31.12.13

The Top 23 Twin City Sidewalks Posts of 2013

A personal list of highlights from the following calendar year, presented in chronological order, include the following.

November 2013 set a new all-time monthly record for Twin City Sidewalks readership, with a confluence of popular stories that surpassed even my Kottke moment. It's a record not likely to be broken anytime soon...

[see last year's list: The 19 Best Twin City Sidewalks Posts of 2012 here.]




1. On Windchimes

An ode to windchimes, and how they make you feel when listened to late in the night or through a window, especially in winter, especially in the dark, but other times too. After I wrote this, someone left a windchime under my porch staircase. (No lie! Thanks Mom.)


2. All I Really Needed to Know about Dinkytown, I Learned at Al's Breakfast

The Dinkytown density debate was one of the top stories of 2013, and this was a commentary on the situation (the change of which, in retrospect, seems to be only accelerating into 2014). That said, I'm obsessed with Al's Breakfast, not because of their food (which is good), but because of the social and spatial dynamics of the place. This was an attempt to use Al's as a metaphor for urban spaces in general. Probably not the last time I'll try to use Al's Breakfast as a Minneapolis synechdoche.


3. Using Psychobabble to Justify Anti-Bicycle Rage is Dangerous

A diatribe reaction to one of those Malcolm Gladwell-esque pseudoscience columns (this one from the BBC, called "neurohacks") that attempted to defend anti-bike road rage (good example of this here). Article includes history of jaywalking, vented spleen.


4. If Cars Are the New Tobacco...

This is the trend piece to watch in coming years. Cars are just as bad for individual and public health as smoking used to be, and have some of the same structural and economic social defense mechanisms. Here's an attempt to make that connection more explicit. Maybe someday we'll have non-car sections of our cities, and people will feel silently guilty for driving because they realize they're ruining the health of those around them...


5. In Defense of the Pedal Pub

The title speaks for itself. Sometimes one has to jump on the grenade and take one for the team. In spite of everything, I like the pedal pub, albeit in an admittedly condescending way.


6. Notes from the Empire Builder II

The train makes me want to write. Gamers, graffiti, long list of objects seen from windows... My ride to and from Boston last Spring was eventful, and feels like only yesterday.


7. Rough Sketch of a Solution to Downtown Saint Paul's Parking Problem

An attempt at wonkery, this time in reaction to the parking barking in Lowertown following a few development proposals. Four easy steps to a Shoupian solution... The neat thing is that Saint Paul policymakers almost kidna tried to implement this 'parking benefit district'-style plan in the Snelby area, but failed to adequately follow through with the details or incentives.


8. Sidewalk of the Week: 27th Avenue South

One of the my two favorite SOTW features from the past year. Confronting the abyss. A mysterious part of the city indeed!


9. Details Uncovered from 1906 Minneapolis

Someone tweeted this amazing photo this year, taken from the top of the newly completed City Hall in 1906. Sometimes you can get lost in a single photograph, and I did.


10. Minneapolis/St Paul Taprooms As If They Were Characters from a High School Movie

Fun followup to the Streets.mn taproom bike tour last Spring. It's always fun to anthropomorphize beer.


11. Four Suggested Skyway Improvements

Fun with photoshop, displaying some mad skillz here. I still want to follow through with Improvement #3, guerrilla style. Any artists out there?


12. Palmer's PROTIPS for Wall Street Journal Readers

Um, the WSJ recommending Palmer's has to be one of the best moments from last year. Many of my ideas come from my highly snide friends, and this is no exception.


13. TCS Interviews Avidor on the Block E Free Speech Mall

In retrospect, this will be the one that got away. Imagine what coulda been! Avidor is great, and here's another piece of evidence that proves it.


14. The Best and Worst Saint Paul Intersection Neologisms

Sometimes you're stuck in a three-hour long meeting with MNDOT where they pretend to care about (slash fund) pedestrian and bicycle safety programs. What else are you going to do but jot down all possible combinations of Saint Paul street names?


