Compton Heights is a near south city neighborhood with beautiful mansions, incredible architecture and a fantastic park. This is one of the rare fully built-out neighborhoods. This neighborhood tour was originally published in September, 2009 with updates from July, 2019.
are made in St. Louis. Their handsome factory is right downtown on Broadway, just east of Busch Stadium. According to
, the Tums plant is the last major manufacturing factory downtown.
Is that set to change? I haven't heard any news or facts that the TUMS plant will be closing, or moving overseas. But one simple omission on these labels leads me to believe change is on the way.
TUMS has a new look:
But that's not my concern. If you pay attention to the back of the old label, it clearly states Made in the U.S.A. Sorry for the crappy photo:
The new label omits where the Tums are made:
I'm a compulsive label reader; and usually when companies get rid of the Made in the U.S.A. info, it means they are closing domestic operations and heading overseas. When products are made in both the U.S.A. and abroad, they will state that as fact on the label. But when the products don't say where they came from it usually means overseas or Central or South America.
In my treks through St. Louis, I am reminded of what a force the U.S. once was in manufacturing. Those days are gone. I miss the identity of American made goods. I miss the pride. I always thought Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars were a truly American style and product. The rubber All-Star tag on the back used to say Made in the U.S.A. Now it does not, as they are made in China. But they don't say that. I guess Converse doesn't find that fact interesting enough to put on their product. And by the way, the current price for low top All Stars is ~$44. So much for passing on the cheap Chinese labor to the consumer....
Anyhow, does anyone know if the DT TUMS plant is in danger of closing or curbing output?
Clifton Heights is a southwest city neighborhood with beautiful homes, hilly topography and a prominent park. This neighborhood tour was originally published in September, 2009 with updates from June, 2019. The neighborhood is bound by Arsenal Street to the south, I-44 to the west and north and Hampton Avenue to the east.
Many refer to St. Louis as a city of neighborhoods. According to this source, there are 79 distinct neighborhoods in St. Louis. I recognize most of these neighborhoods by name only. Sadly, I could only accurately describe how to get to 32 of them. That means I could not reliably tell you how to get to 60% of my own city. Pretty lame, eh?
And then for you city dwellers, what would make you leave?
I will warn you, I'm a homer. I stick up for STL almost to a fault. I have a theory that the main reasons people abandon the city can be whittled down to issues of race and class. I'm not trying to bait people, but rather understand the true core of the reasons for leaving the city.
I am especially interested in the lure of St. Louis County. So if you feel obliged, please tell your story.
"I attended the 5:30pm Loyal Member Meeting with my Mom who, courtesy of her kind insurance company, is a member of the Carondelet YMCA. I have been a member in the past, but ended my membership due to the high cost. A total of 16 people attended. I want to first thank the representatives of the "Y" who were all very nice and did what they could to provide answers to all of the questions they were asked. We even received a nice travel mug at the conclusion. Now for some of the answers.......They believe it will open in the middle of November.
Will there be yearly rates? Yes and no. Along the same guidelines as the YMCA, monthly payments are the only option.
One day pool passes or one day facility passes? No not at this time. They encourage memberships so you can receive the full YMCA experience.
Status of the North Side Rec Plex? It will be built in O'Fallon Park. This is near West Florissant and Highway 70. No word on whom will operate this complex.
The lower field will be used for soccer, baseball etc..just like it had been.
We were told the City of STL looked at several different options for assistance with operating this facility. The YMCA was chosen because of their experience and the quality of service they have provided to the community.
They will be open 363 days a year. They will be closed on Easter and Christmas.
Both the Indoor and Outdoor pool (diving board) will have 3 Lap Lanes, 25 meters in length. As a comparison, the pool at the South City YMCA has 5 Lap Lanes, 25 meters in length. So yes, the new Rec Plex Lap Lane area will be smaller. However, the recreation area i.e. lazy river, Vortex and slide will be larger the South City YMCA.
Current members at the South City YMCA? 3000
Current members at the Carondelet YMCA? 850
Projected membership at the Carondelet Rec Plex? 2400
I hope this helps anyone who is thinking of joining. I think the YMCA does a wonderful job and they do great things for the community.I guess we can soon decide if the cost is worth the "Y Experience".
September 1, 2009 9:49 PM"
Doug, thanks for the info. The prices are steep, no doubt. However, I have complained for years that the city never had a pool. Now we do, and a darn nice one. I can't complain. I will pay the price for the convenience and location. The bright side of the disallowance of day passes is that it won't be as crowded.
