Locust has been reopened to cars, cyclists, pedestrians, and truck traffic.

The street connects the main entrance of the Convention Center to the Old Post Office Plaza and the rest of downtown, adjacent to the west side of US Bank and the new Robert's Tower.

With some construction activity still underway on the new tower, for the time being 8th Street is only opened for one lane, but it's amazing what a difference it already makes just having that one street re-connected. It's much easier to get around.

It makes you wonder how many more options for downtown visitors the one re-opening creates, and then makes you really wonder what a fully reconnected downtown street grid would mean for the vitality of St. Louis.

No doubt there is a multiplier effect on many levels.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Arch design competition picked a winning team...

...but many large questions remain.

Chief among those is how to deal with the connection between the Arch grounds and downtown.

The winning MVVA team proposed a lid over the I-70 depressed lanes, with Memorial Drive remaining open in both directions across the lid.

Last week there was a meeting where proponents of the Arch redesign suggested that Memorial Drive be closed at the lid.

MVVA proposed closing Washington Avenue between Memorial Drive and the riverfront. The jury for the competition didn't like that idea, and recommended keeping the street open.

MVVA proposed closing Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard at the foot of the Arch grounds along the riverfront, which to date hasn't generated much public response.

Large questions remain in the reworking of the Arch grounds. A ninety-day fine-tuning period has been established, currently at about day seventeen, to finalize how these questions will be decided.

The biggest questions are the same ones that were being asked at the start of the competition: What to do with the connections between downtown and the Arch grounds and what to do with the I-70 barrier between the city and the riverfront neighborhoods.

The question of how to pay for all of it is equally a part of the conversation. Proponents are mum on cost estimates. The design team is working on a budget at this time as well, but the cost will depend on the design, which is still being finalized.

With so many moving parts, the process is complex and difficult. How do you sell something with so many open questions? In the Show Me State of Missouri, it's not easy.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Refresh Everything Contest

St. Louis's own Operation Brightside is in a national gardening competition. Learn more and support our local team by voting here.

Friday, October 01, 2010

New study: 40% of kids' food "empty calories"

The news reported today on the continuing epidemic of childhood obesity in the United States. Quoting an MD from the east coast, the story said that 40% of a child's diet between the ages of 2 and 18 is from "empty calories".

Eating foods with empty calories adds to your waistline, but provides no nourishment. Obesity follows.

The story described the types of foods that provide empty calories. Candy, junk food, and pizza. Pizza??

How is pizza an empty calorie food? It's bread, cheese, tomato sauce, and meat or vegetable topping. Those are all healthy foods. What's the problem?