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People & Places

  • Best Citizen

    Robert Powell

    To sculptor, gallery owner and art teacher Robert Powell, 58, St. Louis' "Gateway to the West" slogan is a steaming pile of toxic brain dung. "This crazy slogan -- it says 'come to St. Louis and then make your way west," he says, fuming and pacing around the hardwood first floor of his marvelously restored, mid-nineteenth-century Grand Center gallery. "There's… More >>
  • Best Villain

    Vince Schoemehl

    Cue the "Theme From Jaws." He's back. And if the water's safe, meetings of the St. Louis Board of Education most assuredly are not, at least if you hold an opinion that differs from the Schoemehlmeister's. Don't agree with Schoemehl? Well, you're a Nazi. He and fellow new board members, anointed by Mayor Francis Slay and Civic Progress, are reforming… More >>
  • Best Curse

    Rochell Moore

    Earlier this year, when Mayor Francis Slay backed a slate of candidates for the St. Louis Board of Education, he knew he was in for some rough sailing. But he couldn't possibly have predicted that the move would earn him a curse of biblical proportions. Yet that's precisely what got heaped upon his head when incumbent school-board member Rochell Moore,… More >>
  • Best Worthy Cause

    Great Rivers Land Trust

    The St. Louis area might not be known for grand natural resources, but less than fifteen miles upstream from the Arch, the counties of Madison, Jersey, Macoupin, Calhoun and St. Charles, stretching along the Mississippi and Illinois confluence, from Pere Marquette at the north to Alton at the south, are home to a lush but delicate ecosystem of forests, streams,… More >>
  • Best Cemetery

    Calvary Cemetery

    Calvary Cemetery boasts the biggest collection of dead Roman Catholics in St. Louis, but that's not the only reason to celebrate this mid-nineteenth-century treasure on the city's north side. Unlike Bellefontaine Cemetery, Calvary's slightly older and equally ornate neighbor immediately to the east, Calvary lays claim not only to a goodly number of the city's yesteryear movers-and-shakers, it's also the… More >>
  • Best Way to Mess with Out-of-Town Motorists

    Tell them: "Follow Route 66 until you get to the stoplight at Route 66. Then take a right or left onto Route 66 -- or go straight until you get to Route 66." Route 66 is everywhere in St. Louis. Literally. Trekkin' west on Farty-Far? No, you're not -- you're really on Route 66. Heading into Lafayette Square in search… More >>
  • Best Rehab

    The old Post-Dispatch building

    Over the course of the past four years, construction workers have peeled away the misguided 1965 "modernization" that covered the stately limestone façade of the old Post-Dispatch building (the Post jumped ship and headed seven blocks north in 1959) with a boring quasi-Bauhaus shell, and the hatching process for downtowners has been a revelation. What was once a charmless square… More >>
  • Best Place for a First Date

    Nik's Wine Bar & Hookah Lounge

    There's a great line in last year's screen gem Roger Dodger, when Campbell Scott's obnoxiously misanthropic Roger orders his hesitant sixteen-year-old nephew Nick to "drink that drink" at a trendy Manhattan bar, offering the rationale: "Drinking has been a social lubricant for hundreds of years. You think you're going to reinvent the wheel?" Well put. And what situation requires more… More >>
  • Best Place for a Last Date

    Pat's Bar & Grill

    There are at least as many places as ways to leave your lover. Some are more cruel than others. Excusing yourself to grab a beer at Busch Stadium and then hopping MetroLink, for instance, is a strategy that should be employed only if you truly want to make a statement and the other party really deserves it. Even then, the… More >>
  • Best Local Boy Made Good

    Sylvester Brown, Jr.

