Friday, August 5, 2011 / 10:09 AM
THAT INDESCRIBABLE SOMETHING
The St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission has rehearsed the action for months, and now more than 5,000 delegates to the convention of the American Society of Association Executives are swooping down on our town. What will set us apart? There's the white exclamation point of the Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Courthouse over a tumble of courthouses; there are tasty secrets such as Volpi on The Hill, where they make prosciutto, salamis, and the olive salad for the world; lunch on Wednesdays at St. Raymond's Maronite Cathedral dining room; fried pickles at O'Leary's Restaurant and Bar on South Lindbergh; a Soulard safari to haggle with vendors or pick up some crocodile sausage and bison wursts at Frandeka's; The Picadilly on Manhattan for Nick's award-winning spareribs and mile-high chicken pot pie; Olympia Kebab House for a pita passion fix or Trattoria Marcella for lobster risotto...
Some conventioneers have pre-conceived notions about our town because of all those rotten lists--puppy mills, meth labs, and venereal disease—but it's the crime stats that spook everyone. Says KTRS 550's J.C. Corcoran: "Come on. There are problems in every big American city. In Chicago, there are gunfights breaking out over parking spaces. In Los Angeles, they stab each other fighting over American Idol results. St. Louis is the only city that didn't set itself on fire after winning a Super Bowl!"
Granted, we have more brick thieves than anywhere in America. But we also have the world's first skyscraper—Louis Sullivan's Wainwright Building that went up in 1897. There's the Saint Louis Science Center, where visitors can learn about hot local controversies in the forefront of citizens' minds: global warming and executive compensation. And while some more colorful characters have moved elsewhere (notably Bob Jamerson, who often graced the Central West End streets and sidewalks dressed in skimpy costumes and twirling a baton), others are alive and well like the dancing dervish Robert Matoni (a.k.a. Beatle Bob) and wild wonderful Chuck Berry, who may now be seen in The Loop either live or in statue form.
Our visitors may be surprised.
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