A couple of years ago there was a Central West End Association committee that organized Happy Hours on Thursdays, called Mirthdays. Though I was not a board member, I was asked to help. The results of our efforts, to put it mildly, were a bust. The only people that joined us for the events were our significant others, and a few others who felt some unstated obligation to attend. After several attempts we gave up.
Enter a fresh crew of CWEA volunteers (sans moi!) who have planned this year's Happy Hours on the first Friday of each month, and folks, it's a whole new ball game. Last Friday the new, not quite "rocking" but much more popular, event was held at Taylor Park, on Taylor between Lindell and Maryland. The Happy Hour included an informal dedication ceremony for the new park. Because of the family-friendly location, parents brought young children who enjoyed playing around (and in) the central fountain while the adults visited. These events have become great way to meet neighbors and to learn more about the Central West End Association, though you don't have to be a member to attend.
CWEA President Doug Teasdale, in navy blazer above, welcomed the crowd and then introduced Alderman Lyda Krewson, above left. Lyda's remarks included praise for the many years of hard work and influence by the CWEA in helping to make the neighborhood what it is. The alderman also shared the back-story on the origins of Taylor Park, and her efforts, along with 17th Ward Alderman Joe Roddy, and the Parks Department's Gary Bess, to work out a deal with BJC (see post here) that eventually led to the acquisition of the property for Taylor Park. The second new public park in the CWE (Kennedy Park on Washington & Olive east of Euclid was the first) has become a popular spot for quiet reading, picnic lunches, exercise classes, and yoga. Earlier on Friday there was a poetry class. Lyda also pointed to the labyrinth incised in the elegant marble "floor," which is meant to be a meditative exercise. Follow the path, she was told, and you'll leave stress-free and clear-headed.
Also shown in the photo above is Bowood Farms' owner John McPheeters, in tan jacket, who is largely responsible for the design of Taylor Park. Jim Dwyer (standing next to John), worked with Lyda Krewson and Gary Bess, Director of Parks, to put the pieces of the project together. Mr. Bess and Dan Skillman, Parks Commissioner, attended the event as well. Jim mentioned the establishment of the "Friends of Taylor Park," a crew of volunteers from the LIndell Terrace, Bradford Court Condominium, and 4545 Lindell, who meet on occasion to tidy things up. Anyone interested in joining the Friends' group, email Jim (email@example.com).
(And totally unrelated, how about the incidental product placement of the hometown brew shown lower right in the photo above?)
One of the many young families, above, who attended the event on a cool, gorgeous Friday evening.
And on Saturday afternoon, the first of the "7 Saturdays" events was launched in the Commercial District. Organized by the CID (Community Improvement District), street performers treated shoppers and diners to a little something different between the hours of 4 and 8 p.m. The next 7 Saturdays event is scheduled for June 16.
A "hooper" from the St. Louis Hoop Club entertained passersby at the Maryland Plaza fountain. The Hoop Club is part of a pop-up group of young entertainers who gather at the foot of the Grand Basin in Forest Park to perform on Wednesday and Sunday evenings.
A trio of fabulous musicians that included Derek Grier (sax), Brendan Bradley (guitar and vocals) and Jason Washington (on "cajon") entertained at the busy corner of Euclid and Maryland next to the Coffee Cartel.
Over on McPherson beside Rothschild's, Jason Divad, a fire artist and comedic juggler from Kansas City, wowed the crowd with his skills and humor.
Young Jonah's mother said she and her husband heard about the 7 Saturdays event and decided to drive in to the neighborhood to see what was going on. They seemed to be having a great time.
Oblivious to all the hoopla on the street, a family celebrated a birthday at Culpepper's at Euclid and Maryland. As we walked home after our tour of the neighborhood, we encountered the family again, with the youngest child attempting to push her older siblings home, below. It was slow going.