Here are a few more images from my lengthy walking tour around the ballpark the other day.
I believe that the truck is parked in one of the curb cutouts which are being installed to facilitate ticket sales and traffic calming.
The process of building the canopy is really amazing to watch.
A portrait of the 573 Club.
These openings will facilitate access to the catwalks which run throughout the canopy.
Block E = Conservatory II
If you walk the skyway in the vicinity of the ballpark, you probably have walked through the Block E mall once or twice. Maybe you've stopped there for a cookie or some other snack. I doubt that you bought a book there, though you could have at one time. And if that's where you buy your video games, start looking elsewhere.
The question is only whether this mall is just rapidly dying or already dead.
A sign that your mall is all but dead: roped off escalators. (This is at about 4:00 PM on a weekday.)
Some of you may remember The Conservatory, a much-heralded and highly ornate shopping mall which graced the Nicollet Mall for a scant few years in the late 80s and early 90s.
Don't look for it. It's long gone. And I'd provide a link to a photo or two, or maybe a profile, but this mall was so incredibly unsuccessful and short-lived that it was torn down before its 10th birthday, and people are quite happy to have it erased from Minneapolis' collective memory. (It did, however, give us Tejas, a great restaurant which relocated to 50th and France when The Conservatory closed. My brother was a waiter there, which is where he met and was befriended by envelope magnate Harvey McKay. McKay was, after all, the type of clientele that The Conservatory hoped to attract.)
The main problem was that it was built with a "clever" design that was intended to force foot traffic into certain patterns which would supposedly increase sales at the various stores. Instead, all it did was cause people to get lost inside it (which I did once), and it drove customers away shaking their heads (with all their money still in their pockets too).
Block E isn't quite that bad, but it's bad.
I parked at a meter on Sixth and looked for a mall entrance. There is none on Sixth. There are entrances to individual stores, but no mall entrance! (For the record, there's no mall entrance over on Seventh either.) I walked over to First Avenue, and couldn't find a mall entrance there either, but I did find a door which says "Skyway" above it. Entering there, and snaking up a parking-ramp-grade stairwell, I came to this:
Which way to the skyway? Really??
Yes, I can see the skyway through the windows -- it's right there -- but I can't get to it. Instead, I'm funneled around past the theater box office (with a lone, lonely employee serving exactly no customers) and into an open courtyard where I'm greeted by the roped-off escalators seen above.
I remember trying to do the reverse one time -- that is, getting from the skyway to the entrance to the Graves Hotel. It was touch-and-go for a while whether I was going to have to go back to Target Center, head down to the street, and cross First Avenue at a crosswalk. Ultimately, I had to find the elevators because both an escalator and a stairwell that might have been helpful were roped off for "security" reasons.
From an earlier visit: Don't bother with those escalators either. They were also roped off. And how about a bench? Or a planter? Or even a trash can? That woman is doing the only thing she can: leaning up against a post to do her texting.
I also remember buying a cookie here with Noah and discovering that there are no places to sit anywhere in this courtyard. Not a single bench or even a planter with a ledge. Only if you're a paying customer at Applebee's or -- God help me -- Hooters will you find a place to sit. (Mrs. Fields does have a couple of tiny tables to one side, allowing all cookie-eating family members to get a clean view into Hooters. I'm not a prude, but come on. And for the record, most of the eateries appear to have at least some private seating. There just is no seating in the common area anywhere. It positively screams, "Keep moving. Get out of here.")
I suppose that one day my son will graduate from Mrs. Fields to Hooters. At least he won't have to travel too far. *Shudder*
I know that the plaza is the "front door" to the ballpark. But Block E is the front door to the plaza.
Minneapolis ought to be more than a little embarrassed by this turkey. I find myself hoping that the same forces which took down The Conservatory come into play here before too long.
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This page was last modified on January 16, 2010.
"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 3033 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
(Click to enlarge greatly)
Sue Nelson, and her organ, in one of the Twins Pubs
Dude, this is NOT a multi-use facility.
His body language might as well be the box score.
At the other end of the bridge, the configuration of the tracks has become clear.
It's a great view of the action, though standing here is somewhat discouraged.
Legend's Club, Section E (Click to enlarge greatly.)
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:
New Concept Drawing - No Roof
Oh no! Beach ball! But click to enlarge so you can see the wide range of expressions on people's faces. (Photo by Jared Wieseler)
Bronze glove delivered (awaiting installation) with Met flag pole horizontal behind the gate
Steel going up fast.
A familiar view through the top floor elevator lobby window in ramp B (HRP View and Terrace).
Target HQ main entrance. Ballpark resemblance? (Inset.)
The action drew everybody to the top step. (Click to enlarge greatly.)
Detail enclosing the main ticket window area
Indications that club seating (the wider spaced areas above each dugout) will be a major presence in the lower deck
The entry from the platform to the ballpark.
Click to see the whole, beautiful image. (Photo by Tyler Wycoff)
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...
Griffith Stadium (notch visible in lower photo at far left)
In March, we were still only imagining baseball through those windows.
10 years ago, Bruce Lambrecht looked at this land and thought, "Why NOT a ballpark here?" It took a long time before anybody else saw the same potential.
Bag checking at Ball Park Lanes was incredibly simple, as was the pick up later. The line was short and fast-moving.
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.
Here's the barricade in context at the end of the walkway
This is what I was working on while my photo was taken (click to see a VERY BIG version).
This is as close as I could get to a pedestrian-eye view of the main entrance. This is what you'll see as you enter by coming down Sixth Street.