Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Hope Plaza

Ellen S. Clark Hope Plaza is one of the jewels in my everyday life.  I pass this enchanting place several times a year on the way to medical appointments.  I am always grateful to find this pond.  Doesn’t matter what the weather is like, this place always offers comfort, hope and peace to the people passing by.  It is part of BJC Institute of Health at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.  Studies, Students, Medical Miracles and Advances are found inside the surrounding buildings. – When the new expansion was planned, this bit of art and natural wonder was created and placed right where all of us would discover it and be lifted in spirit.
 The summer resident ducks aren’t here today, but a sense of calm and people with smiles are always close.  In winter, the Pond is covered with a thick layer of ice and the walk way will have packed snow.  In fact, it doesn’t seem to matter what time of year, there is always stunning beauty in this place.
 Hope Plaza is dedicated to Ellen S. Clark, a well loved and respected woman who encouraged others to be their very best.  She inherited a rare condition that took her life.  She worked tirelessly to offer education and understanding about stem cell research.  Even after she’d left this life, her family made sure her work continued.

Ellen S. Clark and her husband worked with designers to offer this gorgeous memorial.  Two of the most recognized artists are Maya Lin, who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Andrew Gutterman of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc. of Boston.  There is an eighty foot diameter Infinity Pool, with water flowers in season, ice in its proper time, ducks when they decide to attend, trees and . . Hope.

 
“It’s designed to be a calm place of refuge in the midst of a bustling medical center,” said Hank S. Webber, an executive vice chancellor at Washington University.

 Ellen S. Clark Hope Plaza, 320 S, Euclid Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63110

 You don’t need to have an appointment to visit.  Get off metrolink at the Central West End, walk up the flight of stairs on the west end of the platform and turn right.  You’ll be satisfied with the side trip.

 Be Well

Friday, July 3, 2015

World Chess Hall of Fame

Chess is so much more than game at the World Chess Hall of Fame.


 I found this poster on a community bulletin board before I even arrived.  
It was a Sign of Great Things to come.
 Walking into the building I was greeted by the nicest people and learned there were two exhibits open for viewing on the first and second floors. On the third floor an event was being prepared for opening that evening.  The new exhibit is the one advertised on the poster.  It will be available for a few months.  We’ll definitely return to see it.

 The second floor was filled with amazing chess sets, some from the 1700’s.  There is also plenty of information about the Ivory used to create these masterpieces, and why we do not use Ivory any longer.  The exhibit is called ENCORE! Ivory Chess Treasures from the Jon Crumiller Collection”  We are allowed to photograph, but I sincerely doubt I could have done it any justice, so I encourage you to go look for yourself.  There are people to answer questions, everyone is Really Nice, the exhibit is free (although you can donate.)  If you aren’t able to visit in person, you can follow the link – HERE it is again.

   The World Chess Hall of Fame was moved from Miami to compliment the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.

 You DO want to walk into the “Q Boutique,”  which is the niftiest gift shop I’ve seen in a long time.  I found the kid section AND a container of eraser chess pieces.  I adopted my favorite piece and went to the counter.  There was a gentleman with a clear, honest smile who gave me the gift of story about my first ever chess piece . . . YES, it is an eraser, yes it only cost a dollar . . . (Really, One Dollar, no tax, because the store is non-profit . . this organization serves our community and beyond, just sayin’)

Queen
 Turns out she is a Queen, the most powerful player in the game
she travels where she wants.

 The gentleman is Brian Flowers.  Trust me, you would like to meet him.  
If you can’t visit in person, you can still visit his shop.

World’s Largest Chess Piece – 14 ft high, 6ft wide at the base, Created by The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis. Taller than a Giraffe. If it was on a chess board – one square would be 9ft X 9ft. wow
  Directly across the street is the Chess Club and Scholastic Center.  There are three floors. Downstairs there is a production room.  During my visit a tournament was taking place in Norway.  Members of this club were participating and the event was being broadcast live.

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center has an outreach program in hundreds of area schools,  summer camps, scouting programs and plenty more, (including classes, lectures, field trips . . )  There’s plenty of evidence Chess improves lives.

Upstairs is a room filled with photos of Chess Masters.  
It’s  place for Tournaments as well as classes.

upstairs  
That’s not the half of it!

 They have a Toddler Tuesday from 9 AM to10:30 AM all summer.
  (Color me over the moon about this.) 