I am once again reading Old Gods Almost Dead by Stephen Davis (thanks to my man G. Brown for the 1st edition printing of this book). I'm on my 3rd reading. This book quotes writer Tom Wolfe who sums up the relationship between the Beatles and Stones: "the Beatles want to hold your hand, but the Stones want to burn your town." It was true. The Beatles were pretty boys that you wanted to take home to meet Mom. They made girls squeal and moan and yell. The Stones were Neanderthals that incited women to violence and primal screams. The Stones got arrested, harassed, hung out & felt most comfortable in So. Chicago upon their first visit to America and general had a f-you modus operandi.
I want to live long enough to see a rock band come along that is sexy, bad ass and original enough to incite riots. Nirvana changed the way the record industry worked, and they helped change the image of American popular music and fashion, and they opened doors for MANY of their peers and other great acts of the time. But, never did they incite riots and violence everywhere they played. Was "slam dancing", later "crowd surfing", later "moshing" considered riotous? Not in my book. Not even close. That upheaval was a largely male-only endeavor, and toward the end of the 90s it evolved away from a music related passion toward a meat headed frat boy excuse to be an asshole in public (see Limp Bizkit).
Anyway, the Rolling Stones were rebels. They rebelled against their past and the status quo of the early 1960s in Europe. Yet, the Stones largely came from the suburbs in England. However, part of their appeal to me was their rebellion against suburban values and tenets. Growing up in Belleville, I had a penchant to rebel against the boring and racist and mundane values of the 1980's suburbs later in my high school/college days. I'm still doing it today in the 12th ward.
From the book:
Stephen Davis: "The Stones, if they were really rebelling against anything, were protesting suburban values and outmoded bourgeois social rituals....Mick (Jagger) would soon begin attacking the underbelly of suburbia's hypocrisy in his songs."
Mick Jagger: "My great thing against suburban life was that is was, first of all petty," he later told an interviewer, "and secondly, boring, based on consumer values, at best unambitious, and full of tittle-tattle and jealousies and things like that. I was trying to look for a music that wasn't a reflection of that society."
Damn, that's pretty harsh. But I like it. Having grown up in a small town, and having no one close to me that grew up in an urban setting, I have no point of reference to gauge whether an urban experience is indeed such a stark contrast to the suburban lifestyle that Jagger references. Is an urban existance somehow socially better than a suburban one? I kind of think so. The chances of me meeting someone I will get along with politically, musically, socially, etc. is probably higher in St. Louis than it would be in Ellisville or Valley Park or Arnold or St. Charles. Will my kids grow up and think city life sucks and want to run for the country/burbs? Is it cyclical rebellion against your parents and their choices? Or, will they strive for an even more vibrant, accepting, diverse, progressive city? Can't wait to see how it pans out.
By my definition of "cool" the Stones were cool. Cities are cool. Mountains are cool. Deep woods are cool. Rivers are cool. Nature is cool. Small towns are cool. Yet, most of St. Louis' suburbs are decidedly uncool, lacking any kind of identity. I'll take a big dense city, or a big dense stand of trees vs. a sprawling, benign, placeless, generic American suburb.
I agree with Mick, it's good to rebel against the burbs.
Honestly speaking though, some if not many of the 79 neighborhoods are entirely unacceptable or uninhabitable for a typical middle class person.
DT used to be that way in the 1980's. One of our greatest sources of STL pride has been the transformation that DT St. Louis has undergone in the last 10 or 15 years. When searching for a place to call home, we would have liked to consider DT; but one major thing was holding us back: no grocery store. No pharmacy, no grocery. In fact, hardly anything open past close of business.
But take a look now, things are changing and fast. The Schnucks Culinaria is the latest addition, maybe greatest addition to DT since the tax credits and rehabbers came! I absolutely love this place. It's the coolest Schnucks in the region hands down. Strong words, indeed. But true for the following reasons:
- No massive surface parking!!!!!!!!!
- Access is a breeze by car. The parking lot is a snap to get in and out of. You can "stock up" here with great ease.
- The location is central to what I consider DT.
- The hours! The hours! The hours! I live in Boulevard Heights, but want to shop here at 9:00 pm just to prove that this is what DT needs more than anything: life after 6:00 pm.
- Having nearly everything the average household needs (not just the high-falootin' loft household) on ~1/3 the footprint!
- Kaldi's coffee station.
- Killer wine/booze section
- Great selection of prepared fresh foods that I could see purchasing and sitting on the sidewalk to enjoy.
