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Readers: Daylight Saving Time Is No Longer Necessary; Patterson Says Keep Clocks Ahead One Hour All Year

November 4, 2015 Politics/Policy, Popular Culture Comments Off on Readers: Daylight Saving Time Is No Longer Necessary; Patterson Says Keep Clocks Ahead One Hour All Year

Sunday’s poll was a chance to compare to the nearly identical poll last March.  This 2nd time a greater percentage are willing to do away with Daylight Saving Time.

Q: Is Daylight Saving Time Still Necessary?

  • No 32 [71.11%]
  • Yes 9 [20%]
  • Neutral 3 [6.67%]
  • Unsure/No Opinion 1 [2.22%]

While we’re early risers, and I go to bed early, I don’t like the idea of a Summer sunrise 4:36am and the latest sunset at 7:29pm. On the other hand, July 4th fireworks could start earlier!

Others suggest we switch to Daylight Saving Time (ahead one hour) and don’t go back to standard time.

Making daylight saving time permanent — by never “falling back” again — could save the country billions a year in social costs by reducing rapes and robberies that take place in the evening hours, according to a forthcoming paper by researchers at the Brookings Institution and Cornell University.

In 2007, Congress increased the period of daylight saving time (DST henceforth) by four weeks, adding three weeks in the spring and one in the fall. “This produced a useful natural experiment for our paper,” authors Jennifer Doleac and Nicholas Sanders write at Brookings, “which helped us isolate the effect of daylight from other seasonal factors that might affect crime.” They found that “when DST begins in the spring, robbery rates for the entire day fall an average of 7 percent, with a much larger 27 percent drop during the evening hour that gained some extra sunlight.”

Today, November 4, 2015, our sunrise is at 6:31am and our sunset will be at 4:58pm. If we stayed on DST they’d be 7:31am & 5:58pm, respectively.  I like the idea of not changing clocks twice a year, I’d just prefer to keep them ahead one hour.

— Steve Patterson


St. Louis Film ‘White Palace’ Premiered 25 Years Ago Today

Twenty-five years ago today was the premier of a film shot in St. Louis, White Palace was based on a novel by of the same name. It had only been two months since I moved from Oklahoma City to St. Louis, so I found this exciting. That said I didn’t see the film in the theater — I was too poor at the time.

Max Baron (James Spader) is a 27-year-old high flying advertising executive still recovering from the death of his wife. One night he is in a bar when he meets Nora Baker (Susan Sarandon) a 43-year-old waitress with a fixation on Marilyn Monroe. The couple gradually fall in love, though age and social differences mean that the path of true love is strewn with problems. (IMDB)

Here’s the trailer, novelist Glenn Savan is the diner customer.

Savan died in 2003, he was 49.

I’ve had this 25th anniversary in my calendar for a few years now, for a few months I’ve been visiting filming locations and working on this post. It’s organized based on the locations, followed by information on the cast. Filming was done in late 1989.  It should be noted that the locations and routes driven don’t make sense to those of us who know the city & region, but the filmmakers were looking for the best locations.

Note — this post contains spoilers.

Okay, let’s get started.

#1 Max Baron’s apartment — Central on the Park condominiums at 210 N. Central.

Central on the Park condos in Clayton was used as the location for Max Baron's apartment.
Central on the Park condos in Clayton was used as the location for Max Baron’s apartment.

We see this building as Max Baron (James Spader) arrives home from work, his car is a Volvo 240 DL — a 1981-85 model. I was a huge Volvo fanatic in the 90s and I had trouble believing a young man who can afford such an expensive place to live would drive a 5+ year-old base model Volvo with manual windows.  A Volvo does make sense, we learn later on his late wife died in a car accident. More believable would’ve been a 240 GL with power windows & sunroof, or a 740/760 model. When Baron parks on the street his left brake light is out.  At home we learn Baron is changing into his tuxedo for a friend’s bachelor party later that evening.

