A few years back, I got exasperated with hearing bad things about the North Side of St. Louis. When someone literally pointed a finger in my face and said "If it wasn't for North City, St. Louis wouldn't get such high crime rankings!" I stewed angrily for several days, grumbling to myself about the fatalism of acting like north and south are not parts of the very same city. And I grumbled that some South City neighborhoods have higher crime than some North City ones, to say nothing about kinds of victimization or human success that exist outside the narrow narratives of TV news. Then I made this page to show the upsides and complexities of North City.
Just like anyplace else, North City is composed of a huge range of different neighborhoods which are distinct from each other. Each one of my photos is labeled with the neighborhood where I snapped it.
I cannot emphasize enough how much I love my former North City neighborhood and those around it. Old North St. Louis, where I lived for five years, is a friendly, welcoming place--its social cohesion is off the charts. Old North is diverse both in the racial and economic integration senses of the word, but also in the fact that I have never met such an interesting and varied collection of people living side by side anywhere else. I am a better person for having gotten to be a part of that community.
In 2009, I moved to Detroit, seeing in it the familiar feeling of home I found in North City. I spent my early life living in South City but attending schools and competing on a swim team in North City, and so urban neighborhoods are home for me. Places with heart and challenge are where I want to be, and the conversations in these neighborhoods are the ones I want to have.
Because I live in Detroit I cannot take as many photos of North City as I used to, but I will strive to post occasional updates when I can. I still miss the hell out of my old neighborhood and my family of neighbors there.
April 9, 2013
BY THE WAY, I am always open to suggestions of people or places or things or whatever that I should photograph on the North Side. E-mail me (clairelovesthecity [AT] gmail.com) with any and all suggestions, or tell me your North City story.
All photos here were taken by me, unless credited. Ask if you want to use any of em--I will most likely say yes.
Big, big thanks go to Marti Frumhoff (I miss you) and Barbara Manzara for their help and encouragement.
Photos of Postcards from North St. Louis (1)
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Citizen Pioneer says:
"This is someone who knows what makes a neighborhood a neighborhood. A more knowledgeable, human, and kind person I have yet to meet. Respect and beauty ooze out of her pores and onto her photographs and into her passions."
30th September, 2007
- Good things happen North of Delmar.
- November 2006
- North Side, St. Louis, MO
- Detroit, MI, USA
- Urban Studies & Economics Student
- Curious Feet St. Louis