Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Old North is “Best Place to Live” in Riverfront Times 2015 “Best of St. Louis” Issue

This really isn’t news to those of us who know - and, therefore, love - Old North St. Louis. However, we are thrilled to share the news that yet another outside, neutral party has joined us in the assessment that Old North is the Best Place to Live in St. Louis. The annual Riverfront Times “Best of St. Louis” issue just hit the streets today, and right there on page 28 is the big news that Old North is this year’s selection for Best Place to Live. Click HERE to read the explanation from the good folks at the RFT in their online version.

As the brief article notes, Old North is “flourishing” with much to celebrate, including the redevelopment of Crown Square (where the commercial space is approaching full occupancy, by the way), a significant reduction in an already low amount of crime, a really cool farmers’ market, a “tight-knit bunch” of residents, and the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Village of North St. Louis just a few months away.

Although that little blurb says a lot, we know the full story deserves much more space than the RFT had available in their very jam-packed Best of issue.  So, stay tuned for a follow up from us on some of the reasons we agree with their conclusion. In the meantime, all who call Old North home or have their business here can share in the credit and take a bow for this well-deserved acknowledgment.  As the Shakespeare in the Streets production of The World Begun just last week conveyed, Old North is a magical place with some one-of-a-kind characters who are passionate about their community.

If you don’t believe us, we invite you to come on by to see for yourself. And if you’d like to get in on the action and share the excitement, we’ve got an endless supply of opportunities. To learn more, stop by the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group office at 2700 N. 14th Street (1 block south of Crown Candy), visit us at our info booth every Saturday at North City Farmers’ Market, give us a call at 314-241-5031, or send us an email at  And, if you’re interested in helping us make more good things happen in Old North, feel free to make a secure, tax-deductible contribution online by clicking HERE or on the arrow or button below.

Thanks again to J. David Levy for allowing us to use his photos from Shakespeare in the Streets.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Critics Have Spoken: Shakespeare in the Streets Old North “the Best Ever”

It’s not always easy to get consensus in a diverse community, but there seems to be almost universal agreement that Shakespeare in the Streets Old North was a tremendous success. The reviews from community residents and professional critics have been overwhelmingly positive. The production by Shakespeare Festival St. Louis earned praise for the intelligence, sensitivity, and depth of the script; for the masterful direction of a cast that included a mix of professional and amateur actors;for the energy and talent of the acting; and everything else, from the set design that took full advantage of the architectural beauty and character of the street to the pre-show music by Renaissance Rhythm & Blues.

Post-Dispatch theater critic Judith Newmark referred to the production of “The World Begun,” Nancy Bell’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” as “a hilarious romp through the Old North neighborhood…— and the best Shakespeare in the Streets show yet.” Read the full review on by clicking HERE.

Gerry Kowarsky of HEC-TV’s “Two on the Aisle” theater review program gave his “heartiest” recommendation and asked, “How can the script by Nancy Bell be so smart, so honest, so moving, and so thoroughly enjoyable all at the same time?

Neighborhood residents and other community members were thrilled to have the essence of their community captured and conveyed in such a compelling performance. The spirit and voice of the community came through so well due to the great care taken and respect shown by the entire Shakespeare Festival St. Louis team, from Executive Director Rick Dildine to all of the staff and crew, including community engagement & education director Jennifer Wintzer, playwright Nancy Bell, director Jacqueline Thompson, production manager Tom Martin, designer Mark Wilson, streets project coordinator Kristin Rion, and so many more who deserve to be named.

The full cast included the following:

MIKE Patrick Blindauer
MALVOLIO John Bratkowski*
VIOLA Marlene René Coveyou
SEBASIAN Michael Cassidy Flynn
DUKE ORSINO Lawd Gabriel
ROBERT Robert Green
ANTONIA Tarecka “Queenie” Smith and Aniyah Wilson
OLIVIA Erin Renée Roberts
SIR TOBY BELCH Richard Schicker
MARIA Lisa Tejero*
FESTE Christoffer Ware

Congratulations to all involved!

