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Posts Tagged ‘Harry Wald’

NOSTALGIA

They’re gone now along with the impending closure of Macy’s downtown store.  We’re talking about Nugent’s, Famous-Barr, Scruggs Vandervoort & Barney, Stix, Baer & Fuller, Garlands, Kline’s, Sonnenfeld’s, Cunningham’s, Werner-Hilton, Richman Bros., Bond’s, National Shirt Shop, Lane Bryant, Boyd’s, Wilkinson’s, Wolff’s, Stacy Adams, Red Cross Shoes, Birdie’s Hat Shop, Kresge’s; Schneider Millinery – all of which wove the fabric of a booming downtown St. Louis.  There were the popular restaurants over those years: Trader Vic’s; the Orient; Rio Room; the Forum; Tunnelway; Max Carl’s; the Pines; Grecian Garden’s; Miss Hulling’s; the Washington Cafe; the Holland Bldg. Cafeteria, Tutenberg’s and F&E Sandwich Shop. There were the burlesque houses: Garrick, Grand and Harry Wald’s World, where he was overheard to say, “That stripper is great except for two little things.”  Merchants prospered.  Long gone are  Central Hardware, C.E. Williams Shoes, Greenfield’s Poultry and a bevy of hardware stores. Saloons had their doors propped open, and bartenders kept running out of Tom Collins mix in this normally vodka, scotch town. The old Union Market building remains and houses a Drury Inn and the wonderful Jf Sanfilippo’s Ristorante. The naked downtown district is shrinking to small town size.

ONWARD

Clanking thoughts occurred to me as I drove aimfully past Busch Stadium trying to zero in on the city I once thought I knew so well.  The stadium is now located in the environs of yesteryear Chinatown, where men wore long robes and pigtails, heading toward puffs of opium at tong meetings, Tourists snapped pictures, that would engrave forever the image of a Chinatown that lives today only in the minds of aging caucasians. The young, the quick and the smart got out of there many years ago.  Chinatown has since been revived by Asia Town on Olive Boulevard just east of I-170. But, in those early days, there were: a flea-bag St. Regis Hotel and if its walls could’ve talked, they’d be sued for libel; Jim Mertikas’ Grecian Gardens, where politicians, judges, lawyers and cops made deals over ouzo and steaks: Harry Wald‘s World Theater, that dared to show the films “Ecstasy” on the screen, replete with Hedy Lamar baring her pubes and Jane Russell baring her boobs in “The Outlaw”; African-Americans were only allowed to sit in the upper balcony of the old American Theater on Market Street and were later emancipated by Dr. David Grant and every time I saw a roast beef fired up at Happy Hollow, I thought of Torquemada. Nowadays, the most lucid residents of The Hood jam at Amnesia, Venue and The Label clubs. Far to the south there was Soulard Market where one could observe freshly-dressed geese, homegrown veggies and rats bigger than cats.

ONWARD

Dr. L. Mike Nayak and his wife, Avni

Distinguished plastic surgeon Dr. L. Mike Nayak and his wife/attorney Avni, offered that there has been “an explosion” of patients seeking reconstruction of their noses. Over dinner at Tony’s, Avni, who works in Mike’s office, quipped, “I’m a recovering lawyer and have been clean for seven years”. . .Terry Croupen was aglow about his new bride, the former Tina DiGregorio, and admitted, “I’ll take another shot”. . .Freshly off its successful fundraising for Vince Schoemehl and the Advance St. Louis campaign, Matt Lieberman‘s Majority Strategies has reloaded, hiring two well-known Democratic political professionals:  Lori Becker, a former administrator for License Collector Gregory FX Daly and ex-Slay campaigner; and Angela Bingaman, a vet of the Clint Zwiefel and Jay Nixon campaigns. . .”The Fast Lane” hosts Bob Ramsey, D’Marco Farr and Randy Karaker will host their first-ever “Massages for Mama” event at Seasons Spa & Salon on Friday.  It will include a $15 Mother’s Day massage from 6-7:30 p.m. in an effort to collect the most money/donations and the right to be called the biggest “mama’s boy.”  The host who raises the most for the St. Louis Crisis Nursery voted by 101 ESPN listeners will get a Brazilian Wax live on the air. . .North county Dem politics was the topic the other night at Yacovellis’ Restaurant in Florissant where 76th district Misssuri state rep candidate Keith Schildroth was feted by a host committee, that included state senator Tim Green… .Danny Wald has sold his portfolio of apartment buildings in The Loop to WashU.  As many recall, his late parents, Margie and Harry Wald were the impresarios of burlesque at the long-gone Grand and Garrick Theaters.

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