People & Places

  • Best Hero

    Mitchell Hults

    A beat-up white Nissan pickup. That was it — the only lead investigators had to track down William "Ben" Ownby, a thirteen-year-old Boy Scout who'd disappeared on January 8 on the way home from school. The tip came from fifteen-year-old Mitchell Hults, who told investigators he'd seen the beater speeding out of town on the day Ownby went missing. Amazingly,… More >>
  • Best Citizen

    Albert Pujols

    OK, so the Cardinals slugger had an off year (for him, anyway) on the diamond, but Albert Pujols scored a big hit earlier this year when he became a United States citizen. In keeping with his stellar baseball career, the All-Star first baseman aced the citizenship exam with a perfect score. We can't think of anyone to whom we'd extend… More >>
  • Best Local Girl Made Good

    Leana Wen

    Of the thirty-two Americans hitting the books at Oxford University this fall as Rhodes Scholars, two boast ties to Washington University. One is Aaron Mertz, who graduated from the School of Arts & Sciences last year with a bachelor's degree in physics and American culture studies. The other is Leana Wen, a fourth-year student at Wash. U.'s School of Medicine.… More >>
  • Best Local Boy Made Good

    Brad Kroenig

    People can laugh at his Zoolander-esque profession, but St. Louis native Brad Kroenig is no joke. Vogue called him "one of today's most sought-after male models"; Parade tabbed him as the highest-paid male model in the world. The Oakville High School alum who has been called Karl Lagerfeld's muse (you know Lagerfeld; he's the guy who looks like he's just… More >>
  • Best Thing to Happen to St. Louis This Year

    The state takeover of the St. Louis Public Schools

    Fed up with his unruly teenager, Dad finally takes away the car keys. That's what the Missouri State Board of Education essentially did, metaphorically speaking, when it voted 5 to 1 in March to strip the failing St. Louis Public Schools of its accreditation and replace the fractious and churlish school board with a three-person appointed committee to run the… More >>
  • Best Place to Live

    Tower Grove Park neighborhoods

    The neighborhoods that surround Tower Grove Park — Tower Grove South, Tower Grove East, Tower Grove Heights, Shaw — comprise a microcosm of St. Louis. Here bespectacled hipsters coexist with old-school south siders, tattooed urban cyclists, transplanted Wash. U. scientists, twenty-year brewery men, young families, all making a go of it. The streets are alive with dog-walking, bike-riding, stroller-pushing St.… More >>
  • Best Wi-Fi

    Your neighbor's

    "Wireless Network Connected," your computer informs you, so you click on the little icon. There are fifteen. Seriously: fifteen networks detected — all on your street, you suppose. And each of those networks costs its owner upward of $30 a month. Is this progress? Not if your four-family apartment building has four different wireless routers, all within forty feet of… More >>
  • Best Local Web Site

    www.thefilesfiles.com

    By day Chris Files toils in PR. By night, satire. He has yet to get his big break into the fraternity of fake news, however. So the Saint Louis Science Center flack started his own tribute to the fake-news genre in mid-2007 with the advent of the Files Files, a Web site "committed to bringing you all of the information… More >>
  • Best Blog

    From the Mayor's Desk

    What is this thing, anyway? What we now call "blogs" began as online diaries, but we can all agree that blogging's come light-years in the decade-plus since then. And St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay's blog is anything but an online diary. Rather, it functions as a parapet from which the mayor lobs a bizarre combination of tedious civic pronouncements, political… More >>
  • Best Bus Route

    No. 8 Bates

    From 1925 to 1989, the No. 8 Bates Street bus trundled up and down that unglamorous south St. Louis street, just one of dozens of similar routes serving second-tier thoroughfares across the city. And like the rest it fell victim to the budget cutter's axe when Bi-State (now Metro) eliminated most of its smaller feeder lines in the late '80s.… More >>
  • Best Cheap Thrill

