Best Dead End - 2001
Park Avenue west of 39th Street
Last year, we honored Bill Willert as Best Role Model for his magnanimous ap proach to running Willert Home Products, his business, the nation's largest producer of potpourri, air fresheners and mothballs. He's also, it seems, largely responsible for the best dead end in the city, one that stretches from the intersection of 39th and Park westward. Located in the beleaguered Tiffany neighborhood, due west of Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, the dead end is nothing of the sort. It's not dead, and although it does in fact end at a parking lot, the beauty of the old warehouses and well-manicured shrubbery, trees and streets suggests more a beginning. Walk the length of it, maybe a half-mile. You'll see offices for Goop, the industrial-strength hand cleaner; JLM Chemical, a distributor of solvents and chemicals; Spring Air mattresses; J.D. Streett Lube; Winter Printing; and a plethora of Willert Home Industries buildings (as well as, it's becoming more and more apparent -- and baffling -- a future miniature-golf course at its entrance.) The dead end seems timeless, a gathering of buildings and businesses that could just as easily have thrived a century ago as today. The dead end at Park illustrates the true mechanics of our economy and, its products combined, has the makings for a nice night in the bedroom: pretty-smelling things, lubricants, beds, Goop and, er, solvents.