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A look back at 2017

Starting in January with the Women’s March in downtown St. Louis, the opening of a few new businesses and 2 new apartment projects in the neighborhood, the election of Central West Ender Lyda Krewson as the 46th mayor of St. Louis, and capped off with the recent appointment of another CWEnder, John Hayden, as Chief of Police, 2017 has been a year filled with many high notes, and some challenging moments as well.

Sifting through this year’s posts, here are some of the most memorable:

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Warby Parker The Milton The Gentleman Quilter Taze Mediterranean Street Food St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson Shane Cohn Shake Shack PokeDoke John Hayden Heather Navarro Citizen Park Chief of St. Louis Police Central West End BookFest STL Bonobos AC Hotel by Marriott 1764 Public House

January’s Women’s March in St. Louis.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Warby Parker The Milton The Gentleman Quilter Taze Mediterranean Street Food St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson Shane Cohn Shake Shack PokeDoke John Hayden Heather Navarro Citizen Park Chief of St. Louis Police Central West End BookFest STL Bonobos AC Hotel by Marriott 1764 Public House    September’s protests in the CWE.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Warby Parker The Milton The Gentleman Quilter Taze Mediterranean Street Food St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson Shane Cohn Shake Shack PokeDoke John Hayden Heather Navarro Citizen Park Chief of St. Louis Police Central West End BookFest STL Bonobos AC Hotel by Marriott 1764 Public House

28th Ward Alderman Lyda Krewson swearing in as Mayor of City of St. Louis.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Warby Parker The Milton The Gentleman Quilter Taze Mediterranean Street Food St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson Shane Cohn Shake Shack PokeDoke John Hayden Heather Navarro Citizen Park Chief of St. Louis Police Central West End BookFest STL Bonobos AC Hotel by Marriott 1764 Public House

And just last week, CWEnder Major John Hayden, shown with Laura Locke at 2014’s National Night Out held at the Neighborhood Security Initiative, was named Chief of the St. Louis Police Department. Read a related editorial in St. Louis Post-Dispatch here.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Warby Parker The Milton The Gentleman Quilter Taze Mediterranean Street Food St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson Shane Cohn Shake Shack PokeDoke John Hayden Heather Navarro Citizen Park Chief of St. Louis Police Central West End BookFest STL Bonobos AC Hotel by Marriott 1764 Public House

In July, Heather Navarro was elected to fill Lyda Krewson’s seat  on the Board of Alderman. She is photographed with 25th Ward Alderman Shane Cohn at the grand opening of the reconfigured intersection of Kingshighway and Forest Park Parkway, thanks to BJC Healthcare, Washington University School of Medicine and the City of St. Louis).

Construction projects:

In 2017, ground was broken for 4101 Laclede (at Sarah Ave.), developers Austin Barzantny and Michael Gringrich’s 54-unit condominium project that’s well under construction as we head into the New Year. Opus Development Company’s Citizen Park, a 217-unit apartment project opened last June at Euclid Ave. & Lindell Blvd., and Rothschild Development’s The Milton, a 29-unit apartment opened at 4534 Olive St.

Sam Koplar announced plans for construction of a 7-story, 192-room AC Hotel by Marriott on York Avenue between Maryland Plaza and Lindell Blvd.

Shop & restaurant news:

Lemon Spalon moved from 324 N. Euclid a block south to 236 N. Euclid. Mike’s Bikes, 322 N. Euclid, then expanded its operation upstairs into Lemon Spalon’s former space. Treats Unleashed opened at 22 N. Euclid, and CWE Veterinary Clinic opened in the Lindell Marketplace, 4131 Lindell Blvd.  The Gentleman Quilter opened at 4814 Washington Avenue, and two national chains have chosen the CWE for their 1st St. Louis locations, Bonobos and Warby Parker.

The Gamlin Brothers opened their 3rd restaurant in the CWE, 1764 Public House at Euclid and West Pine Aves.Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Warby Parker The Milton The Gentleman Quilter Taze Mediterranean Street Food St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson Shane Cohn Shake Shack PokeDoke John Hayden Heather Navarro Citizen Park Chief of St. Louis Police Central West End BookFest STL Bonobos AC Hotel by Marriott 1764 Public House   While across the street, Danny Meyer opened the 1st Shake Shack in his native St. Louis. Tazé Mediterranean Street Food opened at 8 1/2 S. Euclid, and PokeDoke opened next door at 8 S. Euclid, just north of Forest Park Blvd.

