Next up on the tour, a walk around to the Fifth Street side.
Looking up Fifth, with LRT tracks and B ramp at left
Ticket window at Gate 29/Carew
Steps going up at Gate 29/Carew
Scoreboard installation in progress
A final glimpse from the street of stadia installation along the left field line
Seeing the above reminds me once again that the days of getting interesting images from the street are dwindling... More and more of the cool stuff is now happening out of sight on the inside.
Scoreboard in profile against the skyline
From inside the ballpark, the Wells Fargo building will not be visible, despite being one of the three tallest buildings on the skyline. It is perfectly blocked by the Multifoods Tower. The above image shows that if the ballpark had been situated either one block to the north or south, this would not have been the case.
It's a shame, but just a piece of rotten luck.
A new restaurant going in at Fifth Street and Second Avenue
The above restaurant may have a name and a theme, but none is listed on the development watch (PDF) maintained by the Downtown Journal. They simply list it as "restaurant building" while noting that a rooftop deck has been approved for up to 204 people. Regardless of the details, this will likely be a very cool addition to the neighborhood.
The other day I thought that the Seville Club looked vacant. Well, it's not.
Yesterday I joined a long list of Block E lamenters, including the illustrious architecture critic Linda Mack, who proposed some fixes way back in October of 2007.
But I want to note that I never felt unsafe in the building. I just felt perplexed, disoriented and inconvenienced. I felt like I was walking through a collection of bad ideas and architecture by committee. If there's a nefarious element associated with the place, I've never seen it -- but then again I've never been there after dark.
Before publishing yesterday's post, I didn't even look at the Wikipedia entry for Block E. It's remarkably detailed, and contains an account of the official celebrating which took place when the last of those memorably seedy businesses closed back in the 80s.
That celebrating seems kind of, well, stupid right about now. They were cheering the destruction of something for which no replacement had even been imagined. There was no plan, and tearing down the buildings (after ceremonially smashing their windows no less) did very little to alleviate problems which weren't actually about those specific businesses or that specific piece of land in the first place.
The history of urban renewal in Minneapolis is positively teaming with outright failure, and I'm thinking that the new Block E may one day find itself added to that long list. The scar left behind when those original Block E buildings came down, much like what happened in the gateway district, has simply been papered over (with some damn ugly wallpaper).
Nice, New, Old Floor
I discovered this article about the company which is refurbishing the floor once used by the Minneapolis Lakers in the downtown Armory. Here are some of the highlights:
More than 1,100 square feet of the court, which was used by the Minneapolis Lakers, will be installed in the Town Ball Tavern restaurant inside Target Field.
...the maple is 70 to 80 years old. It will be installed in the restaurant in a parquet pattern similar to the Boston Garden’s historic surface. (...)
Kevin Smith is executive director of public affairs with the Minnesota Twins. He said the Town Ball Tavern will be open to the public and ballpark patrons.
"It will be located in the left field area," Smith said. "If you come to the park via light rail, it will be on Fifth Street side. It will be a nice, quaint gathering spot."
The Twins want the Town Ball Tavern to serve as a tribute to Minnesota’s rich baseball heritage, Smith said. It will be filled with plenty of memorabilia items. (...)
Champion’s Club, Twins Pub, 573 Bar, Metropolitan Club and the Puckett and Carew Atriums will provide other dining opportunities inside the new ballpark.
"We are right on schedule and are about 70 percent complete with the building," Smith said. "Target Field has to be functionally complete on March 3, 2010."
That's the first time I've heard an official completion date. It's also the first I've heard of the "Puckett and Carew Atriums" -- though I suspect these may just be designations for certain concession areas.
Confidential to ABC Newspapers: Pop-unders are deeply annoying and oh, so 1999.
One Final, Sort of Related
As you all probably know, the second LRT line is about to be built along University Avenue to connect the St. Paul and Minneapolis downtowns. Like the Hiawatha line, the new line will terminate at the ballpark.
I'm a big supporter of adding trains to the mix of transportation options, but I'm deeply skeptical about the Central corridor project. Hiawatha works in part because it has its own right-of-way for most of its length, while Central will be stealing from University Avenue almost the whole way.
If you've ever stayed on a light rail train past the Metrodome into downtown Minneapolis, you know that there is a very big downgrade in the experience as the tracks become part of the regular street grid. Certain measures are planned to mitigate this on University (such as timed lights), but the advantage over buses is much harder to see on this project than it was on the first. (The political advantages, on the other hand, are quite clear to see on the route map.)
I'm mentioning it today just to link to this article in the Strib which talks about how much street parking will be lost along University Avenue to accommodate the new line, and how it stands to affect the small businesses which are the lifeblood of the Midway area. This could be a real shame.
It also stands to confuse things at the ballpark as it will no longer be as simple as jumping on a train. You'll need to make sure you jump on the right train. (There are plans being laid to make this easy, but it's very much a don't make me think moment in terms of the success of the new line...)
I have a few more pix left from my walking tour, and you'll see them tomorrow!
"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.
Legends Club fireplace (there are two)
Winter approaches. But one day baseballs will fly where now there are cranes.
Dedicated closed-captioning ribbon board
This is as close as I could get to a pedestrian-eye view of Seventh Street (looking west away from downtown). It's inviting, not imposing, and remarkably dignified.
The Overlook, as seen by outfielders
Look at all those flag poles! But wouldn't the one from Met Stadium look great just inside the gates in the middle of that entrance plaza?
The HERC promenade side.
At the base of the B ramp, the foundation for the center field stands.
A detail from the above image shows that the section signage is now in place
I don't exactly know what this is. A first-aid station? Concession office?
The main concourse.
Click to see the whole, beautiful image. (Photo by Tyler Wycoff)
More flowers, more pennants.
Section 237, Row 15 (top of the Trap)
This is a background image extracted from one of the blueprint pages. It's essentially a schematic of the park (Terrace Level). In it you can see the shape of the various seating areas (to a certain extent).
A portrait of the 573 Club.
Peering through Gate 34
Home Run Porch Terrace
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.
Photo by Tyler Wycoff
I finally found the corner of TF dedicated to the Senators. What a wonderful sight.