    Putting out a newspaper by yourself is a labor we wish on no one. It took Sylvester Brown fifteen years to realize he was doing the impossible by publishing Take Five from his home. With help from his wife, Brown wrote and edited the stories. He sold the ads. He did the layout. He delivered the finished product to newsstands,… More >>
  • Best Local Boy Gone Bad

    J.D. Drew

    "I really hope he means what he says when he says he wants to play the game of baseball. If someone wants to play and is fiddling over $11 million, that shows he doesn't want to play very much. I'm from the old school -- that you've got to prove yourself in the big leagues and that's where you make… More >>
  • Best Alibi

    Bob Jamerson's letter to the editor

    Bob Jamerson, the brawny, tutu-wearing majorette who can be seen strutting through the Central West End twirling a baton, was kicked out of this year's St. Patrick's Day parade in Dogtown and escorted away in handcuffs. Amid the media tempest that ensued, police contended that they had personally told Jamerson the Sunday before the parade that he was not welcome… More >>
  • Best Shortcut

    Sublette Avenue

    The best shortcuts are those that contain some drama, that on good days race you through the byways untouched but on others may cause you to hand-conk your head in frustration. Getting cross-town from north to south sucks in St. Louis. There's no Forest Park Parkway, no Highway 40, and I-170 doesn't stretch far enough. So you have to crawl… More >>
  • Best Public Restroom

    The "Closet Can" at the Chase Park Plaza

    Okay, the Chase Park Plaza's lobby bathroom isn't technically a public restroom. But, really, who's going to stop you from an unannounced pit stop in the luxurious "closet can" as long as you look like you belong there? No one, that's who. Which is why, next time you're in the Central West End, you should intentionally load up on the… More >>
  • Best Public Works Project

    The Page Avenue extension

    In the early 1990s, environmentalists, urban planners, politicians and this newspaper railed against plans to stretch Page Avenue across the Missouri River. To critics, the massive public-works project -- something that was first identified as a regional transportation need in 1973 -- was a sop to real estate developers and the concrete cartel that controls the Missouri Highway and Transportation… More >>
  • Best Drinking Fountain

    US Bank

    Is there anything worse than an object that fails to deliver on its only promise, that is a liar by its very existence? Anything more frustrating than a water tease when you're hot and thirsty, anything sadder than a lukewarm travesty that sputters forth dribble? No. In Hell, there will be many, many drinking fountains, but all of them will… More >>
  • Best View of Downtown

    The Gateway Arch

    Sometimes the obvious is just, well, obvious. As magnificent a landmark as the Arch may be, as imposing a piece of architecture and design, who really needs another breathtaking view of it sweeping over the skyline, glinting in the rising sun or brightly lit in the moonlight? Yeah, yeah, the Arch already. But when was the last time you troubled… More >>
  • Best Bus Route

    Garden Express

    The old No. 14, which runs from Tower Grove Park to the Central West End MetroLink station, isn't the most extensive bus route in the city, but it connects the south side with the CWE, and (via MetroLink) it brings suburbanites and outliers to the Missouri Botanical Garden, offering the illusion that St. Louis has a functioning and viable public… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Single Men

    Gateway International Raceway

    You can read all the books on dating tips in the free world, yet no philosophy will ever be as effective as playing numbers. If the first pickup line doesn't succeed, try, try again. And again. And again. During a big-time event at Gateway International Raceway, the single woman has roughly 60,000 opportunities for success or failure with the male… More >>
  • Best Mayor

    T.R. Carr Hazelwood

    Ford Motor Company dropped the economic equivalent of the atomic bomb on Hazelwood this year when the carmaker announced plans to close its north county plant and remove 2,750 jobs from the fifth-largest municipality in St. Louis County. But Hazelwood Mayor T.R. Carr is no ordinary mayor. He's also professor and chairman of the Public Administration and Policy Analysis Department… More >>
  • Best Local Politician

    Larry Williams
    Treasurer, City of St. Louis

    Larry Williams pokes fun at himself when he says, "Here comes Larry Williams with a pocketful of nickels." It's a reference to his responsibility for the city's parking meters, a job he has parlayed into a bonding authority to finance the construction of parking garages. Williams was the key developer for garages for the Savvis Center, the convention center hotel… More >>
  • Best Boondoggle