This 4-unit condo development was just being finished as filming was taking place. The architect was Lou Sauer, developed by his brother who owned Conrad Properties.  Not sure which of the 4 units was used for interior shots. In the movie it was portrayed as an apartment — with rent of $1,200/month. That’s $2,188/month in today’s dollars! A couple of these condos have sold for over a million dollars.

#2 White Knight Diner 1801 Olive.

The diner used in the movie was built in 1954, it was remodeled to have this appearance for the movie.
The diner used in the movie was built in 1954, it was remodeled to have this appearance for the movie.

The owner of the diner wanted to use the name ‘White Palace’ but the request to use the name was denied — so it became the ‘White Knight.’  It was closed recently to repair damage after being hit by a car. When Baron arrives to pick up burgers for a bachelor party he parks on 18th Street, his left brake is suddenly working.

Ironically, Savan wanted to call his novel White Castle, but the chain refused permission. In the book, the White Palace was located at Grand & Gravois, where White Castle is located.  In 1990 the White Castle at that intersection was built up to the sidewalk, in 1996 it was replaced by the current building, which is set back.

At the bachelor party guests realize some of the burger containers are empty, so Baron returns to the White Knight to demand a refund for the missing burgers, he meets Nora Baker (Susan Sarandon) who works there.  Writer Glenn Savan has a cameo in this scene.   In a later scene we see Nora Baker leave and catch a Bi-State bus heading southbound on 18th, a bus shelter is near the diner. Currently no MetroBus route operates on 18th here, but at the time the 80 Southampton bus did go down 18th — see a post-1993 route map here. In the film, the bus turned and headed Westbound on Olive — in real life the bus continued South on 18th.

#3 Lemp Mansion 3322 Demenil Pl

Lemp Mansion
Lemp Mansion

In the book the bachelor party was held at the Cheshire Inn, 6300 Clayton Rd.  In the first scene at the Lemp we only see the interior, but a later scene shows the exterior. Baron’s Volvo is parked on the same side of the street, facing South. For this to be the case, Demenil Pl would need to be one-way southbound, I believe it was just the way the director wanted the scene to look and how he wanted the actor to approach the vehicle.

That side of the street had parking meters, still does. The other side is residential and doesn’t have meters.

#4 bar on St. Louis Ave. – 1901 St. Louis Ave.

This bar at 19th & St. Louis Ave filled in for a bar near the Dogtown Neighborhood
This bar at 19th & St. Louis Ave filled in for a bar near the Dogtown Neighborhood

After leaving the bachelor party, Baron drives around and decides to have a drink in a working-class establishment. I lived very close to this bar from March 1991 — August 1994. It was during this time that I rented the movie on VHS tape.

It happens that Nora Baker is in the bar and remembers Baron from earlier, Baron doesn’t recognize her initially. Baker flirts with Baron but after a few drinks he leaves to go home, she follows him out and asks for a ride home.  She says she lives nearby — so it’s supposed to be close to — but not in — Dogtown.

#5 Nora J. Baker’s house1521 W. Billon. Razed in 1992

Scrapbook photo of 1521 W. Billon Ave
Scrapbook photo of 1521 W. Billon Ave

When Baker is giving Baron directions he realizes she lives in the area known as Dogtown.  When they arrive he takes out her mailbox & post, the front left of his Volvo is damaged. This is movie drama because this area doesn’t have mailboxes out by the street.

After seeing the film the first time I went looking for this house, but it was already gone. A couple of months ago I went to photograph the vacant lot where it was located and ended up meeting a couple of members of the Hartlage family, who’ve lived on this very block for generations.  Pretty soon I was sitting on the porch of the similar house, next door to the North, looking at their scrapbooks from the filming & movie.

Mr. Hartlage planned to raze it and another nearly identical house two doors North. When approached about using the house in the film, he agreed to allow it. The only cost — tear it down afterwards. It was too noisy to film the interior shots, so the interior we see in the movie was a set built a warehouse in the Central West End using interior details from the house at 1515 W. Billon.