    Art-o-mat

    We at Riverfront Times count ourselves among the lucky ones. Not only do we have your standard vending machines that dispense snacks and sodas, but we also have...a beer vending machine, which spits out cold ones on demand, for free! While this sounds (and is) thrilling, the folks at the Center of Creative Arts have it even better. Since October… More >>
  • Best Even Cheaper Thrill

    St. Louis Astronomical Society Public Star Parties

    First the bad news: Unless you're mind-bogglingly wealthy or mind-bogglingly intelligent, you aren't getting into outer space. The good news? The St. Louis Astronomical Society can help you see through the astronauts' eyes — for free! To have your feet leave this planet and your body feel the weightlessness for which outer space is famous, just head over to the… More >>
  • Best Kids' Thrill

    Raging Rivers WaterPark

    Kids like water. Kids like to go fast. At Raging Rivers WaterPark, kids can go fast through water. Parents like to go slow. At Raging Rivers WaterPark parents can ride the Endless River at a calm two-and-a-half miles per hour — it would be better with a margarita, of course, but you must remember: it's about the children — while… More >>
  • Best Bed & Breakfast

    Central West End Bed & Breakfast

    At the Central West End Bed & Breakfast, one need only open a door to be transported far and away. Take "The Beach": a room filled with actual sand. Or "Kenya" and "Asia": suites decked out to call to mind those foreign lands. Romantics fall for "Paradise Dove," the white-and-gold pleasure palace with a balcony and a fuck-me-red heart-shape hot… More >>
  • Best Hotel

    Hyatt Regency St. Louis

    Beyond the generic postcards and T-shirts that announce you've been somewhere in name only, just past the kiosks hawking Beanie Babies and sunglasses in a mall that looks like an airport's concourse, you'll find the Hyatt at Union Station. Ascend its ornate staircase and you'll be in the cavernous Grand Hall and feel miles away from The Fudgery. Theodore Link… More >>
  • Best Public Restroom

    Women's Lounge at Plaza Frontenac

    You like to be pampered. (Who doesn't?) In fact, you deserve to be pampered. And never more so than after a morning spent browsing the spendy shops of Plaza Frontenac. But what's to be done? Lunch with the ladies at Canyon Café? An arty flick at Plaza Frontenac Cinema? A massage and facial at Stonewater Spa? No, non and nyet.… More >>
  • Best Bridge

    Old Chain of Rocks Bridge

    The first time someone told us we could "walk all the way to Illinois on the chain of rocks," we were astounded. Across the Mississippi! On foot! Then they said we could bike across, too! It finally dawned on us that this particular chain of rocks is a bridge. And what a cool bridge it is! The Chain of Rocks… More >>
  • Best Mile of St. Louis

    Magnolia Avenue from Kingshighway
    to Grand Boulevard

    It's no secret that the Missouri Botanical Garden and Tower Grove Park are two of this city's many jewels. One is manicured and well-ordered; the other is wilder and slightly overgrown. A drive (or walk, or bike ride) heading east on Magnolia Avenue from Kingshighway to Grand Boulevard provides a glimpse of both nature preserves. The Garden, to the north,… More >>
  • Best Street Name

    Happy Sac Road

    More >>
  • Best View of Downtown

    The intersection of Mitchell and Fairmount Avenues

    True, it's hard to beat the breathtaking view from one of the downtown bridges. Sometimes, though, the best perspectives are found by accident, when their simple beauty takes you by surprise. Such is the case with the (humbler) view of downtown from the slight incline at the intersection of Mitchell and Fairmount Avenues in Dogtown. Especially on a cold winter's… More >>
  • Best Island

    Chouteau Island

    Arrrrrr, matey. We landlubbers may be hundreds of miles from the sea, but that doesn't mean we can't sail (or drive) away to our very own isle. Plopped between the Mississippi River and the Chain of Rocks Canal, Chouteau Island is accessible via a narrow two-lane bridge from Madison County, Illinois. In recent years the Illinois Department of Natural Resources… More >>
  • Best Place to People Watch

