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.
"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.
I noticed this detail while taking the previous picture. I figure that it must be the VIP entrance from the surface parking lot. I don't think there is any parking inside the ballpark, so this entrance will likely be for suite-dwellers and other VIPs, though I can't say for sure whether players will enter here.
Flowers. Real flowers.
Champion's Club details (click to enlarge)
A look at Gate 34.
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:
Seating mound (seen from the B ramp)
From the roof of the Minnekahda building (courtesy Bruce Lambrecht).
Here's a closer look at the bullpen area. It's hard to tell for sure, but I think there is still an opening to the concourse right above.
Now looking north, the tracks emerge from beneath Seventh Street as freight tracks only. The Northstar line ends at the northwest corner of the ballpark. One day, however, you can bet that other passenger trains will approach from the southwest metro on these tracks -- if our legislators are smart and persistent, that is.
The entrance at Gate 3.
Workers against green
This is an angle I have not used very much, from the top of the Fifth Street ramp. Because the wall is so tall (forget about watching a game from here for free -- OK, maybe with a step stool) I have to hold the camera up over my head and just snap, hoping I get something good. Here I did. This view then looks to the southwest.
Looking through it, you can see the outfield pavilion (upper deck at least).
A closer look at the bridge and walls. You can see where the tracks will be laid.
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.
Looking up Fifth, with LRT tracks and B ramp at left
The Puckett atrium fireplace is just barely visible at the far left.
People! (In the Legends Club)
Some people will go to work here every day.
Home Plate Terrace -- really great seats; maybe my personal, budget-based favorite
Photo by Tyler Wycoff
A cold afternoon in 323, but we had our trusty Twins blanket -- made by my mom when Noah was born.
A little ground's crew action in the first inning the other night.
This was from January 19, 2007, when it looked like wonderful things might never happen here.
I took this because of the view reflected in the store windows. (The store is cool too.)
Eleven flag poles
Glove from above
Stairs down to the sidewalk from the skywalk over Seventh
These are the footings for the staircase which will connect the plaza to the skyway.
The right field overhang as seen from Seventh Street (with dude)
Dave St. Peter introducing the first physical models of the ballpark in June 2007