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12th Anniversary of UrbanReviewSTL.com, No More Comments Section

October 31, 2016 Featured, Site Info, Steve Patterson Comments Off on 12th Anniversary of UrbanReviewSTL.com, No More Comments Section
Me pre-stroke in the December 2006 issue of St. Louis Magazine. Photo by Dillip Vishwanat
Me pre-stroke in the December 2006 issue of St. Louis Magazine. Photo by Dillip Vishwanat

Twelve years ago today I registered the domain UrbanReviewSTL.com and began writing. I stopped only when I was sedated for a few weeks following my February 2008 stroke. I originally started the blog as a distraction to my father’s recovery from a heart attack a month earlier. It worked — turns out it was just what I needed at that point in my life.

This blog has always been a way to help me express myself. I really enjoyed the first decade, but the last two years not so much.

I’ve blogged for 12 of my 26+ years living in St. Louis, Missouri. It has been a long time coming, but I’ve become very disillusioned with St. Louis — the entire region. My optimism has been replaced with skepticism. More than a century of doing the wrong thing has permeated the culture to the point of no return. A few months ago I stopped trying to convince the region to become more urban, more pedestrian-friendly. Harland Bartholomew did irreparable damage to the city & region.

My husband and I would like to move to another region, Chicago is our top pick at this point. However, financial reality may not enable us to do so. While a new mayor in 2017 is a reason to be hopeful, it’s not enough to get us to give up relocating elsewhere. Again, the region has been so mislead for decades — whomever is in room 200 isn’t going to change the region’s culture.

At the same time, the number of people commenting on the blog has decreased. Those who do comment frequently express the very views that represent the reasons why St. Louis won’t recover. I’ve argued with them before, but I’ve realized I’m just wasting my time doing so. However, I hate seeing their narrow views go unchallenged. Those who used to challenge them have also given up.

For a while I considered ending this blog today, I am spending more time working on writing fiction. Ending the blog completely would allow me to devote all my time to the various novels I have outlined. However, as we’ll still be living here until we can afford to move, I’ve decided to keep posting but to turn off the comments. They’ve increasingly gotten under my skin, distracting me.

Only a tiny percentage of viewers actually comment. Granted, some may come here to read the comments, but that’s also a small percentage. Besides, I haven’t checked my traffic in years — yes, years. Like that day 12 years ago, I’m writing for myself. I’m doing what I think is best for me. If others want to read what I write, great. If some are upset they can’t comment, they’re free to start their own blog where they can share differing views.

For the next two months, at least, I’ll continue posting four times per week:

  • Sunday 8am: new poll
  • Monday 5:45am: new post
  • Wednesday 5:45am: results, discussion of recent poll
  • Friday 5:45am: new board bills, other topics if no bills

I do hope the young people here will continue to fight for change. but I’ll be 50 in February — I’m tired of fighting for what I consider fundamentals.

— Steve Patterson


Happy Holidays

December 24, 2015 Featured, Steve Patterson 2 Comments

Wishing you Happy Holidays — assuming you celebrate a holiday this time of year.

Despite being atheists, my husband and I put up a Xmas tree and will host three members of his family for lunch tomorrow. For me, the holidays are about family and good food made from scratch.

From the 2014 Garden Glow at the Missouri Botanical Garden
From the 2014 Garden Glow at the Missouri Botanical Garden

I’m writing this on Wednesday morning, but I’ve got to get into the kitchen to make a couple of things my mom always used to make in December — divinity & fudge. I’ll also be making something my husband’s German grandparents made for the holidays — stollen. Friday morning my husband will prepare another holiday tradition from their family gatherings — deviled eggs as an appetizer.

Next year I’ll introduce his family to zwieback:

Russian Mennonite zwieback, called Tweebak in Plautdietsch, is a yeast bread roll formed from two pieces of dough that are pulled apart when eaten. Placing the two balls of dough one on top of the other so that the top one does not fall off during the baking process is part of the art and challenge that must be mastered by the baker. Traditionally, this type of zwieback is baked Saturday and eaten Sunday morning and for afternoon Faspa (Standard German: “Vesper”), a light meal.