15. Sidewalk of the Week: Lauderdale

This is my favorite SOTW column from last year. Lauderdale is a special place.


16. Nine Thoughts You Have While Doing a Bike/Walk Traffic Count in a Vacant Lot for Two Hours

This is the single post that took the most out of me. I was depressed for days after writing this down. But it's probably my favorite post of the year.

Incidentally, a follow-up to this situation: I never actually submitted my traffic count results for some reason. (Nobody told me how or when?) Instead, in a panic, I emailed them to the city bike/ped guy just as the report was being collated, at the very last minute.


17. Minneapolis Voters Reject Disturbing Hair Trend

I'm starting to get more interested in making graphs and charts. This is one of the best so far... Side note: I'm really sorry for what happened to Mark Andrew at the mall!


18. Together We Can Re-Name Lake Calhoun

I am serious about this, people! 121 votes so far. Voting is still open for the re-Calhouning of Minneapolis for another 22 days.


19. Four Things Everyone Should Know About Block E

This is probably the best post I wrote all year, in terms of research, original content, and writing quality. It also was very timely! This was the #4 most popular post of the year.


20. Seven Reasons Conservatives Should Embrace Bikes

Actually, following even more discussions with my conservative cousins over the holiday season, I may have to write a few more like this very popular post (went viral) on bikes and libertarian values. This was the #1 most widely read post of the year.


21. The Gentrification Paradox

A follow-up to a conference on art and gentrification I attended in October. Turned out to be very popular with a national audience (#2 most read post of 2013), which came as a complete surprise. I intended to write a few more posts on the same topic. Here's hoping!


22. Q: Why Don't Bikers Stop at Stop Signs?

This just came out of trying to answer a question that I am routinely asked. It turned out to be the #2 post of the year. Maybe I'll try to answer a few more questions about bicycling... Does anyone have any? The more blunt and honest, the better. (E.g. Why are bicyclists so smug? Do bicyclists realize that they literally stink? Etc.)


23. The Last Holidazzle

I dunno. I have a soft spot in my heart for the snowman + C.D. Friedrich image. It's so sad and beautiful.

[Despite everything, still shoveling sidewalks...]

30.12.13

Ode to the Metrodome

Think for a moment about the parallels between the Hubert H Humphrey Metrodome and the Space Shuttle.

Both are white.
Both are made of technologically impressive materials.
Both are creatures of late-70s liberal values.
Both represent a technocratic achievement of the highest magnitude.
Both are designed to be flexible and re-usable.
Both feature advanced hydraulic systems (e.g. pitcher's mound, satellite bay arm) and a pressurized artificial atmosphere.
Both offer awkward views of beautiful things (baseball, Earth).
Both have seen moments of triumph and moments of complete failure.
Both forcefully eject you when you open the door (which is far less pleasant in space, mind you).

And in the 21st century, both are unsexy and obsolete, abandoned by the societies around them. Both have been mothballed and/or destroyed. Both have seen their egalitarian pragmatism phased out, replaced by elite speculative fancy (luxury boxes, space tourism).

It is fitting that the last day of the Metrodome be a remorseless gray winter one. It's not that I love the building, or find myself fond of it. The dome represents both good and horrible aspects of our particular strain of Minnesotan modernism. On the one hand, you have practical efficiency, a culture of sharing (for post-industrial capitalism, anyway) with all seats being equal, except for those that aren't, but even they aren't all that great...



I've lots of fond memories. I grew up going to baseball games. I remember being at the '85 All Star Game. I remember chanting during Game One of the '87 ALCS, when the Twins scored four on Doyle Alexander, the Tiger's ace. I was with my sister  in the left field nose bleeds during Game Seven of the '91 series (best Series ever) when soon to be non-Hall of Famer Jack Morris was famously stubborn. In that era, we used to sit just over the general admission line in left field, moving closer at some point during the 5th or 6th inning. Sometimes, my brother and I would circumnavigate the dome like Magellan, going up to the top of the upper deck and gradually walking all the way around the half-empty place.