- Lot's of store brand and realistic products/pricing.
- Great produce section, at least better than the Loughborough Commons, Gravois/Germania and Hill Schnucks that we shop at.
- Great layout/floor plan
So, well done Schnucks! Never thought I'd say that. Never ever, thought I'd see Schnucks do something that I consider to be urban. Well done, indeed! If you haven't checked this place out yet, please do for no other reason than to see how a large grocery store can be made to fit in with it's city environment and not need fields of surface parking. I hope this store is among their most profitable and they consider a grocery like this in Tower Grove or Benton Park or any other burgeoning neighborhood in the city.
Anyhow, I like the comments functionality on blogger.com. And of course, I like writing for an audience. I guess it's an ego thing. For whatever reason, it's easier to think of an audience (no matter how small) as I try to formulate thoughts and present personal opinions or ideas related to St. Louis to an anonymous group of people. It somehow motivates me to keep writing; which is my ultimate goal of blogging. Keep...on...writing. For me, it's an escape from the mundane.
I've gotten some thought provoking comments on here as of late. So, in an attempt to spur more comments and/or interaction, I vow today to thoughtfully respond to each and every comment posted to the blog. I average about 2 comments per post, so this shouldm't be just too overwhelming a task.
So now's your chance to goad me into an argument, call me an ass or simply create a dialog. Alloisious Babblingon III, where you been?
Thanks for reading.
- The rec plex will be operated by YMCA.
- Operating hours: Mon-Thu 5 am to 10 pm, Fri 5 am to 9 pm, Sat 7 am to 5 pm, Sun 8 am to 6 pm
- 76,000 square foot green facility
- 2 court gym with elevated track, fitness center, aerobics studio, senior and teen rooms, 3 multipurpose rooms, wet room for parties and cycling, classroom, 2 child watch areas, catering kitchen, family locker room
- memberships are available for city residents and non-residents; plus the membership allows you to use the Sublette YMCA at your convenience.
- Non-residents have a one time joining fee of $20/student, $40/adult, $80/household
- Monthly facility fees for city residents are $34.50/student, $46/adult, $69/household; non-residents is a little higher.
- For members, the annual pool fee is paid once per summer in addition to the monthly fee. Facility members $50/single city resident or non-resident, $125/household city or non-resident; non-facility members can pay $205/single city resident, $225/ single non-city resident, $380 household city resident, $410 household non-city resident
- You can also get a Metro membership allowing you to access any YMCA in the greater STL area
- Indoor pool features coed steam rooms & sauna, whirlpool, preschool play structure, zero depth entry, lazy river, 2 story water slide, vortex (circular water current), lap and rec areas
- Outdoor pool features all indoor amenities plus diving board, preschool pool, splash park and concession area
- The outdoor pool will open summer of 2010
My wife recently fell into her perfect 1960's era bicycle: this Schwinn Traveler automatic 2 speed cruiser.
This boss ride was to replace her 1990's era Taiwanese mountain bike. But what to do with the old bike that just got bumped by the Schwinn Traveler? I didn't want to list it on craigslist because it needed a lot of work. I didn't want to trash it either. What to do?
Well, this city never ceases to impress me with new discoveries. My latest discovery is
at 4102 Shenandoah in the Shaw neighborhood. I got wind of this place from a kind poster on this blog that this place offers tools, expert advice and stands to repair your bike. Bicycle Works also accepts bike donations, from their website:
BicycleWORKS is currently accepting bikes of any style in any condition to support our various programs.
* Kids’ Earn-A-Bike Program
* Bicycles to Developing Nations Project
* Shop Support
Donations can be dropped off at 4102 Shenandoah. Donations are accepted between 10 AM and 1 PM on Saturdays and 7-10 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
You may also drop off your donation at the Alpine Shop in Kirkwood
All donations are tax deductible! And what a great cause. My favorite is the kids earn-a-bike program:
A Shaw Neighborhood resident founded St. Louis BicycleWORKS in 1988 to give area “at-risk” youths a place to develop skills, interact with peers and caring adults, and safely challenge the limits of their abilities. BicycleWORKS’ primary focus is the Earn-A-Bike Program for kids. Children are taught the basics about bicycle safety and maintenance as a means to build community awareness and personal responsibility. This is a free program where kids attend a series of hands-on courses held on Saturday mornings. Youths who complete the course graduate with knowledge about bicycles, skills to work as an individual as well as cohesively with a group, and a better understanding of personal safety. Graduating youths earn their own bike, helmet, light, and lock, and participate in a group safety ride with adults and peers. BicycleWORKS is the first St. Louis program to utilize bicycles as an educational tool to teach responsibility and good work habits. About 50 kids graduate from the class every year. To date, over 10,000 bikes have been provided to inner city kids through this program.Positive Outcomes:
This experience contributes to the child’s development of self esteem, self motivation, and self discipline. An emphasis is also placed on social skills such as the ability to work as part of a group, and understanding the concept of “giving back” to the community. These youths are more confident, possess a greater sense of respect and respectability, and have a stronger desire to serve and improve their community.Signing Up:
To enroll a child, please complete our enrollment form (a copy may also be picked up at the shop) and either mail it to the address below or drop it off at the shop (feel free to use the mail slot if we are not open). If you have questions about the program or would like to volunteer, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Again, what a great place. What a great city. Cheers to Bicycle Works!
