The eery glow on the main grandstand, visible since sunset on the webcam, was enough to draw me down to the ballpark with my camera after putting the kids to bed. I expected to find that the lights above the scoreboard were being tested.
No such luck, however. It was just the lighted advertising panels on either side of the video board.
But I still got as much as I could.
Just lighted panels... *sigh*
I parked next to Ford Centre and walked up Fifth Street, something I've done a thousand times -- during the day. It's a completely different scene after dark.
Along the way I encountered:
1. Empty parking lots as far as the eye could see.
2. An older, disheveled gentleman packed into a doorway with a large number of his personal possessions in bags. He was fumbling with something at his ear, either a radio with headphones, an elaborate hearing aid, or a bluetooth adapter. I was not about to slow down and find out.
3. A small pack of scruffy skateboarders.
4. A young woman with a fancy camera on a tripod pointed in the general direction of the Basilica.
5. Parking ramp security.
6. 50 MPH traffic on Seventh Street.
7. A small cadre of hearty people on the way to or from working out (at either Target Center or Ford Centre).
The Northstar station at night
While I wouldn't describe it as "creepy" or "scary", I would have to admit that I wondered about the wisdom of the trip on a couple of occasions -- especially after I heard what sounded like gun shots (but were actually just some small fireworks). It became clear to me why police presence has been beefed up in the area after dark, though there was no sign of that tonight.
I also didn't see any construction workers, but there were lots of lights on inside the ballpark. So, after leaving Ford Centre, I drove around for a little bit, scoping things out. That's when I realized that the lights were on in the Puckett Atrium.
The Puckett Atrium
This will be a great sight on game nights.
Also lit were the circulation ramps...
Seventh Street circulation
...and the 573 Club.
There's something mesmerizing to me about a brightly-lit space surrounded by darkness. It has the aura of a magical oasis.
Along the way I noticed that the railings next to the A ramp are in and uncovered. They are the same design as those on the plaza and really help to tie the area together. (Sorry but the photos were all too blurry.)
The plaza extension to First Avenue also appears to be done and waiting to open. The brick work matches Target Center, and the metal work matches Target Field. It's a surprisingly smooth transition between the two extremely different designs. Also, beneath that walkway is a bike parking area.
First Avenue at left, bike parking area at lower right
With an event about to start at First Avenue (the club) as I passed by, First Avenue (the street) was hopping. It will only be a couple of weeks until it and Hennepin Avenue are converted to two-way streets again, a change which promises to actually bring some of the "city" back to downtown Minneapolis.
This would be a beautiful streetscape if there were ANY people.
It's still a little hard to imagine now, but the ballpark area really has the same potential.
Last Friday, Vic and I parked a few blocks from the Metrodome as we usually do, but for some reason I noticed that there was foot traffic in every direction about as far as the eye could see. That's what I call "city".
I tried to imagine how this foot traffic will translate to the new neighborhood, especially at night. Even after following the project for over three years, and exploring much of the new locale personally, and writing at length about it, I still find that exercise a little difficult.
We really don't know yet what it will be like to emerge from Target Field on an early-autumn evening and make our way through that neighborhood.
So, don't bother trying to imagine it. You probably can't. We'll all get there together.
I'm still accepting inquiries about the potential for a ticket trading group. Write to me: trade at ballpark magic d0t c0m (just convert that text into a real email@example.com).
This page was last modified on September 23, 2009.
"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 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
A peek through a tiny gate.
An early concept for the pedestrial bridge. (Source: Ballpark Authority, RP)
Pile driving in progress
Seating mound (seen from the B ramp)
Photo by Jared Wieseler
Look closely and you'll see limestone on the front of the press box!
A view into the park down Sixth Street from just beyond Hennepin. Note that one side of the street contains century-old, classic buildings -- structures which are likely to last another century or more. The other side, not so much. (Click the image to see what it looked like from exactly the same spot 97 years ago.)
It's a great view of the action, though standing here is somewhat discouraged.
No admittance -- yet! Note that you can see the seating bolts which are in place already.
Emergency access as viewed from outside the ballpark
The mounds have grown seating supports
Clemson Memorial Stadium
A Hrbek tribute wall marks the end of the Carew side of the club
...but you can get a feel for what it will be like.
The sculpture on which millions of kids will one day pose.
Gate 29 "Carew" is at right.
Most of the main concourse is filled with construction materials...
This view, from the Minnekahda building (or possibly a predecessor), looks toward the right field corner. The City Market, at left, occupied the land where the B ramp and Target Plaza now stand (over I-394). And the Overlook now juts out just a little beyond where that driveway enters the railyard.
Showing more of the context for the louvers.
Ye Olde Tyme Vegetable Cart (and its modern cousin)
This was on BPM night. Nice neon, but I'm still waiting to see the homer show.
Flagpole historian Ben McEvers at far right (click for the full photo set, graciously loaned to this site by Pat Backen)
Those little oval additions are positively laughable!
This is the entrance behind home plate (not visible in the renderings which have been released). It shows that the upper deck is set back from the facade -- a very good thing if it remains in the final design.
The Seventh Street facade
July 7, 1966 (Click to see the entire scorecard with ads)
A little higher angle shows how the two stations are close to one another but distinctly separate. The oval, glass-enclosed area is the entrance from the Northstar platform below into the ballpark. The LRT platform is comparable to the other stations along that route.
Solution for a hot night, just inside Gate 34 (that's a cool mist, by the way, not hot steam, which would be kind of cruel)