Sunday, January 31, 2016

Re-purposed – Church to Moosylvania

There is a wonderful movement to re-purpose great places instead of tearing them down.  One of the niftiest sights in Maplewood, MO is Moosylvania.
 Perhaps you remember the “Rocky and Bullwinkle Show” from long ago (in this era of nostalgia TV, the program continues to be enjoyed and has won awards – but, that’s another matter altogether.)   Moosylvania became a place because, before moving to “Frostbite Falls, Minnesota” to have adventures with his pal, Rocket J. Squirrel, Bullwinkle lived in Moosylvania, Lake In The Woods Island, and was the mayor there.

I’m not sure Bullwinkle, or any of his kin live in Maplewood, BUT I am certainly thrilled to see this terrific advertising doing well.
 Creative people get inspired and make the world a better place.  They find opportunity when others see challenge, like children, they bring a fresh perspective and, if something doesn’t go as planned, they take a breath and try again.  Oh yes, the thought of these “Moosy People” – settling into “my” neck of the woods, makes me happy.

Once a church, this beautiful facility has been housing these people of vision since 2003.

Steve Jobs Said:

“Creativity is just connecting things.  When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilt because they didn’t really do it, They just saw something.  It seemed obvious to them after a while.  That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things”

(thank you, Huffington Post)

Moosylvania – 7303 Marietta Ave. – Maplewood, MO 63143


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Ice in the Loop! (dragon? get camera)

 
Tuesday Morning, and it’s Frigid.  I’m always in the Delmar Loop Area because we have Story Time at Subterranean Books.  I tend to arrive in the area early and enjoy a cup before walking down the street.  These guys caught my eye and i simply had to share.  Ice in the Loop!
 
That’s Right!  No matter how cold it was, I was determined to get a photo of this Dragon.

 
 Ice Visions gave a performance outside Fitz’s and these guys were left over, standing on top of the brick border that surrounds Fitz’s delivery area.  This event was part of the annual Ice Carnival.

 It had to be a splendid celebration this year, because it was Cold.  The past couple years, i think there was plenty of fun to be had, and it was crazy comfortable, I doubt people even had to wear coats, it was so warm.  This year, however – our cold days landed on the preferred date, so people could shiver and enjoy.

Fitz’s makes fabulous root beer.  Their motto is, “If it wasn’t better, we wouldn’t make it.”  Its fun to walk by and listen to families laugh together.  There’s always a lot to enjoy, and discover in The Loop neighborhood.

Ice?  Not Often..

 

 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Chinese Garden

The first day of Winter was surprisingly warm and seemed a great day to visit The Chinese Garden.  It’s official title is “The Margaret Grigg Nanjing Friendship Garden.”  Lovingly referred to as “The Chinese Garden.”  It is one small part of the Missouri Botanical Garden.  You can expect to find many posts about “The Garden” because it is one of my absolute favorite hangouts in St. Louis.
The lush summer look has already disappeared, it’s easy to spot the two guardians along the path.  They grant us passage, with warnings, this is not a place tourists tread right now because construction is going on “behind the scenes.”  So, we can look around undisturbed.
 This garden is referred to as a “Scholar’s Garden.” It’s smaller and informal, a place people can come to share ideas, read and reflect . . . here’s our first peek inside . .
 The garden was built in Nanjing, then in 1996 five experts arrived from China to oversee the actual creation of our Friendship Garden.
 This marble bridge was crafted in Nanjing China, assembled in St. Louis by experts from Nanjing Municipal Bureau of Urban Parks in 1996.

 Inside there are marble bridges and beautiful stone mosaic walkways.
The entire blue stone walkway includes delicate inlay mosaic.

 This fella kept close watch.
 I could image reading, or writing at this stone table . . maybe sipping tea,
 listening to sounds of the day . . . peaceful, yes?
 These stones are nifty.  In this case they are called “Tai Hu Stone,” which tells us where they are from, but doesn’t explain what terrific garden companions they are.  Stones like these are often used in gardens, they are made of limestone, which is softer, so the elements have been able to leave their mark, color changes, holes and shapes give each stone unique character.  They seem to “speak” about place and time.  They can also be referred to as “Scholar Stones.”  One story referred to them as “Philosopher Stones,”  which makes me grin.  There are a few of them standing in this garden.  They are a nice presence.
 Perhaps it is time to say goodbye for today, with a promise to return again in the future.

