Wednesday, February 11, 2009

In Defense of St. Louis

Talk about kicking you when you’re down. To me, that’s what Forbes has done with its second annual list of America's Most Miserable Cities. Don’t we all have enough negative and bad sh*t floating in our heads, hearts, and homes right now? Gee, thanks. *rolling eyes*

To create this list, Forbes looked at the 150 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S., which meant those with a population of at least 378,000. They rated the cities on nine factors: commute times, corruption, pro sports teams, Superfund sites, taxes (both income and sales), unemployment, violent crime and weather.

Granted, I’ll give you weather hands down. And, up until last week, I’d have argued commute times. That’s because the Metro bus system is cutting routes dramatically after a failed sales tax referendum back in the fall. (Luckily, that’s not the case on my side of the river.) But sports teams? Seriously? We are Baseball Town USA! So what if the Rams suck?

Admittedly, I’ve got a horse in this race. I’m plenty peeved to find St. Louis at No. 10. Now, I’m not a Gateway City resident. I do, however, hold a much deeper affinity with the city than I do with the one whose ZIP code I’ve shared for the past two decades. I work in St. Louis. I went to high school there. Most of my friends live there. I like to hang out there. It’s just generally a great place.

It’s home. So, Forbes, you can kiss my butt. Is your city on the list? Did you get a bum rap?
In protest, I’m going to point out what I think some of the greatest things are about St. Louis. Feel free to comment and add yours!

Forest Park – In addition to its beautiful greenery, a backdrop for the 1904 World’s Fair, it is home to the St. Louis Zoo and the St. Louis Art Museum, two wonderful establishments you can visit FOR FREE! Not many cities can say that.

The Arch – I take it for granted. I could almost see it from the house I grew up in (could see it from the roof). I now see it at least twice a day. I can even see it in part from my desk at work if I stand in front of my window just right. But I can’t tell you how awesome it is to see tourists gawk at it from the ground or shake each other awake as they drive down I-70.

The Hill – Mama Mia! You want some Italian? They got it!

Soulard – History, architecture, food, eclectic bars.

The Ancient Order of Hibernians – These folks throw one hell of a parade every St. Patrick’s Day in Dogtown without fail. And, on the Saturday before St. Patrick’s, there’s another parade downtown. It’s good to be Irish!

The Cardinals – Great bunch of guys. World Series in 2006. Enough said.

And that’s just a few things. I could go on and on. Just knowing that there is so much more I could say is enough to make me happy.


Anonymous said...

I agree that their list is quite lame.


Baseball Town, USA? I must disagree, and not even respectfully. As a lifelong Cubs fan, I'm pretty sure nothing about the Cardinals is positive or good. If *I* lived in a city and the Cardinals were my baseball option, I'd definitely be a more miserable person.

Just saying ;)

SmilingJudy said...

And the Landing!

BTW - Jen's wrong. If you're into baseball (which I haven't been since the old, old strike) the Cards are where it's at. Maybe I'm delusional, but haven't they been in more championship games than any other team?

Just sayin'

SmilingJudy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
plumbelieve said...

I share your love for St. Louis. Wasn't I lucky to be born in my favorite city? From a person who works in Illinois and lives in St. Louis (opposite of NV), the Arch is like a great set of arms welcoming with a big hug as I cross the Mighty Mississippi....a definite sign of home. I never tire of the sights of the big steel structure.

I guess lists are created to provide the list makers with a job but one has to lead with your own opinions not follow with the perceptions of someone else.

My two cents.

Gene said...

I have to admit that my limited exposure to Stockton, CA (the nearest list city to me, as well as #1 on it) has been pretty grim, and Detroit is and has been a mess for a long time, but WTF is point of an article like this?!?

I've never been to St. Louis, but I've heard good things about it (and not just from fangirl NV). And I liked Memphis on my two day visit there some years back.

Vicki said...

These kinds of articles are magazine sellers to get people talking about Forbes. I'd say, eh, whatever. Montgomery probably wouldn't rank very high but I love what I've come to know about it.

Why S? said...

Personally, I think measuring a city by it's sports teams is silly. That's no measure of a city. Therefore, it's a silly list. Just be happy you live in an area that you so love. Not everyone can say that.

Why S? said...

.. . although I do have to agree about Modesto. Nothing there. Nothing at all.

Mama Martha said...

Growing up in a small town close to St Louis the Arch was our landmark. We knew we were almost there when we saw it. And it meant baseball games, fancy hotels, cab rides, nice restaurants and shopping. After 3 years in LA I was so happy to come home to St Louis to make my living and have a family. It's a great place.

To add to the list how about the Magic House, Science Center, numerous concert venues...

Ann said...

Screw Forbes man. You love your city and that's all that counts!

Jayne said...

I really like St. Louis, if for nothing else than the wide variety of free or nearly free entertainment and the good public transportation. I agree with Gene: what exactly is the point of a list like that?!

It pains me to say this, but the New York Yankees have been to the World Series more often than any other MLB team, with 26 wins and 13 losses.

NV said...

Jen -- Well, take it up with Sports Illustrated. (I think. Someone gave STL that designation. It isn't just me spoutin' it!)
Yeah, this list is a bunch of rot.

Judy -- Hi, stranger! :-) The
Cards may well be the pennant champs. Wouldn't matter though. I'll root for 'em anyway!

PB -- OK, Margaret O'Brien! :-) OMG. I didn't think about that. Welcome to the wonderful world of dual-state taxes! Aren't they FUN?!

Gene -- That was my sentiments, too. Why this list? And especially, why NOW? Put energy into something positive already! Thanks for backin' me up!

V -- Yeah! Way to thumb your nose at 'em!

Why -- Thanks -- and don't I know it! I love to VISIT other places and I've been to several that I think are great (America is a collection of great cities, after all) but I always love to come back home.

MM -- I forgot you weren't always here. See? You now call it home, too! (And I'm glad.)And you're so right. Lots of great concert venues.

Ann -- Amen! thanks.

Jayne -- Well, the Yankees may have won more World Series titles, but they didn't win the hearts of as many fans. :-) I'm always amazed at how many people, who may root for other teams while they're here, have nothing but good to say about both the team and Cardinal Nation.

Kristy said...

Okay, so I have a vested interest in St. Louis (I live and work here); but there isn't much not to like.

Okay, so our mass transit isn't the best; but here are some things that certainly are.

---Forest Park, almost 500 acres larger then Central Park in NY.

---Washington University, ranked #12 amongst all private universities

---Mardi Gras parade, 2nd only to New Orleans

MonkeyGirl said...

So maybe the Rams weren't great this year - but we have been to the SuperBowl twice in recent history. The Blues, well, they try really hard!

Besides, we have one of the world's premiere zoo's and they don't charge one red cent to visit many other places can say that?

NV said...

Kristy and MG -- Yeah! More STL support from the homies. :-)