In the movie a corner of the parking lot for the Denny’s on Hampton was disguised as a used car lot. A Scullin Steel sign was added to the fence of the commercial property to the South.

I then began  wondering about the street —  West Billon — I got sidetracked into some fascinating history! West Billon is a North-South street so the name would imply it was West of Billon. Who was Billon?

Historian Frederick L. Billon was born April 28, 1801, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and died October 20, 1895, in St. Louis. He came to St. Louis in the autumn of 1818, and soon became prominently identified with local affairs. He was a member of the Board of Aldermen in 1828, and thereafter was twice appointed city comptroller. In 1853, he was appointed first auditor of the Missouri Pacific Railway Company, and held that position until 1858, when he became secretary and treasurer of the company. He resigned the last-named position in 1863, and from that time until his death devoted himself to collecting historical matter pertaining to the early settlement of St. Louis and the Mississippi Valley. He was long regarded as an authority on matters of this character, and published Annals of St. Louis in its Territorial Days. He married Miss E.L. Generelly, who was a native of Philadelphia. He had four children: Louis (born 1835), Clara (born 1840), George (born 1839), and Ada (born 1854). (Missouri History Museum)

As stated above, he wrote the Annals of St. Louis in its early days under the French and Spanish dominations in 1886, he’s buried at Calvary Cemetery — see his memorial on Find-A-Grave. To figure out more about the street named after him I turned to the Sanborn Maps for Missouri collection.

This January 1903 Sanborn fire insurance map shows the frame houses on W, Billon in the upper left. The brick Gratiot School, still standing, is shown in pink. What we know as Hampton Ave today was Billon Ave, which ended at the railroad tracks.
This January 1903 Sanborn fire insurance map shows the frame houses on W, Billon in the upper left. The brick Gratiot School, still standing, is shown in pink. What we know as Hampton Ave today was Billon Ave, which ended at the railroad tracks. Click map image to view the full page image.

So Hampton Ave. used to be Billon Ave? Not exactly. In May 1918 the Board of Public Service was seeking bids “for opening and widening Billon Ave., from Oakland to Manchester Ave.; Hampton Ave., from Gravois to Billon Ave.” (Source)  I interpret this to mean the 1918 bid included building a viaduct over the River Des Peres and Union Pacific’s rail lines to connect Hampton Ave to Billon Ave. Presumably, it all became Hampton Ave after the work was completed.

Back to White Palace locations…

#6 Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery 7550 Olive Blvd University City

The cemetery entrance on Olive just West of Hanley
The cemetery entrance on Olive just West of Hanley

Here we see Max Baron and his mom visiting the grave of his late wife, Jane Roth. who died two years earlier at age 25.

The land for this cemetery was acquired in 1893 while the synagogue, built in 1889, was on O’Fallon St. in North St. Louis.  It makes sense this cemetery was used, Savan’s grandparents are buried here. In 1976, two years after his grandmother died, his mom Annette “Babs” Savan died at age 44.  When Glenn Savan died in 2003 he was buried here. Four years later his dad, Sidney Savan, joined them.

#7 Ad agency Laclede’s Landing

Not sure the exact building that was used, but the Arch can be seen out the window. Savan’s father Sidney was in advertising, but I think his firm was in Des Peres.

#8 Arch Grounds

Max & Nora walk through the Arch grounds' allée of ash trees during the Fall
Max & Nora walk through the Arch grounds’ allée of ash trees during the Fall

#9 Jewish wedding — location unknown. Max attends without taking Nora.

#10 Dierbergs Heritage Place12599 Olive Blvd

The exterior was not shown in the film
The exterior was not shown in the film

Here Max Baron & Nora Baker are grocery shopping in a very upscale store. Nora, dressed poorly to other customers, is smoking in the check-out line! Max goes to the deli to get fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not the common grated parmesan cheese Nora had in their cart. He runs into Rachel Horowitz, the bride from the wedding scene, she invites him & his “mystery lady” to their new house for Thanksgiving. Before the cheese was added the total came to $129.14 — $235.47 in 2015 dollars.

