Archive for October, 2013

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Baseball, Indie Rock & Neighborhood Revitalization

Welcome to St. Louis, baseball fans!  As the World Series returns to the best baseball town in America, we invite all visitors to stop by to see the revitalization in progress in the Old North neighborhood, which is just a mile and a half north of Busch Stadium.  (OK, for those of you who think St. Louisans are being a bit too boastful these days about how great the fans are here, keep in mind we’re pretty darn good at putting ourselves down most of the time.  Shouldn’t we brag about something? Especially if it’s true?).

So, what does the World Series have to do with Old North St. Louis?  First, baseball is a sport that embraces history and tradition… and food.  The same could be said of Old North.  In fact, it’s a tradition among many long-time St. Louisans (and former St. Louisans when they’re back home for a visit) to make a pilgrimage to one of our city’s most historic eating establishments, Old North’s own Crown Candy Kitchen, at the corner of St. Louis Avenue and N. 14th Street.

And if you don’t believe us, just ask Jimmy Fallon, who visited Crown Candy just a couple weeks ago and shared his enthusiasm on Facebook. (Oddly enough, Fallon played a die-hard Red Sox fan in the film, Fever Pitch, which featured actual footage of Fallon and his co-star, Drew Barrymore, at the old Busch Stadium when the Red Sox played the Cardinals in the 2004 World Series.)

While in Old North, you may get a chance to enjoy the musical talents of Jamaica Ray, who often entertains the line of customers outside Crown Candy with the sound of his steel drums and keyboard.  You also may notice other products of Jamaica Ray’s talents - a whole variety of custom-designed mannequins standing around in front of Crown Candy or across the street at the Crown Square corner plaza.

Ray was recently on the street working on finishing touches to a mannequin being prepared for an upcoming event featuring St. Louis comedian/civil rights activist Dick Gregory.

Ray was recently on the street working on finishing touches to a mannequin being prepared for an upcoming event featuring St. Louis comedian/civil rights activist Dick Gregory.

The cool and attractive scenery at the corner of N. 14th and St. Louis Avenue - from the historically rehabbed buildings to the inviting plaza and stage - is just a sampling of the visible outcomes of an ongoing neighborhood-wide revitalization strategy being pursued by Old North St. Louis Restoration Group (ONSLRG).  As a community-based non-profit, ONSLRG relies on the passion, energy, and commitment of determined neighborhood residents, along with the financial support of a whole range of neighbors and friends of the community.  And on that note, you can help ONSLRG continue this award-winning revitalization by making a tax-deductible contribution right now or simply by going out to enjoy a fun evening of great music next Saturday, Nov. 2.

On Saturday, Nov. 2, ONSLRG will be the beneficiary of a concert at Plush (3224 Locust) featuring the talents of legendary indie rock band, Five Eight of Athens, Georgia, and the opening band, Last to Show First to Go (with Old North resident, Phil Valko, and other long-time friends of Old North).   You can purchase tickets online RIGHT NOW via by clicking HERE.

Seriously, folks, Old North St. Louis Restoration Group really needs your support! Our work covers a broad-range of initiatives which demand a lot of staff time to plan, coordinate, and implement.  Even when we successfully recruit a lot of good volunteers to help with these efforts, the recruiting, deploying, supervising, and managing volunteers requires staff time.  And, since we like to pay our staff for their long hours and hard work, we need funds to pay those salaries.  And since some of our previous supporters have experienced financial crunches of their own and have had to cut back on previous commitments, we need everyone who appreciates the progress achieved in Old North to pitch in with their financial support.  We’ve received a lot of awards and compliments for our work (and we really do appreciate that encouragement!), but those kind words and shiny plaques don’t help us cover our rent, utilities, supplies, and salaries.  So, if you want us to keep Old North moving in the right direction, buy as many tickets to the Five Eight / Last to Go First to Show concert as you can afford (by clicking HERE) and/or make a financial contribution online right now by clicking HERE or on the image below.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Community Development Rocks! 3 Reasons to Go to Benefit Concert for ONSLRG on Sat., Nov. 2

November 2 is right around the corner, so get your tickets now for the Community Development Rocks! benefit concert featuring the critically acclaimed band, Five Eight, and the locally loved band, Last to Show First to Go.  Proceeds from this benefit will help Old North St. Louis Restoration Group continue the good work of revitalizing the physical and social dimensions of the Old North neighborhood in a manner that respects the community’s historic, cultural, and urban character.

