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  1. #31
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    Huzzah! A good sign that Saint Louis is on the rebound.

  2. #32

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    ...More Saint Louis press today, from the Wall Street Journal (subscription):

    A Pulitzer's Prize Venue
    For Intimate Art Appreciation

    By JOEL HENNING
    September 14, 2005; Page D14

    St. Louis

    When I came to call on Emily Rauh Pulitzer, chairwoman of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, the taxi deposited me in the rain at a building whose rectangular mass of concrete walls squatted in the Grand Center district here like a forbidding fortress. But Tadao Ando's four-year-old building was airy and transparent within. The reflecting pool that separates its two wings brought the late-afternoon sun and clearing sky into the main gallery and sculpture court, while hidden glass spaces between walls and ceiling cast dramatic shafts of light throughout, including the smaller galleries and offices scattered on various levels of the two wings. The building is a work of art itself, but one that seems amenable to art installations. It should be, as it was designed in collaboration with two artists -- Ellsworth Kelly and Richard Serra -- each of whom created a piece organic to the architecture.

    The foundation's unusual array of spaces creates a sense of calm, and offers a unique kind of rhythm and choreography to the viewing of the relatively small exhibits that it displays, such as the current "Brancusi and Serra in Dialogue," a selection of fewer than 20 sculptures, along with about two dozen sketches and photographs (through Sept. 24). An earlier exhibition, "Art and the Spiritual," suggested links between secular and religious, Western and non-Western pieces. It juxtaposed Aristide Maillol and Jacques Lipchitz sculptures and Max Beckmann paintings with Nigerian effigies, Congolese figures and Indonesian ancestor poles. Next is "Minimalism and Beyond" (opening Oct. 15), which will focus on such artists from the 1960s on, attempting to give a different view of Minimalism in the context of the Ando building's Minimalist aesthetic.

    One thing is clear: The building and The Pulitzer Foundation it houses are far from a conventional museum. Wholly contrary to the museum world's current obsession with huge exhibitions drawing big crowds, the foundation is open to the public only two days a week, with only 50 people admitted per half hour. And while gallery entry fees rise elsewhere, admission here remains free. None of the art is labeled and there is no wall text, unlike the growing trend toward myriad labels and voluminous text in museums intent on "education."

    This anomalous institution germinated from a relatively modest notion. "At first," Ms. Pulitzer told me, "we wanted a really wonderful space." Before Ms. Pulitzer's husband and co-collector, Joseph, died in 1993, the couple worked with Mr. Ando on a plan to renovate the second floor of a defunct car factory and showroom in Grand Center, the city's former entertainment district. They wanted to install some larger works from their modern art collection and to stimulate urban renewal. But after Joseph's death, she visited Japan, saw more of Mr. Ando's work and decided to construct an entirely new building.

    Though Ms. Pulitzer's professional background is curatorial -- she spent more than 15 years at the St. Louis Art Museum and Harvard's Fogg Art Museum after receiving her master's in art history from Harvard -- the foundation is not planning to acquire a large, permanent collection. Instead, she says: "We have established one of those rare places where a small, careful selection of art can be installed and viewed intimately."

    Why no labels and wall text? "We don't want people to go to the label first," she explains. "We want the experience to be more like viewing art at home with nothing intervening between the art and the building it's in." It frustrates her that the foundation is considered by some people "formidable, inaccessible and private" because it is open to the public for only a few hours on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Her aim, she insists, is to allow visitors "the space and time to move slowly around as well as past the art, to see the pieces in relationship to one another and to this exceptional building."

    "This is not a traditional museum with a commitment to art history and chronology," says James Wood, former president of the Art Institute of Chicago and president of the foundation. "We see it in part as a laboratory where professionals and the public can experience art in different ways than in a conventional museum setting, but we are also using the space and the installations as a venue for stimulating new thinking in the museum world. In 24 years as head of the Art Institute, I constantly found that there was never enough time to step back and analyze what you're doing."

    According to Mr. Wood, he and Ms. Pulitzer "want to foster a discourse that respects art itself, apart from the often conflicting economic, educational and entertainment objectives that museums confront. If we give curators, directors, conservators, art historians and writers the opportunity to meet in this extraordinary space out of their everyday environment, we think we can contribute to the debate about the core mission of museums." They have held symposia on such topics as art installation, conservation, and art journalism.