Later during the 2000s, I camped myself in Section 212 for five-dollars-a-game to see Johan Santana's filthy change-up. I remember watching Torii hunter slam himself into the outfield wall trying to rob another dinger in the 8th inning of a blowout against the A-Rod era Rangers. Tee sound of his body reverberated through the clunky outfield. For a while I had a friend who had a friend who worked for the Twins, and he'd get us tickets to Royals games behind home plate, sitting with the players wives. (According to him, Mientkeiwicz's wife was the hottest one...) I was there are the Knoblauch hot dog game, I saw Matt Garza's debut, and Corky Miller's only at bat. I've also been to one Vikings game (the '08 playoff loss against the Eagles), a few Gopher football games (including one in a luxury box provided by the U). There's a appealing simplicity to the building that seems out of place in the 21st century. The Metrodome is DOS prompt internet, a glamourless world of disembodiment that requires a charitable imagination. We're not to see its like again.

On the other hand, I'm still not fond of the place.  Andy Sturdevant recently called the Metrodome "sterile, in the non pejorative sense," but I wish to embrace the pejorative. The building embodies the Minnesotan fascination with escape and artifice. Like the skyways and the 'dale malls, the Metrodome is a statement of self-loathing, an abdication of our environment. We will replace the sky and make it average! We will create ourselves a grey and tasteless San Diego. I loathe this strain of the Minneapolis psyche.

[Alien crash site on top. "Take me to your leeeder" on bottom.]




At this moment, it's tempting to declare the death of the Dome to be the beginning of the end of Minnesotan techno-modernism. It'd be nice to watch the building demolished, preferably by monster trucks (Sunday! Sunday! Sunnn-dayyyy!) and think, no more will we attempt to escape ourselves, replace our world and its sometimes extreme diversity with false techno-babble fantasy.

The problem is that its replacement will be no improvement. If the Metrodome is a space shuttle of egalitarian self-delusion, the new stadium is an otherworldy post-modern intrusion. The new stadium resembles nothing if not an alien spaceship crashing into a distant planet with half-hostile intentions. It will be equally atmospherically false, only far better guarded. It will have advanced technology, and harbor a race with strange hierarchical codes that our people will not understand. I fear it will sit like un-exploded ordinance for generations, making me miss the days of the vast white marshmallow techno-bubble surrounded by faded asphalt.



http://tcsidewalks.blogspot.com/2013/05/donate-to-this-sidewalk-blogger.html

20.12.13

The Last Holidazzle

[Gazing into the Holi-Abyss.]

 If you ever wanted to see a bunch of volunteers trudge slowly down a cold winter street wearing light-up costumes resembling various childhood tropes, tonight and tomorrow are your last chance. The Holidazzle parade is quietly holi-fizzling away this year with surprisingly little fanfare.

I went with a group of intrepid urbanists last week to see the penultimate Holidazzle weekend. We wandered through the skyways on our way there, and with notable booster R.T. Rybak at the head of the parade, it was not a disappointment.

[Remember these?]
The story of the Holidazzle is a neat combination of the mundane, the fantastic, and the technological. Basically, downtown retail interests started to get really concerned back in the early 1990s when the Mall of America was being constructed. Those responsible for the downtown department stores and the retail district along Nicollet got rightfully worried that the impending Megamall was going to seduce all the holiday shopping traffic with its titanic enormity, three levels of Victoria's Secret stores, and large Snoopy statue. (In retrospect, they were right.) There was much wringing of hands and biting of nails.

Meanwhile, the last of the major department stores was still called Dayton's, and they had long trumpeted a rotating holiday-themed display spectacular on their 8th Floor. I remember going there as a kid to see Santa Bears, and various holiday display adventures. Back then, window displays were still a big deal. Downtown retail really invested a lot of time and energy into doing things like this. It was another era...