    Soulard Market

    Fish packers, pork rinders, candlemongers. Rastas, hoosiers, yuppies, crusties. Farm boys. Frat boys. Grandmas with walkers, babies in strollers, bakers on bikes. Chicken chasers, sunglass touts, free-range butchers. Freelance writers eating tiny doughnuts from oil-spotted bags. Faces and voices from Vietnam, Mexico, Bosnia, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Russia, Lemay, Baden, Edwardsville. Banjo pickers, one-man funk bands, public violins. Soulard Market on Saturday… More >>
  • Best Place to Take Out-of-Town Guests

    Gateway Air Tours

    Everyone loves to get high. And thanks to transport authority Metro, sightseeing helos are flying the St. Louis skyscape again after a long hiatus following the 1993 flood. What better way to introduce Loucomers to our many marvels than with a 135-mile-per-hour scream at 600 feet above sea level? Gateway Air Tours, an outfit out of Long Beach, California, dispatches… More >>
  • Best Mayor

    Francis Slay

    Esquire magazine, August 2007, page 217. Francis Slay, in a mayoral photo spread entitled "Hizzoner," all aglow after receiving the honors for the nation's best tap water, cites the "best perk" of his job: "Presenting a key to the city to the owner of the Cardinals after they won the World Series, coming through downtown with four hundred thousand people… More >>
  • Best Local Politician

    Jeff Smith

    He charmed us in 2004 with his quixotic bid to fill Dick Gephardt's political shoes in the U.S. House of Representatives. Excitement-rich but cash-poor, Smith was bested in that contest by Russ Carnahan, scion of one of Missouri's most powerful political dynasties and now representative for the state's Third Congressional District. Beaten but unbowed, Smith picked himself up, dusted himself… More >>
  • Best Bureaucrat

    Waller McGuire, executive director St. Louis Public Library

    Our schools may be unaccredited and our town ranked the "most dangerous" city in the nation, but St. Louis retains one shining jewel in its tarnished crown. For the third year in a row, the St. Louis Public Library has ranked among the top three library systems in a survey of U.S. cities of 250,000 inhabitants and up. Heading the… More >>
  • Best Gadfly

    Michael Allen

    With his cardigan sweaters, thrift-store slacks and librarian glasses, Michael Allen doesn't look the part of a rabble-rouser. But over the past year, his investigation of hundreds of curious land deals in north St. Louis led to front-page news. On his Web site, Ecology of Absence (www.eco-absence.org), Allen painstakingly documented how developer Paul McKee Jr. has assembled some 650 properties… More >>
  • Best Lawyer

    Rich Witzel and Jay Kanzler

    In March 2006, law partners Rich Witzel and Jay Kanzler were retained to investigate an insurance claim in Florida that stemmed from the death of St. Louis native Gail Sands, whose body had been found drowned in a shallow swimming pool outside her Florida home in 2001. After a half-dozen trips to the Sunshine State and months of detective work,… More >>
  • Best Villain

    Michael Devlin

    Uh, can you say "no-brainer?" Who but Michael Devlin could possibly snag this year's Best Villain honors? Since bursting onto the scene last January, the "Monster Next Door" has captured headlines the world over for the kidnappings of Shawn Hornbeck and William "Ben" Ownby. Nine months later and the headlines keep coming as Devlin's lawyers wrestle prosecutors over venues and… More >>
  • Best Local Boy Gone Bad

    Josh Hancock

    One too many at Mike Shannon's, a speeding Ford Explorer, a cell phone and a tow truck stopped on the highway. These factors tragically converged one balmy night in April, killing Cardinals reliever Josh Hancock. At age 29 the Mississippi native had only been in St. Louis for one season, but what a season it was! Hancock's easy manner made… More >>
  • Best Local Girl Gone Bad

    Aimie Mokwa

    The daughter of St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department chief Joe Mokwa, arrested in a cheap motel with her nine-year-old daughter by her side and facing drug and theft charges. When will she learn? Yes, she's had a tough go; trapped for years in an abusive marriage, swapping protective orders with the father of her three children. Now this. Oh, Aimie!… More >>
  • Best Crime of Passion

