Legacy of Lions

I started to wonder why University City, Missouri has a Legacy of Lions.  Lions are seen on banners.  Lion Statues grace columns greeting people entering the city.  I’m certain no wild lions pad the streets causing concern, equally certain no one has been eaten by a lion, so it was time for me to ask around.

neighborhood to the world

banners hanging from street lights, signs and stickers representing University City feature lions

The world class artist, George Julian Zolnay was appointed director of the art department of the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition for the World’s Fair of 1904.  His work became so popular he became director of the Art Institute in University City, Missouri in 1909.

One of his majestic creations was the “Gates of Opportunity.”  There were two columns standing on either side of Delmar Avenue.  Each Column towered forty feet high and each column supported a big cat.  There was a lion atop one and lioness on the other.

Unfortunately, it was all too heavy and began to tilt.  In 1989 the lions were recast in a modern polymer concrete and placed on top of fourteen foot columns.

Stunning Lions Top Columns

The “Gates of Opportunity” were commissioned by Edward Gardener Lewis. Mr. Lewis was the founder of University City, a Big Dreamer and, possibly one of the most colorful people of his day . . . (or any other, but that’s another story.)

Legacy of Lions all around the City

Lions guard every entrance of the City Hall (once the Magazine Building)

City hall Lions, University City, MO

In 1999, Bob Cassilly (founder of City Museum) created the “Musical Lion Benches.

Horn Playing Lion

One plays horn, one plays lute. You can visit them (have a seat and feel the concert) – at City Hall at Delmar & Trinity – University City, Missouri

Lute Playing Lion, University City, MOEdward Gardener Lewis and  George Julian Zolnay surely would rejoice at the many ways their efforts ave continued to inspire residents and visitors alike for so many generations.  Their efforts have caused people to come together, share ideas, not only about public art, but about ways to create a sense of community.

They have left us a Legacy of Lions

Ice in the Loop! (dragon? get camera)

Ice carving at Fitz'sTuesday Morning, and it’s Frigid.  I’m always in the Delmar Loop Area because we have Story Time at Subterranean Books.  I tend to arrive in the area early and enjoy a cup before walking down the street.  These guys caught my eye and i simply had to share.  Ice in the Loop!

That's Right! An Ice Dragon!That’s Right!  No matter how cold it was, I was determined to get a photo of this Dragon.

Ice carving Demonstration at Ftiz'sIce Visions gave a performance outside Fitz’s and these guys were left over, standing on top of the brick border that surrounds Fitz’s delivery area.  This event was part of the annual Ice Carnival.

Ice in the Loop!It had to be a splendid celebration this year, because it was Cold.  The past couple years, i think there was plenty of fun to be had, and it was crazy comfortable, I doubt people even had to wear coats, it was so warm.  This year, however – our cold days landed on the preferred date, so people could shiver and enjoy.

Fitz’s makes fabulous root beer.  Their motto is, “If it wasn’t better, we wouldn’t make it.”  Its fun to walk by and listen to families laugh together.  There’s always a lot to enjoy, and discover in The Loop neighborhood.

Ice?  Not Often..

Delmar Day

Every Tuesday Morning is an Adventure because I get to traverse Delmar Blvd.  – Where the “Trolley Project” is a long-term construction zone.  of course, the return of a trolley to the city is something to look forward to, it makes every “Delmar Day” an event.  Here is another ten toe transit to story time, mostly filled with detours and trucks.  That’s part of the fun of it, yes?

Delmar day adventure begins with City HallThis is City Hall.  Such and interesting building.  I’ve only been inside twice, and it was long ago, but the windows all around made it seem full of Light.  It has housed several kinds of business, I’m glad people thought to save the structure and use it for everyone’s good.   By the way, this building was standing when the original street cars turned around close by . . . Here is a link to the City Hall Story.

University City MOI like this guy.  He’s a bit of Public Art called “Rain Man” created by Greg Cullen.  Sometimes he reminds me of a cartoon character in the Lil Abner series, created by Al Capp , named Joe Btfsplk  . . Joe always walked under a cloud.  The difference is,  “Rain Man” makes me happy.

University City, MO. Delmar BlvdThe Craft Alliance is fascinating.  You never know what you’ll find there.  Exhibitions, Cool, One of a Kind Items, Classes.  Simply Amazing.

