Rule of Life #573: At some point, you WILL need a hard hat.
Only I don't have one (at least not one with genuinely protective qualities). And today it actually mattered.
Following a great lead from J2K, I signed up for a tour of the ballpark and Northstar station site this afternoon with an organization called the "ASCE Younger Members Group" (ASCE turns out to stand for American Society of Civil Engineers). Realizing that I'd probably have some trouble passing for a young civil engineer, I identified myself right away as a blogger, but they welcomed me with open arms.
The requirements which came with the confirmation clearly stated that a hard hat, safety glasses, and safety vest (as well as long pants, long-sleeve shirt, hard-toe boots, indemnity waiver, etc.) were required in order to get into the site. Makes sense.
It further stated that there would be some borrowable vests, safety glasses, and hard hats available for anyone who didn't have their own -- 20 sets for a group of 80 people. Not feeling completely comfortable with those odds, I made a few phone calls and sent a few messages trying to guarantee that I would have one.
The rules were clearly posted next to this new entry point on the Seventh Street side. I have no problem with the rules!
When not a single one of my calls or emails was returned (I probably should have taken that as a sign), I decided simply to arrive early and make sure I was one of the first 20 people. That much I accomplished rather easily.
Only there were no loaners. None. Not one. And it was clear from the first face I met as I stepped through the door to the Mortenson construction office trailer: no hard hat, no tour. There I was. Hatless. S. O. L.
Just to add insult to injury, when I asked a construction worker where I might find the trailer containing the "Mauer Room", he referred me to what turned out to be a fancy tool shed about half a block in the wrong direction. Yeah, I'm a ballpark geek, and I guess it shows. (The Mauer Room is the big conference room in the main office trailer. The other two conference rooms are the Morneau Room and the Cuddyer Room. I'm not sure which of the latter two is bigger.)
So, sorry for hyping that to you all. I was pretty sure I could make it work.
I still want to take such a tour, and I'm open to any leads you may have. Unfortunately, the only hard hat I own or I'm likely to own in the near future has Winnie-the-Pooh on it (see above). So I'll need a little help with that...
Anyway, not wanting to waste the trip, and with a good hour of now-uncommitted time, I scoured the site. And I found at least one pretty cool thing that I didn't expect. Over the next few days I'll show you about 30 of the 100 pictures I took.
This little item stands just to the south of the site, where the volleyball courts used to be. It has to be related to exterior finishing elements, which means this is the first glimpse of the actual stone to be used. Very buttery.
I don't know if the back side is also a test for materials, but it could be a hint of how the exposed steel supports will be finished. Or it could just be to hold up the stone.
I was lucky enough to nab the very last brochure in one of the skyway promo displays. Here are scans of the three new renderings.
It's hard to put too much stock in these. I can spot a few minor changes, but these are far from detailed.
The poster certainly raises the issue of bench seating in the outfield. I took this close-up:
Bench seating? (Click to see hi-res version.)
Is this a rendering of what it will actually be like? I'm a little skeptical. As you can see, it looks like a series of steps without seats or backs. Well, the steps are both seat AND back.
It could work, but my hunch is that this may be a cartoon version for promotional purposes -- not intended for the scrutiny people like you and I might want to give it. But I'll check.
On to the ballpark:
This is the plaza as viewed from the A ramp.
Work in progress.
The connection from the corner of Seventh Street and Second Avenue. You can now see where the little grassy area and franchise history board will be (the triangular area in the foreground).
Another deck to come...
A peak inside what will become the main concourse.
A very busy place, as viewed from Target Center.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention that as I drove away from the site today, I saw a homeless man tightly cradling a bright yellow hard hat. Non-Pooh variety.
"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 3037 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
The wooden louvers are in on Fifth Street
This is a closer look at the steel work.
Somebody asked how long it would be before the tarp had a sponsor. Well, not very long.
Click to enlarge greatly. See yourself?
Ballpark elevation viewed from the promenade (HERC plant) side. (Click to enlarge.)
Looking back toward the ballpark from Third Avenue and Fifth Street. Again, the track configuration is now clearly visible.
From the TV camera platform -- the view you'll see on TV
Concept drawing of Coomer gate (click to enlarge)
Also from the B ramp entrance off of Third, a look up at the tiny crack between ballpark and parking ramp
Look beyond the gigantic hand (a hounds tooth jacket? really?) and you'll get a glimpse of the main grandstand configuration. The two (or is it three?) levels of suites are visible, as is the design of the so-called "split upper deck," and the extensive use of limestone for decorative accents. Let's hope these little touches don't get cut as costs increase, because they make a nice tie-in from the outside of the park to the inside. Of most interest to me is the way that the very best seats are physically separated from all the rest of the seats by that limestone. There will be virtually no way to sneak into these seats. On one level, that's a somewhat sad design feature...
Very interesting detail starting to appear here.
Target Plaza in model form
What are they hanging over there?
Viewed from a different angle, it seems fair to wonder is some of those seats will have slightly obscured views. Yet, if they're cheap, that's not a problem.
The rough outlines of our urban trench. (North is up.)
A timeline of design and construction of the ballpark. (Click to enlarge. Photo by Tyler Wycoff)
This is the view from the Seventh Street circulation ramp. It will eventually be covered by the wood louvers.
The plate marker is just to the left.
These images are found at the top of the staircase, which leads to the Suite Level.