Events:

One weekend in June drew huge crowds to the Central West End Association’s House Tour on Fullerton’s Westminster Place,  Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Warby Parker The Milton The Gentleman Quilter Taze Mediterranean Street Food St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson Shane Cohn Shake Shack PokeDoke John Hayden Heather Navarro Citizen Park Chief of St. Louis Police Central West End BookFest STL Bonobos AC Hotel by Marriott 1764 Public House   and to the 2nd annual CWE Cocktail Party on Euclid Avenue, above. Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Warby Parker The Milton The Gentleman Quilter Taze Mediterranean Street Food St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson Shane Cohn Shake Shack PokeDoke John Hayden Heather Navarro Citizen Park Chief of St. Louis Police Central West End BookFest STL Bonobos AC Hotel by Marriott 1764 Public House

The 1st annual CWE BookFest STL, brought many booklovers to the neighborhood one very warm September weekend. The event was so successful, planning began the very next day for 2018’s BookFest. The photo above shows a crowd gathered for the dedication of the William Burroughs sculpture alongside Left Bank Books.

There is more to come, including some exciting announcements for 2018, which I’ll be sharing over the next few weeks.

Wishing you warmer weather and a Happy New Year.

Don’t miss the Central West End Association’s Gala

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Forest Park  West End Word The McPherson St. Louis Shriner's Hospital for Children Russo's Ralph Butler Band Pickleball courts Paul and Amy Mittelstadt MO Mittelstadt Max Montgomery KMOV reporter Alexis Zotos Dwight Davis Tennis Center Central West End Association Gala Central West End Alexis Zotos

Lest you think I’m confusing topics here—the upcoming Central West End Association’s Gala—with news about recently-installed Pickleball courts at the Dwight Davis Tennis Center in Forest Park, let me explain.

Among the many silent auction items offered at the 2nd annual gala, Friday, December 1 at The McPherson, is a 2-hour Pickleball party for 16 at the Dwight Davis Tennis Center. The package includes sandwiches & chips, beverages (beer, etc.), and a Pickleball membership for one.Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Forest Park  West End Word The McPherson St. Louis Shriner's Hospital for Children Russo's Ralph Butler Band Pickleball courts Paul and Amy Mittelstadt MO Mittelstadt Max Montgomery KMOV reporter Alexis Zotos Dwight Davis Tennis Center Central West End Association Gala Central West End Alexis Zotos

 

For many months, the gala committee has been working tirelessly to make this event one you won’t want to miss.  The 2017 committee includes Chair Kate Walter, Kelly Waters, president of the CWEA, board members Sandy Lehrer and KMOV’s Alexis Zotos. Waters and Lehrer are in charge of sponsorships,  Zotos has recruited donors for the silent auction. In addition to the Pickleball package, there are offerings from the St Louis Cardinals, the Chase Park Plaza, and the Cheshire Inn. A boat cruise on Kentucky Lake is also on the auction block.

The gala committee, along with Executive Director Jess Batchelor, and Philip Boschert, manager of recently-opened event venue The McPherson, 4715 McPherson, have been hammering out details to make this the party of the year. Catered by Russo’s under the direction of Kathy Costello,  there will be plentiful food and drink options set up at stations including a martini bar, appetizer table, salads, carving selection and desserts. Music will be provided by a St. Louis-favorite, the Ralph Butler Band.

The CWEA is extremely grateful to Shriner’s Hospital for Children, the primary sponsor of the December 1st event. One of the highlights of the evening will be the presentation of the CWEA’s Renaissance* and Polk** Awards.  Shriner’s Max Montgomery will present the  Renaissance Award* to The Royal Vagabonds. Information about the contributions this fraternal organization, located at 4315 Westminster (Fullerton Place), has made to the St. Louis community can be found here.

The Gamlin brothers, Derek and Lucas of Gamlin Restaurant Group, will be presented with the Polk Award** by Dr. Eliza Dunn, a great niece of the late Julius Polk, for whom the award is named.