    In collaboration with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, the foundation has moved beyond visual art. For example, the Brancusi-Serra exhibition was the setting for a chamber music concert, conducted by the symphony's music director, David Robertson, of Bartok and other early European modernist composers whose music was created and played as Brancusi developed as an artist. And when Mr. Robertson conducted Ives's "The Unanswered Question" during the "Art and the Spiritual" installation, he told me, he "was able to place the musicians in three concealed parts of the building. As a result, I thought that the work found its full expression in a way that wouldn't have happened in a conventional concert hall." Ms. Pulitzer next hopes to bring poetry readings into the mix.

    "You need to view the whole thing as a piece," commented art dealer Richard Gray, founder of the New York and Chicago galleries that bear his name. "It's not the experience of a museum. It's...a conceptual work itself which relates art, architecture and program," he adds.

    "We're not better or worse than any other art institution," says Walter Metcalfe, a foundation trustee. "But we are a singular alternative to what's out there."


    Tadao Ando's building and the Pulitzer Foundation it houses are different from a conventional museum. No blockbusters, no admission fees, no wall texts.
    ***
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  3. #33

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    More for St. Louis.

    Ballpark Village






    Riverfront Rehab










    Re-creation of Chateou Lake





    Park East Tower (Under Const.)




    Retro Infill

















    (100% Right of Way) MetroLink expansion. New Line to Open Next Year.


  4. #34
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    http://www.semissourian.com/story/1128782.html

    Census confirms that St. Louis is growing in population
    Saturday, December 3, 2005
    JIM SALTER ~ The Associated Press


    ST. LOUIS -- Peter and Jane Reinecke were empty-nesters living in a 6,500-square-foot home in Chesterfield who tired of the 25-mile drive into St. Louis for trips to ballgames, the Fox Theatre and Muny Opera.

    So they found a century-old house in a historic city neighborhood, fell in love with it and moved in in March.

    The Reineckes aren't alone. After more than five decades of declining population, the city of St. Louis saw growth for the second straight year in 2004, Mayor Francis said Friday. It didn't come easy. The original U.S. Census projection pegged the city's population at 343,279, a decline of about 5,000 from 2003.

    But Slay's office challenged that finding, and a Census Bureau review confirmed the city was right: The population actually increased by about 2,000 to 350,705. The city also successfully challenged the Census Bureau's original population estimates a year ago.

    Growth of less than 1 percent may not be big news in a lot of places, but St. Louis' population had been declining since the rush to the suburbs began a half-century ago. The 1950 census showed St. Louis with 856,796 residents. For the next 50 years, the city was losing an average of 10,000 residents per year to the suburbs.

    Now, Slay said, that's changed.

    "All you have to do is go out and see it," Slay said. "You see more construction, you see more people in the city."

    Slay expects the upward trend to continue, despite some limitations. While some cities annex land and sometimes suburbs, St. Louis is surrounded by small municipalities uninterested in a merger. St. Louis is also relatively small in terms of its geographic size -- 61 square miles. By comparison, Slay said, Kansas City, Mo., is comprised of 317 square miles. (TLOZ's note: That's about the size of NYC, but with just 5% of the population.)

    Slay said his goal is to add 20,000 new residents over the next four years, and create 1,000 new jobs.

    Housing starts have taken off. Production of new and rehabbed homes in the first nine months of 2005 doubled the entire output for 2004. Just six years ago, St. Louis had fewer than 200 new housing starts. This year, it has seen 6,500.

    The Reineckes love their renovated 1895 home in the Benton Park neighborhood -- even helped the restoration company finish the remodeling of a house that had been unoccupied for a decade.

    "It was a disaster," Jane Reinecke said, recalling her first glimpse inside the home. "There were branches inside. Animals had been living there. But all you had to do was pull back the drapes and see woodwork and the height of the ceilings. I said to my husband, 'this can be fabulous."'

    ©The Associated Press, 2005

  5. #35
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    More good news as the Census Bureau updates its population estimate of Saint Louis to 352,572:

    http://www.census.gov/popest/archive...hallenges.html

  6. #36

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    When I went to St. Louis about 4 years ago, their downtown area was depressingly lonely- and this was a Tuesday morning. There was exactly 2 people in front of us for the ride up the Arch. I'm glad to hear St. Louis is on the rebound.