Walking DetourHa!  Did you think I was joking about “Walking Detours?”

Delmar Loop,FITZ’S (“If it wasn’t better, we wouldn’t bother”)

Public Art, DelmarChuck Berry Plaza.  Plenty of people stop to take a selfie here.

DelmarThe road is blocked off, sometimes the noise level is . . impressive . . .

The Trolley PromiseI know a lot of children who would enjoy the sight of so many HUGE Construction Vehicles.

Delmar Workers have created a walking path.  On “normal days” crossing the street to visit shops or get to work is easy-peasy.  Lately we  plan our  route in advance.  If something on the other side seems important, it takes a bit of maneuvering.  So, this clearing is a nice gesture.

Delmar“RFT” stands for “Riverfront Times.”  It is the “go to” place for insider information on anything St. Louis and surrounding region.  Super marvelous people work there – and the RFT Rocks!!!  I am one of their countless fans.

DelmarThe Tivoli Theater has gone through many changes.  It’s a classy place to relax and enjoy a film.  If there’s a feature film I’m interested in, I always check to see when it will be at The Tivoli.  I enjoy the comfort, plush carpet, velvety chairs . . (yes, their popcorn is tasty, too!)

Delmar LoopI am almost to “work.”  Here’s the Tivoli hiding behind a truck.

DelmarYou might remember we walked to work up Delmar Blvd. from another direction a while back and I showed the Tivoli from the front door of of the book store (Subterranean Books) where we have story time.   So, i leave you now.

I wonder where we’ll adventure next.
love & love,

Walk to Work

If you can call what I do “work” – and If you count the days I “work” for free, then, on this morning, I decided to walk to work from the metrolink train at the Skinker stop, which is underground near Washington University, towards Story Time.  I walked behind the little coffee shop, up Pershing, then across Rosedale, a pretty street with a nifty name.

RosedaleThis is Saint Roch Church.  It sits on the corner of Waterman and Rosedale.  I wondered if some special celebration would be going on because Pope Francis would be arriving in Washington D.C. later this day.

100_1938Children from all over the Metropolitan Area walk through these doors to school.  I always hope our children feel a sense of wonder, safety and community when they walk through the doors of their school.  I wonder if students put photos of their pets on the bulletin boards of St. Roch School.  (I would.)

Rosedale WalkThere are welcoming views all along Rosedale Avenue.

Welcome to Rosedale Ave.It almost seems we are personally invited.

Walk to Work along RosedaleThe last few years, creative Garden Statuary has become popular.

Keeping Rosedale Safe and SlowOne things that intrigues me is the street redesigns.  Just about every other block there is a loop, to keep traffic safe and slow inside the neighborhood.  There will be pots of shrubs, or some pottery marker to remind drivers to slow down.

walk to workThis delightful pot of flowers sits in front of a great Thai Restaurant called “Fork and Stix.” It is really early, so no one will be inside the restaurant, yet.  If you are in the area, it is a wonderful place to eat.  We have come to the end of our stroll down Rosedale and will be turning onto Delmar.  In just a moment we’ll be walking west BUT:

Walk to work - delmarlooking east, you can see street barriers up.  We don’t hear complaints about the inconvenience this causes on a major road, because everyone here is looking forward to the new trolley.  It IS a major undertaking, and it causes everyone to find “workarounds” to accomplish the everyday.  But, everyone seems to feel it will be terrific.  On the other side of the barrier, you can see the old train station, and just beyond the photo, there is the bus and train station for “Delmar.”

So, let’s continue our walk to work.

the marines offer excersize programs for anyone willing to work out with them.The Few, The Proud. Recruiting Office.  I often notice a sign inviting people to join a fitness program.

Great restaurants on DelmarThe neighborhood has many popular restaurants.  It is too early in the morning, but soon these tables will all be packed with smiling people.  Within a few blocks, almost every cuisine will be represented.  I’m pretty sure, no matter what culture you are most comfortable with, in this neighborhood, you’ll hear your home language, and find food that lets you know you are home.

walk to workAll along the streets you’ll find colorful and creative bike racks.  Washington University is close, in fact, this neighborhood has plenty of student housing so bikes are as common as motor vehicles around here.