If you’re wondering why you should buy as many tickets as you can afford for the Nov. 2 concert, we offer a few reasons to think about:

(1) Great music

According to NPR’s All Songs Considered, Five Eight is one of the top five bands that should be way bigger than they are.  St. Louis fans of Five Eight - and many who are just getting to know them - are excited about the rare opportunity to see the indie rock veterans in the Gateway City.  The band has agreed to travel all the way from Athens, Georgia, to perform at this benefit for ONSLRG.

Although Last to Show First to Go is a local band - which means you may have seen them before and likely will get many other opportunities to see them - it’s worth pointing out to those unfamiliar with them how good they are.  Here’s one review by Annie-Rose Fondaw on KDHX:

“On first listen, Last to Show First to Go appears to have its roots down in the landscape of heartland rock ‘n’ roll. Lead singer Bredon Jones’ earnest, earthy vocals lie simply against a backdrop of acoustic guitar, drums and vocal harmonies, all bolstered by a double bass. Yet as each song unfolds, it’s clear that Last to Show First to Go has a flair for genre-bending. From Jay Lewis’ rippling cello arpeggios to Miriam Keller’s jazz-infused trumpet, the band embraces a wide variety of sounds and textures. And lo and behold, they pull it off. What could easily veer into a trite modernization of the down-home Americana genre instead becomes a singular, engaging sound.”

(2) A Really Cool Venue

Plush, located at 3224 Locust between Compton and Grand, has earned a reputation as one of the hippest, hottest, coolest (or whatever term you’d use for the highest level of a positive experience) venues for food, drink, and live music in St. Louis.  One recent review on Yelp described Plush as “as good at it gets,” while a review in the Riverfrtont Times last year was headlined, “Plush is the most ambitious drinking, dining and dance establishment St. Louis has seen in a decade.”  Get your tickets now to check out Plush in person on Saturday, Nov. 2.  And, if you can get there for dinner before the concert, be sure to mention that you’re there for the Community Development Rocks! concert to get a special deal on the meal.

The photo above is by Kate McDonald from St. Louis Magazine’s 2012 “A List” issue, which included Plush among their “Night Life” awards in the “Dinner and Dance” category.

(3) And, of course, a chance to support a Great Cause

When you support ONSLRG, you support the cause of urban core revitalization implemented in a manner that respects the community that lives there.  The best way to respect the community is to pursue their vision and to involve them in the process of making that vision a reality.  That’s what ONSLRG has been doing since it was created by residents of Old North in 1981.  Everything ONSLRG does is rooted in a desire expressed by community residents.  That’s why ONSLRG has taken on…

the preservation of historic properties - from small, single-family homes to to multi-family, rental buildings to large, institutional buildings, such as the Mullanphy Emigrant Home…

coordinating a farmers’ market in the heart of Old North since 2007 to bring healthy & affordable foods to the neighborhood…

Hosting theater, film, photography exhibits, and other arts programming…

Beautifying Old North through tree-planting, community gardens, supporting other green investments, and regular neighborhood-wide clean-up days

Improving neighborhood safety by establishing a police substation at Crown Square, hosting neighborhood watch trainings, and coordinating implementation of the City’s “Neighborhood Ownership Model”…

Bringing residents together regularly to plan, discuss, and review ideas or proposals for development in Old North…

Plus, all sorts of community-building social events, and so much more!

In addition to supporting ONSLRG by buying concert tickets, you can also buy raffle tickets at the concert or before!  ONSLRG’s tireless intern, Chris Umbertino, has lined up some phenomenal prizes for a raffle drawing that will take place at the concert.  See the flyer below for details.

Raffle tickets will be sold at the concert, but you can also purchase them in advance - either in person at the ONSLRG office or online. Just follow the link below for online contributions - and make a contribution along WITH a note in the comments/special instructions or other notes section to alert us that the purpose is for raffle tickets in your name.

We’d love to get as many people out to Plush on November 2 as we can get to support ONSLRG and to show our appreciation for the generosity of Five Eight, Last to Show First to Go, and Plush; and we’d love it if you could purchase a large pile of raffle tickets as a way of letting the prize donors know their contributions were worth it.  However, we also are willing to accept good, old-fashioned direct contributions straight to Old North St. Louis Restoration Group.  We can accept contributions in whatever form you’d like to send us:  cash (please not through the mail, though); checks (which can be dropped off at our office or sent by mail to 2700 N. 14th Street, St. Louis, MO 63106); or by credit or debit card - either in person at our office or online via PayPal by clicking HERE now or by clicking on the image below.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Cards Bring Playoff Excitement to Downtown! Celebrate with Us Saturday at the North City Farmers’ Market Harvest Fest

Once again, the end of our North City Farmers’ Market season coincides with a post-season celebration of a different sort in Downtown St. Louis.  So, if you’re planning to go Downtown for the Cardinals vs. Dodgers National League Championship Series game on Saturday afternoon, come on by Old North for a pre-celebration from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the North City Farmers’ Market Harvest Fest, our traditional end of the market-season extravaganza. After 20 weeks in a row of getting up early on Saturday mornings to set up tables and tents for the market, our staff, interns, market vendors, and hardy crew of volunteers deserve to finish off the 2013 market season with a great big party.