And that's when Holidazzle was born. I chatted the other day with Michael Murnane, who founded and ran the parade for many years. As he told it, it was during one of these brainstorming hand-wringing sessions that some of the Dayton's 8th Floor designers pitched a new parade for downtown that would draw people to the retail district during the Holiday shopping season. It would be a parade themed around various childhood stories and fantasies, and the main attraction would be that the whole parade would be made out of lights.

At first there was some skepticism, particularly about the high cost of such an endeavor. But after conducting some research down in Disneyworld, Murnane and a childhood electrician friend began re-wiring many many many strings of Christmas lights so that they would run on batteries. Then the fun began. They started building floats and costumes, and launched the first Holidazzle in 1992. It grew for a long while, and evolved into a series of themed floats and costumes sponsored by various downtown interests.

[Last stop for the Twinkle Bus. Last stop...]
My personal highlights are the Metrotransit "twinkle bus", the Minnesota Twins snowman that spins around, and the string of individual Christmas lights costumes. (I was told by a longtime parade-goer that they used to have a 'plug' trailing after them...) Also, it's fun to yell "booo!" at the evil witch who almost eats Hansel and Gretel.

The other takeaway from the Holidazzle experience is that it continues to attract a large crowd! There were lots of people cramming into an otherwise empty-after-six downtown, and it was quite fun to see the city packed on a cold winter's night.

[Please, will somebody please volunteer????]

[Twirling snowball gets more hits than Drew Butera.]

[Dunno what these are but whatever! Lights!]
But the same downtown retail powers-that-be (now Macy's and Target) have decided that the cost of the parade isn't worth it any more. And they're probably right, as I highly doubt that many of the parade-goers stopped to do any Christmas shopping while they schlepped their über-bundled kids to and from their parking lots. The basic problem is that people driving downtown to do retail shopping isn't a model that makes any sense. The vast majority of the downtown retail market is people who already live or work downtown. If we want our downtown retail environment to thrive, we need to double the downtown population, and make sure to keep a dense number of jobs in the CBD. Those projects have little to do with a cheese sparkle parade.

At the same time, it's difficult to think of downtown civic events that have been as much of a consistent attraction as the Holidazzle parade. Kitschy as it might be, it's at least as good as the Aquatennial whatever-it-is. (Barring, of course, the awesome fireworks display.)  Back in 2007, the Holidazzle management got changed, and (so I hear) they started cutting back on some of the expenses and maintenance. The old days of downtown department stores are never coming back, no matter how many bedazzled floats we throw at it. Maybe it was always inevitable that the Holidazzle would twinkle and sparkle and fizzle into that good night.

[After all, no snowman is an island.]

18.12.13

Reading the Highland Villager #99

[A Villager searches for parking on Selby.]
[Basically the problem is that the best source of Saint Paul streets & sidewalks news is the Highland Villager, a very fine and historical newspaper. This wouldn't be a problem, except that its not available online. You basically have to live in or frequent Saint Paul to read it. That's why I'm reading the Highland Villager. Until this newspaper goes online, sidewalk information must be set free.]


Headline: New details fail to quell debate over design of Saints ballpark
Author: Frank Jossi

Short short version: The Saints released renderings of the new baseball stadium featuring a "clean modern design." People are complaining. CM Thune is cited, upset because the stadium doesn't "match with the massing of other buildings in the district." The EPA is involved because of the brownfield remediation. Article makes it sound as if there is still a long way to go, bureaucratically speaking. The state historic preservation office is "OK with the massing." [Can't believe that the Villager missed a chance to use a variation on the "Critical mass" pun for their headline. Are they slipping?]