  7. #37
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    Cities all across the country are on the rebound as the trend of returning to the inner city is now spreading. A city would have to be in pretty awful shape to not be in on it right now.

  8. #38

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    ..I think this was well done. There are a couple of photos, and a map, that go with the article. The map is particularly good, but needs to be modified before it can be uploaded, and I can't do that right now...

    http://travel2.nytimes.com/2006/03/3...our.html?8hpib

    March 31, 2006
    36 Hours
    St. Louis
    By LARRY FRIEDMAN

    ST. Louis has undergone a remarkable transformation since 1972, when the spectacular demolition of its high-rise Pruitt-Igoe housing project became an indelible symbol of urban decline. Young professionals drawn to new biotech and medical research industries, as well as a new wave of immigrants from places like Bosnia, are bringing new life to neighborhoods that last thrived a century ago. New loft districts, old civic jewels and revitalized night life are making the old refrain of "Meet Me in St. Louis" a welcome phrase again.

    Friday

    4 p.m.
    1) Gateway to the West

    A certain type of New Yorker never goes to the top of the Empire State Building, but most St. Louisans are not so jaded about the Gateway Arch (314-655-1700), the stainless-steel structure designed by Eero Saarinen as a monument to westward expansion. A four-minute tram ride takes you to the top for 30-mile panoramic views across the Mississippi (and some unsettling questions about what exactly is holding you 630 feet up). The view on the city side looks down on the Old Courthouse, where slaves were once auctioned and Dred and Harriet Scott began their legal fight for emancipation. While waiting for your tram to the top of the arch, visit the museum below, which tells the story of the pre-expansion West, the Lewis and Clark expedition (which began a few miles upriver) and the settlement of the Louisiana Purchase territories.

    7:30 p.m.
    2) Lofts and Fusion Food

    Head north through downtown streets and the city's rich past, from steamboat-era levees and warehouses that Mark Twain would have recognized to the venerable Tums factory. Washington Avenue, lined with buildings that once housed much of the nation's shoe industry, is now the center of a thriving loft district. One of the neighborhood's favorite dining spots is the Red Moon restaurant (1500 St. Charles Street, 314-436-9700), on the ground floor of a terra-cotta loft building and complete with high ceilings, a large open kitchen and a long bustling bar. The pan-Asian-French fusion menu draws a crowd of neighborhood artists, young professionals and gastronomes for specialties like tamarind-glazed whole snapper, pork osso buco and Thai beef sashimi with arugula and mint salad (entrees $13 to $28).

    9:30 p.m.
    3) Postmodern Funhouse

    The artist Bob Cassilly spearheaded the metamorphosis of an old International Shoe Company factory into the City Museum (701 North 15th Street, 314-231-2489; admission $12), an idiosyncratic and constantly changing collection of found art like MonstroCity, where kids clamber over old airplane fuselages. At night (until 1 a.m. on weekends), the museum is illuminated by candlelight and draws crowds to features like the Museum of Mirth, Mystery and Mayhem, which reimagines the carnival midways of old. Check out the Corn Dogs Through the Ages exhibition and the Elvis Channeler, which does exactly what the name suggests.

    Midnight
    4) Nectar Nightcap

    The trendiest spot in St. Louis might just be the Nectar Lounge (2001 Locust Street, 314-588-0055), below. Don't even think of walking into this ultrahip boîte wearing denim or any other unironic attire. Stay late enough and you may spot a local celebrity like Nelly, the rapper and St. Louisan, at the long center bar while you sip the signature fruit- and nectar-based cocktails.

