Don't get us wrong: Forest Park is a jewel.
Larger than Central Park, our urban oasis sees more visitors each year than the Gateway Arch and Busch Stadium combined. We totally understand why folks organizing St. Louis' 250th birthday party want to host it at Forest Park over Valentine's Day weekend.
What if -- just hang in there with us for a minute -- we held St. Louis' 250th anniversary in a place that wasn't wilderness when the city was founded? What if we chose a location closer to the heart of the city instead of a park founded 112 years later?
Since we're late to the party-planning game, here are ten suggestions for places to host the St. Louis Birthday Bash:
1. Busch Stadium/Ballpark Village
We gave those rich assholes millions to build the ballpark, so we may as well get to enjoy that building in the off-season. We know Ballpark Village isn't ready for prime time yet, but its 400-spot parking lot is, right?
2. America's Center/Edward Jones Dome: These buildings are both grim tombs, but they have the space and the facilities to cater to a large crowd. Not that the Jones Dome is used to large crowds anymore...
3. Laclede's Landing: Historically relevant to the occasion, the riverfront is already packed with ready-made entertainment. For this one night, everybody dresses frontier-style, drinks corn whiskey and wanders through the city trying to buy or sell their goods. Or as Laclede's Landing calls it, "Saturday."
4. That shiny rehabbed Central Library on 13th street
Why not? It keeps raking in prestigious architecture awards. Let's celebrate old and new together.
5. Union Station: Once a shopping destination, Union Station is now a MegaBus departure point and little else. Before St. Louis Fashion Week takes over, let's give it one last spin.
6. A-B Grounds: St. Louis wasn't founded by beer barons, but it may as well have been. Everything we know about modern St. Louis has its origin in the bottom of a beer bottle.
7. Soulard: The locus drunkus of St. Louis is already gearing up for Mardi Gras. Consider this pre-gaming for the big show.
8. Carondelet: Home to James Eads, Susan Blow and who knows how many other people who couldn't speak French. The St. Louis accent may have had its start here, where Germans and English immigrants pushed out whatever French dregs remained. Up went the churches and corner bars, and down went the French language. Arr revoyr, Frenchie.
9. EAST ST. LOUIS
Hear us out. Before St. Louis was founded, the East Side was the last bastion of America. Thomas Jefferson liked what he saw over the river and bought the lot, giving us our city. Let's go back to the former end of the Republic one more time to honor those who came before. Remember when you had to drive over the river to buy beer on Sunday? Remember when all the titty bars used to be only on the East Side? Remember when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? (Wait, when did we get to the Hustler Club? Awwww, hey, I know that girl! I went to high school with her! Spot me a buck, I wanna go say hey...)
10. Any abandoned high school in the city limits: For one night, we'll all have one high school in common. Unity: St. Louis Style.