Headline: Committee favors site plan for Vintage on Selby; Local business people, residents praise 5-story mixed-use development
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The Whole Foods-accomodating apartments on Snelby were approved by the St Paul Zoning Committee after a three-hour hearing and discussion. [I was there for part of it. It was really really long.] Article includes details of the development. All neighborhood groups seem to be on board. Local business owner says the developer has shown a "collaborative spirit." One business owner cited benefits that the project will exceed its off-street parking minimums. [Oh, hooray. At a TOD node, no less.] Apparently the parking benefit district is dead, because of the location and cost of the proposed shared lot. [Oh well. I'm not sure that the city packaged this properly, clearly linking the costs of the lot to pricing for on-street spaces. That's key to the whole thing, IMO.] Quote from neighbor citing too much parking and not enough attention to pedestrian safety. [As anyone knows who has ever tried to cross Snelling Avenue...]


Headline: Committee leaves Snelling-Selby traffic issues unresolved
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [As part of the above story] the Zoning Committee axed the city reccommendation to expand Selby Avenue at the Snelling-Selby corner. The city staff proposal would have removed a pedestrian bumpout from the Selby corner and widened the road to add a right-turn lane. Most of the traffic on this corner comes from Ayd Mill Road. [The percentage of additional traffic generated by the development itself is very small.] There will be a meeting with the traffic engineers at O'Garas on the 14th. Everyone agrees that more study is needed. [Paging Doctor Interminable Ayd Mill Road Debate. You are wanted in Urgent Care.]

[Note: I have in my hand pictures of the proposed turn lane. Here it is:


... Anyway, you can see for yourself.]


Headline: Mayor announces improvements to St. Paul's snow removal procedures
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: It snowed and got cold, making it difficult to drive.


Headline: Study eyes improved transit linking downtown St. Paul and MSP airport
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The "Riverview Corridor" committee is studying transit options along West 7th Street, in an effort led by the county. They're focusing on mode choice, and according to Commissioner Ortega, "don't have preconceived notions." Options include buses, BRT, LRT, and streetcars, and the scope includes Shepard Road, West 7th, some of 35-E, and the freight rail ROW. Article includes lots of sketchy administrative and financial detail.


Headline: Transition Homes expansion OK'd
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The "transition home" [for people with chemical dependency issues] in Merriam Park will get to house more people. Something about parking.


Headline: Upgrades on tap or warming house at Groveland Rec Center
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The hockey and skating warming house will receive new locks.


Headline: ABRA Auto Body permitted to remain on University Ave.
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: An auto body shop received a permit to continue despite being in a "high density use" zoning area along the LRT line.


Headline: St. Paul is studying new ways to expand recycling
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The City Council is looking at curbside compost. [Better luck this time.]


Headline: UST liquor license not making as big a splash as some feared
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The St Thomas's liquor license for events [receptions, reunions, etc.] hasn't actually been a problem. Two years ago, there was much outcry about the approval of the license.


Headline: City eases restrictions on new breweries, wineries, distilleries
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: There are new zoning regs for alcohol production, including an increase in the amount of brewing. The move is aimed at increasing the number of taprooms by being more flexible about where they can be located.


Headline: Waters of Highland rezoning gains support
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A proposed senior living facility on Snelling Avenue received a zoning change. There are still issues about the exact site plan.


Headline: Hiawatha Corridor will get much needed sprucing up
Author: Kevin Driscoll

Short short version: There will be some new landscaping along [the unwalkable pedestrian hell that is] Hiawatha Avenue. Nobody is sure who will maintain the incoming trees and grasses.


Headline: Pieology eyes corner of Ford and Finn
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A pizza place might move into the former gas station in Highland Park. [What a dumb name. I can't even say it.] The development will be modeled after a gyro restaurant that was approved in the area.


Headline: Dangers of drinking and the out of doors hitting home for students; Home break-ins near UST highlight a local problem
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Twice now this winter, a Tommy has gotten drunk and wandered into someone else's house. Apparently this happens every year. [What a nightmare! They should make a zombie/horror/college buddy movie about this. "Tommy and Tommy fail to go to White Castle."]