And here’s what Shakespeare Festival St. Louis thought of the production:

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Please Excuse Our Email Issues at Old North St. Louis Restoration Group

The server processing our official ONSLRG email was out of commission, unexpectedly, from this past Thursday until just moments ago (Wednesday afternoon). That situation has now been fixed.  However, just about anything sent to us over the past week most likely didn’t get to us until the flood gates opened, which means we’re now working our way through the hundreds messages that are finally showing up in our inboxes. We apologize for any missed or lost messages and any inconvenience this may have caused.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Shakespeare in the Streets Coming to Old North September 17-19

Mark your calendars & start spreading the news: Shakespeare in the Streets will take place in the heart of Old North, at the intersection of N. 14th & Montgomery Thursday, Sept. 17-Saturday, Sept. 19.
Details about the performances, including cast information, can be found in the official announcement from Shakespeare Festival St. Louis by clicking HERE, and on the website for the event by clicking HERE (where you can learn a lot more about some of the familiar Old North faces you’ll see on stage, food options, and parking info).
It’s not too soon to start inviting all of your friends, work colleagues, and family to join you in Old North for the evening, including dinner before the show at one of Old North’s fine eating establishments.
Watch for more details here between now and Sept. 17 - or search the #WelcometoOldNorth hashtag on Facebook and Instagram to meet some of the residents and business owners who have contributed to this project, from sharing their stories to welcoming the Shakespeare in the Streets team into their storefronts.
Saturday, August 22, 2015

Dope Poets Tourney Coming to UrbArts & ONSLRG Gallery Aug. 27-Aug. 29

Over 24 poets from throughout St. Louis will compete in this multi-day poetry slam tournament starting next Thursday in Old North St. Louis.

For more information, visit the UrbArts website,

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Help Us Plan for Sustainable Development within the Context of Historic Old North St. Louis

As reported in the Old North Community News back in May, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected Old North St. Louis for a new effort to help lay the groundwork for future development that respects the neighborhood’s historic character while also promoting environmental sustainability. EPA has contracted with a design team led by SWT to work with the City of St. Louis, Old North St. Louis Restoration Group (ONSLRG), and other community stakeholders on this project.

Among EPA’s goals for the project: “to demonstrate how a neighborhood can protect, preserve, and rehabilitate its historic architecture while incorporating green features that enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors; improve the community’s environmental conditions; put public investment to its best and highest use; and help revitalize the neighborhood, spurring additional economic and social benefits.”

Now, we’re at the stage when Old North residents, businesses and other stakeholders will have an opportunity to participate in the process. Next week there will be  be three separate events designed to gather ideas, suggestions, and feedback from the community.

Tuesday, August 25: Full Day Public Charrette

….The charrette will bring together a diverse group of perspectives including experts in sustainable design, urban planning, economic development, architecture, and historic preservation with city officials and neighborhood residents and advocates. During the charrette, the design team and participants will explore a full range of strategies that will address the unique challenges of Old North and build upon the neighborhood’s historic character and recent development achievements.

Preliminary strategies and schematic designs will be presented to initiate dialogue on each of the project focus areas, potential interventions, and the overall neighborhood vision. The planners will facilitate focus group discussions on the following topics:

•             Economic Development

•             Perception, Brand/Identity

•             Housing /Historic Preservation (Vacant Properties, Land Use, Form-Based Code)

•             Transportation (Streets, Bike/Ped, Transit)

•             Environment & Energy (Hydrology, Air Quality, Renewable Energy)

Although the charrette is open to all, space is limited, so advance registration is required.  Register by clicking HERE.

Tuesday, August 25, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.: Public Open House

An Initial Public Open House will be held to initiate a community dialogue about the overall neighborhood vision and gather feedback about possible interventions.  Preliminary design concepts will be on display and d planners will be available to answer questions and to hear your ideas.  All are welcome and no registration is required.

Thursday, Aug. 27: 4:30-6:30 p.m. : Second Public Open House

A second Public Open House will be held on Thursday evening to enable interested residents and citizens to see how initial ideas have been modified to incorporate community feedback into design options for the project area.