Only interior shots of this store are shown in the movie but my chance meeting with the Harlages provided insight — one was an extra in this scene. Filming was done late at night in a not-yet-open Dierberg’s location. I checked with Dierbergs who replied saying, “Thank you for your recent email.  Our Heritage store opened December 3, 1989.” Again, the film was shot in late 1989 so this location is confirmed.

The interior has been remodeled since — all the tacky brass is gone — so is the movie rental area after the registers.

#11 Edith Baron’s house — location unknown

Max picks up his mom for Thanksgiving at the Horowitz’s, Nora is waiting the car.

#12 Horowitz residence, #2 Frontenac Place

This home was new in 1989, it first sold right after filming,
This home was new in 1989, it first sold right after filming,

Max’s friends finally get to meet his new girl, who’s “no Spring chicken.”  Seated at dinner there’s an argument and Nora leaves, Max & his mom also leave since they’re together. The argument continues at Nora’s house. In the next scene Max goes back to the White Palace to talk to Nora only to find out she has quit her job. Max races to her house to find it empty, she left him a note saying she left — it was better for both of them.

#13 Carwash — location unknown

Max is driving his Volvo through a car wash, the front is fixed which indicates a passing of time.

#14 Soloman residence — location unknown

Max attends a brunch hosted by Heidi Soloman, a socially-appropriate single woman others had suggested Max should date. Throughout the film she expressed interest in Max. She seems perfect, but Max snaps when he checks the dust buster on the wall — “There’s no dust in her dustbuster!”

#15 Entering Manhattan, NY59th St/Queensboro Bridge

The 59th St/Queensboro Bridge. October 2001
The 59th St/Queensboro Bridge. October 2001

A helicopter view of a yellow taxicab crossing over the East River into Manhattan.  A brief shot insider the taxicab shows Max in the back seat as it is crossing the bridge.

In October 2001 I visited two retailers located under the bridge abutments, a now-defunct Conran’s Habitat furniture store and a grocery store.

The Food Emporium still operates this location, click image for website.
The Food Emporium still operates this location, click image for website.


#17 Judy Baker’s NYC Residence7 St Marks Place NY, NY

Earlier we met Nora’s older sister Judy, a clairvoyant visiting from New York. Her and Max bonded in St. Louis, she gave him her card if he was ever in NYC. He arrives in front of her building in the East Village — it still looks the same, though the street trees have matured. He rings her apartment and they chat in the doorway.

#18 Nora Baker’s workplace — Duff’s Restaurant 392 North Euclid Avenue, St. Louis

Duff's operated here from 1972-2013
Duff’s operated here from 1972-2013

The final scene was filmed in St. Louis, with Duff’s Restaurant filling in as an East Village restaurant. A Toyota parked on the street has a front New York license plate, a couple of yellow taxicabs drive by, one has a New York plate in back. Duff’s opened in 1972 when there was renewed interest in the Central West End, it closed 41 years later in June 23, 2013.  In November 2013 Cucina Pazzo opened in the Duff’s space, but it closed in June of this year. The same operators reopened as Tavern Kitchen & Bar (Source).

This final scene has been criticized as cheesy, the book’s ending is apparently much better. I bought a used copy of the book, but haven’t had a chance to read even the end yet.
Now some tidbits about some of the cast.
  1. Susan Sarandon/Nora Baker: Sarandon was well established by 1990, including the role of Janet 15 years earlier in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Her father was in advertising. She was the same age as Nora, 43, at the time of filming, but 44 by the premier. Some felt she was too attractive to play Nora Baker, they felt the character in the book wasn’t as appealing.
  2.  James Spader/Max Baron: Spader was 29 at filming, playing a 27 year old. He was 30 at the premier. Still, the two leads are 14 years apart.
  3. Jason Alexander/Neil (Horowitz): Alexander played George in The Seinfeld Chronicles (Pilot), which aired in July 1989. Seinfeld, the series, first aired on May 31, 1990. Earlier in 1990 Alexander had a supporting role in Pretty Woman.
  4. Kathy Bates/Rosemary (Max’s boss): This was a very small role. A month later a little film called Misery opened.
  5. Eileen Brennan (1932-2013)/July Baker: Five years earlier she was in Clue, which also starred Tim Curry, who appeared with Sarandon in Rocky Horror.
  6. Rachel (Levin) Chagall/Rachel Horowitz: A few years later she and would work together again, both with supporting roles on The Nanny. She played Fran Fine’s best friend Val Toriello.
  7. Renée Taylor/Edith Baron (Max’s mom): In The Nanny she played Fran Fine’s mom Sylvia Fine.