    Eric Affholter

    Public defender falls in love with Peruvian painter. Problem is, Peruvian can’t get a work visa. They’re a gay couple, so the marriage = citizenship formula is out of the question. Public defender agonizes: My country? My love? Up steps a friend (who also happens to be a female, and a subordinate in the Public Defender’s… More >>
  • Best Onion Headline in the Post-Dispatch

    "Area man admits he smuggled marijuana"

    More >>
  • Best Ongoing Hoosier Photo-Essay

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Travel section

    We're not fat; we're big-boned. We're not loud; we're just trying to be friendly. We're not hoosiers; we're Americans, dammit. And we can wear whatever we want, wherever we want. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch encourages jet-setting St. Louisans to wear their hometown pride — literally — and photograph themselves doing so abroad. "Include something St. Louis in your next vacation… More >>
  • Best Fundraiser

    Wall Ball

    For the fourth incarnation of its extremely popular Wall Ball fundraiser, South City Open Studio and Gallery (4255 Arsenal Street, St. Louis; www.scosag.org or 314-865-0060) announced a change of venue: from the City Museum to Third Degree Glass Factory (www.stlglass.com). The move seemed to shake something loose in the crowd. Don't get us wrong, the audience for Wall Ball has… More >>
  • Best Convention

    National Rifle Association

    Love 'em or loathe 'em, the National Rifle Association packed some much-needed heat into our ever-evolving downtown this past April. With 64,562 attendees, the convention was an all-time record breaker for the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission and its struggling sibling, America's Center. So what if we were the fallback after a political firestorm prevented the gun nuts from… More >>
  • Best Expo

    St. Louis Old School Tattoo Expo

    The word "expo" makes normal people shudder. It conjures images of ill-fitting suits and poorly scripted sales pitches and endless seminars about capital and insurance. The expo is a nightmare world of drab boredom, a punishment for entering into the business world. And then there's the St. Louis Old School Tattoo Expo. Founded and operated by legendary tattoo artist Lyle… More >>
  • Best Festival

    The Horseradish Festival

    Horseradish can cure headaches, according to some. Horseradish makes a fine antidote to a hangover, say others. One thing's for certain: A day at the Horseradish Festival makes for one damn happy person! For one thing, the International Horseradish Festival Committee holds its annual tribute to the great mustard root in June, when it's not too hot (outside). And after… More >>
  • Best Festival Gone Missing

    Catsup Festival

    Is it "catsup" or "ketchup?" For once, it doesn't matter. The annual World's Largest Catsup Bottle Summerfest that normally takes place in July in Collinsville, Illinois, has been squashed. As the Big Tomato, Mike Gassman, noted in an e-mail to the Catsup Bottle Fan Club, this year's Fest was kiboshed owing to politics and money issues with the local government.… More >>
  • Best Worthy Cause

    Urban Future

    Since 1998 Urban Future has paired hundreds of middle-school students in St. Louis with volunteer mentors trained to assist them in character growth, academic achievement and career preparation. In one year alone Urban Future mentors helped raise sixth-graders' literacy scores 38 percent, moving from a second-grade reading level to a fifth-grade level. Urban Future is looking to double its impact… More >>
  • Best Lost Cause

    The Mullanphy Emigrant Home

    Built in 1867 to house the Mullanphy Traveller's Aid Fund, the Mullanphy Emigrant Home has played many roles during its 140-year history: schoolhouse, warehouse, motorcycle repair shop, cause cél¸bre. The building's most recent turn came on April 2, 2006, when a fierce storm collapsed its south wall. The landmark's imminent demise prompted a small knot of historic preservationists to launch… More >>
  • Best Stroll

    A tour of "The Trail" with Centenary Cares

    Membership at the old Centenary Methodist Church in downtown St. Louis has all but dried up over the past 100 years. Still, the old limestone sanctuary stays busy, providing free meals to hundreds of homeless people each day through its mission service, Centenary Cares. Recently the charity has begun organizing group tours of the well-worn path — known as "The… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Single Women