    Saturday

    9 a.m.
    5) Saturday in the Park

    Forest Park, opened in 1876 and site of the 1904 World's Fair, is one of the nation's premier urban parks. Its 1,300-acre layout, originally designed by the city's parks commissioner, Maximilian Kern, is substantially larger than Central Park. Statues abound in Forest Park: King Louis IX of France — the eponymous St. Louis — has a place of honor on Art Hill, and unbeknownst to many locals, a 23-foot Confederate memorial erected in 1914 by the Ladies Confederate Monument Association is tucked away elsewhere. The St. Louis Zoo (1 Government Drive, 314-781-0900, free), made famous by its former director Marlin Perkins, features a walk-through wrought-iron birdcage, built for the 1904 World's Fair and filled with dozens of native avian species. The St. Louis Art Museum (1 Fine Arts Drive, 314-721-0072; free), designed by Cass Gilbert, is known for its pre-Columbian and German expressionist holdings. Or just glide through the park's lakes and lagoons on a paddleboat or rowboat rented at the Boathouse (6101 Government Drive, 314-367-3423; $15 an hour); you can also have lunch there ($10 to $15 a person).

    2 p.m.
    6) North Side Confections

    North St. Louis has seen better days, but its reputation as a no-go zone is undeserved. One standout is Crown Candy Kitchen (1401 St. Louis Avenue, 314-621-9650), which draws customers from far beyond its dilapidated neighborhood of 19th-century row houses. Owned by the same family since 1913 (and with equally unchanging décor), Crown Candy offers homemade ice cream cones and sundaes. The 24-ounce shakes and malts ($3.55 to $4; if you can drink five in 30 minutes, they're free) are served in the tall metal canisters in which they were mixed; you pour them into the old-fashioned curved glass yourself. At Christmas, Easter and Valentine's Day, lines are out the door for homemade chocolates and other candies.

    4 p.m.
    7) This Tour's for You

    The giant Budweiser sign at 12th and Lynch Streets marks the headquarters of Anheuser-Busch Companies (314-577-2626). The oldest buildings on the 100-acre grounds go back 150 years, and the brewery is still among America's largest. Tours leave frequently, last about an hour and offer a close-up look at large-scale brewing and, of course, the Clydesdale horses. Visitors over 21 can also sample the brewery's finished products in the Hospitality Room. (Last tour leaves at 5 p.m. in the summer, 4 p.m. other times; all tours are free.)

    6 p.m.
    8) Sarajevo on the Mississippi

    The South Side streets adjacent to the Anheuser-Busch brewery have always been polyglot. German, Irish and Italian immigrants have given way to Thais, Mexicans and Bosnians. In fact, this is one of the country's largest Bosnian neighborhoods, and Grbic Restaurant (4701 Keokuk Street, 314-772-3100; entrees $12 to $30) is a local institution. The Grbic family redesigned an old brick dairy to resemble a southern European hearth kitchen with a large fireplace and antiques on the walls. Try the goulash, cauliflower schnitzel, stuffed cabbage and shashlik. Leave room for palacinke, a Bosnian crepe confection with whipped cream and chocolate sauce.

    8:30 p.m.
    9) Duck Walk on the Wild Side

    The rock 'n' roll legend Chuck Berry electrified the world with songs like "Sweet Little Sixteen" and "Back in the U.S.A.," but St. Louisans were more impressed that his lyrics usually mentioned his hometown. Mr. Berry is still going strong at 79 and performs one Wednesday a month at Blueberry Hill (6504 Delmar Boulevard, 314-727-4444); you might be lucky and catch an impromptu cameo on Saturday night when other local and national acts perform. The sidewalks of the surrounding Delmar Loop bar and nightclub district are dotted with "Walk of Fame" plaques honoring St. Louisans like T. S. Eliot, William Burroughs, Tennessee Williams, Redd Foxx, Masters & Johnson and Josephine Baker.

    Sunday

    9 a.m.
    10) Flour and Flowers

    Get some of St. Louis's best doughnuts at World's Fair Doughnuts (1904 South Vandeventer Avenue, 314-776-9975), where Terry Clanton turns out a variety of classic glazed and cake doughnuts (try the buttermilk ones, 47 cents each) while you watch; his wife, Peggy, helps out and works the counter. Then head around the corner to the Missouri Botanical Garden (4344 Shaw Boulevard, 314-577-9400; $8, free for children under 13). The gardens were originally the country estate of an English immigrant, Henry Shaw, who turned it into a public garden in 1859. It has since become a world leader in plant science, biodiversity and conservation. The 79 acres include Shaw's original home, a Japanese garden and an indoor conservatory for rare tropical trees and plants.

