Spring Swing (Part 3)
May 8, 2009 11:20 PM
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.)
UPDATE: CJ has provided an appropriate link.
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.
More ballpark pix tomorrow.
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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 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
This maze of scaffolding is something you'll probably never see again.
The view from the corner of Ford Centre. (Feel free to tie up your boats here.)
Handshakes all around (there's gonna be a lot of that over the next few weeks)
This is a slightly blurry view of the pavilion in center. It has a quirky shape, but one which is completely consistent with the overall ballpark design. Nice work there. You can also get a glimpse of the greenery which will rise above the fences.
"Hey, Ma, it says here we go in at gate 34. Must be all the way around on the other side!" Seriously, though, this is a really inspired idea.
Gate 3 ticket window
Though there's nothing there now, you have to believe they'll find a way to add a party deck up there at some point.
Walkway entrance from ramp
Concrete molds are being removed!
From last week, you can see the piers taking shape. I believe that the front row, visible here as just forms and reinforcing rods, is the front edge of the plaza.
I finally found the corner of TF dedicated to the Senators. What a wonderful sight.
Print press box
One half of those windows are well-used.
This looks south and shows how the Northstar tracks are sheltered by the promenade above. This is the side which faces the HERC plant.
The Hennepin Grille appears to feature chicken, brats, and fries.
Earl Santee, principle architect for HOK Sport, presents some concepts while Mike Opat listens
Desolate. Dirty. Mysterious. Expensive. Unlikely.
Another B ramp glimpse (don't loiter here!)
(Click to enlarge.)
For those not wishing to suffer through my media rant, please enjoy this picture of my lilacs in full bloom.
This is the revised version of the center field pavilion (without the restaurant). It looks like there are no seats, just some ledges for people to sit on. It reminds me of the seating on the "bridge" which sticks out of the new Guthrie Theater. Anything which lands in the trees will presumably be a home run, so the "411" sign is apparently just for fun.
Gate 29 escalators
The Metrodome has sure been tarted up.
Wayfinding within the B ramp is still a work in progress.
For some inexplicable reason, a lot of the new parks being built these days feature grand staircases like this one.
BPM - Ballpark Magic
BRT - Bus Rapid Transit
DSP - Dave St. Peter
FSE - Full Season Equivalent
FYS - Fake Yankee Stadium (see also: NYS)
HERC - Hennepin Energy Resource Company (aka the Garbage Burner)
HPB - Home Plate Box
HRP - Home Run Porch
LC - Legends Club
LRT - Light Rail Transit
MBA - Minnesota Ballpark Authority (will own Target Field)
MOA - Mall of America
MSFC - Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission (owns the Metrodome)
NYS - New Yankee Stadium
SRO - Standing Room Only
STH - Season Ticket Holder
TCFBS - TCF Bank Stadium
TF - Target Field
Selected Bibliography - Analysis
First Edition (1992)
Second Edition (2006)
Selected Bibliography - Surveys
Second Edition (1987)
Not a "Third Edition" exactly,
but it replaced the above title
(2000, large coffee table)
Original edition (2000, round)
Revised edition (2006, round)
(2001, medium coffee table)
(2002, small coffee table)
(2003, medium coffee table)
(2004, very large coffee table)
(2006, very large coffee table)
Combines the previous two titles
(2007, medium coffee table)
Selected Bibliography - Nostalgia
Book and six ballpark miniatures