 4657 Maryland Avenue, Saint Louis, MO. 63108

What’s YOUR Chess Story gonna be?


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Piccione!

Phenomenal Pastries, Friendly People, is just the Beginning when treat yourself (and your friends) at Piccione!

Inside Piccione you’ll see Huge Glass cases filled with fresh
Italian Pastries with a 21st Century Attitude.
 
“Their chefs create recipes from scratch, in small batches,
using the best possible ingredients, you can really taste the difference.”

 Creations are light, and variations are offered
vegan, sugar free, gluten free
are some of the possibilities
every option tastes great.

 Okay, don’t take my word for all this,
here’s what other folk say:

 “How would you describe Piccione’s creations?
 Easy – Simply sublime sweets preped to perfection.” 
Richa T. (Yelp!)

  “I love the fact that Piccione offers an ala carte small plate option that won’t break the bank or your waistline (unless you order all of the menu…). I’m wary of making this post, because the crowds were minimal last Sunday when I went which meant for no line and a quiet, peaceful atmosphere to enjoy breakfast. But good is good, and I thought Piccione did a great job with their offerings and everyone should know about it.”
CaloriesSTL

“Hit the spot!. Waiting for a show at the pagent and spotted Piccione, owners mothers maiden name.
Let me see, I’ll take a cannoli, Baci, coconut macaroni and pecan butter and a coffee.
like it we’ll enough, I’ll take a pound of cookies to go!
STLFoodsnob

TripAdvisor Ranking #30 of 2609 restaurants in Saint Louis
Most Recent Traveler Reviews
Jun 23, 2015: “Phenomenal!!!!”

They ALSO offer soup, paninni (sandwiches,) Frittata (wonderful egg dishes)
and even home made chips.

Piccione is on the corner of Delmar and Skinker in University City.
You’ll easily spot the bright red awning with little bird tracks.
Get close enough and you’ll see through the windows
cannoli, cakes and cookies that seem to be inviting you inside.

It’s a locally owned shop named after Grace (“Nonna”) Viviano Piccione.

 Her last name, Piccione, means pigeon, pronounced Pa-CHO-nee.
The little pigeon logo you’ll see is in her memory.

 You may have heard that Delmar Blvd. is a little congested because preparations are being made to install the new trolley project.

That’s true, but don’t let that keep you from visiting.
There is parking in the area,
or you can ride public transit from any direction and reach Piccione.

 The Delmar Station for the “Red Train,” two and a half blocks east,
The Skinker Station for the “Blue Line” five blocks south,
and if that walk is uncomfortable, you can get off the train,
walk to the curb and catch #16 or #2 bus,
Both take you directly to Piccione.

There is also # 97 bus that tours the entire length of Delmar Blvd.
So, transportation is covered.

 On special days, like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter,
they have fantastic Brunches, served community style.
Everyone sits at long tables where neighbor meets neighbor.
People try to smile and chew politely
trying to converse, nod their heads and request seconds at the same time.

If you arrive on a Thursday morning, you’ll see tables with paperwork spread out, colorful people working on laptops and calling out to one another. The Regional Arts Commission has discovered this place. Artistic meetings and interviews take place around muffins, coffee, or a special Piccione breakfast dish. The place is alive and with the up-and-comers in our region.

 When school is in session, there are half off specials and any given evening the place will be packed with the college crowd, purchasing bakery boxes of goodies to enhance study time.

Every weekend the pastry chef creates new flavors for cannoli.
These creations are available during weekend hours only.

 This summer Piccione is dedicating ten percent of bakery sales to a different charity each week.
They call the program
 Pastries with a Purpose.

Lately Piccione has started offering Tuesday Specials,
like half off cannoli from 7 to 9 PM.


 Piccione
6197 Delmar Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63112
(314) 932- 1355

 

 

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Coronado a Good Save!