    Simply Ballroom

    While it has long been assumed that women love a man who can cut a rug, researchers at Rutgers University recently conducted a study that showed better dancers attract a higher number of mates, and more desirable ones at that. So, bub, dust off your dancing shoes, grease your hair à la Patrick Swayze and hasten to Simply Ballroom. Beginners'… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Single Men

    Macy's

    Indisputable fact: Single men can't dress themselves. OK, sure, some men can dress themselves just fine, but you know what we call them? Vain. And you're looking for a man who will be all about you. What better way to snag one grateful dude than to show him that there is a world beyond Cardinals T-shirts and flat-front Dockers? Here's… More >>
  • Best Place to Make Out

    The Friedrich Jahn Memorial

    What better place to work out the tongue than a memorial to Friedrich Jahn, the German-born, Metro East-residing "father of systematic physical culture"? Jahn invented tumbling clubs, a.k.a. gymnastics societies, a.k.a. "turnvereins," back in Berlin in 1811. Exactly 102 years later, the St. Louis Chapter of the North American Turnverein donated an immense sculpture capped with Jahn's moppy head to… More >>
  • Best Place for a First Date

    Balloons Over the Rainbow

    Some argue that a first date should be low-risk and low-key — why invest a lot in a relationship that doesn't exist when you can so easily small-talk your way through a quick lunch at Burger Doodle? A hot-air balloon ride, though, is an all-or-nothing proposition. You're stuck — literally stuck, hundreds of feet above the surface of the Earth… More >>
  • Best Place for a Last Date

    City Museum

    If you've got any class whatsoever, you end a relationship in person. But after the "it's not you, it's me," what's a dumper or dumpee to do? The City Museum offers an activity to fit every mood, plus enough square footage and fellow attendees to ensure you won't meet up with the newly minted ex. If you're sad and you… More >>
  • Best House Tour

    Lafayette Square Spring House & Garden Tour

    House-touring provides the ultimate in snooping. But taking part in the annual Lafayette Square Spring House & Garden Tour is far more satisfying than merely peering into strangers' medicine cabinets. In addition to the main tour attraction, this two-day event offers a variety of activities (which this year included a concert, vintage "base ball" and an antiques fair). More important,… More >>
  • Best Place to Go Green

    EarthWays Center

    Post-Inconvenient Truth, most know that going green is not just something that happens after you eat three-day-old sushi. Jean Ponzi, who has been the program manager at EarthWays Center for twelve years, noticed a change right after the movie's release. "It's like all of a sudden you're popular," she says. Of course the center, owned by the Missouri Botanical Garden… More >>
  • Best Weekend Getaway

    Lawrence, Kansas

    This charming and hip college town, located about a half-hour west of Kansas City, is imbued with an almost Southern friendliness. People are just plain nice and seem to be completely unpretentious. The best place to meet such folk is downtown on bustling Massachusetts Street (a.k.a. "Mass"), which is Delmar and South Grand and Euclid rolled into one. On this… More >>
  • Best Month to Leave St. Louis

    March

    The third month wasn't exactly lucky for Julius Caesar, and it ain't so propitious hereabouts either. Even though last year's winter weather made its debut before Thanksgiving (a fluke snowstorm, but still), the precipitation powers that be have insisted upon dumping at least one last round of the white stuff after the Ides of March. And you've already started wearing… More >>
  • Best Month to Be in St. Louis

    August

    We know. It's hot. You know what? You don't like it, you can cram it with walnuts. August is when St. Louis separates the Lifers from the short-timers, and the Lifers don't want it any other way. You go to an afternoon Cards game in August, who do you see in the seats? Lifers. Lifers sweating out beer faster than… More >>
  • Best Public Works Project

    I-64/Highway 40 Redo-O-Rama

    Think of it as a civic root canal, a community high colonic. Drive down Clayton Road and smell the goddamn roses. Get over it already.… More >>
  • Best Kept Secret

    Joe's Café

    If you don't know, we're not telling.… More >>

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