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St. Louis Natives vs. Newbies

ABOVE: St. Louis' street grid was a recent topic of conversation. Click to view in Google Maps

Last week I posted the following as my status on Facebook:

“I’ve got a couple of friends who are new to St. Louis. Ray & John arrived about the same time, one from SF, one from NYC. The other night at The Royale John was talking about how great the street grid is here! It is just so nice talking to non-natives because they tend to “get it” more than those born here.”

In a short amount of time a heated discussion broke out among my friends, getting nearly 50 comments very quickly.  My original point that those not from here don’t “get it” like those that move here as adults got lost in a debate about St. Louis vs. Kansas City.

Over the weekend a friend told me of a woman from West County that was certain she’d be shot and killed driving to the federal building downtown. In law enforcement, she had a weapon and was planning to wear Kevlar.  She doesn’t like going east of Lindbergh Blvd. Amazing people think like this!?!

Those new to St. Louis, especially those from more urban areas, seek out the urban areas of St. Louis whereas suburbanites often, but not always, fear urban areas. I’m dumbfounded each time I hear stories of people my age living in the region who are afraid to enter the city limits. So I often seek out those who move here from outside the region because it is all new to them.  I get to share my favorite restaurants & pubs, talking about architecture, the street grid — the raw potential.

My two new friends came here for work.  Had they found work in other cities they wouldn’t be here.  But they are quick learners, getting to know our people and institutions better than many who have lived here for years.

I know many natives, of course, who get it, who seek out urbanity rather than fear it.  I love my conversations with them as well but the thrill of introducing a newbie to gems in St. Louis is such fun.  I want them to tell their friends on the coasts of the potential here, the friendly people, the inexpensive cost of living, etc.  Each one needs to get several friends to visit with one deciding to move here.  Eventually it will snowball.  100,000 new residents from each coast would do the trick.

The ratio of natives to newbies would shift and so would the political winds. Sure, it will take a while, but I’m not going anywhere.

– Steve Patterson


Sixth Anniversary of UrbanReviewSTL.com

ABOVE: Steve Patterson 8 months before starting this blog.
ABOVE: Steve Patterson on his 37th birthday February 28, 2004, eight months to the day before starting this blog. Location: Marin County Civic Center by Frank Lloyd Wright

Today marks the sixth anniversary of this blog. I had no idea what I was doing at first, I just needed  a distraction from my Dad who was recovering from a heart attack on 10/1/2004. Many things have happened since:

  • In early 2005 I ran for alderman in the 25th ward. I lost the race.
  • After Katrina I bought a 49cc scooter.
  • In 2006 my Mom passed away. Later that year I started the Master of Arts in Urban Planning & Real Estate Development (UPRED) program at Saint Louis University.
  • In 2007 I went car-free and moved to a loft downtown.
  • On New Year’s Day 2008 my Dad passed away.  A month later, to the day, I had a massive stroke from a hemorrhage on the right side of my brain.  I was hospitalized for three months.
  • In 2009 I finished the coursework for my degree.

As my life has changed this blog has changed.  Where I live, where I go and how I get there plays a big role in what I write about.

Tomorrow, as I start year seven, I look forward to the next six years and beyond.  Thank you!

– Steve Patterson


It Does Get Better

img_0555Today is National Coming Out Day and, yes, I’m gay.  I was harassed for being gay, before I even knew I was gay, during the 5th-8th grade (1977-1981). I came out in 1983, at age 16 — a year after the term “AIDS” was first used.  Although scary times for me, it got better.

Last week I joined hundreds of others in the Central West End for an important event to show youth it gets better:

“They marched as one. Unified by candlelight, reflecting on some of their darkest days of bullying and harassment.” (Vigil Condemns Anti-Gay Bullying)

Here is a short video clip I shot:


The vigil was organized by Growing American Youth:

“Growing American Youth is a social support organization for youth who live near St. Louis and who are 21 and under and may identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, asexual or questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity. Growing American Youth has been serving St. Louis area youth for 30 years.”

In addition to the string of gay teen suicides we now have the story of violence against young gay men in New York:

“Outraged city leaders said Saturday that the city wouldn’t tolerate the “vicious” hatred that had apparently caused a street gang to allegedly beat and torture two teenage boys and a man inside an abandoned home over the course of several hours because they were gay.” (NYC officials outraged over anti-gay gang torture)

Cities are still the most accepting place to be.

– Steve Patterson


Happy Labor Day!

September 4, 2010 Steve Patterson, Travel Comments Off on Happy Labor Day!

I’m in Oklahoma City visiting family & friends for the next week, postings will be few. Happy Labor Day!

– Steve Patterson


Five Years Ago Today

September 4, 2010 Scooters, Steve Patterson 1 Comment

Five years ago today I bought a scooter — a red & white 49cc Honda Metropolitan scooter (see post).  I had witnessed the horror in New Orleans via CNN. Gas prices spiked.

ABOVE: by June 2007 the scooter was my only motorized vehicle, used in all weather
ABOVE: by June 2007 the scooter was my only motorized vehicle, used in all weather

In two and a half years I put over 6,000 miles on the scooter — what a blast.  After my stroke I sold the scooter, no point keeping it around.  I had hoped to get another scooter at some point, but that is not looking to be a possibility.

– Steve Patterson