Big Shark Bicycle CompanyAcross the street is Big Shark Bicycle Company.  These people are really nice.  If you brought your bike from home and need help, they are there, if you need a bike, they can help with that, and if you are simply walking by, they will smile and say “hello.”  Excellent People.

 A place dear to my heart, “RAC” – the Regional Arts Commission.

walk to workIt always makes me smile to see “Albert Hall.”  Inside are nice apartments.

walk to work on delmarShops, Salons, Restaurants, these will all be open when I’m ready to go home.

walk to work on DelmarAcross the street is The Pageant.  A Lot of interesting performing artists give concerts here.

walk to work A couple of doors down from the Pageant is the Moonrise Hotel.  It has become popular, especially because it is in the heart of the “Delmar Loop” neighborhood.  I haven’t stayed overnight BUT, i have eaten there, it’s friendly, the food is fresh and good and the service is superior.  (not extra pricey, either.)

walk to work on DelmarWe have a few, super cool, retro bowling alleys in St. Louis.  The Pin-Up Bowl is one of them.  We used to have the Bowling Hall of Fame, but it moved . . i wonder if they’ll be back someday.  Well, that’s certainly another story, let’s continue along our way, hm?

time to cross the street - walk to workPiccione . . YUM!!!!  I’ve shared a lot about this place.  Time to cross the street:

here's a bit of America along our walk to workWe don’t need fossil fuel today – we are using “ten toe transit”

walk to work on DelmarIt’s strange, this is clearly marked an AT&T Building.  It has a parking lot on the corner.  I’ve never seen anyone going in or out . . . it’s a mystery.

Jupiter - how much you weigh and how far the trip will beAll along the way there are signs telling us how far it will be to get home to another planet, and how much we weigh there . .

walk to workThere are some special promotions going on about this place.  Good coffee, good food, a little 21st Century, i mean you get to pay with your phone and order from a tablet, still – the end result is good coffee . . . works for me.

walk to work delmarThis is “Mission Taco Joint.”  The thing i love best about this place is their food truck, which was painted by a friend of mine, Craig Downs.  I suspect the food is great, I know the truck is colorful and fun.

walk to work delmarI have to admit, I am such a fan of this place.  It is relatively new in the Delmar Loop area, there is plenty of new, gorgeous, safe student housing and when that was built, this new grocery was also established.  There’s a little bit of everything, from most cultures, and, my personal favorite is morning coffee and a treat (if i want one) along with winning smiles from everyone in the place.  This area had no grocery store at all, now they are wealthy.  United Provisions.

walk to workAnother Planet, across the street is an art store:

walk to work - art storeDick Blick considered the “pro-shop” for artists – you’ll find it frequented by original thinkers, students, local artists, educators . . . many of us were glad when this store relocated to this corner.  (and, they open earlier than most stores on Delmar . . . a good to know tidbit) 

24 hour eatsPeacock Diner – 24 Hour Eats

walk to work - we've arrivedHere is the planter in front of the place we’re going – did you think we’d never arrive?

Tivoli Looking west, across the street is the Tivoli Theater.  It’s a refurbished movie theater – a comfortable place to watch a feature film.

arrivalHere we are, waiting for the door to open.  Someday I’ll show you the walk down Delmar from the other direction . . . BUT, not too soon.  One walk is enough for a while, hm?

Subterranean Books

Subterranean Books, an independent, woman owned book store AND is my Tuesday Morning Hang Out.

Subterranean Books in the Delmar Loop

we don’t mind the temporary mess in the street – we are all excited about the New Trolley –

It is in the Delmar Loop area, one of the best walking-around-and-be-delighted neighborhoods you’ll find.

Super great people, BEST selection of books, independent book store - in the Loop

walking on Delmar, this is “The Place” to visit, Subterranean Books.

Absolute rockin’ best children’s section.
Children's Books at Subterranean Books

In the corner, by the stairs, you’ll find the absolute BEST books for children . . look to the left, Middle Readers and Young Adult books are waiting to be discovered . . this place ROCKS!

 We “test drive” Picture Books on Tuesday Mornings at 10:30 AM.  We have Story Time for tiny people and their guardians.

