Over the past week I've been out quite a few times to get exterior shots. It's hard to take a bad picture of Target Field. Let me start tonight with a few glimpses of the recent plaza improvements.
Plaza overview from the A ramp
Trees now line Seventh Street
Trees also have sprouted near the topiaries
ATM-style ticket machines have appeared beneath the steps to the B ramp (you can also enter the B ramp directly by walking past the ticket machines)
Looking back toward First Avenue
Looking from First Avenue toward the ballpark (over the top of a construction barricade)
This is where the plaza meets First Avenue
One cannot help but notice that there appears to be no base for the old Met Stadium flag pole at this corner (as was originally announced). It's hard to say what this absence means, but here's hoping it's just coming in a later construction phase. I know that there is still work happening on getting it included, and it's been surprisingly complicated.
For the record, I'm not worried. (For the benefit of new readers, including the old pole in the new park somehow was my idea.) Lots of things in this project have been built, then redesigned, dismantled and built again. It seems like nothing is ever really set in stone because new ideas -- or problems -- keep coming up and the team wants to jump on them. They just send out the jack hammers...
Be sure and notice that there will be a regular sidewalk at street level running next to the plaza extension. This is an essential part of the streetscape since it allows pedestrians to get around Target Center without entering the plaza.
Fencing Up the Streets
Next, I noticed that there is work going on across Seventh Street, adjacent to the A ramp. It turns out that they are removing the existing, ugly chain link fencing and replacing it with the same stuff used across the street on the plaza! It's an amazing way to start tying the whole neighborhood together.
Something similar is happening on Second Avenue:
Work in progress to improve the streetscape on Second Avenue
You may recall that Second, which is currently a one-way street, will soon be converted to a two-way street. The improvements happening now are the start of that, but additional upgrades there between Second and the freeway will include a retaining wall, and a bike parking area which will also feature the same fencing as the plaza.
At the bottom of that image you can see a circle of concrete. I believe this will be the base for a bronze statue of one of the Twins greats. Since the Killebrew gate is directly down that walkway, my money would be on his statue going right here.
One more important addition to the circulation plan is that the stair tower which you see there, currently an emergency exit only, will be converted to a skyway entrance. That creates a very important additional connection to the skyway system on this side and takes a lot of pressure off the others.
Walkway construction is progressing
The above walkway (one of the other skyway connections from this side) is much more complicated than it may at first appear.
It will be open 24/7, and it will be completely handicapped-accessible (an elevator will open to the street), but entry into the ballpark proper will be controlled because this connects to the Club level, an area which is not open to all ticket holders.
Some of this is yet to be worked out, and I have not got all the details. But it's something of a large project all unto itself.
A couple of hours after yesterday's tornado (which struck about a mile from my house!), I was downtown on business with a few minutes to spare. I'd noticed the day before that the views down Sixth and Fifth Streets toward the park have now gotten quite interesting. So I wandered around in the streets a bit for a couple of shots.
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.)
A closer look into the park from down the street. How great will this view be during a game??
The scoreboard terminates the view on Fifth Street as seen from Hennepin
The scoreboard also towers over the LRT tracks, which now are functional (though not open) all the way to the park -- and beyond!
Here's a quick reminder of what the site looked like exactly one year ago today:
And how about exactly two years ago today:
The brown grass was left over from the first attempt at groundbreaking (canceled after the 35W bridge collapse)
And, just for fun, how about three years ago (give or take a couple of weeks):
I offer these just to get you in the mood for some glamour shots I took over the past week.
Earlier this summer Victoria and I scheduled our vacation for next week. With two small kids (who are staying home with a grandmother) such plans have to be made well in advance and are, once set, nearly impossible to change.
Unfortunately, it looks like our timing means that I'm going to miss the first grass installation, assuming that it happens as scheduled on Monday night at 10:00 PM (and it's hard to imagine them missing that schedule given everything that has had to go into it).
No doubt this will elicit a ton of coverage in the mainstream media. So be on the lookout! (Though you probably won't be able to escape it.)
But before I leave, I plan to have a major spread on TCF Bank Stadium when I get home from the Maroon vs. Gold scrimmage on Saturday!
13 recent recognized visitors, including: Rube, Sandy, terry, Winona Mike
This page was last modified on August 22, 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
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First Avenue at left, bike parking area at lower right
Photo by Tom Sweeney, Star Tribune
(Click to enlarge.)
Limestone still dominates the Seventh Street walkway from a pedestrian point of view. But brick take over as you move upward -- a concession to cost, no doubt.
One more exterior view shows that, while the original look was attractive in a way, it seems to be a variation on the look of the Washington ballpark (albeit with a much more coherent collection of elements). What's remarkable is that the design team has refined the concept amazingly well, improving it immeasurably. What we're actually getting is clearly descended from this, but it's in a whole different league:
The Pro Shop
The view from the Penn Ave entrance to 394 (and all the way into town! Click to enlarge)
Detail of the train tunnels (click to view the entire drawing)
Finished product (Field Terrace)
Wood-backed seats viewed through gate 6
Ullger warms up.
I was surprised at how close those upper deck seats seem. From the plaza, you feel like you can reach out and touch them. It really adds to the impression of overall compactness.
We'll be packed into the first five rows of section 136. Hey, Wilson! I'm bringing my glove!
A sampling of seats at Fenway Park
The circulation ramp on Fifth Street is shaping up very quickly.
This guy at the Puckett atrium chef stand caught me taking the picture and said I should stop back later because he was "just getting started." I still don't know what he meant.
Looking across the top of the B parking ramp. Notice that signage will block any attempts at seeing the game from up there. Also take note of the glassed in area which is part club and part office space for the Ballpark Authority.
Looking from near the entry doors toward the center, the atrium is just visible at the far right.
The wall of brands at General Mills headquarters in Golden Valley (Source: RP)
Wind veil framing
Artist at work
Frost on the pumpkins, snow on the plaza
Bird's-eye view of the trees
Name that ballpark
Guthrie Theater (original design colors)
OK, people are definitely riding their bikes to games! (Photo by Tim Davis, courtesy MBA)
The original Candlestick Park
This is from inside the B ramp, where an entrance to the plaza will one day be