    Noon
    11) An Ikette's Banquettes

    Robbie Montgomery, above right, was an Ikette with Ike and Tina Turner and sang backup for the Supremes and the Rolling Stones. She came home 10 years ago to open Sweetie Pie's in suburban Dellwood. A second location at 4270 Manchester Avenue (314-371-0304, $8 to $15 a person), features a friendly staff, Southern-style décor, gospel music on the stereo and soul-food classics like pork steak with gravy, ribs, chicken, sweet potatoes and peach cobbler.

    The Basics

    Lambert-St. Louis International Airport is 20 minutes by cab from downtown St. Louis. You can also take the MetroLink light rail system, which stops near Forest Park and the Delmar Loop; other areas are best reached by car.

    The classic Chase Park Plaza hotel (212 North Kingshighway Boulevard, 314-633-3000; www.chaseparkplaza.com), near Gilded Age mansions in the Central West End, offers great park and skyline views that come at a price: $250 and up for most rooms.

    The Hyatt Regency St. Louis at Union Station (1 St. Louis Union Station, 314-231-1234; www.stlouis.hyatt.com; $109 and up), is within a renovated train station that is now a shopping and restaurant venue; the old vaulted waiting room is the hotel's lobby and a great place for a drink.

    If you want to stay downtown, try the Omni Majestic Hotel (1019 Pine Street, 314-436-2355; www.omnimajestic.com), in a restored landmark building with period touches like mahogany woodwork; rooms start at $129.
    ***

  9. #39

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    From the Wall Street Journal (subscription):

    OFF THE BEATEN TRACK

    St. Louis

    Reporter Laura Meckler, a former St. Louis resident, on where to shop, eat and wander in a vibrant neighborhood near Washington University.

    October 31, 2006; Page D6

    What to see: The Loop, located along Delmar Boulevard, was a hangout for college students even during its darker days. But in recent years the area has thrived, with shops and entertainment popping up and down the street. The heart of the Loop remains Blueberry Hill, a bar and eatery with live music, including shows with Chuck Berry, who, at 80 years old, still plays once a month ($25 for Berry shows, 6504 Delmar, Tel. 314-727-4444, www.blueberryhill.com). The Tivoli Theatre, restored to its 1924 glory, shows independent, foreign and cult films (6350 Delmar, Tel. 314-862-1100). Pin-Up Bowl is a martini bar in front with eight lanes of bowling in the back (6191 Delmar, Tel. 314-727-5555, www.pinupbowl.com). All along Delmar, look down to see 116 stars along the St. Louis Walk of Fame, each telling the story of a notable native and others with strong ties to the city. Among them: Miles Davis, Maya Angelou, Tennessee Williams and Yogi Berra (www.stlouiswalkoffame.org).

    Where to shop: Craft Alliance, a nonprofit arts center, is the pace setter for more than a half-dozen art galleries (6640 Delmar, Tel. 314-725-1177, www.craftalliance.org). Comic aficionados will "Holy Batman" their way through Star Clipper, with 350 titles including many from small and independent companies (6392 Delmar, Tel. 314-725-9110, www.starclipper.com). Bring home a cloth puppet or wooden pull toy for the tots back home from City Sprouts (6354 Delmar, Tel. 314-726-9611). And yes, actual albums (along with many more CDs) are still for sale at Vintage Vinyl (6610 Delmar, Tel. 314-721-4096, www.vintagevinyl.com).

    Where to eat: Mirasol serves up pan-Latin tapas, with spicy scotch bonnet mango sauce on every table for the adventurous (6144 Delmar, Tel. 314-721-6909, www.mirasol-stl.com). The front room at Riddle's Penultimate Cafe and Wine Bar looks like a college bar but in the back you'll find a menu with tasty and sophisticated dishes made with organic and locally grown ingredients (6307 Delmar, Tel. 314-725-6985). At Fitz's American Grill and Bottling Works, a family-friendly eatery, customers can watch homemade root beer and other soft drinks being mixed and bottled (6605 Delmar, Tel. 314-726-9555, www.fitzsrootbeer.com).

    Where to stay: In the Central West End, try the beautifully renovated Chase Park Plaza, built in the 1920s (Rooms from $269, Tel. 314-633-3000, www.chaseparkplaza.com).

