Old North People Rehabbing Urbanism

The Spirit of Old North St. Louis

by Michael R. Allen

Since our stove won’t work until Saturday (needs a new ignition, a part that was hard to locate for a 1950’s Roper), we are still eating out most every night. Last night, with the slushy roads populated by speeding drivers, we did not want to take our chances with driving anywhere. We walked the block between our Sullivan Street home and Crown Candy Kitchen on St. Louis Avenue, taking in the beautiful sight of our neighborhood covered in a blanket of snow.

Crown’s was deserted, save for Mike Karandzieff and three staffers holding down the place. Mike himself waited on us, and we chatted with him before ordering our usual order. It’s great that this place is so dependable and near. Earlier in the day, Claire had walked down to Marx Hardware on 14th Street to take back some wrong-sized cornerbead and to buy a miter box; the Marx brothers took back the cornerbead even though they operate on a cash-only basis and don’t have a refund system. However, we have been regular customers of theirs since before we even moved into our place, and they reward our return trips with generosity.

After we ate — and after we decided to splurge for delicious sundaes as cold as the air outside — we walked back home. Light streamed out of a small storefront on 14th Street behind Crown’s. Inside, a crew of twentysomethings was scraping paint off of a wall while listening to music. This is the future home of The Urban Studio, a community space that our neighbor and fellow twentysomething Old North St. Louisan Phil Valko has created.

We returned home full of hope and good cheer. I was so inspired by the spirit of the neighborhood that I finally found the strength to remove the broken old faucet from our sink so that we could replace it.

Anyone wanting to partake of the Old North community spirit is welcome to join residents for the neighborhood New Village Brewing Company’s holiday beer-tasting tonight at 7:30 p.m.