Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Really this is an open letter to Mr. Edwards, the one man zoning commission and biggest commercial landlord of the Loop proper, and Washington University, the biggest private landlord of the neighbourhoods surrounding the Loop. But I don't think there is a big chance that Wash. U. will read this post.

Hey, so what happened to the neighbourhood? I've been gone for two decades, and I come back- wow! Yeah, the stars on the sidewalk are great, the buildings are rehabbed. The Tivoli has an outdoor marquee (it used to be on the inside of the foyer). The neighbourhood is safer-- geez, on weekends you can hardly walk down the street without bumping into crowds of tourists from West County. But it's not really a neighbourhood anymore.

No laundromat, no quickmart or corner grocery store. I wish I owned stock in that Shell station at Skinker. It's the only place you can buy toilet paper and milk, but they don't have a liquor license. If you want to buy beer, you have to go on over to what used to be Mercy High School and is now a Schnucks. Or up to the Delmar Market on-- is it Debalivere? (Did I mention I've been gone 20 years?)

Good luck finding an affordable apartment in the neighbourhood. And forget living on Delmar in the Loop itself. The apartments over the Tivoli are all commercial now. The apartments over Saleem's and Brandt's are condos. And now the building at Skinker and Delmar is going to become a hotel.

And all of these chain fast food places. I miss the greasy spoon that used to be where Nelly's empty-for-three-years storefronts are now. It's bad enough that St. Louis Bread Company is owned by a national chain, but Starbucks? Come on. And that Chipotle is already an eyesore.

Mr. Edwards, do me a favour. Use your awesome powers of persuasion (is it true you have gotten approval for the Loop trolley after how many years? Really--awesome powers) to convince the City planners-- or whomever is in charge-- to keep this neighbourhood "U"-nique.

And to keep it a neighbourhood.

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