Tuesday, April 10, 2012

LIVING IN THE LOOP

The best place to buy household items, especially for dorm room living, is Family Dollar.  Either on Delmar east of the Metro stop, or over on Olive at Midland.

$5 lamps and rugs. $3 laundry baskets. Cheap toilet paper, cleaning supplies, organizers and sheets and towels, and even clothing.  Some food, too, but it's not a bad idea to be a little suspicious of the food. (Check the expiry.)  Your wallet won't feel the pinch at Family Dollar. And nothing you will be sad to part with at the end of the semester.

All holiday and party items, household decorations, and small hostess gifts can be found at Dollar Tree next to Schnucks.  They are heavy on the toys, plastic flowers, greeting cards, etc.  They are fun to just browse when you only have a few dollars.

Both the laundromats at Vernon and Kingsland** and Vernon/Balson and Midland are 24 hours.  Not just for laundry, but if you need a soda pop or trashy snack food from the vending machine.

The Check cashing place over at Olive and Kingsland is the best place to pay your Boost mobile bill.  Unlike the on-line site and Boost mobile dealers, they are really just $45 (or $50-- Lupe has a discount).  They don't charge service fees.  They are also cheaper to cash a check than Schnucks.

Even though Washington University has done a survey that what the Loop really needs to be a viable neighbourhood for its' student body is a medium sized grocery store (and a huge strip mall, sadly), the closest major store is still Schnucks on Olive. (If you want imported or specialty food, or a selection of organic or locally grown,  you have to go their Ladue or Clayton stores. The Olive Schnucks is mainstream middle America. )

EDIT: THEY ARE CLOSED: Shur Sav Warehouse Foods on Olive is where mostly black folks shop. It is cheaper than Schnucks. Carnivores have reported to Lupe that Pete's has the best meat.  You buy liquor from a counter at one end of the store, but they do have a large selection. (This is the real reason that many business owners in the Loop oppose Pete's and don't promote it.  There is a very big campaign among members of the Loop Special Business District to make sure that if you are going to get drunk in the Loop you are going to do it in a bar. )

This is a great blog review of Pete's Shur Sav by another blogger. From the Loop you can just walk down the Path that goes from behind the Chuck Berry statue and it will take you all the way to Vernon and the Shur Sav parking lot will be right across the street.

(Pete's is actually a longer walk for Lupe than Schnucks. Truthfully what Lupe would like is a Trader Joe's in the Loop. BTW, the Trader Joe's on Olive is less crowded, has a better selection, and is much easier to access via public transportation.  You really walk around a lot of back alley's and parking lots with no sidewalks or lighting to get from the train or bus to that Brentwood location.)

Of course, the Loop Farmer's Market  is the best place to get your fruits and vegetables.  Only open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday though!

Smoothie King for supplements and healthy snacks, and Al-Tarboush for pita bread, tabouli, hummos, garlic sauce and nectars and juices. Lupe buys her baguettes at Panera, but honestly only because there is no other bakery to choose from, other than Schnucks La Brea bakery "french bread."  It is the lesser of two evils.

All of these places are safe to walk to at night. In fact there are usually a lot of people out walking on Vernon, Olive, Kingsland, and, of course, Delmar.  The violence and shootings that you hear about are random and not really part of the neighbourhood.  Often gang related. It really doesn't overlap like the media would have you believe.  Lupe walks everywhere, even after dark. Lupe has noticed that people that come from larger cities, either nationally or internationally, do not find University City bothersome.

If you do not feel safe walking around in University City at night is it possible you are not used to walking in an urban environment? There is crime, but it is not that prevalent. Use common sense, be aware of your surroundings.

 Lupe encountered more panhandlers in Beverly Hills than she does in the Loop. Or by the campus of USC, where a bachelor's degree costs $250,000. (Wash. U is still under $100K and pretty damn close academically.)

Come to think of it, the most virulent panhandlers she ever encountered were in Paris, on the Champs Elysees.  (Bosnian women, newly arrived from their war torn country back in 2000.) One woman followed her for a block, even crossing the street, shouting at Lupe for money.

See you in the Loop!

** Regarding the laundromat at Vernon and Kingsland.  They are the same as the old laundromat that used to be where Q-doba Mexican food is.  They are nice and new and all big machines.  However, Lupe finds the owners somewhat offensive.  They, all white men, actually said to their African-American employees during the first Obama campaign for presidency that "If he gets elected someone will shoot him."  Lupe has no proof, but she believes her friend that worked there, and so she goes to the other laundromat now.

1 comment:

Greg said...

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http://www.urbanspoon.com/br/28/2557/St-Louis/Delmar-Loop.html

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Greg

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