  10. #40

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    Hopefully only a minor setback...

    City fears crime report fallout
    By Jeremy Kohler
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    10/31/2006


    SUMMARY: Mayor Francis Slay's office struck back Monday at what officials say is a flawed study ranking St. Louis at the top of the nation's large cities in crime.


    Here we go again: A publisher in Kansas, using a formula decried by criminologists, says St. Louis is the most dangerous city in the United States. And city officials are fuming.

    As the buzz lifted from Sunday's World Series parade, the ranking kept national media focused here. The storyline? St. Louis: First in baseball, first in crime. Detroit finished second in both.

    All the attention from the annual safety ranking by Morgan Quitno Press — a publisher of reference books and lists of statistics — had St. Louis officials seeing red — and not of the Cardinals variety.


    "This thing is bogus," grumbled Jeff Rainford, chief of staff to Mayor Francis Slay.

    But bogus or not, Rainford said, there is good reason to worry the ranking could hurt St. Louis.

    Nancy Milton, spokeswoman for the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission, said she fielded phone calls Monday from convention planners concerned about what they were hearing. She declined to identify them.

    "A majority of them say they're going to face questions from their boards of directors and their constituents, and they want to get ahead of those questions," she said. Milton said most seemed to understand that the ranking had little to do with the safety of conventioneers.

    "Chicago had 448 murders and St. Louis had a regrettable 131, but I don't think anyone is going to stop going to Chicago," she said.

    Morgan Quitno's assessment is based on a given city's rates last year in six crime categories — murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and auto theft — as reported to the FBI. The firm, in Lawrence, Kan., scored cities against national averages in each category and added the scores, weighting each crime the same.

    Richard Rosenfeld, a criminologist at the University of Missouri at St. Louis, said Morgan Quitno's methodology is flawed because it compares places like Memphis, which includes miles of outlying areas, to St. Louis, where the city limits barely extend from the urban core.

    "Does St. Louis have a crime problem? Yes, sure, it has a crime problem, and every big city has a crime problem. Like every big city, it's worse in some areas than others," he said.

    A more telling comparison might be of metropolitan areas, Rosenfeld said.

    Using the same methodology, the St. Louis area ranked 129th most dangerous out of 344 metro areas, said Morgan Quitno's president, Scott Morgan.

    He said such lists are what they are, and he's not surprised this one draws some criticism. "I am stunned if there is a criminologist out there who will support this," he acknowledged.

    St. Louis last held the mantle of shame in 2002, but sloughed it off. It finished no higher than fourth in intervening years, and lost this year in a landslide, Morgan said.

    A bad finish was not a surprise, as reports of violent crimes surged 20 percent last year to their highest levels in seven years.

    On Monday, the city struck back, decrying the timing of the release and the methodology behind the ranking. Morgan Quitno usually releases its study around Thanksgiving.

    "I've got to give them credit," Rainford said. "They don't know anything about crime or statistics but they do know something about public relations."

    Rainford, a former PR man, blasts Morgan Quitno every fall. (Last year: "worthless"; two years ago: "charlatans".) On Monday, he said City Hall was ratcheting up the city's defense.

    To wit, he branded Morgan "this guy who's working in his pajamas and his bare feet in his mother's basement on his PC."

    Morgan said he did not purposefully release the report to coincide with the World Series; he said it was released earlier than in other years because his firm received crime data from the FBI earlier.

    "I am fine getting fried by people who want to go after this thing and say there is not a problem in St. Louis," he said.

    Not that everyone was unhappy. Some 900 miles away, Gwendolyn Faison, mayor of Camden, N.J., told the Associated Press that her day was made.

    Her hard-luck community held the mantle the past two years. Without the most dangerous title, "There's a new hope and a new spirit," she said.


    The most dangerous five:
    1. St. Louis
    2. Detroit
    3. Flint, Mich.
    4. Compton, Calif.
    5. Camden, N.J.

    The safest five:
    1. Brick, N.J.
    2. Amherst, N.Y.
    3. Mission Viejo, Calif.
    4. Newton, Mass.
    5. Troy, Mich.

  11. #41

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    ^ Instead of going into denial, St. Louis should do something about it.