Thank you for visiting.

Missouri Botanical Garden – 4344 Shaw Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63110

Monday, November 30, 2015

Old Post Office & Custom House

The Old Post Office & Custom House was established in Saint Louis right after the Civil War because Saint Louis was one of the five fastest growing cities in the nation.  Hundreds of millions of pieces of mail were were handled in the very first year . . . and each of those pieces were taken care of by hand.  This beautiful building also housed the Federal 8th Circuit Court, which became the largest circuit in the nation.  One of the most famous cases in the 8th Circuit Court was the breakup of Standard Oil in 1909.
By Piaget, HABS photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
 Alfred B. Mullet designed this building in 1872, including new systems developed after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.  There was heating, ventilation, and a way to use plenty of natural lighting.  When the foundation was being created, quicksand was discovered, so over 4,000 pine trees were stuck deep into the land and a four foot thick concrete slab was laid over the top.  Even today there are no cracks in the foundation.
 Since fire was a concern, the entire structure was built of cast iron, using wood only for hand-railing on the grand stair cases.
 When i first arrived in St. Louis there was public interest in saving (or re-purposing)  this historic building.  There sure were plenty of ideas, and it’s taken some time, but now it is open to the public and used for plenty of great things.
 I enjoy the “Quick Stop” branch of the public library. 
 “Peace and Vigilance with Eagle” by Daniel Chester French sits smack in the middle of the building, it’s worth the walk inside.  There is also a small museum that’s interesting. 
The grand stairwell.  
The “other side” of the building.
 Here is a current list of “tenants:”  Webster University,
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District
St. Louis Business Journal
St. Louis Public Library
FOCUS St. Louis
Missouri Attorney General
Missouri Secretary of State
Teach For America
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
Missouri Arts Council

Friday, November 20, 2015

Old Post Office Plaza

The Old Post Office Plaza has good reviews online.  City Planners have looked for ways to create inviting spaces in the city, this project is one of several that speak to me.

 “Torso di Ikro”  (The Torso of Icarus) by Igor Mitoraj.  The overall “theme” is the story of Daedalus and Icarus escaping from Patmos.

 This is referred to as “The Labyrinth” in keeping with the overall theme.  I like all the places to sit and enjoy the moment.  It’s built so you could feel alone, or enjoy time with others.  Kinda perfect for all kinds of stuff, reading, snacking, relaxing, just catching a moment . . .

 Isn’t this a beautiful fountain?  There are steps leading right down to it, the water is clear and spills out like peaceful magic.   

Trees along the border of the Plaza, I don’t know what Master Gardener picked the landscaping, but they sure did a great job.  Standing in downtown St. Louis and feeling as if we are in some secluded sanctuary.  I admit that Fall is my favorite season, so the coloring, along with perfect weather, sure helps lift my spirits.  

Here it is, the “Old Post Office,” right across the street.  When it opened in 1873 it was four blocks from the riverfront and people complained it was “too far west.” (The census reports suggests St. Louis is now 66 sq miles, much farther west than citizens in mid-1800’s imagined.)  A lot of ideas have been used to preserve this gorgeous building, using it as a focal point in the city, giving it new purpose and beautiful surroundings seems to be working.  I’m glad.

 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Delmar Day

Every Tuesday Morning is an Adventure because I get to traverse Delmar Blvd.  – Where the “Trolley Project” is a long-term construction zone.  of course, the return of a trolley to the city is something to look forward to, it makes every “Delmar Day” an event.  Here is another ten toe transit to story time, mostly filled with detours and trucks.  That’s part of the fun of it, yes? 


This is City Hall.  Such and interesting building.  I’ve only been inside twice, and it was long ago, but the windows all around made it seem full of Light.  It has housed several kinds of business, I’m glad people thought to save the structure and use it for everyone’s good.   By the way, this building was standing when the original street cars turned around close by . . . Here is a link to the City Hall Story.