All of the above events will take place at the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group Gallery, 2700 N. 14th Street, STL, MO 63106.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

TONIGHT: Join Us for the Old North National Night Out Celebration at 13th Street Community Garden

Spread the word:  All are welcome to join us for a community-wide National Night Out celebration at the 13th Street Community Garden, 2700-16 N. 13th Street (just north of Montgomery and just south of St. Louis Avenue).

We’ll be grilling hot dogs, roasting marshmallows, providing face-painting, music and games for all ages.  If you can, please bring picnic blankets and/or chairs, your musical instrument, a dessert or side dish to share, and beverages of your choice.

For more information, feel free to contact us at Old North St. Louis Restoration Group by phone: 314-241-5031 or email,

To get you in the mood, we offer a few images from past years’ National Night Out celebrations:

See you this evening!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Old North in the Spotlight, Locally & Globally: “Experience St. Louis” Features Profile of ONSL; & German Marshall Fund Report Examines Old North’s Approach to Revitalization

Old North is in the news once again for all of the good things going on in the neighborhood…

Thank you to the City of St. Louis Communications Division for featuring the continuing revitalization of Old North in the July/August 2015 issue of Experience St. Louis, as written by Kathleen Dudley, the publication’s creator and editor.

Stop by the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group office or any of the other businesses along N. 14th Street in Old North to pick up your own copy of Experience St. Louis.


Meanwhile, to get a more global perspective on Old North, you can take a look at a recent report by French urban researcher, Celine Gipoulon, as published by the German Marshall Fund. This report was based on analysis of different approaches to urban revitalization in three Rust Belt cities, St. Louis, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh, with Old North presented as a case study for community-driven initiatives.

Click HERE to view the article online or to download a PDF of the report.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Join us Fri., July 24 for our 2nd Members & Friends of ONSLRG Happy Hour

Back by popular demand - Old North St. Louis Restoration Group will be holding another Members & Friends Happy Hour on Friday, July 24th from 4-6 p.m. at our ONSLRG Gallery, 2700 N. 14th Street. Whether or not you’re a current member or even if we don’t know you’re our friend yet, come on by to enjoy the company of others who’ve helped or are continuing to help ONSLRG revitalize the physical and social dimensions of Old North in a manner that respects the community’s historic, cultural, and urban character.

If you missed last month’s gathering, we’ve got a few photos to show what you missed - and to give you an idea of what’s on tap for this Friday.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Celebrate Independence Day in Old North with Pot-Luck Picnic at North City Farmers’ Market

Please join us for this special holiday gathering at the Crown Square corner plaza (at St. Louis Avenue & N. 14th Street) in the heart of Old North, and, while you’re at it, take advantage of the opportunity to stock up on your fresh fruits and vegetables at North City Farmers’ Market. Bring your home-baked pie for the pie contest - and other summertime foods to share at our pot-luck picnic; enjoy the live music of Ms. Sha & the Young Brothers in Blues; play a game of chess at the Chess Pocket Park; and savor the company of the great people who call Old North home, along with many others who appreciate the dynamic, friendly, and diverse community in Old North.

All are welcome - so spread the word and bring the whole family!

And, if you’d like to use this occasion to put into practice the “ask not what your country can do for you— ask what you can do for your country” spirit of America, we’d be happy to help you out. Volunteer opportunities (EVERY week) at North City Farmers’ Market include set-up at 9 a.m., staffing vendor booths from 10-1 (or any portion within those hours), and take-down duties at 1 p.m. For more information on any of this, give Jessica Payne a call at 314-241-5031, ext. 102, or send her an email at - or find us at the information table at the market.


Welcome to the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group's blog. What's New in Old North chronicles the dramatic transformation under way in the neighborhood of Old North St. Louis. As a neighborhood just north of Downtown St. Louis, Old North is becoming a dynamic urban village of new and historic homes, a landmark eating establishment, beautiful community gardens, and a diverse, friendly, and engaged community.


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