Other generous sponsors include Amy & Paul Mittelstadt and the West End Word, Scape American Bistro, and Innovative Construction & Roofing.

If you are new to the neighborhood, this party would be a great opportunity to meet other CWEnders.  And if you’ve been around for a while, visiting with friends and neighbors out of the normal setting—the gym, the sidewalk, or the grocery store—is much more festive, and proceeds assist the Central West End Association in continuing its work on behalf of the neighborhood.

Tickets, $100 for CWEA members, $125 for non-members, can be purchased online, or by phone (314) 884-1440. Members may purchase an unlimited number of tickets at the member price. Non-member tickets can also be purchased at Left Bank Books or Straub’s with a $2 surcharge. $75 of the ticket price is tax-deductible.

*The Renaissance Award recognizes groups/corporations/associations that have made a huge positive economic impact or social impact on the survival or comeback of the CWE. The Renaissance Award was named initially to honor Leon Strauss, who was well known for his revitalization efforts throughout the City of St. Louis. He was largely chosen for the Award because of the miraculous transformation he orchestrated on Pershing Avenue and its adjoining streets between Union and DeBaliviere.

**The Polk Award recognizes the contributions of an individual who has consistently contributed leadership by example and contributions to the neighborhood. The Polk award was named in honor of Julius Polk who, over the course of his lifetime, was devoted to the betterment of the Central West End. In 1991, the board established this annual award to be given to an individual who over the course of many many years has emulated the values of Julius Polk in working to make the Central West End the preeminent neighborhood of the City of St. Louis.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Forest Park  West End Word The McPherson St. Louis Shriner's Hospital for Children Russo's Ralph Butler Band Pickleball courts Paul and Amy Mittelstadt MO Mittelstadt Max Montgomery KMOV reporter Alexis Zotos Dwight Davis Tennis Center Central West End Association Gala Central West End Alexis Zotos

Back to Pickleball: The game, which 2 or 4 people can play at a cost of $3 per person, is a cross between badminton, tennis, and ping pong, and has become the rage all across the country. Recently, 4 Pickleball courts were installed on the site of the exhibition courts at the tennis center in Forest Park.

Pickleball has become so popular in St. Louis that there is a Facebook page and a Google Calendar listing the location of Pickleball courts in the area, and times available. Here, for example, is the 11/27 listing for the Dwight Davis courts.

Hope to see you at the gala on December 1.

Snapshots from BookFest St. Louis

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Education For Children Services Shop News  Zac Brewer William Burroughs Whitney Terrell Vlad Zhitomirsky The McPherson St. Louis Poetry Center St. Louis Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Nina LaCour Mary Ann's Tearoom Left Bank Books Kris Kleindienst Kate Haher Gabriel Tallent Erin Quick Elisa Essner Charlie Jane Anders Central West End North Community Improvement District Central West End Association Carol Shepley AnnaLee Newitz Amy Stewart

Last weekend’s inaugural BookFest St. Louis was such a success that talk of 2018’s event began before the last line of poetry was uttered at the closing event—the 100th anniversary celebration of T. S. Eliot’s Prufrock & Other Observations held at Dressel’s.  Throughout the day book lovers brushed aside the unusually hot late-September weather and dashed from venue-to-venue enjoying as many events as they could manage from the jam-packed schedule.

There were approximately 40 prominent authors in town for BookFest, each participating in a reading or a panel discussion on topics as varied as poetry, weird, literary and science fiction. Miss Kopp’s High Tea with Amy Stewart (author of the best-selling Kopp Sisters mystery series) was held at Mary Ann’s Tearoom, and at 6 p.m. Saturday at least 100 people gathered on the sidewalk at Left Bank Books for the dedication of a bronze sculpture of William S. Burroughs, the installation of which completed the Central West End Association’s Writer’s Corner project (see photo above).