    The Lambert Airport expansion

    If only the powers that be had said upfront that the $2.6 billion W-1W runway project was a throwback to the old Depression-era Works Progress Administration, a way to use federal money for make-work projects that might have some vague general benefit. But no, that would have been too honest. Instead, the boosters said the new runway was essential to… More >>
  • Best Gadfly

    Tom Sullivan

    Tom Sullivan complained so long and so loud about the Metropolitan Sewer District that most people in and out of the media ignored him. But when state auditor Claire McCaskill, grand juries and the media began to pay attention to the issues Sullivan has been bleating about since 1986, the man appeared prophetic -- at least to those honest enough… More >>
  • Best Hotel

    Westin St. Louis

    Let's cut to the basics: When it comes to a great hotel stay, the key is the bed. Whether a hotel guest is looking for a good night's sleep or just a good time, it all comes down to the sleeping accommodations. And the Westin's "heavenly bed" mattress is getting rave reviews. According to a review posted on Travelocity by… More >>
  • Best Bed & Breakfast

    Napoleon's Retreat Bed & Breakfast Inn

    One of the great American mysteries is why anyone -- yes, anyone -- would rather stay in a nondescript hotel room when he or she could pay a similar (if not cheaper) fare to lodge in full-service splendor at a historic bed & breakfast. The finest feature unique and varied rooms, custom cuisine and hands-on owners. By these standards, Napoleon's… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Single Women

    Whole Foods

    First, fella, you need to learn how to cook. There is no greater aphrodisiac than a man in an apron shuffling a skillet. Cooking's not that difficult, but it does take common sense, thought, confidence, creativity and timing. Just like meeting women! The following method has worked -- once, anyway -- in this lonely world. Find a good recipe (preferably… More >>
  • Best Kids' Thrill

    The Zooline Railroad

    Granted, for sheer, blow-your-hair-back, end-over-end thrills, the City Museum is hard to beat. But there is one attraction here in Mound City that edges out Bob Cassilly's monument to dreck-cess for thrilling the kiddies: The venerable Zooline Railroad is a guaranteed warm fuzzy for every kid, from newborn to nonagenarian. You can skip Big Cat Country, bypass the Jungle of… More >>
  • Best Local Girl Made Good

    Dora Schriro

    A year ago, Dora Schriro appeared to be on the ropes. Ousted as director of the Missouri Department of Corrections and stymied in attempts for top posts in Idaho and Texas, Schriro returned to St. Louis in 2001 for what is surely one of the worst jobs in the jail biz: running the city's sorry corrections division. The job wasn't… More >>
  • Best Local Girl Gone Bad

    Kelly Layne Mullins

    How does a gal who handles collections for one of the stuffiest law firms in town end up with dozens of dildos, a 2002 Infiniti I35, DVD players, Rolexes and enough cash to shower more than one beau with gifts? The old-fashioned way, of course: She embezzles it. Forty-six-year-old Kelly Layne Mullins set up a dummy collections company and submitted… More >>
  • Best Lawyer

    John Simon

    Ask local first-year law students why they're paying mountains of money for the privilege of enduring three grueling years of ultra-competitive coursework and humiliation via the Socratic method, and the most frequent answer (after "I didn't have anything better to do") will be: "I want to make a difference." Yet idealism soon takes a backseat to fixing traffic tickets, writing… More >>
  • Best New Law

    Tougher penalties for nursing homes

    In the past few years, newspapers across the state have carried reports of nursing-home abuses: residents found covered in ants or maggots; bed-ridden residents with severe bedsores and gangrene; fractured hips left untreated; and heat-related deaths in nursing homes after the temperature inside soared to almost 100 degrees. It took a few years of trying, but this year the General… More >>
  • Best New Building

    Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

    New buildings in St. Louis, a town teeming with hundreds of classy old fixer-uppers, are, on the surface, a mixed blessing. Yes, new American architecture is in one of its occasional peaks right now, and great buildings can lift a city's reputation in some snobby fancy circles, but preservationists have a valid point that money may be better spent rehabbing… More >>
  • Best Bureaucrat