When it comes to movies from the 1990's I really like Joe Holleman's take in the PD. His top 10 are: Pulp Fiction, L.A. Confidential, Fight Club, Shawshank Redemption, Fargo, Unforgiven, The Truman Show, Saving Private Ryan, Silence Of The Lambs and Goodfellas.
If a Quintin Tarantino movie is not at least in your top 3, I'll dismiss all other opinions. Mr. Holleman really seems to get it right. Although, I've never seen the Truman Show. Even his best actress (Frances McDermott) and most overrated movie (Dances with Wolves) is right on. And although the Big Labowski is a geat choice for best comedy, I've always thought Office Space is underrated with the pundit crowd. To me it's as representative of the 90's as Big Labowski.
My only complaint? Where is Rushmore?
between Alfred and
neighborhood is getting some work. This could be a good sign, as it appears they are putting in new sidewalks, and maybe trees or lights.
I've always thought the city has done a terrible job of sprucing up this neighborhood for it's newest immigrant residents. When I first moved to the city, this was a completely different neighborhood. Closed businesses, shuttered storefronts, deteriorating homes, etc.
The neighborhood now is one of my favorites in the entire city. There are many, many great bars, restaurants, coffee shops, fruit/veggie stands, etc. The Bosnians, Serbs, Croats in this region have made it an urban, thriving, fun place.
The city should be selling this neighborhood. It should be marketed as little Sarajevo. Why aren't there flags, banners, commercials, ads to draw attention to this part of town? It is nearing destination status, just like the Hill.
One of my favorite things about
are the coffee bars that old Eastern European men frequent. They sit outside hunkered over an intense cup o
looking surly and completely happy at the same time. I could see myself being one of those guys upon retirement.
Su Sala Mexican Cafe and Restaurant was open for a very short period of time in SoHa/Princeton Heights. I only went once, but once was enough. Now, it appears someone, if not the same people are taking another stab at it with La Sala Bar and Grill.
Will I give it a try? Yes
Do I wish them well in their business venture? Of course
Do I like what they've done with the windows? No
Is it annoying when guys ask themselves questions and then answer them? Yes
A rare thing occurred recently in the beautiful South Hampton neighborhood. A home was razed. This drew my attention simply because this is such a rare event in this prideful, well established, cared for neighborhood. I wanted to get some pictures of the house as it was being demolished, but it happened quicker than I could react.
But thanks to google street view, I was able to get an idea of what was there. A nice little home.
Here's what the site looks like today:
Why would a house in one of the nicest neighborhoods in St. Louis be torn down? My gut told me the reason was parking or otherwise car related.
Well tonight I was lucky enough to run into a Murdoch resident as I was taking some photos to ask about the situation. She indicated that the previous owner of the home was very old and the house was more than she could maintain. The woman was approached by the owner of Eddie's Donuts, the grey building in the photo above. And the verdict is.....drive thru window for the donut shop.
If this story is true, we just lost a habitable and/or rehab ready home in this stable neighborhood for a freaking drive thru.
These wrecking ball blues are still blue.
This is not progress. This is depressing. What can be done to stop this? I know there are like minded others out there, I'm just not connected. I feel like action is necessary to rethink the way the city green lights demolition for such short sighted goals as surface parking. I commend the efforts of the Friends of San Luis. These folks really tried hard, albeit maybe too late to fight the Arch Diocese lust for surface parking in the CWE.
I'm down on this one. The alderman, the church, the city, the judge, they all want more surface parking at any cost. Can't they see this is wrong?