 I like this guy.  He’s a bit of Public Art called “Rain Man” created by Greg Cullen.  Sometimes he reminds me of a cartoon character in the Lil Abner series, created by Al Capp , named Joe Btfsplk  . . Joe always walked under a cloud.  The difference is,  “Rain Man” makes me happy.



The Craft Alliance is fascinating.  You never know what you’ll find there.  Exhibitions, Cool, One of a Kind Items, Classes.  Simply Amazing.



 Ha!  Did you think I was joking about “Walking Detours?”



 FITZ’S (“If it wasn’t better, we wouldn’t bother”)

 Chuck Berry Plaza.  Plenty of people stop to take a selfie here.

 The road is blocked off, sometimes the noise level is . . impressive . . .
I know a lot of children who would enjoy the sight of so many HUGE Construction Vehicles.



Workers have created a walking path.  On “normal days” crossing the street to visit shops or get to work is easy-peasy.  Lately we  plan our  route in advance.  If something on the other side seems important, it takes a bit of maneuvering.  So, this clearing is a nice gesture.


“RFT” stands for “Riverfront Times.”  It is the “go to” place for insider information on anything St. Louis and surrounding region.  Super marvelous people work there – and the RFT Rocks!!! 
 I am one of their countless fans.
 
 The Tivoli Theater has gone through many changes.  It’s a classy place to relax and enjoy a film.  If there’s a feature film I’m interested in, I always check to see when it will be at The Tivoli.  I enjoy the comfort, plush carpet, velvety chairs . . (yes, their popcorn is tasty, too!)

I am almost to “work.”  Here’s the Tivoli hiding behind a truck.


 You might remember we walked to work up Delmar Blvd. from another direction a while back and I showed the Tivoli from the front door of of the book store (Subterranean Books) where we have story time.   So, i leave you now.
 
I wonder where we’ll adventure next.

love & love,
-g-

Sunday, October 18, 2015

St. Stanislaus


St. Stanislaus Kostka Polish Catholic Parish has one of the richest, colorful and amazing stories.

When it comes to faith, freedom and community outreach, this parish certainly has my respect and gives me hope for a future.

In 1878 there was a large enough Polish presence for a church to be established in St. Louis City.  By 1880, construction had begun on St. Stanislaus and by 1882, staffed by Franciscan fathers, people were being welcomed to services.


Parishioners embraced their community and, in 1891, formed a religious, charitable, not-for-profit corporation under Missouri state law called “Polish Roman Catholic St. Stanislaus Parish.”  Title to the property was signed over to the Parish Corporation by St. Louis Archbishop Kenrick and the parish has been self-sustaining ever since.  They have taken care of renovations after disasters, upgraded the property as needed, added land when possible, and built a beautiful 



  There was a time when churches were being closed, properties were being sold, people were expected to fit themselves into new configurations.  This was a time when St. Stanislaus seemed to catch hold of the spirit behind the story of their patron, St. Stanislaus Kostka, Patron Saint of Holy Disobedience, because, when they were requested to hand their parish to local church authorities, the Parish Corporation stood firm, they strongly preferred to continue worship, community service, celebration and cultural education where they were.


 At St. Stanislaus they say, “When guests arrive, God arrives!”  If you have a chance to visit, you will notice their lovely sanctuary, their welcoming smiles, their inclusive gathering . . . as if they actually read “The Book” and decided to “go for it.”  If you need someone to talk with, they are there, if you are sick, they will pray with you, they will come visit you if traveling to them is a hardship. They provide for others in the community, teaching, by example, everyone matters.



If you’d like to learn Polish, you’re invited.  You can visit from a distance by viewing Homilies on YouTube, you could attend events.  You might want to talk with someone with an open heart about your own faith walk, or find someone to stand with you through your journey, It’s possible  you have found your new safe place, maybe even your new spiritual home at St. Stanislaus.

  “Where Doors And Minds Are Open”


 St. Stanislaus Kostka Polish Catholic Parish
1413 North 20th Street
Saint Louis, MO 63106

 Pastor, Fr. Marek Bozek