Headline: In St. Paul, La Cucaracha has meant fine Mexican food for half a century
Author: Morgan Smith

Short short version: History of the Mexican restaurant on Grand and Dale. Apparently "in 1967 the city of St. Paul acquired the ... building in order to widen dale street. The street project never materialized." [Wow, that would have ruined the neighborhood. That's what they did to the rest of Dale, north of University... Does anyone know the detailed history about this proposal? Did Summit Hill people stop it?]

16.12.13

A Baker's Dozen Bicyclist Words for Snow

[Death ruts on 4th Street, Duluth. via PDD.]
People say that Eskimos have a hundred words for snow. Of course it's not true, but people say it all the time.

One reason we repeat sayings over and over is that they often make common sense. One reason we repeat sayings over and over is that they often make common sense. In other words, the more time you spend time looking at a thing, the more you see. The longer you dwell with an environment, the deeper your knowledge.

And riding a bike in the wintertime offers you lots of time to contemplate your environment. For safety reasons, you can't ride that fast. Instead, you must continually stare at the street in front of you, attending to its nuance. It's a bit like singletrack mountain biking, or downhill skiing. You immerse yourself in your environment. You start noticing all the varieites of urban ice and snow experience.

Thus, the beginnings of a wintertime bicycling vocabulary:

Powder - Newfallen snow, lacking coherency. Mostly innocuous, pretty fun.

Ice Scabs - Round bits of compressed ice clinging to the street. Dangerous, but avoidable.

Ice shelf - Like "ice scabs" but larger. These tending to the edges of the street, often containing "death ruts." It's very easy to fall on an "ice shelf" if attempting to corner.

Continental shelf - A large seemingly infinite "ice shelf," lacking death ruts.

Death ruts - Bits of exposed pavement between "ice shelves," worn away by cars. It's often safe to ride in a death rut, until it isn't.

Death ridge - The unexpected edge of an "ice shelf." Particularly dangerous.

Brown sugar - A soft mix of snow and salt. It makes a pleasant smooshing sound under one's tire.

Cookie dough - What happens to "brown sugar" in colder temperatures. Kinda chunky.

Iceberg - The accumulated hard mix of ice and snow that mounts on the edge of a curb after a long winter.

Titanic - An immense curbside iceberg, likely to sink even the largest confidence.

Fender boogers / Fender snot -  Large brown bits of chunky ice/snow mix expelled from the wheel wells of cars.

Rorschach test - A particularly unpredictable formation of "ice scabs."

Permafrost - A continental ice shelf with a layer of "powder" or "cookie dough" on top. Actually pretty nice to ride on.

Skating rink - A road or trail with a thin, invisible coating of ice. Typically occurs around the freezing point, and almost certain to produce falling for any without studs.

[h/t to David for the help with this list!]

[Midtown Greenway, Minneapolis.]

13.12.13

Ode to Serlin's Café

Tomorrow is the last day of operation for Serlin's Café, a breakfast/lunch diner up at the top of Payne Avenue on Saint Paul's East Side. Payne Avenue as a special place, easily the most contiguous stretch of century-old building façades in the Twin Cities. Walking down Payne Avenue you can really imagine what the street might have looked like in the streetcar era. There used to be a lot of streets like this, with 2-3 story mixed-use buildings with cornices, windows, narrow frontages, and a diversity of entrances. But during the post-war ear, most of them were badly eroded by parking lots and strip development. Payne Avenue, tucked away north of the old Hamm's Brewery, far from the economic and social centers of the Twin Cities, is out of sight and mind. It managed to escape and survive, and reminds me a bit of Cincinnatti's gorgeous Over the Rhine neighborhood -- historically beautiful and economically depressed.