I love this movie! Both the movie & book are available through the St. Louis Public Library. Additionally, the DVD is available via Netflix.

— Steve Patterson


History Repeating Itself: Public Funded Sports Facilities

Now that I’ve lived in St. Louis for more than a quarter century, I’m realizing history is starting to repeat itself. When I moved to St. Louis, we had no NFL team, a couple of years earlier the Football Cardinals moved from St. Louis to Phoenix. I didn’t care. My 5 years of undergraduate studies at the football-obsessed University of Oklahoma didn’t convert me into a fan of the game. Upon moving here I saw locals depressed about the loss of the Football Cardinals — a team that originated in Chicago.

I watched as we built an expensive new stadium in the hopes of getting an expansion team:

Charlotte was awarded the first franchise – the Carolina Panthers – in October 1993. Surprisingly, the naming of the second expansion city was delayed a month. Most pundits speculated that the delay was made to allow St. Louis to shore up its bid. At the time, St. Louis was considered the favorite for the second franchise, with Baltimore’s three bids also considered strong. However, in a surprising move, the NFL owners voted 26–2 in favor of awarding the 30th franchise to Jacksonville. (Wikipedia)

The collective civic spirit sank.  And what to do with a brand new dome?

The current home of the St. Louis Rams was built in a failed big to get an NFL expansion team,
The current home of the St. Louis Rams was built in a failed big to get an NFL expansion team,

During the 1994 season Georgia Frontiere, the owner of the Los Angeles Rams, was having trouble finding a new stadium for her team as the city of Los Angeles and the surrounding area was not willing to have taxpayer money pay for it. At the time, the Rams were playing in Anaheim Stadium, to which the team had moved in 1980 from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and which had required a massive reconstruction in order for the Rams to be able to play in what was originally only intended to be a home for the California Angels. Frontiere, who inherited control of the team following the death of her husband Carroll Rosenbloom in 1979, decided that relocation was the only option and initially considered Baltimore, the city where her husband originally owned the Colts before he traded ownership of the team with Robert Irsay, before deciding on St. Louis as the domed stadium that was originally intended for the stillborn Stallions franchise was nearing completion. The NFL initially was unwilling to allow the move out of Los Angeles, and in fact had voted to reject it, but acquiesced after Frontiere threatened to sue the league. The Rams played their first few home games in Busch Stadium until their new home, which became known as the Trans World Dome, opened on November 12 with a game against the expansion Panthers. (Wikipedia)

To save the political embarrassment of having a costly new facility sitting idle our leaders gave Frontiere a sweet deal to get her to move the team — we guaranteed the new dome would remain in the top 25% of all NFL stadiums at 10 & 20 year marks, on a 30 year agreement. The Rams let us pass at 10 years but at the 20 year point new owner Stan Kroenke opted to go year to year, allowed per the original agreement.

No politician wants to lose, on their watch, a major corporation, sports franchise, etc. Nor do they want a facility costing hundreds of millions sitting empty. Just imagine if we hadn’t lured the Rams here two decades ago — the political fallout would’ve been huge.

Now politicians and our civic leaders are scrambling to cover their asses, allowing them to say they did everything they could to keep the Rams here. I know people get attached to sports teams, but any benefits we receive don’t remotely offset the costs. Not even close.

