Thursday, January 7, 2010

Rear Entry And Other Urban Niceties

Sorry for the provacative title to this entry, I just couldn't resist.  Entering businesses and people's homes from the back door is one of my favorite urban experiences. Parking in the rear, and entering a vintage building (usually built to the sidewalk) really hits home with me.  A couple examples of this kind of set up would be the South Hampton Barber Shop at 5423 Hampton; or Penzy's spices in Maplewood.  Pappy's, the U and the Buffalo Brewing Company in Midtown also have rear entry.  Garavalia's Hilltop Inn in Boulevard Heights has rear entry.  I'm sure there are many others yet to be discovered.

Other urban fixtures I am fond of:
  1. fire escapes-fell in love with them in NYC, now I'm developing a photo album of ones in STL
  2. Dining establishments with a bar set in front of large windows overlooking the street.  It's fun to enjoy lunch and watch pedestrians walking the sidewalks/streets.
  3. alleys and alley dumpsters for yard waste and regular trash-I've never owned a home on an alley and I'm jealous of those huge dumpsters.  Our next home WILL be on an alley.
  4. below level or downstairs bars/restaurants.  Labeebees DT on 9th street or the old Rosario's (?? is that right ??, memory is foggy) on Sarah are perfect examples.
  5. High rise patios off condos (CWE, DT and Midtown have some excellent examples). Especially ones with elaborate gardens.
  6. Train bridges in dense parts of the city-I love walking to Busch stadium from my free parking spot and hearing the slow rumble of coal freight trains above me.  At our previous home in Holly Hills, I loved living on a railway for Amtrak and the fancy antique trains that are rented out for weddings, events, etc. from Union Station. 
  7. Windows that open up onto the sidewalk.  The gelato place on South Grand is a good example.  The former Chez Leon in CWE is another.
  8. Sidewalk loading receptacles (sorry for the crappy description, I don't know what these are technically called).  You know, the metal panels that open up for the UPS guy to send boxes down a ramp to the receiving dept. of the buildings.
These are just a few things that remind me of why I like living in a big city as opposed to a contemporary suburb.  What are some of yours?

ps. what the hell happened to the spell checker on blogger?  You'll have to forgive my misspelled words for now....


  1. I agree, I live in the 'burbs but work downtown. Each week I take a little time out to drive around and take in the sites. I can never get sick of how neat st. louis is.
    I've been thinking of purchasing a home downtown soon and excited to hear about the new propert tax credit i just read about

  2. My favorite example of #4 is no longer in existence, sadly. The old Marina Building at the corner of Grand and Lindell used to house the Golden Dynasty Chinese restaurant and Bullfeather's Pub on the first floor, with the original Vito's in the lower level. Such a cozy space.

    The restaurant at Sarah and West Pine was Rossino's. I really miss that place

  3. I would love to see more restaurants/bars with upper-level patios/terraces (#5). I've seen them in other cities and they're great. It's nice to enjoy a meal or drink from above the street.

  4. Rossino's: YES! Thanks for the correction. I used to dig the ambiance of that place.