"It was a mighty fierce something cold out there today, let me tell ya!"
My great-grandmother might have said something like that. Her parents came over from Norway and were shipped all the way to South Dakota where they built a sod house and raised approximately 16 children (a few didn't make it, but I've never been completely clear on the math).
Days like today remind me of those hearty prairie people of my (and probably your) ancestry. What did they do when the temperature went so far down and the wind came so far up?
Did they put on heavy construction overalls, gloves and hard hats and continue building the ballpark? I just don't know. But a bunch of guys did today out behind Target Center. I walked across the 7th Street bridge to get a picture of the work going on over the tracks and nearly froze my nose. (Was it worth it?)
But the place was crawling with activity -- much of it taking place on the nascent plaza over the freeway.
A plaza is certainly starting to take shape.
But if you're confused by what it looks like now, join the club. Barring some unforeseen seismic activity that plaza is going to be a pretty hilly place. Or not. We probably don't have enough information. (Actually, read on and there's a partial answer in the model pictures below.)
Here's the detail of the plaza from the site plan published by the team last summer.
(Eagle-eyed Twinsfest goers would have noticed that updated diagrams were hanging in the ballpark booth. But I was so sure I'd be able to get them digitally that I didn't take any pictures of them. I won't make that mistake again because it hasn't worked out this time...)
I show this to give you an idea of where they might be going based on the early ideas of how it will connect to Second Avenue (assuming that it will not initially connect directly to First Avenue as was originally hoped).
At the intersection with Seventh Street, the plaza will wrap around the emergency exit stairs tower supporting that long skyway. It will replace the little sidewalk that is there now.
At the foot of Sixth Street (next to the B ramp), the plaza will go over the entrance to the B ramp then duck under the skyway, presumably arriving at the level where a sidewalk would be if there were one there now (it's been a lane of the exit ramp until now). It seems like steps may be required there, but I don't think that's in the plan. Here's a look at that area (the covered piers at left will support the plaza):
You can see in the diagram that there's an indication of a connection to the skyway, and I heard that they still plan to build some sort of staircase connecting the plaza to the B ramp, but I'm not sure exactly where. This is a pretty old drawing, so we can only learn so much from it.
Now to the model... As was pointed out below, the plaza on the model is completely flat. Or is it? Look closely here and you will see steps:
The main ticketing area beneath the restaurant.
In fact, it looks like the model does reflect a slope down, with some stone accents to delineate it for pedestrians. What other details have we all missed...? (Click any image to enlarge dramatically.)
First, an overview. The base of the plaza here will meet the base of Sixth Street at Second Avenue.
A skyway-level view down Seventh Street.
A look at Gate 34.
Banners on the parking ramp are a great touch. They help manage scale and turn a lemon into lemonade. On my way there today I passed the WCCO building and remembered how the Twins schedule used to be painted in giant form on the side of that building (which is no longer visible). Wouldn't that be a great thing to resurrect on the side of that ramp? A giant Twins schedule. I always thought that was cool.
Also warming things up are these planters.
They help create a psychological safe area along the plaza edge, and help you forget that cars are zipping by directly beneath you.
The Pro Shop.
One thing that the design disguises nicely is that the Pro Shop (and other key components) are actually built over lanes of freeway. That can clearly be seen here.
This area will supposedly show the Twins chronology. Will it stretch back to 1901?
The entrance at Gate 3.
Special guests in the trees!
Finally, I realized as I took this shot that you can actually now see concourse floor that we will all walk on one day on the way to or from a game. Imagine that.
"You talk about the magic, the aura, but what really makes a stadium is the fans. Concrete doesn't talk back to you. Chairs don't talk back to you. It's the people who are there, day in, day out, that makes the place magic."
– Bernie Williams
Explore the Site
Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3019 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Walkway entrance from ramp
I know you've seen this, but I can't get enough of it.
Clemson Memorial Stadium
Gate 29 Carew
Skyline to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the outfield with you... (click to enlarge)
This looks up Sixth Street from Hennepin. Just imagine what this will look like during a night game!
Detail enclosing the main ticket window area
Here is Seventh Street viewed from the west looking toward downtown. This will probably be the most pedestrian-friendly side (other than the plaza), but only if there is some psychological barrier between the people on foot and the people in their dangerously fast-moving automobiles.
The Fifth Street side is pretty busy. There's a small street entrance to the B ramp, then ticket booths and an entrance gate, a rare exterior section not covered in limestone, the wooden screen covering the circulation ramps, the administration building, and finally (just out of view) the interface with Northstar. All of that sits behind the LRT action. How pedestrians will interact with this side of the park is a great mystery to me. You know that Metro Transit won't be letting them cross the tracks anywhere but at either end of the block...
The reverse angle shows that the signage will only partially obscure views from the top of the ramp. The wall is pretty high up there, so you'll need something to stand on, but it appears that this is one of the so-called "knotholes".
Looking back toward the doorway into the club
7:32 PM Glare begins at about the left field foul pole.
Nathan greeting the other pitchers on the all-Metrodome team (October 4, 2009)
Somebody asked how long it would be before the tarp had a sponsor. Well, not very long.
This appears to be the floor to the home dugout!
8:02 PM It's at peak, affecting mostly the upper deck.
This is what passes for imagination at Miller Park -- they didn't even get the shape right! (Source: LP)
Is it possible to take a bad picture of this building?
It's pretty easy to see right into the Twins dugout!
Close-up on the diagram of the Club Level with finishing materials (click to enlarge)
Seat logos in place
This view looks up Fifth Street toward downtown and shows how the LRT tracks sort of snuggle up to the ballpark.
This maze of scaffolding is something you'll probably never see again.
The scoreboard also towers over the LRT tracks, which now are functional (though not open) all the way to the park -- and beyond!
The Hrbek gate is directly below. It's a lively place after a game.