The one interesting thing that happened is a couple of parties I have gone to over the weekend. They were mighty fine. The first was quite a difference from what I was used to. I used to live in Shaw about a dozen or so years ago. It was a beautiful three story Victorian. Hand carved wood staircase. Butler stairs and butler pantry. Stain glass. Painted Victorian floors and ceilings. Beautiful windows. My mother urged me to move out of the house by circling rentals on the southside. She was jealous of the place when I got it for it was a much nicer base house than theirs. It was hardly refinished. The bathroom was in need of rehab as just about the rest of the place, but it was stunning.
When I threw parties, they were a rough young crowd. Poor students. Runaways. Working kids. Kids in bands. I had to padlock my room. I thought that was a normal thing.
Naturally many of the people I run with now have gotten older as I have aged, but I have noticed other changes. The rental units in Shaw are much nicer now. There were always a few nice ones in Shaw, but most the people I knew who lived in Shaw, and much of the southside had cool spots, but they were all original and usually a bit rough. Drafty places, worn hardwood, cracks, old appliances, chipped paint. But this place was different. And I have noticed that many of the places I am going are no longer quite as rough in that neighborhood. They reasonable rentals are starting to become the rule not the exception and now have track lighting, new appliances, dishwashers, nice bathrooms, reconfigured walls, refinished floors, landscaping and such.
I still have many young friends, 20-23 years old, that live in rougher spots that remind me of that stage I was in life, but fewer of them are living in Shaw and Tower Grove and more are living in other parts of the southside. Dutchtown. Marine Villa. Fox Park. Cherokee. The places they live in are in the same kind of shape that I had been living in at that point in my life.
The neighborhoods are changing. Good signs. But they all still have far to go.
The other thing I noticed at the party in Shaw was the kind of people. Now most of them were in their late 20s and early 30s. Grad students. Working people. Artists. But more than a few of them were transferred in. This was also the case when I was younger for many of them were students who moved here for school. But many of these people were living here and were from somewhere else. Some were also headed out, but others were fresh arrivals. Normal transitions of adults. But it struck me when I was at the place when so many were *not* natives to the area. It struck me because it reminded me of another party I went to. In Brooklyn. I went to a party in Brooklyn about three or so years ago and no one was from the area. It was kind of funny actually. It was in a nice refinished apartment, *but* it was not nearly as pretty as even my crappiest apartment in STL for it was a basement apartment teeming with tenants. The people at the party were in their late 20s and early 30s. Now none of them were from NYC. They tended more toward the arts and more rich kids who were subsidized. But that Brooklyn party always stuck out to me first because we were hanging in what was considered a cool apartment that was in a basement and secondly that there were really no native New Yorkers. It looks like the transitions are hitting the streets. I am curious to see if the trend rolls east towards Jefferson. I think so, for the shithole I lived in on Michigan has several rehab dumpsters on the street and I noticed that the corner building at the end of the street nearing full renovation. Something that would have been scoffed at back when I was on the street. Yeah, it is changing.
But the clincher was the po-po. I used to have a band living in my basement in Shaw. The parties we threw drew mobs. They were loud. We would park motorcycles on the lawn. The cops would show up very late to bust the party riddled with various violations. But this party I went to last weekend was broken up at midnight. Midnight. And it was just a normal amount of people.
Obviously the cops have more ability now than they did in the early 90s. This is a good thing. Things were real rough then. A lot more violence. I had a strange habit at that age when I would clip out stories from the paper of nearly every shooting or killing in the city and putting them inside my closet door along with editorial cartoons- when the Post actually had a cartoonist- editorials and crazy letters to the editor.
It was sort of sick to post up the law and order reports, but what happened and is still happening is so sick. What got me was how simple of a story it was when someone would be killed at Darst Webbe. Four or six sentences. And this would happen nearly every day. It seemed and still seems surreal. There still is a lot of violence now for the murder rate I think is about a third of what it was, but it is still way too much though. So much of this is preventable. Those kids that went on that murder rampage last year shooting out of their car. Those awful execution style killings way back at the old National on Grand. Enough of this nastiness. Sorry to rant.
But the cops still busted a tame party that was far less of a violation. The city cops have been pretty cool though, back then and now. Nearly always reasonable and effective.
I will follow later with the party that reminds me what group housing was like in Lafayette Square pre-regentrification, how I was rushed by some old SBAC members at Guns and Hoses and why Wash Ave continues to suck even more by promoting produce haters.