Friday, July 11, 2008

Top Ten Fridays - Minneapolis

The ten worst things about Minneapolis in no particular order.

1. Parking

A little city has no business having big city parking issues. Between an obsession with charging for street parking (meters in Phillips? Really?) a poorly constructed roadway system around the city’s most popular park (Minnehaha) and the city’s ownership of several municipal lots, Minneapolis has become a nightmare for commuters.

Case in point: Trader Joe’s wanted to add a location in the flagging warehouse district, but their request to build an 80-space parking lot was refused. Such a lot would compete with the city-owned lots. So, Trader Joes moved to the suburbs. Dammit.

2. Parochial affinities.

Lost in all the foreclosure hysteria is the fact that North Minneapolis is actually home to a number of young families. Alas, said families have nowhere to shop. Council-member (and soon to be mayor, if Obama is elected president, and mercifully takes RT Rybak off our hands) Barb Johnson worked a sweetheart deal with Kowalski’s. The upscale Lund’s knockoff negotiated a deal forbidding the construction of a competing grocer in the vicinity the store.

Of course, Kowalski’s shuttered minutes after opening, but the contract remains in effect until someone can meet its asking price. Screw you, Kowalski’s. If I want to pay $11 for a watermelon, I’ll move to Tokyo.

3. Side-street construction

Here’s an idea for MnDot. How about staggering highway construction with the reconstruction of major thoroughfares? This isn’t chess.

4. The Star Tribune

It is no secret that our major daily is mountains of awful. In addition to being a left-wing rag (which is not altogether damning), it is poorly written, and has a website that is (easily) outclassed by that of the Bismarck Tribune. Does anyone care anymore?

My vote is to make the Pioneer Press the Twin Cities paper of record. Then we can phase out the Strib, and turn it into a community newsletter.

5. Restaurant service

Recently, I paid a visit to the Adams-Morgan neighborhood of DC. Just bopping around. No big whoop. I stopped at an Indian Restaurant for lunch, and decided to sit outside. Bad decision. The temperature had escalated to a sort of furious hot, and I was about to down some sort of spicy-creamy ensemble. In spite of my error, the waiter whisked cold water to my table at every opportunity. The dude was a machine in this regard, which was fortunate as the food was served fresh and piping.

Point being, I observed two phenomena that are utterly impossible to find in our city. Hot food and enthusiastic service. This is the norm in other cities. It is a luxury here.

6. Sports fans.

Maybe the vibrant art scene has feminized the men, but I defy you to have a compelling discussion about basketball or football in this town. I do not trust men who are not interested in sports.

7. The mayor.

Even my most liberal readers have yet to proffer a reasonable defense for RT Rybak.

8. Liquor laws.

There is literally no compelling reason why I cannot by beer on a Sunday. Yet I cannot. Why? Because bars would rather you buy alcohol at bars. And so we have a law. Great.

9. St. Anthony Main

The spectacular failure of this particular neck of our particular woods is mind blowing. Here, you have a cobblestone street lining one of the more scenic byways in the Midwest. Through a confluence of factors (reason #10 being one) the scene there is dead, save for the Aquatennial fireworks display. What a waste.

10. Neighborhood power.

As a general rule, I favor localized power and decision making. That said, the neighborhood groups wield tremendous power in our city, and use it to advance profoundly myopic interests.

The (seven or so) residents of Nicollet Island opposed a promised playing field to De La Salle High School. Neighborhood groups stand athwart the distribution of liquor licenses as though they were level III sex offenders (while doing almost nothing to curtail presence of the latter). No wonder our city voted to remove funding from neighborhood organizations.


Anonymous Thom said...

I don't know...when I listen to people discuss sports, it sounds an awful lot like two guys debating who would win in a race...Superman or the Flash. And yet, sports fans are somehow not perceived as geeks. You never see riots after an art show though...

7:38 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Art's not that competitive. If we were to have competitive art we might get to see some flaming riots......

As for buying liqour on Sundays??? I go both ways on that, but in general I'm all for leaving businesses of all kinds closed in Sundays. It's a good exercise in learning how to live without convenience.

completely agree with you on the road construction thing. I've been dealing with the 35w/36 mess with on/off again side street closures.
I just figure I don't know what route I'll be taking home any given day until November.

Also, we need to find a quiality karaoke place somewhere between my place and yours and hit up the scene. It's been way too long.

10:35 AM  
Blogger Ted said...

Kevin, what you fail to understand is that Bush is a horrible president and he made us go to war (technically impossible but none the less...?). With that kind of staggering leadership in an office that cannot set budget and can only really say no to a law unless 2/3rds of the congress approve it is the reason that we are in bad shape. Also President Bush made a conscious decision to prohibit congress from regulating the mortgage industry.

There, I beat them to it.

1:49 AM  

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