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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Notes from St. Louis

You know the drill. Every time I return, I offer my random months-removed observations of the city I love.

(By the way, it appears New Orleans was spared the worst of Gustav. Still, the city will not let residents return until later in the week, so I'm here for a good clip, it turns out).

First, certain parts of the city seem overly messy and litter-strewn. Bevo, for one, is not looking its best. That was a little disheartening.

Cafe Ventana is a great addition to SLU-Midtown/east Central West End. Though it seemed a little wrong to be eating beignets (a New Orleans specialty, for those who didn't know)on the eve of Gustav's landfall, it nevertheless was a comfy and enjoyable space. I especially love the bike rack. If you're going to have front and rear parking, adding the "bike lane" and large rack is a great way of urbanizing the building. A lot of money went into this space, and I think the results are definitely good.

I wanted to check out the Piccadilly at Manhattan restaurant over in Ellendale just about on top of the city limits (near Maplewood). It's truly the perfect urban establishment. It's at that undeniably intimate neighborhood scale--the corner storefront. I am going to make it a point to eat there today.

Still, I could not help but be distracted by this, right across the street:

It's a development called Ellendale Heights on Piccadilly and Ellendale boulevards. The picture, actually, does the structure more justice than it deserves. It and its eight or so neighbors look like live-in garages. This was not a good way to urbanize a suburban, front-facing garage on a squat lot. The result was literally laughable, especially seeing them all in a row. The garage covers 80 percent of the facade of the structure. It's simply unbelievable. In fact, every time I passed by on McCausland/Ellendale, I thought those facing Ellendale itself were actually the rear garages of a new development I never had time to check out on that opposite street. Nope. They're homes with a cancerous garage-growth. Yuck.

What else?

I found that Sundays and Mondays are not good days to grab something to eat. Almost every place I wanted to hit up was closed on both days. This includes the Piccadilly, mentioned above, and Mattingly Brewery on South Jefferson. And the Pitted Olive on Hampton (which, it turns out, is closed until this Friday due to a Labor Day vacation anyway).

More observations to come later.


Brian said...

Looks like the developer of the Picadilly homes was also responsible for crappy infill in Carondelet as well.

Please, stop building homes in the city!!

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