This zwieback originated in the port cities of the Netherlands or Danzig, where toasted, dried buns were used to provision ships. Mennonite immigrants from the Netherlands, who settled in around Danzig in West Prussia continued this practice and brought it to Russia, when they migrated to new colonies in what is today Ukraine.

If I have time I’ll make zwieback today — brings back so many memories of the holidays at my maternal grandparents.

Next new post will be a new poll on Sunday morning at 8am.

— Steve Patterson


This Blog Goes To Eleven

October 30, 2015 Featured, Site Info, Steve Patterson Comments Off on This Blog Goes To Eleven

Tomorrow is the eleventh anniversary of this blog, Sunday is the start of the 12th year. I can’t hear the word eleven without thinking of this clip from 1984 film This is Spinal Tap:

Hopefully my mind is sharper than Nigel’s. See you Sunday.

— Steve Patterson



Twenty-Five Years in Saint Louis

August 27, 2015 Featured, Steve Patterson Comments Off on Twenty-Five Years in Saint Louis

I didn’t go to high school here, but 5 years after high school St. Louis became my new home — 25 years ago today. A couple of weeks earlier I arrived in St. Louis for a 2-night stay on my way to Washington D.C., but I quickly feel in love with St. Louis.

 Looking north on Lemp, August 1990.
Looking north on Lemp, August 1990.

After visiting Washington D.C. for a few days, then Chicago for a few hours, I loaded up my car (a 1984 Dodge Colt) in Oklahoma City and moved to St. Louis. I was 23.

I’ve lived in several neighborhoods, 6 months in the Central West End, 3+ years in Old North St. Louis when it was still officially Murphy-Blair, 10+ years in Dutchtown, 3+ years in neighboring Mt. Pleasant, and now nearly 8 years in Downtown [West].

When I moved here we didn’t have an NFL team, razing buildings to build a stadium to attract a team was an odd priority. The street grid and solid brick buildings were too irresistible.

I often wonder what my life would’ve been like had I kept to my original plan and moved to Washington D.C. Or had I left St. Louis for Seattle in 1999 — I’d sold my furniture and was preparing my house for sale when I got a new job that kept me here.

The other day on the bus I passed by the house where I stayed my very first 2 nights and about a month after I returned permanently. I saw the for sale sign out in front of 2930 Lemp.

— Steve Patterson




“Do You Have A Home?”

Living at 16th & Locust is very convenient to the downtown central business district (CBD), central library, city hall, numerous MetroBus lines, Washington Ave nightlife, etc.  It’s also very close to where many of the region’s homeless hang out — not a problem for me. In fact, when I’m out in my wheelchair I’m often mistaken as homeless. My white middle-class neighbors ignore me on the sidewalk, church groups passing out food from car trunks/vans offer me a meal, the homeless ask me if I have a cigarette or light.

Part of it is that I rarely dress to impress, shorts/faded jeans  & t-shirt are common. Another is the wheelchair. My power chair is now seven years old, it’s showing its age. Still, few disabled homeless have power chairs, most use manual wheelchairs. Still, I think many assume a person in a wheelchair passing the library is a homeless person.

Students return to Lafayette Preparatory Academy from outdoor time at Lucas Park's playground, August 2013 photo
Students return to Lafayette Preparatory Academy from outdoor time at Lucas Park’s playground, August 2013 photo. Click image for school website

As is often the case I was returning home from Culinaria as grade school students were returning from recess in Lucas Park. The Locust sidewalk is narrow next to the building so I waited as they passed by, many of the kids said hello as they walked single-file past me. But one girl asked, “Do You Have A Home?” Caught off guard, I quickly replied, “Yes, a few blocks away — a nice loft.”

I didn’t expect such a question, earlier that morning I attended the ULI presentation on the Railway Exchange Building (see What To Do With 1.2 Million Square Feet In The Railway Exchange Building) — I was dressed my best that day: new jeans, white dress shirt, custom-made sport coat. Weeks later is still bothers me this little girl thought I was homeless.

A 2011 interior photo of our loft
A 2011 photo of our loft, I’ve lived here since November 2007

I do think kids raised seeing all facets of society will be better prepared for life when they go out on their own, those raised strictly within their economic class will need to adjust more as adults. I’ll likely email the staff at Lafayette Prep to inquire about their conversations with students about homelessness.

— Steve Patterson