In the Zone: I read Mike Seely's "Inn & Out" [July 30] with great interest. Prostitution and drug use are very common in the Grand-Broadway-Bulwer-John blocks in north St. Louis. There is no question that the Mansion Motel is a haven. This has been documented by the Fifth District, where Captain Richardson has been very active. The problem is that when the police arrest the prostitutes, generally for failure to appear on outstanding warrants, they are released the next day.
Please do not publish my name; I work in the area.
Name withheld by request
Hearts and minds be damned: It never fails to surprise me when the RFT runs yet another article pointing out the sticky and unpleasant underside of the city that we all live in. In fact, the only time I ever see something positive in the Riverfront Times is when you run your "Best Of" issue featuring restaurants, bands, clubs, tattoo parlors, etc. My assumption, from reading the RFT, is that the commerce of St. Louis is doing fine (as is the RFT's ad revenue), while the hearts and minds of our city are damned.
In the two-plus years that I have lived here, I have seen a rebirth in the city, with the revitalization of downtown, the expansion of the Metro, hundreds of festivals and thousands of programs that serve the minds and the souls of our citizens. Come on, RFT: We can't possibly be populated only with crack whores, criminal police and politicians and an alcohol-fueled community.
We live in a world where having a Pollyanna view is practically impossible, and you should never ignore bad government or civic problems, but surely at least part of the solution should be recognizing the positive and promoting it. Using shock and titillation to get people to pick up your publication on a weekly basis is probably great for your ad sales, but it turns our community into a Jerry Springer audience and pushes us all further away from a community sorely in need of pride.
Jim Dunn, publisher
Playback St. Louis
Much More Muny
Humble, shmumble: Regarding Stellie Siteman's letter in last week's issue: The Muny did not have "humble beginnings" in 1919, but rather a blockbuster/stunning/world-recognized launching in June of 1917 with six performances of Verdi's Aida, produced by Guy Golterman for the thirteenth annual Advertising Clubs of the World Convention.
50,000-plus packed the theater, which was built in under 50 days by Parks Commissioner Nelson Cunliff and his crews to accommodate the massive production, give the World Ad Clubs' convention its centerpiece and St. Louis the first and finest municipally owned theater in America. Rain disrupted two performances and a performance was added Sunday night. The total endeavor -- theater construction and the massive performances of Aida -- was delivered with a $400 surplus.
From Paris: "All of Europe has heard of your great St. Louis triumph" -- Mary Garden, opera star and founder of the Chicago Opera Company.
The Muny, which should be alive twelve to thirteen weeks a year, has been "humbled" and cut down by a visionless board and by the pressure from the Fox Theatre, which wants to be the only game in town. Are we past the point when St. Louis can do and think big? Can't afford to be.
Send us your memories: The Lampson family wants to thank every firefighter and policeman who helped put out the fire at Arcade Lanes ["Last Strike," July 23]. We are all grateful to you for risking your lives to stop the fire and appreciate your support through this life-altering experience.
We want to thank each customer that came through our doors at Arcade Lanes. We have been at Arcade Lanes since the late 1950s. All our customers will be missed, and we want them to know we appreciate their years of patronage.
Arcade Lanes is now gone, and so is the memorabilia. These items were displayed for our customers to enjoy and see how our ancestors lived. All who visited Arcade Lanes knew Dad (Jim) would share a story and his memorabilia to enlighten you, sometimes for hours.
We have tried to make sense of such a tragedy and we struggle with the loss of the items we held dear. We have enjoyed our customers through the years and hope they could find it in their busy schedule to send a story or a picture of time shared at Arcade. We want to put a scrapbook together for our family. Thank you for the memories, and please include a return address. Please send to:
7579 Olive Boulevard
University City, MO 63130
We want to thank Bruce Rushton for his articles about Dad. We hope he knows the joy he brought to Dad by his visits. We're glad Bruce was there the day of the fire, because Dad would have tried to put the fire out and not called 911 in time.