    Tom Jones

    In the summer of 2001, when St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay tapped him to take over the city-operated St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE), Tom Jones found a woeful mess. Some of SLATE's records had been left in boxes on the floor and the agency had about $7 million of federal Department of Labor money it hadn't spent.… More >>
  • Best Festival

    Artica

    The second annual Artica festival, which took place the weekend of September 20 within the vast industrial wasteland of the north riverfront -- Tailgate Central during Rams season -- was a resounding success. The brainchild of Nita Turnage and Hap Phillips, Artica invited St. Louis artists to peruse the land, lay claim to a spot (be it a thicket of… More >>
  • Best Place to Male-Bond

    Blues games

    The Blues are deadlocked 1-1 with the Blackhawks in the second period, and the action is vicious, but the three beers in your bladder are leading you away from the game, to a men's room on the Savvis Center concourse. You enter the bathroom to find eight long lines of dudes, one for each urinal. You mutter a curse and… More >>
  • Best Place to Take Out-of-Town Guests

    City Museum

    In a downtown that has been woefully underimagined for the past half-century, one burning ember has fueled the fire of growth around Washington Avenue. It didn't arrive as a hollow mayoral magic bullet, but via sweat, imagination and ever-evolving vision. But we all know that: City Museum owner Bob Cassilly is good for downtown. The best thing to happen to… More >>
  • Best Cheap Thrill

    Mississippi River exploration

    Just on the east side of the Arch, but before you hit East St. Louis, there's this huge river called "The Mississippi" that apparently cities to the north and south of us celebrate. Some of these crazy burgs have even been known to construct parks along its banks -- in the city itself! -- replete with well-lighted jogging paths, picnic… More >>
  • Best Hidden Neighborhood

    South Soulard

    It's the prettiest hidden part of Soulard, a neighborhood that will break your stone-cold heart because it's so beautiful and seemingly so doomed. What chance does it have, really, this six- or seven-square-block oasis in the southern shadows of Anheuser-Busch? Its main intersection, Ninth and Wyoming, is a postcard St. Louis shot despite the fact that so many of its… More >>
  • Best City Park for Public Sex

    Sister Marie Charles Park

    There are just not many places to get a decent look at the river that made St. Louis possible. One good spot is the parking lot and stretch of green grass just south of Bellerive Park (see "Best Picnic Spot" in Sports & Recreation), around the 6000 block of South Broadway, just inside the city limits. Named for Sister Marie… More >>
  • Best Place to People-Watch

    St. Louis County Courthouse

    The St. Louis County Courthouse in Clayton is a five-floor building packed with drama, tedium and a few moments of delight. The price of admission is a trip through the first-floor metal detector, and the first stop is divorceland. The soon-to-be-unmarried wait on benches that line the long hall, some couples sitting close enough to cast angry sideways glances. Attorneys… More >>
  • Best Month to Be in St. Louis

    October

    Nestled in the space between the choking heat of summer and the bitter cold of winter is the month of October. But the tenth month that means "eighth month" in Latin isn't fabulous in St. Louis just because the temperature rarely rises above 70 or below 40. For little ones, October means a trip to the pumpkin patch, scampering through… More >>
  • Best Month to Leave St. Louis

    August

    What's so bad about summertime in St. Louis? Sure, the heat hits you like a wet wool rug every time you set foot outside and you nearly keel over from heat prostration while waiting for your car's crappy air conditioner to crank up. But what are you, some kind of weenie? You live in St. Louis, dammit! You're made of… More >>
  • Best Reason to Stay in St. Louis for the Summer

    See previous item.… More >>
  • Best-Kept Secret

    St. Louis

    St. Louis is a really nice place to live, all things considered -- enter sappy string section -- and, when it comes down to it, its problems -- an insular, insecure disposition and whatnot -- could perhaps be best remedied with one extra-large shrink who can analyze us collectively, give us a bit of reassurance that yes, once we were… More >>
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