Monday, October 20, 2008

St. Louis in detail for a Friday-ish Five

I had a busy weekend in St. Louis learning about high school reform efforts with other education writers.

We didn’t have a lot of time to explore what is a very glorious city. But I was able to take some early morning walks and catch some beautiful sights. So, with that in mind, this shall be an up-close but somewhat late Deezo Friday Five. On a Monday.

1) I love the Arch, which might be the best national monument not located on Liberty Island. You can’t not look at it. Your eyes are drawn to its slopes. And for something that is all polished steel, it reflects light from many sources taking on all sorts of colors. There are an array of angles to view it's slopes, and it reflects light in all sorts of magical ways.

I caught this view as the sun was rising and the moon still shining.

2) The Mighty Mississippi might be the most famous river in the country. I’m not content to just see things like this. You have to touch the water to actually be there. I once led a whole group of education writers into the Pacific Ocean because just looking at it wasn’t good enough. This time I made sure one colleague from Florida got a little wet.

3) The International Bowling Hall of Fame shares a building with the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame. For now. The bowling hall is closing soon and moving to San Antonio. What was left in the gift shop was on clearance, so I squished soon-to-be-rare pennies for my daughter and snagged floaty pens and pins for just $1.

The down side is that if my Wii bowling scores are ever given their proper due, I’m going to have to head to Texas.

It was really slow, so a clerk had time to tell me that the Cardinals hall might not be long for the world, either. The second phase of the Ballpark Village that is to rise on the site of the old Busch Stadium includes that spot.

The artifacts might move into a new building there. Then again, the first phase still resembles a big dirt lot, so I think you still have time for a visit.

4) Back to my walking tour with a colleague. She was interested in the architecture, her husband's field. I turned a corner and recognized the detail atop one of the buildings.

"That's the Wainwright Building, one of St. Louis' first skyscrapers," I said, impressively.

I don't know how I pulled that out of my mind, since it has been 20 years since I took that architecture course at the University of Missouri. I also wasn't sure I was correct. Then again, how would she know?

But there was a moment of panic when she noticed a plaque near the corner of the building and wanted to read it. If it were the Schwartz House, Retro Condos, I'd be trouble.

Sure enough, it was the Wainwright Building, and the plaque told of its place history.

Professor Osmund Overby would be proud!

5) Whenever I head to St. Louis I make sure to find a Jack in the Box for two amazing tacos.

Look, I realize Jack tacos barely qualify as a food product, and I won’t even speculate at the origin of the "meat" inside. And I can only eat two these days without having serious regrets.

But you have to understand that there are no Jacks in Michigan. One bite brings back a flood of Long Island memories.

I also circled the new Busch Stadium and even snagged a 2009 All-Star Game cap. There are enough photos of that for a reporter later this week.

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