More Upstairs at Subterranean Books

You Always want to venture upstairs – art on the walls, special sections of books to discover, events to attend, including story time

We read three books from the shelves, sing songs, laugh, snort and enjoy silly fun together.

Tuesday Mornings 10:30 AM - Free!

Here’s our “story corner” – a quilt on the floor, happy people gather for a half hour of fun.

Look on the shelves just left of “Picture Books” to discover middle and young adult books

Through the window before Subterranean Books is Open

If you arrive early, you can look through the windows and dream about your next reading adventure.

They host countless events, you might make new friends, learn stuff, have fun,

AND, if you want, you can purchase a nifty t-shirt to wear, with graphics reminding you of a favorite read.

It’s the people that truly make it special.  I’m a little prejudiced, i suppose, BUT, “Book People” seem to have a lot to offer.  They tend to be open minded, well read, can “conversate” with ease on most subjects.

After Story Time, everything seems bright and happy

You MIGHT want to take time to learn about the people who work here – they are genuine, interesting and a JOY to be around.

I have been told people prefer Reviews from outside sources, so I’m going to include a few quotes for you here:

“Every time i come to this wonderful place I never fail to leave satisfied. They have a great selection of books, of every genre. The workers are so helpful and nice as well and always have great recommendations. Their prices are like every other book store, not lower or higher. Great location too!”  (7/28/2015 – a reader from St. Peters, MO)

Great book store on the Delmar loop!  
This is the type of book store I love, a nice eclectic selection, not huge, and a very nice staff member who would order anything you need that you could not find in the store!  Super clean, and very in order!
They even sell RAYGUN t-shirts as a Des Moines boy I dug that!  (from Des Moines, IA)

My husband and I wandered into this shop while we were in town for a wedding and I fell completely in love.  Very cute and very well curated. There were tons of books that I wanted to buy right then and there.  It was hard for both of us to leave.  Hope to get back someday. (from Silver Lake, CA)

Some may not realize, supporting independent stores, especially book stores, is one way to keep our culture vibrant.  Here is a story that makes me happy.

Did you know James Patterson also writes for kids?  Just sayin’.

6275 Delmar Blvd St. Louis, MO - Great Books

Subterranean Books, 6275 Delmar, University City, St. Louis, MO 63130

You’re Invited


Phenomenal Pastries, Friendly People,
is just the Beginning when treat yourself (and your friends) at Piccione!

Inside Piccione you’ll see Huge Glass cases filled with fresh
Italian Pastries with a 21st Century Attitude.

“Their chefs create recipes from scratch, in small batches,
using the best possible ingredients, you can really taste the difference.”

Creations are light, and variations are offered
vegan, sugar free, gluten free
are some of the possibilities
every option tastes great.

Okay, don’t take my word for all this,
here’s what other folk say:

“How would you describe Piccione’s creations?
 Easy – Simply sublime sweets preped to perfection.” 
Richa T. (Yelp!)

 “I love the fact that Piccione offers an ala carte small plate option that won’t break the bank or your waistline (unless you order all of the menu…). I’m wary of making this post, because the crowds were minimal last Sunday when I went which meant for no line and a quiet, peaceful atmosphere to enjoy breakfast. But good is good, and I thought Piccione did a great job with their offerings and everyone should know about it.”

“Hit the spot!. Waiting for a show at the pagent and spotted Piccione, owners mothers maiden name.
Let me see, I’ll take a cannoli, Baci, coconut macaroni and pecan butter and a coffee.
like it we’ll enough, I’ll take a pound of cookies to go!

TripAdvisor Ranking #30 of 2609 restaurants in Saint Louis
Most Recent Traveler Reviews
Jun 23, 2015: “Phenomenal!!!!”

They ALSO offer soup, paninni (sandwiches,) Frittata (wonderful egg dishes)
and even home made chips.

Piccione is on the corner of Delmar and Skinker in University City.
You’ll easily spot the bright red awning with little bird tracks.
Get close enough and you’ll see through the windows
cannoli, cakes and cookies that seem to be inviting you inside.

It’s a locally owned shop named after Grace (“Nonna”) Viviano Piccione.

Her last name, Piccione, means pigeon, pronounced Pa-CHO-nee.
The little pigeon logo you’ll see is in her memory.

You may have heard that Delmar Blvd. is a little congested because preparations are being made to install the new trolley project.