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Education For Children Services Shop News  Zac Brewer William Burroughs Whitney Terrell Vlad Zhitomirsky The McPherson St. Louis Poetry Center St. Louis Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Nina LaCour Mary Ann's Tearoom Left Bank Books Kris Kleindienst Kate Haher Gabriel Tallent Erin Quick Elisa Essner Charlie Jane Anders Central West End North Community Improvement District Central West End Association Carol Shepley AnnaLee Newitz Amy Stewart

Friday night’s keynote event, “An Evening with Sherman Alexie,” was held at The Sheldon, the only BookFest venue not in the immediate neighborhood. I asked Cory Lovell, Left Bank Books’ event coordinator to describe the hundreds of Alexie fans in the audience:

“Very diverse. In age, race, socio-economic class, and ideology. There were radical activist artists who I know have been active in St. Louis since the 60’s, and junior high students who have taken a shine to their required reading project (Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian). There were so many kinds of folks and I think they all were there because they appreciate Sherman’s honesty. He explains tragic elements of humanity in a way that’ll make you crack a smile. Its rare. So people take notice.”

And notice they did—except for moments of raucous laughter that interrupted Alexie’s 1 hour & 45 minute performance, the audience was so engaged, you could have heard a pin drop.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Education For Children Services Shop News  Zac Brewer William Burroughs Whitney Terrell Vlad Zhitomirsky The McPherson St. Louis Poetry Center St. Louis Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Nina LaCour Mary Ann's Tearoom Left Bank Books Kris Kleindienst Kate Haher Gabriel Tallent Erin Quick Elisa Essner Charlie Jane Anders Central West End North Community Improvement District Central West End Association Carol Shepley AnnaLee Newitz Amy Stewart

BookFest St. Louis was a collaboration between Left Bank Books and the Central West End North Community Improvement District. LBB’s Kris Kleindienst, right, and CID Executive Director Kate Haher, left, are shown just before the William Burroughs dedication.

Others who threw their hearts and souls into the months-long planning were LBB’s Cory Lovell (mentioned above), Lauren Wiser, and a long list of other LBB staffers, CWENorthCID‘s Elisa Essner and Maggie McCarthy, and Enchanting Embellishment’s Ken Fowler.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Education For Children Services Shop News  Zac Brewer William Burroughs Whitney Terrell Vlad Zhitomirsky The McPherson St. Louis Poetry Center St. Louis Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Nina LaCour Mary Ann's Tearoom Left Bank Books Kris Kleindienst Kate Haher Gabriel Tallent Erin Quick Elisa Essner Charlie Jane Anders Central West End North Community Improvement District Central West End Association Carol Shepley AnnaLee Newitz Amy Stewart

Literary Fiction Panel II was held at the newly opened event venue The McPherson, 4715 McPherson. Panelists Whitney Terrell, left, author of The Good Lieutenant (named best novel of the Bush war years by The Guardian), Shanthi Sekaran, author of the acclaimed Lucky Boy, and right, debut novelist Gabriel Tallent, whose My Absolute Darling became an instant hit, discussed “crafting searing and relevant fiction that helps us empathize with parts of the American experience otherwise foreign to many of us…”

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Education For Children Services Shop News  Zac Brewer William Burroughs Whitney Terrell Vlad Zhitomirsky The McPherson St. Louis Poetry Center St. Louis Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Nina LaCour Mary Ann's Tearoom Left Bank Books Kris Kleindienst Kate Haher Gabriel Tallent Erin Quick Elisa Essner Charlie Jane Anders Central West End North Community Improvement District Central West End Association Carol Shepley AnnaLee Newitz Amy Stewart

Charlie Jane Anders, left, author of  Nebula-Award winning All the Birds in the Sky, and MIT Fellow and io9 founder Annalee Newitz , author of Autonomous shown leaving the William Burroughs event. The authors participated in the Science Fiction Panel which also took place at The McPherson.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Education For Children Services Shop News  Zac Brewer William Burroughs Whitney Terrell Vlad Zhitomirsky The McPherson St. Louis Poetry Center St. Louis Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Nina LaCour Mary Ann's Tearoom Left Bank Books Kris Kleindienst Kate Haher Gabriel Tallent Erin Quick Elisa Essner Charlie Jane Anders Central West End North Community Improvement District Central West End Association Carol Shepley AnnaLee Newitz Amy Stewart

Sculptor Vlad Zhitomirsky, creator of the William Burroughs statue, is photographed with Central West End Association board members, from left, Anna Cardot and Kate Walter, and CWEA Director Jess Batchelor.