  12. #42
    Senior Member Bob's Avatar
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    I was in St. Louis a few months back, for a conference. A colleague and I decided to walk downtown to find a restaurant and to check out the architecture. Hassle. Hassle. Hassle. Just about every corner and street was populated with bums -- that's right, bums -- who refused to mine their own business and to leave us alone. Each of these bums presented a threat, particularly as each was aggressive and, in one case, stood in our path! The final insult was an out-of-the-blue racist remark thrown at us by one of these fine young urban gentlemen, "oh I get it, you white guys smoking cigars are too busy to talk to a black man." This got my blood boiling, but my friend said "forget about him, he's just looking for a fight."

    This is the impression I have of St. Louis. And a good reason I won't be going back unless my employer sends me there again on business.

  13. #43
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    I'm hoping to be able to see this eventually.


    Review> Designed, Despised, Demolished

    The Pruitt-Igoe Myth examines the human story behind the infamous housing project.

    by David D'Arcy


    Aerial view of the Pruitt-Igoe in St. Louis. Courtesy State Historical Society of Missouri

    

The Pruitt-Igoe apartments were a place, but they have a greater presence as an epithet. Dynamited by St Louis authorities on live television in 1972, and eventually leveled over next the next four years, the housing projects became a concrete argument against high-rise, high-density public housing, and against spending money on the undeserving poor. The demolition created a mushroom cloud of urban planning textbooks. With it, the nostrums of liberalism and the modernist structures that sheltered its hopes came tumbling down.

    The Pruitt-Igoe Myth: An Urban History, a new documentary by Chad Friedrichs tries to persuade those willing to listen that things didn’t need to turn out that way. Former residents of the project recall their years in Pruitt-Igoe as some of the best of their lives. The real villains, we hear, were neglect, racism, and abandonment.

    Making a film sympathetic to Pruitt-Igoe is a bit like arguing that Jimmy Carter should be president again—well-meaning, perhaps, but not worth serious consideration.

    The Pruitt-Igoe Myth revisits the late 1940’s in the black and white palette of newsreel to exhume the post-war ideals that set the project in motion. It wasn’t all idealism. Developers supported slum clearance in St. Louis. Employers wanted their labor force to be nearby, especially if the government paid.




    Pruitt-Igoe Myth movie poster (top) and an aerial view of the Pruitt-Igoe site (above).
    Daniel Magidson and Courtesy USGS

    For the first few years, shown in nostalgic archival footage, it all went harmoniously. But when budgets came under stress, maintenance suffered. As the buildings deteriorated, the tenants began to leave. Abandonment led to vandalism and more neglect. The projects were stigmatized as a black hole of crime and inexhaustible spending. Few risked defending the place, certainly not politicians seeking re-election.

    Academics and former residents rhapsodize about the early days of Pruitt-Igoe. And why not? The slums that were cleared on the site were fetid places. The same choruses agree in the film that the problem at Pruitt-Igoe (and in most public housing) was not overspending but the failure to fund its operations, which doomed it to ruin. Once a place of 33 buildings and 2870 apartments, there were 600 people living there when the fuse was first set in on March 16, 1972.

    In St. Louis, other factors were at work. Public housing in Missouri wasn’t legally desegregated until 1954 (when the first building opened), so Pruitt-Igoe (named for a black World War II pilot and a white congressman) was all black. It was easy for white people to fear and for white politicians to scapegoat. With white flight to the suburbs, the once-vibrant city lost population, and the industrial jobs which new arrivals from the rural South expected simply weren’t there. Men were unemployed, and families surviving on welfare were denied benefits if there was a father in the house. The spiral headed downward.

    St. Louis, with its relatively tight municipal borders, seemed to be aiming at more than the physical obliteration of what was considered a factory of crime and decay. If the African-American residents of Pruitt-Igoe had their homes leveled, there would be nowhere for them to live in St. Louis. Once out of the projects, they would be out of town, out of sight and out of mind. Abandonment of the residents, the film tells us, seemed a deliberate policy.

    Strong in sociology, and edited deftly to keep the film from becoming an earnest lecture, The Pruitt-Igoe Myth is not a documentary about architecture. The architect, Minoru Yamasaki, is never named, although we do hear endless versions of the received wisdom that big and modern is bad, especially if taxes pay for it.