But Payne Avenue has retained a good measure of its working class businesses and residential quality of life. Anderson's Shoes is still selling good quality boots and shoes, and I've personally purchased linoleum from the linoleum sales guy. When I was growing up, my dentist used to be located on Payne (an unfortunate name for the street when you're a kid). But one of the oldest businesses on the whole stretch has long been Serlin's Café, started by Irving Serlin, who was navy cook during the war. A lot of the recipes are from the ear. For example, I had one of the classic Serlin's meals the other day: Navy Bean soup, hot meatloaf sandwich, and rhubarb pie.

[Men cooking.]


[The menu.]


[Alas, they were out of jewish bread.]


When people think of a 50s diner, they probably think of a Porky's style drive-in, neon and glitz and roller skates. Serlin's on the other hand, was a 40s diner. It's a completely different kind of experience, and going to Serlin's you can begin to imagine what it might have been like during the depression and the war.

In fact, eating old-school food is a bit odd for my generation. The foodie revolution emphasizes everything that old-school food rejected: local sourcing, hand-made ingredients, moving away from sugar and refined products. On the other hand, I imagine navy food to come in large bulk crates all labeled "US Govt beans." I imagine Wonder bread and sugar and a spice-free palette. I imagine Spam. Contrast that with the new Payne Avenue restaurant, Ward 6, which has a whole different concept of food.

Since Irving died, the business has been run by "the boys," Irving's two step sons who are now in their 60s. Apparently the boys have been looking for a buyer for the place for some time. One of them explained to me that he was looking forward to retiring, "because he's never been to Mount Rushmore."

[Christmas deçor.]



[Navy Bean or Split.]

[Looking past the coat nook and the pie plates into the kitchen.]


Everything about Serlin's is from another era, not likely to be recreated ever again. The booths are small, with small cushions and straight-backed wooden seats. They're not comfortable at all, but they're entirely practical. Credit cards are not accepted, but you're welcome to go to the ATM at the SA nearby. When you sit down, they ask you "Do you need a menu?" (Most people don't.) The walls are covered with Saint Paul patriotism, strange food collages, framed newspaper clippings, and Christmas cheer. There's the inevitable Herb Brooks picture, a photo of the 1992 Saint Paul Winter Carnival Ice Palace (the best one), a faded collage map of East Side businesses from 20 years ago (including the Whirlpool factory and Mr. Movies).

Everyone at Serlin's the other day seemed a bit sad about the close. They finally found a buyer, a couple that one of the "boys" kept saying were "30-year olds" as if it was a miracle. Payne Avenue is amazing, but won't be the same without its real 40s diner.



[A booth at Serlin's is the best place to read the Pioneer Press.]


[The Payne Avenue sidewalks.]

12.12.13

Signs of the Times #84

NOTICE
CLOSED
By order of the 
Commissioner
Of Health and Mental Hygiene

[Manhattan, New York City.]


THIS SPACE IS NOT A
PARKING LOT FOR
YOUR BIKES -- DO NOT
PARK THEM HERE - 
YOU WILL DAMAGE
THE TREE

[Manhattan, New York City.]


Please Ring
All 4 Bells
For the
DELIVERIES

[Manhattan, New York City.]


PRIVATE PROPERTY
NO BOOTH PLEASE!

[Chinatown, Boston.]



DANGER
Hollow
Sidewalk

[Downtown, Boston.]

We extend our hour til 6:30 pm

[Chinatown, Boston.]


GROWING 
YOUR 
OWN     IS
DOPE!

[Cambridge, MA.]


WATCH OUT
FOR DRIVERS
TURNING LEFT

[Cambridge, MA.]


Do to unforseen
circumstances this
store is temporarily
closed. We will
reopen as soon as
possible. 
Thank you.

[Somerville, MA.]

Twin City Doorways #11

[Lake Street, Minneapolis.]


[Lake Street, Minneapolis.]


[Downtown, Saint Paul.]


[University Avenue, Saint Paul.]


[Robert Street, West Saint Paul.]


[Queens, New York City.]


[Queens, New York City.]


[West 7th Street, Saint Paul.]