That’s true, but don’t let that keep you from visiting.
There is parking in the area,
or you can ride public transit from any direction and reach Piccione.

The Delmar Station for the “Red Train,” two and a half blocks east,
The Skinker Station for the “Blue Line” five blocks south,
and if that walk is uncomfortable, you can get off the train,
walk to the curb and catch #16 or #2 bus,
Both take you directly to Piccione.
There is also # 97 bus that tours the entire length of Delmar Blvd.
So, transportation is covered.

On special days, like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter,
they have fantastic Brunches, served community style.
Everyone sits at long tables where neighbor meets neighbor.
People try to smile and chew politely
trying to converse, nod their heads and request seconds at the same time.

If you arrive on a Thursday morning, you’ll see tables with paperwork spread out, colorful people working on laptops and calling out to one another. The Regional Arts Commission has discovered this place. Artistic meetings and interviews take place around muffins, coffee, or a special Piccione breakfast dish. The place is alive and with the up-and-comers in our region.

When school is in session, there are half off specials and any given evening the place will be packed with the college crowd, purchasing bakery boxes of goodies to enhance study time.

Every weekend the pastry chef creates new flavors for cannoli.
These creations are available during weekend hours only.

This summer Piccione is dedicating ten percent of bakery sales to a different charity each week.
They call the program
Pastries with a Purpose.

Lately Piccione has started offering Tuesday Specials,
like half off cannoli from 7 to 9 PM.

Piccione, corner of Delmar and SkinkerPiccione
6197 Delmar Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63112

(314) 932- 1355

Sidewalk Star

William Inge is one of our Sidewalk Stars.

We have a “Walk of Fame” on Delmar Blvd. in University City.  I think the number of stars is still growing.  140 seems to be the current agreed upon number.

The star that always captures my attention sits at 6624 Delmar.  This star is dedicated to William Inge.  (I wonder if he would prefer to be called “Mr. Inge?”)  William Inge must have been a personal favorite of my drama teacher because we studied his plays in depth and I won awards and scholarships doing scenes from “Come Back, Little Sheba” and “Bus Stop.”  It’s safe to say much of my higher education and career opportunities came from the work of Mr. William Inge.  So, of course, this star has meaning for me.

Sidewalk Star William IngeWilliam Inge was born in Independence, Kansas in 1913.  When he was old enough he joined a local Boy Scout Troop and together they were invited to great community events.  Fortunately for me, some of these events were theatrical.  “Memorial Hall” had a theater and the scouts were invited to sit in the balcony and watch the performances.  (It’s great to see Memorial Hall continues to serve the community.)

William Inge must have been a gifted student.  After graduating from University of Kansas, he was offered opportunities to continue his education.  Partway through his master’s program he left school to find himself.  He worked on a highway crew for a while and then began his own path.  He was a radio announcer, a high school teacher, went off to finish his Master’s Degree and in 1938 moved to Columbia, Missouri to teach at Stephens College.

In 1943 he moved to St. Louis, MO and became a drama and music critic at the St. Louis Star-Times.  I suppose that’s where he met and became friends with Tennessee Williams.  That friendship inspired Mr. Inge to begin working on his first play, “Farther Off From Heaven” which was produced in Dallas in 1947.   Inge taught at Washington University (1946 – 1949)  and went on to create his stellar body of work.

photo permission given (and gifted) by Lily Morgan, Director of Library Services, Independence Community College

photo permission given (and gifted) by Lily Morgan, Director of Library Services, Independence Community College

He turned a short story into “Come Back Little Sheba” and earned the title “Most Promising Playwright of the 1950’s Season.”  In 1953, his work “Picnic” opened in New York City and won several awards, including a Pulitzer Prize.

His original Screenplay, “Splendor in the Grass,” earned William Inge an Oscar in 1961.

He gave us and era of stories about life in small mid-western towns.

Yes, I’d say he deserves a Star . . and a lot of Thank You’s.

In learning more about Mr. Inge, I met some excellent people.

Speaking of “THANK YOU” – I am grateful for help from Patrick O’Leary at The Inge Center and Lily Morgan, Director of Library Services at Independence Community College, for their help, encouragement and permission to use the handsome photo of William Inge.

Independence Community College LibraryIndependence Community College Library