So, come on out to celebrate with us and to show your appreciation for all the dedicated workers who’ve made the market possible all season long.

We look forward to seeing you on 14th Street Saturday!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Countdown: 4 Days to North City Farmers’ Market Harvest Fest…& 25 Days to Five Eight Benefit Concert

Please join us THIS Saturday, Oct. 12, for the Harvest Fest, our very last North City Farmers’ Market of the season! Check out our wonderful selection of fruits, veggies, local crafts, and delicious baked goods.

The Harvest Fest will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. along the 2700 block of N. 14th Street in Crown Square.  If it rains, we will be inside at the Old North Restoration Group Gallery, 2700 N. 14th Street.  We do accept EBT/SNAP benefits.

Harvest Fest activities will include:

  • live hip hop music by Illphonics
  • a cooking demonstration by Operation Food Search
  • Jamaican barbecue from the Mi Hungry food truck
  • a classic car show/skateboarding event by Ye Ole Haunt, and
  • Stray Rescue will have a dog adoption station and dog training advice.

After the market concludes, the 14th Street Artist Community will continue the festivities with their 1 Year Anniversary party featuring live music and live art until 7 p.m.


Mark your calendars for Saturday, November 2, and get your tickets now…

Legendary indie rock band Five Eight (from Athens, Georgia) has agreed to travel to St. Louis to play a benefit concert for the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group.  This concert will take place Saturday November 2nd at Plush in midtown St. Louis.  Doors open at 7 p.m. Opening local band Last to Show First to Go (with Old North resident Phil Valko) starts at 8 p.m., and Five Eight will take the stage at 9 p.m.

Tickets for the show are available via by clicking HERE.  The venue website and show webpage can be found by clicking HERE.  For those not inclined to go see live music, please consider supporting the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group by clicking HERE and purchasing one ticket ($15; or $16.32 after ticket handling fee).  The benefit will support the ongoing operations of this dynamic and entrepreneurial non-profit as it continues to outpunch its weight (and the size of its budget and staff) to deliver one of the greatest urban revitalization stories anywhere in the USA.

Also–for those of you who do attend– Plush will be offering dinner specials to those who mention they are there to support “Old North”.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of support.

But wait, there’s more…

There will also be a raffle at the show with great prizes including gift certificates, band merchandise (t-shirts, CDs) and a variety of other items, as displayed on the flyer below.

To purchase raffle tickets or for more information about the raffle, the concert, or anything else, feel free to call us at 314-241-5031 or send an email to  To purchase raffle tickets online, just click HERE and under the “Make a Donation to the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group” heading, enter any amount in multiples of $5 in the section next to the dollar sign and be sure to note “raffle” in the instructions section.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Sat., Oct. 5th: Metro Theater Company’s “New Kid” at Old North Gallery (and 2nd to Last Market of 2013 North City Farmers’ Market season)

In addition to our second-to-last market of the 2013 North City Farmers’ Market season (from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.), this Saturday, October 5, Old North St. Louis Restoration Group will be hosting Metro Theater Company’s free performance of “New Kid” at 2 p.m. in our gallery.  Please join us if you can, and please share this information with any teachers or parents of grade school age children.

Click HERE for a PDF version of the flyer for this Saturday’s 2 p.m. performance of “New Kid” (which is FREE!), which you can print and post or distribute as you wish.  Also,  please let us know if you’d like us to send you an electronic copy of the discussion guide prepared by Metro Theater Company.  This guide can be used by parents or teachers as a way of furthering a conversation and understanding about intolerance, bullying, prejudice, and other issues that might arise when dealing with people from different cultures.

So, please come on out this Saturday to the 2700 block of N. 14th Street in the heart of Old North for the North City Farmers’ Market from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. then stick around for lunch at one of Old North’s great dining establishments, and then come on down to the Old North Gallery for the 2 p.m.  performance of “New Kid” by Metro Theater Co.
For more information, contact the ONSLRG office at 314-241-5031 or by email:


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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