Baden – Walnut Park
So after venturing to the velodrome, cruising through the Mark Twain Neighborhood, and facing the hell hound of Bellefontaine Cemetery, I had arrived in the Baden Neighborhood. My great friend and fellow city enthusiast, Tommy Nagel, has told me that this is his favorite part of the city as well as a place he would enjoy one day residing in. Needless to say, I was excited to find out why.
Where I continued from last: http://goo.gl/maps/s5Nmd
I was thirsty for a taste of Baden. Having never been to the area, the first thing I wanted to do was to meet some of the people who live here. After a bit of research, I found that according to the 2010 Census, Baden has lost close to 14% of its residents – Census Data (search: ‘Baden‘). This is truly a shame because the people I met were undoubtedly the highlight and accentuation of my visit.
Subjectively, I sensed that most of the people I know seem a bit skeptical of the Baden Neighborhood, excluding my charismatic friend Tommy. After analyzing the crime reports, I understand completely where the skeptics are coming from. Admittedly, it does not look favorable when burglary, vandalism, and theft are riddled down the list – Baden crime report. On the flip side, at least shootings are few and far between.
It really is not shocking when looking at the impoverished parts of Saint Louis – Saint Louis Poverty Rates. The Baden and North Riverfront areas have terribly low income rates and during my first glimpse, it showed itself.
Sadly, I felt the sense of disconnection when exploring this area. RIddled with condemned buildings, it was evident that the 2010 Cencus and the loss of 14% of its’ population was taking a toll. I knew there had to be more to see.
As thirsty as I was, I felt like I was seeing a mirage when I found this incredibly placed oasis of liquid sugar!
The perfect treat, World’s Best Snow Cones, was where I made a quick stop to quench my two thirsts. I had the best of times chatting with my new friends Yaminah and Prince. Yaminah was an outstanding city guide and educated me on things i was unaware of while Mr. Prince crafted the meanest snow cone I’ve ever had!
The beauty in this chance encounter was that although Yaminah and Prince were a bit bewildered as to what brought me to Baden, they still instantly made me feel as if I were home. Personally, I could enjoy every day, by and by, slurping down snow cones and sharing stories and laughs. Now that I had met some new friends and residents of the area, I was beginning to understand the reason for Tommy’s such high regard for the area and the people.
Onward I went, north on Broadway.
It is undeniable the river city that we are, here in beautiful Saint Louis. With a set of keen ears, you can almost hear the river from anywhere. But during this stretch, the river resonates while simultaneously wooing. I can imagine jiving on the dance floor in the building above, and follow it with a stroll down just a few blocks to the river. A perfect way to spend an evening in my opinion.
After my brief daydreaming, I continued embarking north on Broadway!!
Luckily, no one was around to hear my muffled chuckle when I read the name of this park. As dynamic of a park as any, I was impressed with how many fields and courts they offered. Softball, basketball, soccer, football, and horseshoes are all available to be played while there is also a playground and walking trail encompassing the park. The walking trail even has an obstacle course accompanying it. A noteworthy and lovely park definitely worthy of a revisit.
After visiting Hickey Park, I continued north on Broadway until I reached Riverview Boulevard, where I turned left (west). This brought me to one of the most exciting round-a-bouts that I know of in Saint Louis. The fourth turnoff thus continues Riverview Boulevard.
At 5033 Riverview Boulevard, I was intrigued by the name and look of a diner, Debbie’s Delight.
Once again, the hospitality of this area swept me off my foot. After snapping the above pictures, I was invited by a new friend to come inside and try the food for myself.
Never have I been one to shy away from good diner food, and I wasn’t about to reverse the trend now. So I went in to see what was cookin’!
The food was fantastic, but the company was even better. I had the pleasure of swapping stories with Mr. Chris Carter, alderman of the 27th Ward here in Saint Louis. A very down to earth and humble individual, we both share a passion for trying to unite the city and its’ inhabitants. Oh, and also good food.
Again, nothing but laughs and good times were to be had as we watched the time pass inside Debbie’s Delights. They told me a little bit about their family, most notably being Alderman Gregory Carter, who I looked up and found out led a sincerely inspirational life. Tirelessly trying to bring the community together is a daunting task and I am glad that some are up for the challenge as our aldermen, including Chris.
After bidding adieu with a very full stomach, I wandered across the street to see Dwight Davis Park. Containing baseball and soccer fields, along with a playground and tennis courts, Dwight Davis Park is one worth checking out. Dwight Davis was a progressive civic leader in his community as well as a champion tennis player (Dwight Davis).
After leaving the park, I continued following Riverview Boulevard until I returned to Penrose Park, 8.3 miles total.
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