Giving professional sports owners many, many millions in taxpayer money to build new stadiums has never made sense, but it keeps happening.

Most of us understand this is a scam. Studies have argued repeatedly that there’s no real economic impact from a new stadium. There’s no real economic impact on a city, county or state, that is. The economic impact for a pro sports owner is very real. (Yahoo! Sports)

John Oliver explained it well recently, this is almost 20 minutes but worth it:

Owners of professional sport teams have successfully manipulated region after region to get taxpayers to fund new facilities.

Taxpayers have spent nearly $3 billion on the 16 stadiums that will host NFL games during the season’s opening weekend, according to figures in a new analysis from the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, a Washington, D.C-based conservative nonprofit group.

All told, 29 of the NFL’s 31 stadiums have received public funds for construction or renovation. In the last two decades, the analysis found, taxpayers across the country have spent nearly $7 billion on stadiums for a league that surpassed $10 billion in revenue last season. (Huffington Post: Taxpayers Have Spent A ‘Staggering’ Amount Of Money On NFL Stadiums)

I’m in favor of using tax revenue to boost our region & economy — a stadium isn’t the best use of a billion dollars.

“Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” — Edmund Burke

It’s depressing that St. Louis is falling for this again…but I’ve lived here long enough I shouldn’t be surprised.

— Steve Patterson




Saturday July 18th: World Naked Bike Ride St. Louis

Tomorrow night is one of my favorite events — the World Naked Bike Ride:

The World Naked Bike Ride in St. Louis is part of an international event to raise awareness of cyclist rights and vulnerability on the road, and promote positive body image and  protest oil dependency.

This year’s 8th annual World Naked Bike Ride in St. Louis will take place on Saturday, July 18. The pre-ride WNBR festival and rally will take place on Manchester Ave. in the Grove,  between Sarah and Kentucky. Stay tuned for more details on the time of the event!

Ride safe and at your own risk! (World Naked Bike Ride St. Louis)

2012: World Naked Bike Ride St. Louis on Lemp Ave
2012: World Naked Bike Ride St. Louis on Lemp Ave

From the World Naked Bike Ride St. Louis website:

A few important things:

  • We encourage you to be safe, wear a helmet and have lights on your bike
  • We ask that photographers and press help create a safe space by being respectful and asking CONSENT to photograph, and encouraging others to do so!
  • Although you can be as bare as you dare during the ride, the St. Louis city requests that we cover our privates at the pre/post party

This year’s ride is 12 miles through the city, see the route here. The ride starts & stops on Manchester in The Grove.

If only I could still ride a bike…

— Steve Patterson



Second Downtown Dog Park: Wedge Between Busch Stadium & MetroLink Line

May 7, 2015 Downtown, Featured, Planning & Design, Popular Culture Comments Off on Second Downtown Dog Park: Wedge Between Busch Stadium & MetroLink Line

In March I posted how some want to turn a large developable site into a 2nd downtown dog park, see Temporary Dog Park On Former Cupples 7 Site Would Be Too Costly.  Then last month I offered an alternative location in existing park space, see Second Downtown Dog Park: Serra’s ‘Twain’. Today I’m suggesting another alternative location for a 2nd downtown dog park:

Dog owners are already using the wedge of grass between 8th St & the MetroLink tracks.
Dog owners are already using the wedge of grass between 8th St & the MetroLink tracks, Busch stadium is on the right.
The site isn't flat -- which might be a problem or an advantage
The site isn’t flat — which might be a problem or an advantage
With Busch Stadium & MetroLink the visibility would be excellent
With Busch Stadium & MetroLink the visibility would be excellent

The grassy area and adjacent parking is divided into many separate parcels of land, some owned by the State of Missouri. Most would agree, because of the small size, this isn’t a desirable site for a new building. The location is convenient to those living in the nearby Cupples warehouses. The Cardinals might be able to help out with finding a permanent dog park at this location.

— Steve Patterson