The video shows sculptor Zhitomirsky unveiling the Burroughs statue. Burroughs joins T. S. Eliot, Kate Chopin, and Tennessee Williams on Writer’s Corner, each of whom resided in the CWE. Local author Carol Shepley, who spoke about Burroughs’ connection to the neighborhood and to Left Bank Books can be spotted in the video, as well as Erin Quick of the St. Louis Poetry Center.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Education For Children Services Shop News  Zac Brewer William Burroughs Whitney Terrell Vlad Zhitomirsky The McPherson St. Louis Poetry Center St. Louis Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Nina LaCour Mary Ann's Tearoom Left Bank Books Kris Kleindienst Kate Haher Gabriel Tallent Erin Quick Elisa Essner Charlie Jane Anders Central West End North Community Improvement District Central West End Association Carol Shepley AnnaLee Newitz Amy Stewart

Special thanks to the CWE North Community Improvement District and the Central West End Association for their generous contributions to make this project possible, to sculptor Vlad Zhitomirsky for his provocative representation of William Burroughs, and to the St. Louis Poetry Center for their sponsorship of this BookFest event.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Education For Children Services Shop News  Zac Brewer William Burroughs Whitney Terrell Vlad Zhitomirsky The McPherson St. Louis Poetry Center St. Louis Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Nina LaCour Mary Ann's Tearoom Left Bank Books Kris Kleindienst Kate Haher Gabriel Tallent Erin Quick Elisa Essner Charlie Jane Anders Central West End North Community Improvement District Central West End Association Carol Shepley AnnaLee Newitz Amy Stewart

At the dedication ceremony the Chanco Cruz Duo played jazz, while Brett Underwood, right, performed a reading of rare and out-of-print Burroughs poetry.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Education For Children Services Shop News  Zac Brewer William Burroughs Whitney Terrell Vlad Zhitomirsky The McPherson St. Louis Poetry Center St. Louis Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Nina LaCour Mary Ann's Tearoom Left Bank Books Kris Kleindienst Kate Haher Gabriel Tallent Erin Quick Elisa Essner Charlie Jane Anders Central West End North Community Improvement District Central West End Association Carol Shepley AnnaLee Newitz Amy Stewart

The BookFest Festival Zone (on McPherson east of Euclid) was open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday with live music, demonstrations, book sellers (The Novel Neighbor, Eagle Heights Press, St. Louis Small Press), local artisans, and not-for-profits (Missouri Humanities Council, St. Louis Public Library, We Stories, St. Louis Poetry Center).

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Education For Children Services Shop News  Zac Brewer William Burroughs Whitney Terrell Vlad Zhitomirsky The McPherson St. Louis Poetry Center St. Louis Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Nina LaCour Mary Ann's Tearoom Left Bank Books Kris Kleindienst Kate Haher Gabriel Tallent Erin Quick Elisa Essner Charlie Jane Anders Central West End North Community Improvement District Central West End Association Carol Shepley AnnaLee Newitz Amy Stewart

A proud participant at the poetry challenge board in the Festival Zone is photographed above.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Education For Children Services Shop News  Zac Brewer William Burroughs Whitney Terrell Vlad Zhitomirsky The McPherson St. Louis Poetry Center St. Louis Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Nina LaCour Mary Ann's Tearoom Left Bank Books Kris Kleindienst Kate Haher Gabriel Tallent Erin Quick Elisa Essner Charlie Jane Anders Central West End North Community Improvement District Central West End Association Carol Shepley AnnaLee Newitz Amy Stewart

It was wonderful to see families participating in BookFest events or just out enjoying the neighborhood scene.  On Saturday morning there was a Children’s StoryTime event, as well as a Middle Readers Meet & Greet at Schlafly Library. A Young Adult Panel at The McPherson brought together Sherman Alexie (An Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian), Nina LaCour (We Are Okay), and St. Louisan Zac Brewer (The Blood Between Us and Madness).

BookFest St. Louis was supported by a long list of generous sponsors including Left Bank Books Foundation, St. Louis Public Radio, St. Louis Public Library, The Chase Park Plaza, St. Louis Poetry Center, The Green Goose, Central Print and Lofts@Euclid.

Thanks to everyone who made BookFest St. Louis happen, including 100 generous volunteers. It was a stellar debut and garnered the positive attention the neighborhood—and all St. Louis—needed.