    Implosion of Pruitt-Igoe in 1972.
    Courtesy State Historical Society of Missouri

    Absent from the film are the facts that Yamasaki had originally planned a lower-rise project, at varying heights and higher cost. The plan exceeded federal cost guidelines and the local authority then mandated uniform 11-story buildings, which were more dependent on elevators than the original plan. It cost an over-budget $36 million. Were height and density destiny there? Probably. The film never addresses the fact that a nearby low-rise project remained stable throughout the worst crises of Pruitt-Igoe.

    Although sympathetic to the tenants and to the idea of public housing, the documentary does examine the vandalism and violence that became the scourge of Pruitt-Igoe. Former tenants recall how children there developed skills for destroying anything that was constructed to be vandal-proof. The deck was stacked against the mostly poor residents, as we see in footage from a desperate Pruitt-Igoe rent strike, but conditions encouraged their kids to destroy their surroundings. They did, and ended up paying the price.

    We hear the emotion in their voices as they look back on Christmas in the project’s early years after families were lifted out of slums or rural shacks for the first time. It’s painful to watch as they describe how their homes became despised and eventually disposable containers. As always, once people are shown to be human, it’s hard for the audience to remain smug.

    http://www.archpaper.com/news/articles.asp?id=5539

  14. #44
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    ^ Now on DVD .


    Eero Saarinen’s Gateway Arch in St. Louis Broke Ground 50 Years Ago Today

    by Branden Klayko


    St. Louis’ Gateway Arch under construction. (Courtesy Missouri State Archives)

    Fifty years ago, the St. Louis waterfront was one gigantic parking lot after 40 blocks of the city’s gritty industrial quarter were cleared in the late 1930s to create a site for a new Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. It took another two decades to get anything built, but on February 12, 1963, the missing slice of St. Louis began to change as ground was broken for Eero Saarinen’s famous Gateway Arch that still defines St. Louis in one dramatic gesture.


    Eero Saarinen inspects a model of the Gateway Arch in the late 1950s.
    (Courtesy Yale University Archives / Eero Saarinen Collection)


    Gateway Arch site after demolition. (Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Archives / Courtesy Wikipedia)


    Gateway Arch site as a parking lot in the 1950s. (Courtesy Yale University Archives / Eero Saarinen Collection)


    Eero Saarinen in front of his winning proposal for the Gateway Arch. (Courtesy Yale University Archives / Eero Saarinen Collection)


    Sketch of the Gateway Arch from the 1940s. (Courtesy Yale University Archives / Eero Saarinen Collection)

    The posthumous groundbreaking (Saarinen died in 1961) of the stainless-steel-clad catenary arch captured the nation’s imagination, and in December 1963, Popular Mechanics noted, ”The Arch is America’s newest and highest national monument, and certainly its most unique.” It went on to correctly predict that “The majestic monument in gleaming stainless steel will be such a dominant landmark that it inevitably will come to symbolize St. Louis.” The article goes on to discuss the construction challenges that lay ahead as the two 630-foot-tall sides of the arch were built independently and had to line up at the top with a margin of error of only 1/64 of an inch.

    Today, leaders in St. Louis and at the National Park Service are hurring to complete the next chapter of the Gateway Arch’s history: remaking the landscape around the monument to better connect and engage with the surrounding city. Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates’s design won following a competition in 2010, and later this month, CityArchRiver, the organization overseeing the redevelopment, will hold a public meeting to report on the latest news and updates.


    The Gateway Arch on the St. Louis skyline. (Daniel X. O’Neil / Flickr)


    An elevator inside the Gateway Arch. (Nan Palmero / Flickr)


    The Gateway Arch. (Tim Hamilton / Flickr)


    St. Louis’ Gateway Arch. (Jason Raia / Flickr)


    The Gateway Arch. (Doug Kerr / Flickr)


    Shadow of the Gateway Arch. (Rian Castillo / Flickr)


    View from the top of the Gateway Arch. (George Thomas / Flickr)


    Gateway Arch detail. (Mark Borcherding / Flickr)


    The base of the Gateway Arch. (dctim1 / Flickr)


    Inside the Gateway Arch. (Brian Wright / Flickr)

    http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/archives/54831

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