The Coronado, Imagined by Preston J. Bradshaw in 1923,
 re-imagined for the 21st Century by Amy and Amrit Gill.  
What a Good Save!
 I looked up the address listed as residence for William Inge (the playwright) and learned 3701 Lindell Blvd. was and is the Coronado.  I went to visit, just to see if I could get a photo of the past and wow, I was in for a surprise.
 Turns out this place officially opened in 1925 and the public loved it right away.  It was a gathering place for the elite and famous.  We didn’t have “paparazzi” like we do today, but I bet there were plenty of newspaper people there, looking for a scoop.
 People came for entertainment and to stay.  Coronado prices from the 1920’s were $2.50 for a room and shower, $3.50 for room with a bath and a double occupancy room started at $5.00.  I haven’t seen monthly prices.
 After a while the novelty wore off, the place started to fall into disrepair and went into foreclosure.  The location is perfect, though and St. Louis University purchased it in 1964.  It was turned into student dorms with a dining hall and a recreation room.  They cared for the facility until 1984, then decided to sell it to a Property Group and the building stayed empty for 15 years.
 It is said the place simply fell apart and, by the time Restoration St. Louis, Inc. stepped in to keep it from complete ruin, part of the roof had collapsed, a wall had fallen in and rubble inside was chest deep.  It took at least $40 million dollars to reclaim this beautiful piece of history, but now it is one of the Premier Places to hold a special event in St. Louis.
Not only that, the rooms have been completely refurbished and, when I was there, lines of young people about to attend St. Louis University, were crowding the rental office to tour the new apartments.  Campus is right across the street, these new places will be affordable, classy and safe digs for the future of our nation. 

 How cool is that?
The Coronado  
3701 Lindell Blvd.  St. Louis, MO  63108
 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Sidewalk Star

William Inge is one of our Sidewalk Stars.

We have a “Walk of Fame” on Delmar Blvd. in University City.  I think the number of stars is still growing.  140 seems to be the current agreed upon number.

The star that always captures my attention sits at 6624 Delmar.  This star is dedicated to William Inge.  (I wonder if he would prefer to be called “Mr. Inge?”)  William Inge must have been a personal favorite of my drama teacher because we studied his plays in depth and I won awards and scholarships doing scenes from “Come Back, Little Sheba” and “Bus Stop.”  It’s safe to say much of my higher education and career opportunities came from the work of Mr. William Inge.  So, of course, this star has meaning for me.
 William Inge was born in Independence, Kansas in 1913.  When he was old enough he joined a local Boy Scout Troop and together they were invited to great community events.  Fortunately for me, some of these events were theatrical.  “Memorial Hall” had a theater and the scouts were invited to sit in the balcony and watch the performances.  (It’s great to see Memorial Hall continues to serve the community.)

 William Inge must have been a gifted student.  After graduating from University of Kansas, he was offered opportunities to continue his education.  Partway through his master’s program he left school to find himself.  He worked on a highway crew for a while and then began his own path.  He was a radio announcer, a high school teacher, went off to finish his Master’s Degree and in 1938 moved to Columbia, Missouri to teach at Stephens College.

 In 1943 he moved to St. Louis, MO and became a drama and music critic at the St. Louis Star-Times.  I suppose that’s where he met and became friends with Tennessee Williams.  That friendship inspired Mr. Inge to begin working on his first play, “Farther Off From Heaven” which was produced in Dallas in 1947.   Inge taught at Washington University (1946 – 1949)  and went on to create his stellar body of work.

photo permission given (and gifted) by Lily Morgan, Director of Library Services, Independence Community College 
 He turned a short story into “Come Back Little Sheba” and earned the title “Most Promising Playwright of the 1950’s Season.”  In 1953, his work “Picnic” opened in New York City and won several awards, including a Pulitzer Prize.

 His original Screenplay, “Splendor in the Grass,” earned William Inge an Oscar in 1961.

 He gave us and era of stories about life in small mid-western towns.

 Yes, I’d say he deserves a Star . . and a lot of Thank You’s.

In learning more about Mr. Inge, I met some excellent people.

 
Speaking of “THANK YOU” – I am grateful for help from Patrick O’Leary at The Inge Center and Lily Morgan, Director of Library Services at Independence Community College, for their help, encouragement and permission to use the handsome photo of William Inge.



Friday, May 29, 2015

TUMS

TUMS were created in 1928 by pharmacist James Howe for his wife.  Once they took a sea voyage and several people on board ended up trying the medicine created for Mrs. Howe.  It has been popular ever since.


 “This historic building is one of the last manufacturing sites in downtown St. Louis.  Its history goes back to 1905 when the A.H. Lewis Medical Company began manufacturing a product  called Nature’s Remedy.  The facility expanded its operations to include the manufacturing of TUMS antacid in 1930.  Today, this site is proud to continue manufacturing TUMS.”