I'm again reminded of the excellent Son Volt song "Way Down Watson" from the 1999 album Straightaways by local musician Jay Farrar :
Another treasure found
Another tumbling down"
That just about sums it up for me. I can't imagine being part of the team of people that green light the kind of destruction that destroys an old building for a surface parking lot. The lyrics above remind me of the Coral Courts or the Kingsland Cinema destruction.
Personal transportation should be fun and convenient. It's not affordable by any means, chance are, it's the second or third biggest line item in your budget. We pay in other obvious ways for the need for single occupant transit: the air we breath and the way we legislate and treat the built environment (see tons of surface parking lots in the city, and even more in the county). One thing's for sure: Americans love their personal vehicles, and the St. Louis region is no different. It doesn't take an astute eye to notice that EVERYBODY is commuting to work in a vehicle (usually fuel inefficient) by themselves. We love our cars. Look at how we choose to spend huge amounts of money on something that depreciates and costs even more money to maintain/operate. We work hard for this choice of expensive personal travel. I'm not here to judge, I'm just like you...stuck in the car funk. But until a couple years ago I never considered any options to the mundane commuting that I felt was part of being a working stiff.
Still, for me personally, this auto investment I have to make sucks. I don't even enjoy the amount of money I'm spending. I have no personal vanity in my car choices, nor do I view vehicles as a status symbol, so I don't have that working for me. I can see that there are people out there who just love driving their Jeep, or their Mini or their Lexus. I'm just not that guy. Commuting and driving around town just is not fun for me. Quite frankly, driving stresses me out.
Until.........I bought my first scooter.
Scooters are inexpensive to own and operate. They keep up with city traffic amazingly well, they are highly maneuverable, you can park them just about anywhere; but, first and foremost: it is a blast to ride! The best way to improve my stress levels and personal satisfaction has been owning a scooter. Commutes are now fun. Bad day at work? You've always got that scooter ride awaiting as the close of business. Kids driving you nuts? Take a quick spin to free your mind. Can't find a parking space? Park on the sidewalk or at a bike rack. How does and average of 75 mpg sound on a 125cc ride that goes up to 50 mph?
If you are feel like you are in a rut, and there's no escaping the banality of the workaday commute, take a chance and buy a cheap, used scooter. Plan an alternate route devoid of interstate highways, and ride on.
It's easy to do.
I'd never ridden a 2 wheeled motorized vehicle at any point in my life prior to purchasing a scooter ~4 years ago. I thought I'd start slow with something lightweight and simple to operate. A twist and go 49cc Honda Metropolitan was my choice. I ended up buying this simply because I got a great deal on craigslist. I really wanted a Yamaha C3, but there were way more used Honda's on the market at the time.
I got my sea legs and next thing you know, I'm hooked. If you are looking for an entry level bike to get started, this one may be tops. Cheap, reliable, ~90 mpg, goes 35 mph, is designed well and of course a lot of fun.
I wanted to go a little faster though after awhile. I wanted the ability to ride two. I wanted something that would not bog down on steep hills. Back to craigslist for an upgrade. This time I chose a Yamaha Vino 125cc. This one gets ~75 mpg on average (I'm hard on the acceleration), is still twist and go (no shifting) and goes 50 mph. It's not designed as well, nor as smooth as the Honda, but it's even more fun.
My confidence is up to 50 mpg now. Now it's time to lock into the perfect scooter for me. I'm saving up for an Aprilia Scarabeo, or the coolest of all, a Genuine Stella. Take a look, these are some sweet rides.
The Aprilia has larger tire, more akin to a motorcycle. I think this would provide a smoother ride over the bumps and potholes of a typical city ride.
And then there's the stylish Stella:
Trust me friends, there is no commute more fun than a scooter/motorcycle commute. Economical, cheap to maintain/operate, easier to park, you simply can't go wrong.
#376 It's easy to feel down about St. Louis when it comes to the mindless demolition of beautiful old buildings. Count your blessings, at least we have beautiful old building and people that care about them. If you live in Ballwin, no one cares and there's nothing historic or worth caring about.
#377 I never have a lack of new places to visit and restaurants to try in St. Louis. Last weekend I rode the Riverfront Trail for the first time. This weekend, I'll be enjoying Live on the Levee for the first time. Both are free.
#378 I didn't think we'd have this much trouble selling our home. Statistically we live in the safest neighborhood in the city. It's on a quiet street with a park and paved bike path across the street. It has a lot of sqft for a reasonable price. Brand new kitchen and bath. Check it out if you are in the market.
#379 University City, Maplewood and Clayton are all very livable suburbs. I wish they could be annexed by St. Louis.